The most common question I get when I tell someone I am a vegetarian is, "why?" Most vegetarians chose to live meat free after reading up on the treatment of animals or watching a gut-wrenching documentary, others made the decision for health reasons or to simply lose weight. I am a bit different, I originally started a vegetarian diet as a personal challenge. I honestly wanted to see if I could do it. After a few months of going without meat, I was hooked. I have since learned the ends and outs of being vegetarian and can now share some of the best reasons to be vegetarian!
- Reduce Pollution - The meat industry is making a huge impact on our environment. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams. Runoff from farmlands is one of the greatest threats to water quality today.
- Lose Weight - A large, five-year study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2013 revealed that people who don't eat meat have a lower average BMI than meat-eaters. I can speak from experience, that you will lose weight if you become a vegetarian. I did not need to lose weight when I switched to a vegetarian diet, but without even trying I lost about 4 pounds.
- Health Benefits - So many health benefits, I don't even know where to begin. A meat free diet can reduce your risk of diabetes, improve your heart health, lower your blood pressure, slow the aging process, increase the immune system and more!
- Cancer Prevention - No one wants the dreaded C word. Studies have shown a significant reduction in cancer risk among individuals that avoid meat. In addition, animal products increase hormone production, which increases your risk for hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate.
- Beautiful Skin - No Joke. Eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains increase the antioxidants in your body which neutralize the free radicals that can bring on wrinkles, brown spots, and other signs of aging.
- Happier - How could you not be happier with a smaller waist, beautiful skin and a clear conscience? But seriously, adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is a natural mood-booster. Economists and public health researchers from the University of Warwick and Dartmouth College studied the eating habits of 80,000 people in Great Britain and found that mental well-being appeared to increase with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables.
Until next time