Eating a vegetarian diet changes mealtime focus from one hunk of protein to a mix of proteins and fats. Get creative, and have fun with your menu. Surveys in the United States have estimated that nearly 30 million people eat diets that are largely or entirely meat-free. Many do so because they have ethical concerns about killing animals: they follow the principle of “not eating anything with eyes. For at least 30 years, evidence has emerged that such diets also may improve long-term health. Recent studies of the long-term health effects of meat-free, plant-based diets have provided further evidence of their benefits. People with BMIs above 30 are obese, and obesity is associated with a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diverticulitis, heart disease, and other illnesses. A study published in the March 9, , issue of JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that a meat-free diet can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
Before you discard all animal-based foods, learn how to approach this style of eating in a healthy way. Although most older Americans still enjoy their steaks and chicken, an estimated 2. Some people decide to go vegetarian or vegan because they can’t bear the thought of harming any living creature. Others do it for the health perks, of which there seem to be many. She ticks off the various advantages associated with this way of eating—lower body mass index and blood pressure; reduced risks for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer; and longer life. If you’re thinking about going vegetarian or vegan but are worried about making a big change in how you eat, know that there are many different layers to this way of eating. The most common approaches are these. You still eat animal products, but more selectively. Many semi-vegetarians eat chicken and fish but not red meat. Lacto-ovo vegetarian. You skip all meat, fish, and poultry but include dairy and eggs in your diet.
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