Food Health — 06 June 2011
Vegetarianism – Eating to Live

By Kristeen Uzoh
Special to Grouptrails.

The reasons people embrace a vegetarian lifestyle are varied. Some make the choice for religious reasons. Others object to the brutal methods of raising farm animals. But perhaps the best reason to be vegetarian is the desire for a healthier lifestyle.

Consider this:

• Vegetarians are 1/9th less likely to be overweight.
• They are less prone to major diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes to name a few.
• Chances of heart disease decrease by 50%. The average vegetarian cholesterol level of is 133. Heart attacks rarely ever occur at levels under 150
• Vegetarians require less sleep and have more energy.
• Some experts extol vegetarian diets for children since studies show vegetarian kids grow taller and have higher IQ’s than their counterparts
• Grown-ups switching to the vegetarian diets late in life can prevent and in some cases reverse chronic illnesses.

But what Do Vegetarians Eat?

Vegetarians Eat just about ANYTHING they want! Vegetarian alternatives are now more accessible to everyone. No more are the days of having to drive to particular health food stores for veggie meals. Everything from meatless ribs to dairy-free cream cheese can now be found in most grocery stores.

Vegetarian Vocabulary

Vegetarian: a person who chooses a diet that excludes all or most animal products.
Semi-vegetarian: eats plant foods, chicken and/or fish, dairy products – excludes red meat
Vegan: a diet of only foods of plant origin
Lacto-vegetarian: consumes plant foods and some or all dairy products
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: eats plant foods, dairy and eggs

An added benefit

Not only are vegetarian diets good for your health, they can really invigorate your love life! Many of the foods in the vegetarian diet have aphrodisiac qualities:

• Asparagus – high in vitamin E which increases blood and oxygen flow to the genitals. For best results consume asparagus for 3 days straight.
• Bananas – high in potassium; believed to contain chemicals which lift the mood and increase confidence
• Berries – full of vitamin C; aids in hormone production
• Carrots – contain high levels of vitamin A; vital for sperm production
• Chili Peppers – increases heart rate, releases endorphins
• Ginger – enhances blood flow
• Licorice – its scent of licorice is known to be sexually stimulating to women
• Sunflower Seeds – highly recommend for men; high in zinc; promotes potency and protects prostate health
• Soy – said to decrease PMS; increases lubrication in women; Protects prostate in men.

Give special consideration when considering starting growing children on a vegetarian diet. Be sure children have sufficient intake of protein, B vitamins, vitamin D, riboflavin, calcium, zinc and iron.

So is Vegetarianism for You? The choice is yours. Food is life. The food choices we make are life choices. Making the switch to vegetarian comes naturally to some. Others need time to organize and plan. But don’t fret, there are plenty of resources to take advantage of. There’s a bustling vegetarian scene waiting for you to explore; with everything from pen pal to matchmaking services. Take time to consider a vegetarian lifestyle. You might be surprised how tasty it is!

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