Being the animal lover that I am, I recently decided to stop eating meat. The infamous vegetarian diet is one that I took on about six months ago. What was once a meaningless test ended up becoming so much more. Not only do I feel better internally, but there is true physical change as well. Truthfully, I was never much of a meat eater so the change to this new diet wasn't as hard as it might seem. But I invite you to read on and see for yourself what this diet can do for you. Here are some of the best things that have happened to me, as well as the all-around benefits of going green.
Arachidonic acid is a substance that usually comes from dietary animal sources and, no surprise, vegetarian diets are not high in arachidonic acid. This can be beneficial, as research has shown a link between arachidonic acid and mood disturbances. A study was done at Benedictine University to investigate the impact of restricting animal products and mood and confirmed that mood improvements do happen when you stop eating meat, fish, and poultry.
I enjoy sleep just like the next person, but for a while now I began to feel so drained and tired all the time. And if you know, you know. It began to interfere with many aspects of my life. Despite my attempt at gaining a full eight hours of sleep, nothing would help. By cutting meat, my energy began to increase. I still enjoy my sleep, don't get me wrong. But I'm now able to enjoy the things I love doing most, all while feeling great.
Hair and nail growth
If you know me at all then you know my hair refuses to grow and my nails usually break the second they reach the slightest amount of length. Well, over these past few months my hair has grown tremendously. I can't even remember the last time my hair was the least bit long. Other than the length I've been getting, it's also the healthiest it's ever been. As a girl, you know our hair is everything — well, at least for me. That's why I'm especially happy to see these results.
Meat can stay in your system for days following consumption, which causes the body to bloat. By restricting meat, I've noticed my body slim down, which all together makes me more comfortable in my own body. Since meat is no longer on my menu, I can go on with my days without insecurities.
Stand up for animals
If you're even the smallest of animal lovers, it's tough to think about how your steak or pork chop was made. These animals often suffer greatly in tiny cages, crates, and pens, before enduring frequently cruel slaughter practices. These animals spend their entire lives in crates or stalls so small that they can't even turn around. The Humane Society of the United States estimated that if every American cut out meat just once a week, about 1.4 billion animals could be spared each year.
A variety of new food
Before this, I hated eating vegetables, my eating habits were so unhealthy. I went into this diet knowing I wasn't a fan of greens. But I'm glad I did anyway. I've grown to love so many foods, both old and new. This part was my favorite, I got to visit new restaurants and try so many new foods that I never thought I would like.
When there isn't enough calcium in the bloodstream, our bodies will leach it from the existing bone. This causes our skeletons to become porous and lose strength over time. Most health care practitioners recommend that we increase our intake of calcium the way nature intended — through foods. The vegetarian diet consists of the following foods that contain a healthful dose of calcium such as dry beans, tofu, soymilk, and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collards, and turnip.
Shrink your cancer risk
Right up there on the list of scary diseases is cancer, and it's becoming increasingly clear that a meat-cancer connection exists. In one study of more than 35,000 women published in the British Journal of Cancer, those who ate the most red and processed meat were found to have the highest risk of breast cancer. Other research has linked meat consumption to colon, prostate, pancreatic, and gastric cancers, as well. One theory, is that foods with high levels of artificial fat boost the hormones that promote cancer.
Help your heart
Limit the animal-fare and you'll be reducing your likelihood for heart disease, the number-one killer of women. Fatty red meats and other meats processed are high in saturated fat, which raises cholesterol and therefore increases risk for heart disease. Studies have shown that eating high quantities of these meats also increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
It can satisfy all your nutritional requirements
If you think vegetarians and vegans are nutritionally deficient or always hungry, think again! A well-designed vegetarian diet can be nutritionally sound and appropriate for all ages and stages of life, including infants, the elderly, and even athletes. Good health, reduced incidence of disease, and better management of existing health problems are all associated with following a vegetarian diet.