‘To eat meat or not to eat meat’ is a question many people seriously consider at some stage during their life due to the negative impact of consuming a non-vegetarian diet, such as environmental damage from livestock farming, water depletion, increased health-related concerns and most significantly, the moral dilemma of killing another living being for your own needs.

So what exactly is a vegetarian diet and how can you make it work? A vegetarian diet includes eating a variety of foods such as grains, fruit, vegetables, beans, pulses, nuts, seeds as well as including a small amount of fat and dairy products to ensure your body receives balanced and nutritious meals. The key to making a vegetarian diet work for you is to understand what nutrients are missing from the foods that are not being consumed and learning how to balance your meals without these foods.

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Vegetarianism provides all the daily nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and happy; it isn’t just about eating green “stuff”! There are several different types of vegetarian diets for people to choose from:

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarianism is a diet in which no meat such as beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind is consumed, but dairy and egg products are consumed. (“Lacto”comes from the Latin word for milk, and “ovo” for egg).
  • Lacto vegetarianism is a vegetarian diet that includes all dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, cream, and kefir, but excludes eggs.
  • Ovo vegetarianism is a vegetarian diet that allows for the consumption of eggs, but dairy products are not permitted.
  • Veganism is a stricter form of a vegetarian diet that excludes the consumption of meat, eggs, milk and other kinds of foods such as refined white sugar and some wines that are produced using animal products. Vegans practice a further stance by not using products made from animals such as leather, wool, and fur and do not use products tested on animals.
  • Pesco-vegetarianism is a vegetarian diet in which only fish is consumed with a plant-based diet.
  • Flexitarian or Semi-vegetarian is a vegetarian diet in which eggs and milk are mainly consumed, with meat, fish and poultry on occasion.

Switching to a meat-less or vegetarian diet is definitely worth considering. Some kinds of white meat such as fish and poultry may contain injected steroids and harmful chemicals with similar practices in place for red meats being injected with protein and growth hormones. Even by cooking or freezing, these chemicals are not eliminated and thus enter the body. A meat-less diet is a safer one, so pick the type of vegetarian you want to be and take your first step towards a healthier, safer and environmentally-friendlier lifestyle! Go Veggie!

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