The rejection of animal food is rapidly gaining popularity around the world. Vegetarianism can be helpful for both humans and the planet. Still, it can also harm the body without a balanced diet.
Vegetarianism considers a lifestyle and dietary choice of avoiding animal products. India is considered the birthplace of vegetarianism since many Indian religions do not allow eating animals. This country is still the leader in the number of vegetarians among the population. In the sacred Indian work, the Dhammapada, there is a saying of the Buddha: “… they will say that I allowed the meat to be eaten and ate it myself but know that I did not allow anyone to eat meat, I do not allow it now, and I will never allow it.” However, even before the appearance of the Buddha, Hindus refused to kill animals for food, as it was believed that meat interferes with achieving harmony of mind and body. Also, ancient Hindus believed such food causes aggression and negative thoughts, generating moral weakness.
The term vegetarian has a different classification under that. So, let’s take a closer look at each type.
A large percentage of all vegetarians on the planet adhere to Lacto-vegetarianism. Lacto-vegetarians exclude from their diet all products of animal origin except dairy. Dairy products at this stage remain the primary source of protein. Lacto-vegetarianism, as well as ovo-vegetarianism, are currently the most “protected” type of vegetarian diet. Opponents of vegetarian nutrition cannot prove the harm of these classifications since dairy or egg products (in the case of ovo-vegetarianism) are included, which contain all the substances and vitamins necessary for us, for example, B12, calcium, protein, omega 3.
Ovo-vegetarianism is a type of vegetarianism that excludes all animal products except eggs. Like Lacto-vegetarians, Ovo-vegetarians are convinced of the need to consume animal protein, particularly egg protein. Ovo-vegetarians do not perceive egg products as a product of murder. An ardent argument of adherents of this type is the lack of life in a stored egg. That is, it is not fertilized and cannot feel pain. But do not forget that the egg and dairy industry, in any case, is based on the suffering of living beings. The egg is not a direct product of murder but is based on the cruel exploitation of animals.
Another type of vegetarianism is Lacto-ovo-vegetarianism, which does not exclude dairy and egg products. The most effortless transition and practice to a stricter vegetarian diet. It is much easier to adhere to this type of diet than any other since you can balance it without much effort. It combines the two previous types. At the same time, lacto-ovo-vegetarianism is considered the laxest. It is important to note that the ease of switching to any vegetarianism does not indicate the superiority of one over the other. At this stage, a specific type of nutrition is closest to your body.
Veganism is one of the strictest types of nutrition. People often need help understanding the difference between vegans and vegetarians. The difference is that the vegetarian concept needs to be more accurate. It may imply a different diet, and vegans have specific nutrition rules. Veganism is the rejection of any food of animal origin. They do not allow absolutely anything of the above, and bee products are often excluded.
In rare cases, a person switches to veganism abruptly. This is usually preceded by lacto-vegetarianism or lacto-ovo-vegetarianism. Veganism is most often practiced for ethical reasons. Usually, vegans refuse animal food (meat, fish, eggs) and animal products such as leather and fur. In addition, they pay attention to the labels and do not allow gelatin, albumin and other additives.
The next type of vegetarianism is the raw food diet. Raw food is called live nutrition and is divided into several stricter subtypes. The raw vegetarian diet excludes all animal products from the diet, and food never undergoes heat treatment. It is allowed to dry fruits and vegetables at a temperature no higher than 40 degrees because it is believed that many trace elements die at a higher temperature, so food can no longer be considered alive. Raw food is not a meagre type of food, as many have come to believe. There are many delicious recipes for raw food cuisine. You can germinate grains, eat nuts and dried fruits, and cook soups, porridges, and smoothies. In general, there is an abundance of fruits and vegetables on the shelves, you can not cook anything, and it is already delicious.
The type of vegetarianism in which people on a fruit diet eat all the fruits of plants and greens is called Fructorianism. Sometimes nuts and seeds remain in the diet, but most often, they are not attributed to this type of food or are consumed in a green, juicy form. Fruit, vegetables and greens are essential to include in your meals, at least in the early stages. Fruits contain, for example, cucumbers, tomatoes, and sweet peppers. Still, the roots of plants and other parts essential for their life are not consumed as food at this stage. There is an opinion, supported by various studies, that fruitarianism is a specific human nutrition. From an anatomical point of view, considering all the processes occurring in the body, a person can be considered a frugivore.
Mono-eating is a raw food diet in which a certain amount of one product is eaten at one meal. Mono-eating is helpful due to the most effective digestibility of products in one meal. Monoeaters are sure that there can be no better combination of micro- and macroelements and vitamins than those that nature has already included in the product, so there is no need to add or mix anything. Several meals provide the body with the necessary elements without slagging it with foreign substances. Minimal energy consumption for food digestion allows self-healing processes to continue, which ensures high immunity.
So, what kind of Challenges are Vegetarians facing?
While many people adopt vegetarianism for ethical and environmental reasons, the lifestyle also comes with challenges. From navigating social situations to ensuring proper nutrition, being a vegetarian can be a complex and sometimes difficult journey.
One of the biggest challenges of being a vegan is balancing health, ethics, and convenience. With different vegetarian diets, it can be challenging to get all the nutrients the body needs, particularly protein, iron, and vitamin B12, that people usually get from meat. This requires careful meal planning and the use of fortified foods or supplements. Many vegetarians also need help finding convenient, affordable, and tasty meal options while on the go. Fast food restaurants and other dining establishments may have few vegetarian options, and preparing meals home can take time and effort.
Social situations can also pose a challenge for vegetarians. From dinner parties and family gatherings to eating out with friends, it can be challenging to stick to a vegetarian diet while also satisfying social obligations.
Another challenge of being a vegetarian is the cost. While plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes are generally less expensive than animal products, some specialty vegan products like plant-based meat substitutes, tofu, and non-dairy milk can be more expensive. This can make it challenging for vegans to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet, particularly those on a tight budget.
Many people decided to be a vegetarian because of their Humane attitude toward living beings. This philosophy is promoted, and a similar food culture is gaining popularity. Around the globe today, almost 1 billion followers of this philosophy (3% of the Earth’s total population). Many of our contemporaries say that switching to a plant-based diet is not just a right of choice. Still, a human obligation to our planet. Mass meat production in developed countries pollutes the environment no less than other industry types. For example, the waste products of livestock farms pollute it more than the sewage of megacities by almost 10 times. Also, to create the consumed amount of meat, humanity spends a considerable share of drinking water. In 2006, the UN reported that cattle farms produce more greenhouse gases than cars.
In conclusion, being a vegetarian can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Whether for ethical, environmental, or health reasons, it requires dedication, knowledge, and a willingness to adapt. With the proper support and resources, however, anyone can successfully navigate the challenges of a vegetarian lifestyle and enjoy the many benefits that come with it.