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Are You A Vegetarian? Would You Like to Be One?

By March 30, 2009 - 10:55pm
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I do not consider myself a meat eater, I stick to fish and certain white meats but lately I am just wondering if I should give up any type of meat. But after reading the latest research, I may just keep fish on my diet, here is why!

A vegetarian diet may help protect against many conditions and illnesses including cancer. According to a new study which analyzed data from 52,700 men and women shows that those who did not eat meat had significantly fewer cancers overall. However, the researchers also found a higher rate of colorectal cancer (a disease often linked with eating red meat) among the vegetarians, this puzzled me as I thought vegetarian diets included high fiber.

This new research divided the participants into meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. There was a significantly lower incidence of all cancers among the fish-eaters and vegetarians when compared with the meat eaters. For colorectal cancer, however, that trend was reversed.

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Like you, I'm a mostly-vegetarian, I do eat fish and I do eat dairy/cheese. I don't eat eggs but it's because I never liked them.

One thing about vegetarian diets that I have learned, though, is that they are just like any other diet -- they are as healthful as you make them. One vegetarian may eat beans, rice, nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish and oils, and have balanced nutrition and a healthy weight. Another vegetarian could eat veggie pizza, macaroni and cheese, potato chips, candy and cookies, and be very overweight. Just because a diet doesn't include meat doesn't necessarily mean it's balanced, or has the proper amount of protein, fiber or other nutrients. I miss meat more for the easy protein than for the taste, actually.

What we need is a fabulous, Rachel-Ray or Martha-Stewart type to have a daily cooking show that's all about delish veggie meals that are easy to make and taste great. But in the meantime, here's a great vegetarian podcast that you can watch online or download on itunes. It's called Totally Vegetarian, it's a program that's on in the Portland area, and if you click on "Totally Vegetarian TV Episodes" at the top of the page, there are links to three seasons of the show:


April 1, 2009 - 9:03am
HERWriter Guide

I'm lacto vegetarian for nearly 19 years, I eat dairy (cheese, yogurt) but no eggs. It must be my love of France and Holland but I am not giving up some fabulous cheeses for anything!

I don't think dairy (in moderation) is quite as dangerous as some people think. As a species, the human race has adapted to many forms of diet - from a simple vegan gatherer eater, to hunter-gatherer to full on carnivore. Even our teeth and mouth structures have changed. It's the nature of humans and animals to adapt with time, over hundreds of thousands of years. Ever wonder why little toes are getting smaller and smaller? With the adaptation of shoes, we are gradually losing our need for our little toes and our feet are changing to adapt. Our feet now are vastly different to those of our ancestors of, say, thirty thousand years ago. We may be the only species to drink milk after infancy (we're also the only to distill and ferment grains, hops and fruit, turn it into an addictive substance and drink it!) but we're also the only species to raise infants through nearly two decades. We're the only species to actively stop our infants from self-harm through nearly two decades. The human species and animal species can't be compared in this way. Animals eat other animals (and no-one is campaigning for Fido or Fluffy to become vegetarian!) and animals diets have also vastly changed over time, adapting from everything from climate to terrain.

We also need to be careful not to end up as Food Police. Not everyone would want my vegetarian lifestyle and I would certainly never eat a fish or a lobster! People need to educate themselves and make their own choices over what they eat without fears that some fabulous French cheese and baguette is going to harm them. I don't advocate a diet of burgers and fries but a diet of vegetarianism is not for everyone. I simply don't believe it is quite that serious but we all need to eat and live as we personally see fit :)

Virginia, I have read numerous studies that colon cancer among vegetarians is low - about 50% to that of meat-eaters so this is really interesting (and unsettling!) to me! I must look into this more.

March 31, 2009 - 4:26pm

Did that include the vegans? I'm wondering because a lot of vegetarians eat a lot of dairy and dairy is notoriously bad for one in many ways. As the only species to drink milk after infancy - and from another species at that - many question our dependence on dairy. Recent research suggests that consumers should seek calcium and other nutrients elsewhere, as dairy's disadvantages may outweigh its benefits.

Dairy products, especially full-fat milk and cheese, are high in saturated fat, proven to raise cholesterol and cause heart disease. Some dairy products have high salt contents which can also induce heart disease. Milk is thought to trigger outbreaks of eczema and should be avoided by people with asthma and respiratory conditions because it stimulates the production of phlegm.

Most unsettling is the link between dairy and cancer. A recent study concluded that lactose may be a culprit of ovarian cancer, as it is believed to over-stimulate hormone production which causes tumour growth. An excess of oestrogen, found in pregnant cows, is a possible cause of breast cancer.

It has been suggested that consuming dairy increases the rate of calcium loss which in turn increases the risk of osteoporosis. Researchers say this is a result of an inverse relationship between protein and calcium: excess protein intake results in calcium loss.

Anyhow...I know that many many people blindly believe that milk is good for you but according to my research, it appears to be the opposite. I have not had a drop of dairy pass my lips for over 20 years and rarely get ill.

I am a pesco vegan by the way. I eat fish(wild salmon for example) and no other meat or dairy and I believe that for me, this is a great way to eat.

March 31, 2009 - 2:15pm
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