The Lifestyle of a Vegetarian - HEALTH CARE DEPARTMENT CALIFORNIA

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The Lifestyle of a Vegetarian
A Complete Article about this Healthy Choice

One of the biggest injustices that the vegetarian movement has endured is that in popular culture, the image of a vegetarian is that of a fanatic hippy or cult member who is "off the deep end" and cannot think about anything else besides "saving a cow" and pushing vegetarianism on everyone he meets.

The truth is that the lifestyle of a vegetarian is not that different than everyone else in the culture.

In fact, the odds are that somewhere in your social circle at work, school, church or in your family and friends network, you already know several people who are quietly enjoying the lifestyle of a vegetarian. So to help us get over the negative stereotypes to understand how a vegetarian actually lives, lets examine what is different about a vegetarians life.

The most significant difference in how a vegetarian lives is obvious because it is in how he or she eats. You will not find any meat in a vegetarian's kitchen. Now this doesn’t mean that a vegetarian cannot live in a family and be at peace with meat eaters. If the home has one vegetarian but others who are not, you will be able to tell from the presence of soy and perhaps more fruit and fresh vegetables in the refrigerator. But the idea that vegetarians cannot be around meat eaters is false. If anything vegetarians are peace loving and can live their lifestyle around others who are not of their belief system very well.
Grocery shopping with a vegetarian is an eye opening experience and one that is quite different in more ways than you would suspect. Being a vegetarian isn't just about what you don't eat in that you don't eat meat. It is also about a completely different approach to diet and foods. So you will not see a vegetarian buying food in the same way most people do. There will be much more time spent in the fresh produce section of the grocery store. The checkout basket of a vegetarian will give him or her away every time because it will be overflowing with fresh foods.

vegetarian with organic foodsBut shopping for food with a vegetarian means shopping in other places than the local grocery store. It means buying grains and beans in bulk at a warehouse store because that is one way that a vegetarian maintains health by replacing the protein and other nutrients that the rest of the world gets from meat and replacing it with proteins from beans and other natural foods. It also means shopping in farmer's markets and even shopping in a vegetarian specialty store for some high nutrition meat substitutes like tofu.

The vegetarian movement is in harmony with many of the earth first movements such as the organic movement and the green movement.


So a vegetarian kitchen will have more organic foods on hand to reduce the presence of harmful pesticides and other substances in the diet. Also vegetarianism affects the lifestyle beyond just the refrigerator and the pantry. You will not find leather clothing in a vegetarian's closet and you wont find fur there either. That is became for the most part vegetarians are sensitive to animal rights and they don't want to see the skin of animals used in their clothing.
The house of a vegetarian will also be a recycling house to do all that is possible to cut down on waste and to be earth friendly.  Along with recycling bottles and cans as you might expect, a vegetarian recycles a lot right at home. A recycling home will often have a compost pile in the yard for food waste and it will also support a good sized garden to use that compost to grow at home organic foods to supplement a healthy diet.

For obvious reasons, a vegetarian will have vegetarian friends and belong to social groups and attend functions that support the vegetarian lifestyle. Eating out with a vegetarian will mean going to more ethnic food restaurants and you will see a lot of creativity in how to order foods in a restaurant. But contrary to popular opinion, vegetarian eating is more flavorful and diverse than the normal diet.  

Just spending a day with a vegetarian will reveal to you a more harmonious lifestyle that is sensitive to the environment and at peace with itself.  It is a healthy and happy lifestyle and one that should be attractive to all of us.

The Rules of Being a Vegetarian
...going Deeper...

Yes. We must say that becoming a vegetarian, is not like joining a club or enlisting in an army. There is a lot of freedom and leverage to how "deep" you go into the vegetarian lifestyle and how intense and limiting you make your diet. So while there really are no "rules" for becoming a vegetarian, there are some scales of severity to be aware of so you know where you wish to enter the vegetarian world and how much you want to limit your diet.

And there are some guidelines for how to be successful in your quest for a healthier and more ethical way of life.

The first thing to be aware of is that the extremes of vegetarian diets have a lot of variety to them. You can considered a vegetarian by eliminating only beef, chicken and animal meats from your diet.


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This approach to vegetarianism is the easiest place to start because you can still get your protein from eating fish, cheese, eggs and other dairy products so you don’t feel so deprived at first. Then if you are successful in eliminating animal meats, you can then consider going further into the vegetarian lifestyle.  

Its good to be educated about the varieties of vegetarianism because you may be talking to an enthusiast in the lifestyle that is of a "camp" that is not right for you.

The cultures or genres of vegetarianism include…

-  Lacto vegetarianism - this is a nice next step from just eliminating animal meats from your diet because you add eggs and dairy to your list of things to avoid. Many people who are interested in vegetarianism for ethical reasons because of their desire not to cause suffering to animals like this approach because eating eggs and dairy encourages those industries to continue to victimize chickens and cows.

- Lacto-ovo vegetarianism is the formal name for the very basic kind of vegetarianism we started our discussion with where you can continue to enjoy diary and egg products. Most vegetarians can be comfortable with this approach because you get many of the health benefits from eliminating animal meat from your diet and you are doing something to help the animal rights cause without going extreme

- Ovo-vegetarianism is another variety of vegetarians that eliminates meat and dairy but allows you to have eggs as a staple of your diet to continue to get protein from your morning omelet. Its another compromise but a nice step to a next step if you want to move on to more restrictive diets as you get used to each step along the way

- Veganism is not a religion but it is the most restrictive form of vegetarianism because you eliminate meat, all dairy and even honey and become a pure vegetarian. For many this is too extreme or maybe a goal for the future.

your vegetarian program
If you were to attend a class on "how to become a vegetarian", the rules for being successful would be the same most of the time.

Those rules call for you to resist the urge to get radical about your diet and to start day one at the Vegan level after eating meat for most of your life.
The impact on your body can be extreme and you do not give yourself time to learn how to eat in a healthy way to replace the nutrients and vitamins in meat with natural vegetarian substitutes.

It is highly advised you take it slow and ease into your vegetarian program.


If you are too extreme, vitamin deficiencies can leave you open to disease. And if you get sick from a too aggressive approach to vegetarianism, you may give up and miss out on the many benefits the vegetarian lifestyle has for you. And that would be a tremendous tragedy.

The Good of Vegetarianism

It is clearly in pubblic knowledge that the only thing really holding you back from making the big step of becoming a vegetarian, is to come to a firm grasp of what good you will get from it.

Too often we see eating right and cutting meat from our diet as a drudgery and something we "should do" but we don’t want to. But becoming a vegetarian is a big life change and one that you should make with every intent of remaining a vegetarian for life. The only way to make that kind of life change "stick" is to have some concrete and desirable positive outcomes that you will realize from the change. If there is "something in it for you" besides being seen as a good person because you  "should" do it, you will embrace the change more enthusiastically.

vegetarian lifestyle is far less expensiveOne big advantage that a vegetarian lifestyle can bring you is that it is a lot less fuss to life as a vegetarian and it is far less expensive. It doesn’t take a very extensive trip to the grocery store to realize that even a small slab of steak or a pound of hamburger is far more expensive than a head of cabbage or a bunch of carrots.

Your food costs can plummet if  you simplify your life and eat only meatless dishes. And your food will last longer in storage.

One advantage that many new converts to vegetarianism notice but that don’t get much coverage is how much better their digestive systems will work without the heavy load that meat places on your insides.


Not only will you digest your food more easily, you will not feel that "heavy and sluggish" sensation and you will sleep better and even have better sex. That is because the negative impact of animal muscle on your intestines will disappear. You will also notice it in your lower intestines and your elimination.

In every way, the functioning of your internal mechanisms will be much smoother when you only give it meatless meals to live on.

The health benefits are probably the motivation that convinces most people to adopt a meat free diet. The simple fact is that science has proven that humans are not natural meat eaters. Yes we can live on meat but our systems are not well suited to digest the heavy food that meat represents in your digestive system.  

Many of the most chronic national health problems can be traced to meat consumption. Everything from obesity to cancer to heart disease to aging seems to be linked to the consumption of meat. Because meat is so much more difficult on our internal systems to digest, utilize and eliminate, the impact on your insides is devastating. Vegetarians do not suffer with as high an incidence of colon cancer, heart disease or obesity.  

If you look around you and your life, you rarely meet a fat vegetarian because there is just not very much in a nonfat meal to become fat. Vegetables quickly convert to energy, deliver vitamins to your systems and the remnant leave your system without difficulty so your metabolism will naturally speed up so you lose weight.

The moral, ethical and spiritual reasons for becoming a vegetarian are also well known. Many religions call for a diet of no meat and frequent fasting. A vegetarian diet gives you much greater control over your appetite so you can observe religious disciplines that call for physical denial for a short time and get all of the spiritual good from them.

Little Secrets Vegetarians Know
Did you know about these?

Most people who don’t know anything about the vegetarian lifestyle think that is must be pure drudgery being a vegetarian and giving up meat.

That is a misconception because even though meat is not a part of a vegetarian diet, it isn't about what you are going without, it is what is in your diet and in your life that makes a vegetarian lifestyle work so well. If you actually interviewed a vegetarian, the last thing they would say is that they are all about not eating meat. Instead they are about living in healthy way in a way that is at peace with the environment and with their own bodies.

The body of knowledge about vegetarians that most people don’t know is pretty astounding. Most people do understand the basic three reasons someone becomes a vegetarian which are health, animal rights and spiritual or moral reasons. But there are a number of side benefits and little secrets only vegetarians know that if they became popularized, the flood of converts to vegetarianism would be overwhelming.

Some of those little secrets include…

- Vegetarians are not depressed as much as others because they know some secrets to overcoming depression naturally.
- Vegetarians do not struggle with weight issues as much as others.  
- Vegetarians are better informed about nutrition and know how to make the most of what they eat.
- Vegetarians sleep better, are more energetic and need less sleep than meat eaters.
- Vegetarians have a much reduced incidence of cancer, heart disease and digestive disorders.
- Vegetarians live longer than meat eaters.
One secret vegetarians know that gets almost no press is the power of walnuts. There is a little known chemical in walnuts called serotonin that is a powerful antidepressant. Now you can get your doctor to prescribe an artificial anti depressant which can cost you a lot of money and put you at risk for chemical dependency. Or you can make a nice hot cup of tea with walnut as part of the mix. About half a walnut shell mixed in with your regular tea brew fills the drink with serotonin. Taken regularly, you will feel the effects of a chemical pick me up that can combat depression very effectively.

Another little secret of vegetarians runs against the normal rules of dieting to get the full value of nutrients you might expect from eating a salad. Diet theory would have you use no salad dressing or at very least a zero fat or low fat salad dressing.  Vegetarians who are more in touch with the effects of foods in their bodies know that the real value of eating salad are the natural nutrients in leafy vegetables called carotenoids. But science has shown us that the best way to pull cerotenoids from green vegetables is to use a higher fat salad dressing. So enjoy that fatty dressing because your vegetarian lifestyle will deliver plenty of weight loss value to you even with this small indulgence that can do you so much good.

Speaking of tea, green tea is often a staple of a vegetarians diet because of the little health secrets buried in this amazing drink.  Green tea has powers to help your digestive system, help combat depression and to accelerate weight loss that ancient cultures like the Chinese and India have known for centuries.

Vegetarians have caught up on this secret of health knowledge ahead of us so its time well learned from their wisdom.

These are just a few of the wisdom of the ancients that have been rediscovered by the modern vegetarian "craze".

But it really isn't a craze because once you start living a healthy life cashing in on these many benefits a vegetarian lifestyle will give you, you will never want to go back.


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But What if Your Sweetheart Loves Meat?
Good question...

In the end of this article and as you probably already know, the vegetarian culture is one that fosters a certain "snootiness" because of our insistence on pure foods.

It is also easy to get a superior attitude because vegetarian living is clearly a superior way to live from a health perspective and because so often our reasons for becoming a vegetarian is grounded in moral, ethical or religious values.

And this is all well and good as long as you are functioning within the vegetarian community exclusively.

But what if your sweetheart is a meat eater?

If the one you are dating, engaged to or even married to is not a vegetarian, that can lead to some pretty delicate moments. The last thing the vegetarian movement is about is hostility. So we have to have some guidelines on how to live in peace and harmony if your romantic partner has not joined you in your the vegetarian lifestyle.

Of course, one resolution is for your sweetheart to become a vegetarian with you. You could go with the  argument of, "well if you loved me you would give up meat." But forcing someone to join the vegetarian community out of guilt is a terrible reason to make that change of life.

Your sweetheart will just resent giving up a food he or she loves and will probably cheat and eat meat when not around you.  That kind of tension, resentment and deception is no grounds for a long term love affair.
vegetarian healthy lifestyle
A better way is to come to terms with your differences, find ways to live with them and then see if down the road, your sweetheart might convert of his own free will. The first step, as is true of any conflict in an intimate relationship, is to talk about your differences openly. Sit down and talk about where each of you is on this issue. Agree to disagree. But also agree to find compromises and not to hold the other in contempt or to mock the other for the life choices he or she has made.

By reaching a loving agreement, each of you can allow the other to be who he or she is and the romance can continue as the dietary dispute is resolved peacefully.

Together you can look for restaurants that offer both vegetarian dishes and meat dishes so each of you can get what you want.  Now you don’t have to go to a restaurant that shouts in its advertising "We Serve Vegetarians!" All a good restaurant needs is a few good menu entries that are meatless and you can find what you want while your sweetheart enjoys a meat dish. Most good restaurants offer a tempting salad offering that you can customize so any meat, bacon bits, boiled eggs or even cheese are left out. By working together to build a good list of restaurants both of you can enjoy, you have a compromise for date nights that will last a long time.

Finding ways for both of you to enjoy your diet of choice is a good long term step. But your loved one may have a misconception that vegetarian food can't taste good. So make a deal that he or she might try it one night. Then you can put your best foot forward by preparing a sumptuous vegetarian meal that nobody can resist.

how to become vegetarianBut be aware that if you do try to make such a deal, you might have to agree to let your sweetheart try to convert you back to the meat eating world with a sumptuous home made meat based meal. If that is not ok with you, don’t make the deal.

Above all, don’t mock or look upon your sweetheart's choice of diet with distain or disgust.

Don’t make the "eww" face each time your date has a hamburger or a hot dog.

Come to the point that you can live with meat eaters and not feel repulsed when others eat the foods you don’t approve of.

After all, you would not your date to make the "eww" face when you had a tofu burger or a big plate of steaming vegetables instead of meat.

So treat each other with respect and love. Over time that approach will result in the best long term love affair and maybe even see you come to a time when he or she sees the light and joins you in the joys of vegetarianism.

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