Is a vegetarian diet healthy or not is a question many want a clear cut answer to, however, since there are so many variables in our individual lifestyles there is no cut and dry answer. For example, a person could eat a healthy vegetarian diet, but still smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol rather heavily. What good is a healthy vegetarian diet going to do them? Not much I'm afraid. You must do more than eat healthy, whether you're a vegetarian or not to be healthy and stay that way.
I have been a vegetarian for nearly 40 years, so I know what I am talking about when it comes to being a vegetarian. It was easy for me to give up meat since I hated it. There was no problem giving it up and I have never regretted the decision. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made as far as health and fitness goes. In the early years, I wasn't as healthy as I could have been due to living an unhealthy lifestyle of partying, drinking and so forth.
As you may know there are several varieties of vegetarians. There is the vegan vegetarian diet, which is quite strict and includes only plant based foods. Then, there is the lacto-vegetarian diet that consists of plants and dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter etc, but avoid eggs. Next, is the ovo-vegetarians who eat eggs, but avoid dairy. Neither one of these two eat poultry, fish or meat.
To add to this, is the lacto-ovo- vegetarian that eats plants, eggs and dairy, but no meat, fish or poultry. I have been all of these at one time or another going back and forth, especially in the early years. Finally, I decided that it would be healthier for me to eat plants, eggs, dairy and even added fish every now and then for the extra protein, but never meat or poultry.
In order for a vegetarian diet to be effective there must be a healthy lifestyle in place. I also believe in vegetarian vitamin supplementsor vitamins if you will. Depending on what you eat, only you can decide what those vitamins or supplements should consist of. I recommend a visit to a health food store that has a vegetarian nutritionist on staff, which I did early on. I also took it upon myself to do extensive research on vitamins, nutrition and diet. You can do this online nowadays; I went to the library back in the 70's to do mine. Trust me; the time spent is well worth it.
A healthy lifestyle doesn't just mean you eat right and exercise there is more to it than that. It means balance in all areas of your life. This includes balance in work, stress, sleep, family and relationships. All it takes is to be out of balance in one area to destroy the progress made in the others. If you have been around a while you know exactly what I am saying. For all you young ones who have not had much life experience you will just need to trust me.
Eating a vegetarian diet has helped to keep me healthy for many years. I am the oldest child in the family and the healthiest. I believe that eating a vegetarian diet, as well as eating in moderation, is the main reason I am the healthiest. There is no going back for me. I have experienced years of healthy benefits from being a vegetarian and don't think I've missed out on anything.
What about the kids? Should you make them be vegetarians too? I don't think so. It isn't easy to keep cooking meat for them, but they should have a choice. What if they are too young to choose? Well, you have to choose for them. I chose to keep buying and cooking meat for my daughter and hated it, but she wanted it, so I provided it. She never did become a vegetarian by the way and that's okay and as it should be. We shouldn't be the meat police!
If you do decide to eat a vegetarian diet it's a good idea to go into it slow and easy, especially if you like meat or maybe even love it. A toxic cleanse sometimes referred to as detoxification can help to rid the body of toxins that are in meat and junk foods to prepare the body for a vegetarian diet. However, I strongly recommend you do some research on this before you do it.
Keep in mind that a vegetarian diet healthy or not is up to you. It is not simply a matter of what you eat, but how you live your life while you eat it.