Problems with vegetarianism can be overcome
Vegetarianism is now a worldwide phenomenon. What used to be a curious, slightly odd subculture has grown into a respectable movement that claims adherents in all walks of life. Vegetarians claim that by giving up eating animal products as food, they are healthier, feel morally and ethically correct, and are helping the environment. Scientific studies have supported many of these claims, while others can't be proven but have been attested to by many vegetarians. While these real and perceived pros are enough for some former meat eaters, many vegetarians feel that there are some vegetarian cons associated with their change in lifestyle. Credit: PDClipart.org
One of the first difficulties with the vegetarian lifestyle is reconciling the various claims about health and nutrition. On the one hand, it is clear that red meat and other animal foods are unhealthy in their modern form, and can be the cause of a myriad of medical problems. Animals raised for food are subjected to the use of antibiotics and feed additives that make their way into the meat that is ultimately consumed. But there has been a movement to make organically grown animal foods available, to the extent that these products are easily found in regular groceries. Then there is the nutritional aspect of eating meat - there are complete proteins and other nutritional substances that the body needs to be healthy that can only be found in meat and other animal foods. Any nutritional deficiencies that result from giving up animal foods have to be addressed if the vegetarian is to be healthy, and that takes time and effort.
Another nutritional health issue associated with vegetarianism is the overeating of carbohydrates and sugars. Those who have stopped eating meat often find themselves consuming more calories in the form of pasta, rice and other grains. In addition, the emphasis on fruits and more processed foods available in the health food section tends to ensure that the vegetarian gets more sugar in his or her diet than is nutritionally sound. Once again, the diet has to be monitored and adjusted to maintain good nutrition. Unfortunately, because of the lack of animal foods in the diet, vegetarians may feel that their options for foods have become limited. Finding out that there are even more restrictions than originally anticipated can be disheartening, but it is a problem that can be overcome.
Vegetarians also may find themselves facing limitations in social activities. Going out to eat is not the problem it used to be, as many restaurants have non-meat options on the menu. and of course in larger cities there are vegetarian dining options galore. But the person who has given up meat and animal products can find themselves the odd man out, so to speak, at backyard barbecues and parties. The best approach as a vegetarian is honesty, and the willingness to be responsible for your own food and nutrition. It may also be the case that the former meat eater is called upon to justify his or her dietary regimen. Each person will have to decide how to best do that, based on personality and the particular situation.
Are there vegetarian cons as well as pros? Converts to vegetarianismmay face many difficulties, but can at least be certain that they are following a healthy, ethical, ecologically sound lifestyle that has a long tradition behind it and a large worldwide following. By overcoming the obstacles, a vegetarian will find that life after meat is good, and a good choice.