5 Reasons NOT to become a vegetarian
Its your favorite veggie nurse coming with a bit of a weird concept this week… I am going to tell you why you SHOULD NOT become a vegetarian.
I have been a pescatarian for over a decade. While I do eat eggs, cheese, yogurt, and fish; my primary diet does not have any meat like beef, pork, or chicken. I am also a weird vegetarian. I don’t really have a reason for not wanting to eat meat. I didn’t do it for religious, health, or environmental reasons. My mother made the switch after her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer because of the increased hormones in farm raised beef/chicken/pork. Throughout college I would eat chicken occasionally and hamburgers, but it was never a staple. When I was in the Peace Corps, I learned the value of food throughout the world and how precious of a commodity it was— so even to this day, I do not turn down meat when someone has prepared it for me. I understand that I have grown up in a food secure community, where there was a hot meal anytime I reached for it.
This is just not the case. There are MANY children and families in the United States and around the world that will go hungry today. Who am I to turn down a meal that they have spent capital on, time making, and selflessness to share it with me? I personally am not going to say “oh I don’t eat meat”.
I love being a veggie. I love the creativity in my diet and the amount of “home grown” food I get to consume. Sure, the health benefits are plentiful; it can lower your cholesterol, give you an outlet to intake more nutrient rich due to the increase in fruits and veggies, decreasing your own exposure to added hormones found in mass produced chicken, beef, and pork. AND it is MUCH better for the environment; one cow is responsible for 110 kg of methane produced in a year— a major contributor to the global warming that is happening around us.
Being a vegetarian is a lifestyle change.
And it’s not necessarily an easy one. Here are five reasons why I want you to think twice before making the switch:
You think you will lose weight.
There is nothing healthy about the vegetarian diet if you don’t do your research and plan accordingly. A diet full of carbs, pb and jelly sandwiches, and sweets WILL not help you lose weight. In fact the few times I have tried to lose weight, it has been harder for me to find foods that would keep me full longer.
You want to save the animals.
This one is tricky, because YES by not eating meat, you are definitely helping our furry friends. A true vegan won’t even consume honey because it comes from bees. However, buying fruit and vegetables from non-organic farmers actually kills animals as well. WEIRD— I know, but during the harvest small animals like birds, mice, rabbits are killed during the harvest. While this is not the daily literal slaughter of cows/chickens/etc. there are some unfortunate bystandards when it comes to growing veggies.
You’ll reduce your carbon foot print.
Again, yes you do reduce your carbon footprint by not eating meat. Our mass farming practices in the United States leads to deforestation, huge amounts of methane being released into our atmosphere, and tons of excess hormones and antibiotics are pumped into them. BUT if you become a vegetarian and do not also work to reduce your waste, you will still have a huge carbon footprint. Air travel, driving, buying single use plastic, not composting… all of these acts also add to the global warming happening every single day. So in order to walk the walk, make sure you incorporate more acts of sustainability in your lifestyle to truly make an impact.
Your skin with be clearer and hair & nails will be healthier… aka look like Gwyneth Paltrow.
There are key nutrients (like collagen) in meat that can help make your hair grow longer, stronger, and look shiny & healthy. Collagen is impossible to find a vegetarian equivalent. There are other vitamins like folic acid that can assist in these departments, but they do not have the chemical makeup that collagen does to aid in this department.
You’ll have more energy.
With a veggie diet you are cutting out foods high in protein, iron, and calcium. These foods do exist in the vegetarian world (dark leafy greens, broccoli, etc) but again, if your diet is not balanced and planned it is easy to become malnourished and tired. all. the. time. So make sure you truly eat your fruits and veggies to balance out not getting these nutrients.
Again, I love living as a pescatarian. Normally I will eat fish once or twice a month and it is generally when we go out to eat at a restaurant that truly has no healthy vegetarian options. There are times that i can tell i do not have enough iron in my body because I find myself craving kale or a hamburger sounds really good (I’m human… and my body tells me what I need ha!) If you are going to make the switch I highly recommend doing the research, finding protein sources that can cover the body’s needs and not solely relying on carbs to fill you up, and looking into different dishes from around the world to keep it exciting all help.
Not wanting to take the plunge? Thats totally fine! I encourage you to buy meats and cheese prepared by organic farms that are local and do not practice mass farming to stay safe and happy!
However you eat is F.I.N.E. you are fueling your body and respecting its power. Do what you need to do to stay well!