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Monday, July 4, 2011

What It Takes To Be A Vegetarian

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...Image via Wikipedia
By Owen Jones

If you choose to be a vegetarian, it is a personal commitment and just a personal commitment. No one will ever give you a rule book, a set of principles to sign up to or a set of procedures to observe. It is completely up to you what you mean by being a 'vegetarian'. There are no regulations for being a vegetarian.

There are, however, different degrees of vegetarianism but some vegetarians might well debate yet even argue that their personal point of view is right. The strictest kind of vegetarianism that you are probable to come across is the macrobiotic diet; then there are the vegans, who do not consume any animal products including fish, eggs but dairy products.

Then there is the majority of vegetarians who will consume fish, dairy and eggs but there are those who do not take fish, some who will drink milk and eat cheese but will not consume eggs and some who do. I even knew a vegetarian who allowed himself one bacon sandwich a month and turkey on Christmas Day (my father) and he thought of himself a vegetarian.

You could assume a mild form or vegetarianism at first but then gradually give up fish and dairy products later as your craving for animal protein diminishes. Or you could jump in at the deep end by going vegan and add fish back in if you find it too hard. You can do whatever your conscience permits you to do.

Let us suppose that you take the mild approach to vegetarianism for a year or two but then decide to stop eating dairy products and eggs. You have now become a lacto-vegetarian. It displays a sympathy for the animals in the dairy and egg industries. Numerous hens live in appalling battery conditions. In general, cows fare somewhat better, yet they still live an abnormal life.

Ovo-vegetarianism is the name give to the diet by which you can keep eating eggs after you have given up meat, fish but dairy products. Ovo-vegetarianism is convenient if you find it difficult to become enough protein into your diet, because you can have an egg for breakfast and become vegetarian for the remainder of the day.

Veganism is just about as strict as most people would like to go. Strict vegans do not consume any animal products including honey. Most individuals find that this is going too far and that it puts unnecessary stress on the vegetarian following it. After all, a vegan has to know what is in everything he or she eats: every dish, loaf of bread, cake, biscuit and even slushie, in case someone has used honey as a sweetener or animal fat instead or margarine.

Most vegetarians would recommend the slow but steady approach to becoming a vegetarian, because it can become difficult at first but you do not want to put yourself off before you have even given it a opportunity to benefit you. Bear in mind that lifestyle changes are always difficult, so go easy on yourself and take your transformation into a vegetarian slowly.

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