The term,”vegetarian food”, refers to food that such as vegetables, fruits, grains and cereals, milk and milk products. This is in contrast to, “non – vegetarian” food which includes meat and animal products.
There are many advantages of vegetarian food over non vegetarian food. Considering these advantages, many ancient sects and religions linked, “vegetarianism” to religion and prohibited consumption of meat.
Today, people all over the world are realizing the health hazards of meat products. Many celebrities have become pure vegetarians. Salad bars have become in vogue in the West.
Vegetarian food has high fiber content and is easily digested. It is more suitable for man’s alimentary system. Green vegetables and fruits like papaya provide plenty of fiber and stimulate digestion.
One taking them regularly will never suffer from constipation and its related problems. In medieval times when food taken was mostly meat in cold countries, most of the people suffered from constipation.
So much so that it was considered fashionable among the French nobility to take laxatives regularly and discuss this at social events.
All the necessary nutrients can be obtained easily from a vegetarian diet. Green leafy vegetables provide fiber, iron and vitamins, particularly Vitamin A.
Carrots are rich in Vitamin A. Pumpkin is a very good source of iron. Citrus fruits provide fiber and vitamin C. Guavas are very rich source of vitamin C.
Passion fruit is rich in iron. Bananas are considered as whole food for children. They supply not only calories but also other nutrients.
Grains like wheat supply vitamin B complex and fiber. Beans have plenty of protein; in fact Soya bean has as much protein as meat.
The list is endless. Volumes can be written one this subject if one elaborates the nutritional value of various natural food items.
Meat and meat products on the other hand have a high cholesterol and lipid content, which is bad for the heart. Some vegetarians do eat eggs and consider it as non vegetarian.
Eggs though high in protein, also have high cholesterol content. It is therefore advisable to avoid eggs or eat them sparingly.
Other meat products, except fish are also very high in cholesterol and lipids. These may contribute to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Gout, a painful condition of joints, is seen more in meat eaters, particularly those taking red meat. Eating more meat puts more strain on the urinary system and is a risk factor for kidney stones.
Milk is labeled by some people as, “non veg”, because it is an animal product. But I would like to clarify that milk is provided by nature to sustain all living beings in their growing years.
When the human mother weans the child from breast milk, it is the milk of cows, goats or buffaloes that helps the child to sustain and grow.
No animal has to be killed for that purpose. Therefore milk is by all means a vegetarian food. It is well known that milk and milk products are rich in proteins and calcium.
Curds are very useful for digestion. Not only for the nutrition, but from a hygiene point of view also, vegetable products are superior.
Raw or undercooked meat can lead to many dangerous diseases like toxoplasmosis, tapeworm infestation, neurocysticercosis (tapeworm infestation of brain) and botulinism. Also if the meat of some sick animal is consumed, it can make one sick.
I have come across arguments that meat is necessary to provide energy. One has to look out and see nature. Heavy but energetic animals like elephants and hippos are pure vegetarians.
Lean and swift animals like giraffes and horses do not eat meat or meat products. If while eating meat, a person thinks of the ingredients he is eating, he will think of flesh, blood and bone, which is not a very pleasant idea for food.
While this consideration can ever arise with vegetarian food.
It is not necessary to stop taking meat altogether. But for achieving good health and maintaining it, it is advisable to reduce the intake of meat and meat products and supplement it with vegetables and other vegetarian products.