Though there are, more and more people choosing a vegetarian lifestyle at the Catskills Bed and Breakfast and Spa the very concept of what it means to be a vegetarian is still greatly misunderstood.
The purpose of this article is to clarify some definitions, debunk a few myths and make a few useful suggestions related to vegetarianism.
Vegetarianism and veganism has been the subject if much media attention recently especially with many public figures and celebrities like Bill Clinton and Paul McCartney choosing that life style.
Essentially vegetarianism is the practice of not eating meat, fish or poultry.
Science has known for years that a person can live a healthy life subsisting on vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and grains. Some vegetarians eat or drink milk products this is called a lacto-vegetarian diet. Others, known as lacto-ovo vegetarians consume eggs and egg based products. Vegans abstain from any foods obtained from animals including by-products like honey..
There are many reasons for becoming a vegetarian including health, economics, environmentalism and compassion for living creatures and family health including the health of developing children. What is known without a doubt is that land used to produce animal protein is less economical than using that land to produce vegetable protein.
There are many different types of nutrients but there are six specific groups the deficiency of which over an extended period of time will lead to sickness and then death. All of these nutrients can be obtained through a diet free of meat, fish, poultry, eggs and even milk products
The six essential nutrients are:
1. Protein, 2. Fats, 3. Carbohydrates, 4. Vitamins, 5. Minerals, 6. Water
A healthy mind and body must have these nutrients in order to function and numerous studies have shown that the right combination of these essential nutrients found in plant based foods can prevent, reduce and even successfully eliminate many health problems.
Let’s talk about protein. This is a concern for many people who would like to become vegetarians but have heard false ideas concerning a vegetarian diet and protein intake
Protein is the nutrient essential for building healthy tissue. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and thus are found in all protein foods. When it comes to healing nutritionally based emotional imbalances there is no one absolute approach.
The typical American diet is rich in beef, chicken, whole milk products and eggs. All of these have plenty of protein, but they may also be laden with pesticides, hormones, saturated fats and various body-polluting substances. These are just the things we are trying to eliminate from the system since they may contribute to various food sensitivities and other health problems. One of the best ways to obtain high quality protein without the body-polluting factors, and the food sensitivity factor is to eat combinations of whole grains and beans especially gluten free grains such as oats, and spelt as well as fermented dairy products like yogurt, kefir and buttermilk and even something as simple as a cheese sandwich.
Generally speaking, it is best to eat approximately 50 to 80 grams of protein per day. In place of all that red meat and animal protein, we now know that combinations of various vegetarian foods are a much healthier choice.
I have also been reading a lot about how certain nutritionists have told their clients that a vegetarian diet is “not right” for them. With all due respect to all the theories about blood type; high protein, or a belief that they need animal protein this is the bottom line – You need a certain amount of the essential nutrients daily. These are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. The lacto vegetarian diet supplies all of these nutrients. This is pure science. A vegan can do well also but generally needs to take a Vitamins B12 supplement.
If a person wishes to eat flesh foods they should do so but without a doubt a vegetarian diet is the most healthy economically viable and the best for the planet. If they just must have that hot dog or salami sandwich be assured that there are many products available that look like, taste like and have the aroma of the best sausage and “lunch meat” but are made from non-animals sources.
Here is a high protein recipe for Lima Bean Humus. Humus recipes usually use chickpeas (garbanzo bean). Here is a new take on an old favorite:
This recipe makes 2 cups
12 oz Lima Beas
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon cumin powder
Black and white pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of herbal Vegit – Low sodium salt replacement
1 teaspoon cilantro leaves
1. Boil lima beans till soft. Place the beans and garlic into a blender or food processor. Pour in olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice; add basil, cilantro, Vegit Low sodium seasoning or other spices.
My final thought on vegetarianism is that it is best to do is start slowly, cutting back on your intake of animal proteins and explore this healthier lifestyle.
Lewis Harrison, is 6’1” tall, weigh 225 pounds, and has been a lacto-vegetarian since 1971.
He is the host of an NPR Affilated talk Show and is the owner of the Harrison Center Spa at the Catskills Bed and Breakfast – http://www.TheCatskillsBedand Breakfast.com
Feel free to e-mail him at Lewisheals@gmail.com