the best way to lose weight, prevent disease and stay healthy.
One fad diet after another appears on the scene, and some with
a “have your bacon and eat it, too,” philosophy, but the facts
are in, and proof positive evidence says that the best way to
stay fit and healthy is the combination of a total vegetarian
diet and plenty of exercise. Why does this simple, back-to-basics
approach seem so difficult?
I believe it is a combination of two misconceptions about food.
Number one, we develop preferences for certain foods and think
only these can satisfy our taste, and two, we tend to believe
that certain foods are nutritionally essential for health. Dr.
Agatha Thrash is quoted as saying, “There are no essential foods,
only essential nutrients.” These nutrients may be obtained from
many different foods, and if open-minded and willing to develop
a palate that appreciates healthier nutritional sources, we can
significantly lower our health risks, and I believe enjoy our
food even more. When a sense of enhancing one’s health status
and contributing to the world’s conservation efforts accompanies
the partaking of delicious food, satisfaction is multiplied. The
blessing of becoming informed, exercising self-control and making
healthy food choices pays large dividends.
total vegetarian (vegan) dietary plan is said to consist of four
food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. I like to divide
the vegetable category in two, distinguishing legumes from other
vegetables since they are higher in protein and are a ready substitute
for meat and animal products, thus creating a fifth food group.
The legume category consists of beans, lentils and peas, and includes
tofu as well. Legumes are high in protein and other valuable nutrients,
and are simply overlooked by many consumers in this country though
their wonderful flavors and nutrient value are enjoyed by millions
in other cultures around the world. Simple recipes in The Total
Vegetarian Cookbook will help to reintroduce this valuable nutrient
source through simple recipes that are absolutely delicious.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians, while avoiding all flesh foods, include
eggs and dairy products in their diet. While some insist that
animal products are essential to good nutrition, too much evidence
points to the mounting risks of bacterial contamination, harmful
viruses, and antibiotic and hormone use in the production of these
products. In addition to these risks, many have discovered they
are lactose-intolerant or otherwise allergic to animal products,
and avoid them for these reasons.
Question of Vitamin B-12
It has been
well established through numerous clinical trials that greater
benefit and fewer health risks are associated with a vegan diet.
In fact, with the possible exception of vitamin B-12, all nutrients
are much more plentiful in a total vegetarian diet, especially
the powerful phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that are simply
not present in meat and animal products. Some individuals may
develop B-12 deficiencies because of poor absorption; therefore
a supplement or fortified foods are recommended for all. In countries
where supplements or fortified foods are not available, the
inclusion of small amounts of eggs and/or dairy products is recommended.
[For the purpose of discussion on this website, the term “vegan”
refers only to a total vegetarian diet and does not refer to employing
or avoiding animal products for other uses.]