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Vegetarian Nation: The Health Benefits of a Meatless Diet

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  1. Introduction
  2. Americans
  3. Being a vegetarian
  4. Analysis
  5. Conclusion

Since the beginning of time, human beings have been preoccupied with the notion of immortality. Achilles, the Greek warrior, was dipped into the River Styx as an infant so that he might be invincible in battle. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon headed an exploratory expedition in search of a ?fountain of youth,? a spring rumored to have the ability to restore health and prevent aging. Even today women and men alike spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on products that they believe can reduce (or even reverse!) the effects of aging: vitamins, supplements, anti-aging pills. America is one of the leading nations in the research for new techniques to promote general health and longevity. However, in strong contrast, studies show that currently sixty percent of Americans are overweight. In addition, our rates of death by cancer and heart disease are sky high. Because these and other related illnesses have been linked to the consumption of meat, it is time that Americans follow suit of more health-conscious nations and realize the numerous benefits of a meatless diet.

People often react differently when confronted with the idea of a meatless or vegetarian diet. How do you get your protein? they want to know. After all, protein is essential for proper muscle growth, and meat, especially red meat, is rich in protein. Unfortunately, red meat is also ?rich? in saturated fats, the leading cause of coronary heart disease. Many Americans are unaware that there are indeed numerous protein-rich alternatives to meat: certain vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes such as pinto beans and lentils, and soy foods such as tofu and tempeh, a traditional Indonesian food. Protein can also be found in dairy products.

[...] Unfortunately, red meat is also in saturated fats, the leading cause of coronary heart disease. Many Americans are unaware that there are indeed numerous protein-rich alternatives to meat: certain vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes such as pinto beans and lentils, and soy foods such as tofu and tempeh, a traditional Indonesian food. Protein can also be found in dairy products. In fact, if you consume foods like pasta, vegetarian chili, bean burritos, stir-fries, peanut-butter sandwiches or even potato salad, you are already getting an adequate amount of protein. [...]


[...] even vegetarians get more protein than they really need? (Krizmanic 54). Consuming more than the recommended daily allowance of protein can deplete the calcium in ones bones and may be linked to health problems such as cancer and osteoporosis. People may also argue that a diet that lacks meat is also lacking in iron. While the iron found in meat is most easily absorbed, iron can also be found in a variety of plants: black beans, lentils, spinach, raisins, broccoli, and soybeans, to name a few. [...]


[...] Japanese Diet.? Nutrition News Number 85: 1998. http://members.tripod.com/~Doc_In_The_Kitchen/japan.html Howly, John. ?Health Benefits of Being a Vegetarian.? Vegetarian- Restaurants.net: 2001. http://www.vegetarian-restaurants.net/OtherInfo/HealthBenefit.htm Krizmanic, Judy. A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian. Puffin: NY Lyman, Howard. ?Voice for a Viable Future.? Earthsave International http://www.earthsave.org/lyman/chick.htm Newkirk, Ingrid. ?Eating for life.? Vegetarian Starter Kit. PETA: 2003. [...]

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