It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits, including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals.
Studies show iron intake by vegetarians is higher than that of nonvegetarians (American Dietetic Association, 2003).
Sources of iron are dried fruits, baked potatoes, mushrooms, cashews, dried beans, spinach, chard, tofu, tempeh, bulgur, and iron-fortified foods (such as cereals, instant oatmeal, and veggie "meats") are all good sources of iron (Vegetarianism in a nutshell. 2003).
To increase the amount of iron absorbed at a meal, eat a food containing vitamin C, such as citrus fruit or juices, tomatoes, or broccoli. Using iron cookware also adds to iron intake.
A vegetarian diet is the most energy efficient… it takes far less energy — from the fossil fuels used to fertilize and harvest crops, to the energy required to process feed for livestock, to the gas used to transport food to the grocery store — to feed vegans and vegetarians than meat eaters.
Eating more fish and less red meat, a shift that many consumers make for health reasons, doesn't necessarily help reduce energy consumption. Eating tuna, swordfish, shark, and other deep-ocean fish requires labor-intensive harvesting and long-distance transport, making the seafood highly energy inefficient.
Producing livestock, not automobiles, is the main cause of global warming. In 2002, seventeen percent of all fossil fuels were devoted to food production (Wolfson, 2007).
“ If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads.” (Meat)
“ The average animal-based diet in the United States...generates about 1.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide more per person per year more than a plant-based diet yielding the same amount of calories…roughly the emissions difference between driving a gas-guzzling SUV and a compact car” (Nierenberg, 2006).
Meat production emits gases into our atmosphere destroying our planet and it also contaminates the water through animal waste.
Topsoil erosion, overgrazing and deforestation in South American countries (clearing forests to allow for grazing and grain production) are other environmental problems involved with livestock production.
Meat production uses fifty percent of all the water consumed in the United States for any purpose.
When one pound of steak sizzles on the grill it has already consumed 2,500 gallons of water
Livestock consumes half of the U.S. agricultural yield.
Beef gives back only 10 pounds of edible protein for every 100 pounds of protein consumed and only four calories for every 100 calories consumed by the animal.
The return on livestock was sufficient when cattle were allowed to graze on grass pastures, turning plants that were not edible by humans into useful protein. Now cattle are given high-quality protein such as grains and soy.
Animals are waste factories, turning out 90 percent waste and10 percent edible protein.
In 1872 Charles Darwin’s work, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, concluded that animals are capable of feeling emotions. Current thinking in the scientific community supports Darwin’s theory to some extent (Wilhelm, 2006, p. 29).
Avoiding eating animals is a moral and ethical decision based on the sanctity of all life and accepting the responsibility to be stewards of the environment. This responsibility extends to the animals who share the earth with us.
A vegetarian saves the lives of approximately 100 animals annually (Meat) and saves them from suffering the inhumane treatment of being cruelly treated and slaughtered.
Human beings do not need meat to survive and can thrive on a vegetarian diet. Consequently, there is no need to indulge in slaughtering animals.
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