Saturday, June 17, 2006

Are Vegetarian diets safe for your infant?

If, for dietary or ethical reasons, you have decided
that you want to put your infant on a vegetarian diet,
you should be very careful in choosing formulas and solid
food for your child.

If you plan to breastfeed the infant and you
are also a vegetarian, you may need to supplement
breastmilk with additional sources of nutrition, depending
on your dietary restrictions. If you are a vegan, or an
ovo-vegetarian, you should add sources of vitamin B-12 to
your child’s diet.

Other than the B-12 supplements, your infant should be
able to receive all micro and macronutrients through
breastfeeding, even if you are on a strictly vegan
diet.

If you plan to use formula rather than breastmilk, you
should stick to commercial formulas, which contain the
proper amounts and ratios of nutrients. If you opt for
a homemade formula or soymilk over a commercial product,
your child could experience developmental problems from
a lack of proper nutrition.

If you want to keep your infant on a vegan diet, you can
select a soy commercial formula, as long as it is
nutritionally-adequate.

After about a year, you can begin to supplement formula
or breastmilk with other sources of nutrition, such as
homemade formulas, soymilk, yogurt, and cow’s milk (if you
are not a vegan).

Nutritionists suggest that you keep your infant on a
full-fat, high protein diet after age one, which includes
vegetarian-friendly foods, such as mashed and pureed
avocados, soy milk, nutrient-fortified tofu, and yogurt.

When you are ready to switch your infant to solid
vegetarian foods, you can introduce solid tofu, pieces of
vegetarian burgers, eggs, and cheese.

If you supplement what a nonvegetarian diet lacks, maintain
a full-fat diet, and increase your infant’s sources of
protein, you should have no problem maintaining a healthful
vegetarian diet during your child’s crucial developmental
stages.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Different Types of Vegetarians

If you recently started reading about vegetarian
diets, you have probably read all sorts of
strange vegetarian terms and categories like "vegan,"
"ovo-lacto vegetarian," and "semi-vegetarian."
You probably wondered what the big deal was.
Afterall, what is so conceptually tough about not
eating meat?

The distinctions between these sub-categories of
vegetarian are actually small, but each is very important
to members who belong to the groups. For them, these
distinctions aren’t arbitrary lines; they are important
dietary or ethical decisions.

Let’s take a look at some of these groups:

VEGETARIAN:

Vegetarian is a blanket term used to describe a person
who does not consume meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.
This grouping includes vegans and the various sub-
categories of vegetarian; however, it generally implies
someone who has less dietary restrictions than a vegan.

SEMI-VEGETARIAN:

The term semi-vegetarian is usually used to describe
someone who is not actually a vegetarian. Semi-vegetarian
generally implies someone who only eats meat occasionally
or doesn’t eat meat, but eats poultry and fish.

OVO-LACTO-VEGETARIAN:

Ovo-lacto vegetarians are vegetarians who do not consume
meat, poultry, fish, and seafood, but do consume eggs and
milk. This is the largest group of vegetarians.

OVO-VEGETARIAN:

Ovo-vegetarian is a term used to describe someone who
would be a vegan if they did not consume eggs.

LACTO-VEGETARIAN:

Lacto-vegetarian is a term used to describe someone
who would be a vegan if they did not consume milk.

VEGAN:

Vegan is the strictest sub-category of vegetarians.
Vegans do not consume any animal products or byproducts.
Some even go as far as not consuming honey and yeast.
Others do not wear any clothing made from animal
products.

Take some time to figure out what group you will belong
to when you become a vegetarian. You will want to consider
both dietary and ethical reasons for choosing this
lifestyle.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ethics and Vegetarians

Many non-vegetarians and some vegetarians alike question
whether being a vegetarian really makes any difference
at all. Some bring up blurry ethical situations to make it
impossible to see a vegetarian lifestyle as ethical.

If you are a prospective vegetarian for ethical reasons,
but you aren't sure whether or not a vegetarian lifestyle is
really a more ethical choice, here are a few statistics
from EarthSave to help you make your choice (for
or against):

1. Over 1.3 billion human beings could be fed each year
from the grain and soybeans that go to livestock in the
United States.

This means that the entire population of the United States
could be fed (without losing any nutritional value) and there
would still be enough food left over to feed one billion
people.

In a world where millions of people die each year of
starvation, that type of food excess and inefficiency
could be considered unethical.

2. Livestock in the US produces roughly 30 times more
excrement than human beings. While humans in the US have
complex sewage systems to collect and treat human waste,
there are no such systems on feedlots. As a result, most
of this waste leeches into water.

This means that large-scale, massive production and
slaughter of animals is not only unethical, but it also
causes serious environmental degradation.

3. It takes 7.5 pounds of protein feed to create 1 pound of
consumable hog protein; and it takes 5 pounds of protein
feed to create 1 pound of consumable chicken protein. Close
to 90% of protein from wheat and beans is lost to feed
cycling.

This means that a huge amount of resources are
dedicated to producing wheat and soy just for the purpose
of feeding it to animals, which will be slaughtered as "a
source of protein"--even though they only provide about
1/5 of the amount they consume.

Not only can the production of meat be considered an
injustice against animals, but it can also be considered an
injustice against human beings, as well as the environment
in general.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The advantages of eating a vegetarian diet

A lot of people lament the nutritional disadvantages
of a poorly planned vegetarian diet, but few stress the
health advantages of adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet.
There are three major nutritional
advantages of becoming a vegetarian or vegan.

(1) The first major advantage of a vegetarian diet is
increased heart health. Vegetarians, on average, consume
more nuts (often as a supplemental form of protein). Nuts
contain "good" fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6. This
promotes good heart health by reducing "bad" cholesterol
and unclogging arteries.

As well as nuts, vegetarians also consume more soy
milk (often to replace milk), which reduces "bad"
cholesterol and has been linked to good heart health.

(2) The second major advantage to eating a vegetarian diet is increased
skin health. In addition to consuming larger quantities
of nuts (which contain healthful oils), vegetarians tend
to consume more fruit and vegetables, which are rich in
essential vitamins, including A and E, which are linked
to good skin health.

Fruits and vegetables also contain high amounts of fiber,
which helps to flush out toxins from the body, further
contributing to better skin health.

(3) The third health advantage enjoyed by vegetarians is an increased
natural consumption of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are foods that help prevent cancer by
destroying free radicals. Vitamin C and Vitamin E, two
strong antioxidants, are commonly found in vegetarian
meals.

Vitamin C can be found in berries, tomatoes, citrus fruit,
kale, kiwis, asparagus and peppers.

Vitamin E can be found in wheat germ, seed oils, walnuts,
almonds, and brown rice--all foods that are commonly a
part of a well-balanced vegetarian diet.

So what does this all mean for you as a prospective
vegetarian?

It means the popular mythology about vegetarian diets
is false. Not only can a vegetarian diet be nutritionally
sufficient, but it can also affect better skin
health, prevent cancer, and increase your
heart health.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Why should I become a Vegetarian?

Many non-vegetarians wonder what drives vegetarians to give
up meat and adopt a completely different lifestyle.
There is no single answer to this question. Non-vegetarians
become vegetarians for lots of different reasons - some
even for multiple reasons.

Most vegetarians claim that they became a vegetarian for
one of three reasons.

(1) The first reason, which most vegetarians claim, is that
they have ethical problems with eating meat. Most don't agree
with how chickens are debeaked, forced to live in small
cages, and are then slaughtered when they do not produce
eggs fast enough.

Most vegetarians also disagree with the crowded and
stressful environments animals are forced into; and
the hormone-laden feed used to make them grow faster
and produce more.

People who become vegetarians for this purpose often
draw ethical boundaries in different spots, depending on
their personal beliefs. For instance, some staunch vegans
wont consume yeast, wear wool, or even eat certain
vegetables, such as carrots, that require killing the
plant to harvest.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some vegetarians--
sometimes referred to as pseudo-vegetarians--will actually
eat fish and chicken on a regular basis.

(2) The second biggest reason vegetarians claim for not eating
meat is that it conflicts with their dietary preferences.
Some of these vegetarians simply do not like the texture
and taste of meat; others do not eat it because it is high
in cholesterol and often contains high concentrations
of hormones and preservatives.

(3) The third and smallest group of vegetarians cite
environmental reasons for not consuming meat. They complain
that consumption of meat causes farmers to continually
deforest land to create grazing land for cattle.

In addition to these three major groups, there are a number
of other smaller groups of vegetarians who stopped eating
meat for entirely different reasons.

Welcome to Suzy's Veggie Blog

Hello fellow Veggies or Wanna be veggies!

My name's Suzy and I've been a vegetarian now for over twenty years. I'm putting together this blog to share with you some of my favourite vegetarian recipes as well as tell you a bit about why I am vegetarian and give you some tips if you are a new vegetarians or are considering becoming a veggie!

Drop by and visit again to find out about everything vegetarian.

See you soon :-)
Suzy