Name: H Teacher
What are the negative effects in humans of only eating plant
If you are excluding dairy from your meals, I understand that it may be
difficult to get the right mix of essential fatty acids and amino acids
and that it is difficult to get enough calcium. However, many people are
strict vegetarians and although it is takes some planning to get the right
kinds and amounts of nutrients when ALL animal products are left out of
the diet, it is not impossible. The problems occur when the vegetarian in
question does not take care to get the right nutrients, because it is more
difficult then when animal products are used.
Aha!! (I'm back from a long vacation, and have to drag out my soapbox)
There are vegetarians and there are vegetarians, I say... in other words,
they come in two flavors: the dumb vegetarian and the smart vegetarian.
WARNING: PERSONAL ANECDOTE
I knew someone once who decided to become a vegetarian. Knowing next to
nothing about proper nutrition, this person decided that she would become
a vegetarian, for health as well as acquired moral reasons. So she
figured the local salad bar would do her just fine, and lived on a diet
of plain lettuce and tomatoes, with a little vinaigrette dressing on top
to make it a little more interesting. It didn't last long - she collapsed
in the middle of a high school history lesson on the Yom Kippur War.
Not realizing that certain nutrients (quite a few, really..) are missing
from lettuce and tomatoes, she began suffering from the obvious
consequences of malnutrition.
Okay, the SMART vegetarian has read up on all the literature regarding
this life choice, and has learned that in order to maintain a healthy
balance of nutrients, carbohydrates and ions in the body, a wide variety
of foods are needed. Protein is not impossible to come by in the
vegetable world, but must be procured in adequate amounts of the right
kind of protein -- what are known as complete proteins. Beans and legumes
contain certain portions of a complete protein, while rice contains
another. Together, they provide the necessary protein in a balanced diet.
A wide selection of fruits and vegetables, as well as fungal foods
(don't forget the lowly mushroom, or the yeast that rises your bread).
And if you aren't totally Vegan (and go for milk) don't forget that
calcium, amino acids (like tryptophan, for one), fats, and A COMPLETE
PROTEIN are ingredients which go into milk.
Now, how about servings? I have found, in my own personal and
un-scientific research on this very subject, that many vegetarians appear
thin and rather pale, almost to an unhealthy degree. Why? One of two
reasons: either they are the dumb variety of vegetarian, or they are the
smart variety, but aren't eating enough -- vegetable matter may contain
the right ingredients for a healthy diet, but they may also not contain
them in as large quantities as meat does, and consequently, you will
require more in order to get enough of what you need. My friend Jeff is
an excellent example -- he is a vegetarian who drinks milk, and when he
eats, watch out!! He might suck the tablecloth in with the rest of his
plate. He knows he needs a certain amount of protein and other major
nutrients, and the only way he can get it with his diet is to eat a large
volume of the stuff every day. And he looks and feels great!!
Hope this answered your question.
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Update: June 2012