Becoming A Vegetarian – The First Step (Part 2)
As was discussed in Part 1 the first step in becoming a vegetarian is to compile all the data available on the advantages and disadvantages of the subject and then make a decision based on your findings. Remember also to consider the source of the information as that plays an important role in determining what part of the information is useful and what part is not. Of course the completion of Step 1 is to actually act on your decision whether positively or negatively.
In regards to the decision to become a vegetarian this writer believes that if all of the evidence is weighed in the balances the only reasonable choice remaining would be to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. As I have written in previous articles, and as many before me have shown far more ably than I ever could, your choice for vegetarianism is a choice for better physical health, and also will greatly benefit our environment, as well as the animals that share our planet.
Be Wary of Myths
When you have decided to make a healthy change in your life however, there is a danger that you might be inclined to embrace any perceived good news concerning your former bad habits. If you have done any research at all (unless your data comes exclusively from the meat and dairy industry) you know that the old tired myth that vegetarians do not get adequate protein has been shown to be fallacious. The same is true for the myth about cows milk being the best source for calcium. This is just not so and the evidence is clear. Again it won\’t be as clear if you use sources connected with the meat and dairy industry as your guide, but then they no doubt have some ulterior motives for their madness.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
There is a concern however that you should be aware of when changing your diet and adopting a vegetarian lifestyle. This is the issue of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Although this deficiency is extremely rare it nevertheless has been over exaggerated whenever the case for a strict vegetarian diet is discussed. It is actually the last attack that could possibly be waged against a meatless diet and although it is not nearly as serious a concern as those who champion an animal-based diet would have you believe, it still merits consideration. Since every other attack on a purely vegetarian lifestyle has been shown to be lacking true evidence, this last attack will surely be blown way out of proportion.
The truth is that Vitamin B12 is essential for the process of cell division and the formation of blood. Although Vitamin B12 is found in animal food products it is not actually synthesized by plants or animals. Bacteria is the agent necessary to make this vitamin. It is true that a strict plant-based diet might fail to provide adequate amounts of Vitamin B12 but it is also true that this deficiency is very, very rare. In his excellent report (McDougall Report, Vol.6, No.11) Dr. McDougall says that the chances are about 1 in a million. You should really read the entirety of this report. You can go to the McDougall Newsletter Archives and click on the Nov. 2007 issue to read this wonderfully informative letter.
All the pulpit pounding surrounding this deficiency notwithstanding, it really becomes a non issue when you take a supplement that supplies about 5 micrograms of Vitamin B12 daily. This is more than an adequate amount according to Dr. McDougall. Personally I am a vitamin freak and have had a long affair with the Multi Vitamin, ‘Centrum’. This multi-mineral supplement has been providing me with the recommended 5 micrograms of Vitamin B12 long before I knew it was necessary. So I have actually never had a B12 issue and never will. As a matter of fact even if you have been a vegetarian for a long time and have never taken a B12 supplement you are really very likely not at any huge risk. But why not supplement this possible deficiency anyway? It is as simple as taking a good multi vitamin.
In conclusion I hope you will really consider the benefits of a strictly vegetarian lifestyle and sift through all the evidence. I think when you are really informed, the choice will be clear. The only actual reason to continue eating meat after you have done your research is because it tastes good. If in your estimation ‘tasting good’ is a good reason to continue eating meat in spite of the evidence, then there is not much anyone could say. If that is your choice than you will certainly have to live with your decision and very likely die with it. But please be assured there is a healthier, environmental and animal friendly alternative.
About the Author
I am passionate about health issues, and the state of the health of our wonderful America. I believe the American Diet is literally killing us and I believe that lobby money is the reason that we have been brainwashed into the shift from a plant based diet to an animal based diet. The result has been an unprecedented increase in heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancers of all varieties. I believe Americans are suffering from a lack of truthful information concerning our diets. I enjoy writing articles that will help to correct the problem regarding this lack of information and also examine the prevailing misinformation in the light of truth.
Healthy Vegetarian Choices For Life
Dedicated to the advancement of informed choices that will benefit our health, our environment, and our animal friends.
Please visit my website at http://www.ourhealthforlife.com and feel free to leave a comment.