Everything works for a while and vegetarianism is no exception. Many people adopt a vegetarian lifestyle thinking that it will improve their health and longevity. It may indeed provide benefits for a period of time, but the sad reality is that if you go long enough without any animal protein in your diet, you may incur several nutritional deficiencies, and it can lead to poor health, illness, and possibly an early death.
In a paper published a few years ago in the journal Nutrition, researchers discovered that vegetarianism may increase the rate of cardiovascular disease. According to the study, "The low dietary intake of protein and sulfur amino acids by a plant-eating population leads to subclinical protein malnutrition, explaining the origin of hyperhomocysteinemia and the increased vulnerability of these vegetarian subjects to cardiovascular diseases."
Furthermore, in The Naive Vegetarian, Dr. Barry Groves examined data from archaeological and anthropological studies of bones and fossils spanning some four million years and found that as a species, we have evolved to eat a mainly carnivorous diet.
In that paper, Dr. Groves tackles many of the arguments in favor of vegetarianism, and what he has to say is quite interesting. If you or anyone you know is considering a vegetarian lifestyle, I urge you to read the complete paper. It may be a lifesaver!
The Texture Solution
I have consulted with many vegetarians over the years. Interestingly enough, quite a few have been fashion models with no moral issue toward eating meat. The major issue is often the texture of the meat. In cases like this, my suggestion is to make soups or stews using a slow cooker (Crock-Pot) to tenderize the meat.
This strategy has proven quite successful time after time. One client had the sum of 10 skinfolds drop 18% from 121.4 mm to 99.0 mm in a 4-month period by implementing this strategy. Providing the raw materials necessary to build lean tissue allowed her to shed body fat and improved her health and energy levels dramatically. By the way, once the skinfold measurements get below the 100 mm mark, you usually see well-defined abdominals.
There is a growing trend toward vegetarianism, yet the rates of obesity and disease continue to climb. Do your research before you do anything extreme with your eating habits. In the end, a vegetarian way of life may not "meat" your standards!
To your health and longevity,
John Paul Catanzaro
P.S. Check out My Top 5 Nutrition Resources to learn which dietary approach is best for you and your clients.
Posted Oct 12, 2015