Term Paper on Vegetarianism

This essay has a total of 2017 words and 10 pages.


To most people vegetarianism means the refraining of meat, primarily red meat, from
personal consumption. Although the traditional vegetarian abstinence of red meat has grown
into a group of varied lifestyles, little is known about them. To some people vegetarians
are considered to be a drop out of the hippy era, or are labelled as "weird" or "feral".
Because of the misinterpretations surrounding vegetarianism in society I am going to
outline the various diets which are recognized as vegetarianism. I hope by writing this I
can change some attitudes and misunderstandings, of the motivations behind the vegetarian

Plain vegetarianism; the first and most recognized is the general abstinence of red meat,
some vegetarians see the consumption of white meats as acceptable, white meat includes
fish, poultry and maybe even pork. They also consume dairy produce, eggs and any other
form of animal produce used in their everyday lives. Vegetarians replace the red meat in
their diets with vegetables, fruit and other vegetarian alternatives, these are usually
processed foods made from either soya or gluten, there are also vegetarian burgers, which
are made from formed vegetables.

One of the variations of the red meat vegetarian, which closely follows the above
description, is the ovo-lacto vegetarianism diet, which finds diary produce and eggs
acceptable but no meat at all. Not even white meat, some ovo-lacto vegetarians consider
fish to be acceptable, this is because categorically speaking fish is not considered meat,
it is still flesh, and in my opinion constitutes as meat. Another recognized version of
vegetarianism is the lacto vegetarian kind. These vegetarians consider meat; red and
white, to be unacceptable, they also abstain from eggs. Dairy products are also a part of
the lacto vegetarian lifestyle, the lack of animal eggs in the diet of these vegetarians
is made up in the form of egg replaces and even meat alternatives like tofu can be used to
simulate some egg dishes.

Another path taken by vegetarians is the, pure vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Which
includes the abstinence of meat of all kinds, dairy produce, eggs, and all edible animal
produce. To some vegans the diet exceeds the boundaries of food and takes on a full-scale
animal product boycott. This comes in the abstinence of leather, fur, wool, silk and any
other animal product. Your probably thinking that doesn't leave a whole lot of choices as
far as food is concerned. Well there is actually a growing market for vegan foods in super
markets, as the benefits of soya and gluten become more recognized. From soy milk to vegan
sausage rolls to vegan pizza made with vegan cheese, its all there; and it all tastes,
smells and looks just like the original, yet these alternatives are free of cholesterol
and any animal products.

The most disciplined vegetarian choice is the whole food vegetarian, which is based on the
vegan diet, but which takes it to the extreme of abstaining from all highly processed
foods: i.e. white bread, white sugar, white rice etc. They rely almost solely on nutrients
from whole foods; fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, wholemeal and wholegrain foods,
soy produce and sometimes gluten based foods, such as vegan burgers. Some vegans tend to
lean towards this diet, but usually still use some foods which include processed flours or
sugars. Although for health reasons it is always good to make use of wholemeal or
wholegrain alternatives rather then more processed types of food. Most people don't
actually base their entire diet around it due to the high discipline required.

Of course these are just a handful of recognized vegetarian diets, there are no strict
guidelines for being a vegetarian. The discipline involved in the diet is really up to the
person, there are many motivations for vegetarianism, everyone finds their own, and
depending on your personal reasons the extent of your diet will be reflected. Some people
may take price into consideration, a vegan diet can tend to be expensive at times, and it
mainly depends on the availability of products in your area. But here are some of the
easiest to come by in any area, more so because of lactose intolerance then vegetarianism,
but they serve the same purpose, in most cases.

· Whole foods - Fresh vegetables and fruits, are essential to any diet, especially a
vegetarian diet, unless you want to take loads of vitamin supplements for the rest of your
vegetarian life (not recommended)

· Vitamins - Depending on how far you decide to take your vegetarianism, you will need vitamins.
· Tofu - A preferred and cheap food for vegetarians, which is a soy bean curd, available
in an unflavoured block it also comes seasoned, smoked, stuffed with vegetable chunks,
deep fried, in both soft and firm textures, tofu also comes in flavoured deserts. Usually
Tofu comes in a white almost colourless texture and is kept wet for preservation in an
airtight plastic bag. It is cheap and easy to cook and use, tofu is on its own almost
tasteless and takes on a taste of whatever its cooked with well.

· Soy Milk - An alternative made from the soya bean, it almost tastes just as dairy milk
does, the only difference is a nutty, creamier taste. It is also slightly higher in fat
then dairy milk, but it contains no cholesterol, but if you are concerned about your
weight, consider low fat soy milk. Another factor to keep in mind is the fortification of
the milk, be sure to get milk which is fortified with at least calcium, you can usually
find soy milk which is fortified in calcium and at least vitamins A and B1

· TVP; Textured Vegetable Protein - This is a vegan safe alternative to mince meat, and
it can be used in many different ways, in vegetarian pasta sauce it makes a big
difference. It comes in a de-hydrated form and is mixed with hot water to create the
desired effect of mince, although it doesn't carry the taste of blood that you find in
normal mince. TVP can sometimes be found in refined styles which are especially used for
sausage rolls, chicken nuggets etc.

· Gluten Meat Alternatives - These come in various mock products and foods, some of the
best known are the hot dog alternatives, there are also burgers, sausages, various stir
fry "meats" and a large amount of meat slices, which are seasoned etc. A lot of gluten
meat alternatives are only suitable for ovo-vegetarians, or vegetarians that eat eggs.

One of the biggest motivations for a vegetarian change to a meat eater's diet is the
health implication. Vegetarian diets are amongst the healthiest that you can ever choose
to undertake, by avoiding meat you are reducing your risk of several health problems which
may occur in both the early stages of life and the later. One of the most important health
factors of a vegetarian diet is the lowered amount of cholesterol intake, you will lower
your cholesterol levels greatly by a vegetarian diet, and a vegan diet will stop your
intake 100 percent. This is because cholesterol is only found in animal products, intern
this makes the risks of heart disease much lower for vegetarians.

A large number of studies, dating back to the early 1920's, show that vegetarians have
lower blood pressure then non-vegetarians. In fact some studies have shown that adding
meat to a vegetarian diet raises blood pressure levels rapidly and significantly. The
effect of a vegetarian diet occurs in addition to the benefits of reducing the sodium
content of the diet. When patients with high blood pressure begin a vegetarian diet, many
are able to eliminate their need for medication.

One of the essential things to consider when undertaking any dietary abstention is to
consider vitamin supplements. For general vegetarian diets, you will need some vitamin B12
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