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Question:
What are the negative effects in humans of only eating plant products?



Replies:
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.

Stacie


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.

Wordsworth



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