Why would anyone want to be vegetarian?
It’s not an unreasonable question, particularly if you’ve soaked up even some of the advertising out there that portrays meat as something vitally delicious.
Indeed, vegetarians get lumped into this category of people who are missing out on all the fun. But is that really true? Well, it depends on your definition of fun. Do you see fun as living a long and healthy life? Do you see it as having a positive impact on the world around you?
If so, a vegetarian diet just might be the way to go.
Let’s dive into the specifics.
8 Things That Happen When You Become Vegetarian
#1 – You Protect The Environment
According to Smithsonian researchers, seven football fields’ worth of wildlife is razed every single minute to create room for billions of farmed animals. With all those animals comes a ton of waste – much of which winds up in waterways, along with all the antibiotic drugs we give farm animals.
Because of this, as well as over-fishing, experts say our oceans may be devoid of fish by 2048. This will have a tremendous impact on marine life and the many ecosystems that depend on fish.
And all because we love our steaks. Tsk, tsk.
#2 – Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Goes Down
Several studies have shown that eating meat more than doubles your chance of getting type 2 diabetes. A vegetarian diet, on the other hand, helps control many factors of diabetes including weight and cholesterol.
#3 – You Will Get The Right Type of Protein
One fear many people have when faced with the proposition of vegetarianism is lacking protein. And yeah, that is a real possibility. But eating lots of meat leads to the exact opposite problem – having too much protein. That’s no good either.
Excess protein gets turned into fat, which of course leads to a number of concerns, including heart disease and cancer. The solution? Go vegetarian but do it the right way. Eat plenty of things like oatmeal, beans and almonds. All your protein should amount to is 10% of your total calorie intake.
#4 – You’ll Reduce Inflammation
A proper vegetarian diet, on the other hand, will naturally reduce inflammation by lowering your body’s levels of C-reactive protein.
#5 – Your Bad Cholesterol Levels Go Down
Processed meat (hot dogs, burgers, etc) contains a ton of saturated fat. Eating too much saturated fat will cause a spike in your LDL cholesterol levels. That’s a major risk factor for heart disease, the number one killer in America.
Studies have shown that switching to a vegetarian diet lowers your LDL cholesterol levels at a rate comparable to that of cholesterol medications.
#6 – Your Gut Will Love You
Did you know you have a second brain in your gut? Seriously, your gut contains an incredible network of neurons that even affect your mood. Eating lots of meat and dairy quickly makes some major changes to your gut by shifting around the microbes responsible for its health. This can lead to inflammation and intestinal diseases that’ll leave you feeling quite miserable.
According to the Harvard scientists who discovered this, switching to a plant-based diet will restore and maintain proper balance to your gut.
#7 – You’ll Live Longer
Thanks to the many health-boosting benefits of a good vegetarian diet, vegetarians have an overall risk of dying that is 12% lower than that of frequent meat-eaters. That equates to about a 6-9 year gap.
You can’t argue with that, can you?
#8 – You’ll Change Your DNA For The Better
Researchers have found that a vegetarian diet significantly decreases the expression of cancer genes. A vegetarian diet also lengthens your telomeres, the caps at the end of your DNA chromosomes that typically shorten as you age.
Thinking of going vegetarian but don’t quite know where to start? Take it slow. You don’t need to go cold turkey. As we suggest in this article, you might want to start by eating meat only once or twice weekly. When you do, make sure you’re buying local, organic and hormone-free meat. Even reduced levels of meat consumption can have major benefits for your health!