Different types of vegetarians .. Humans did not always eat meat

Different types of vegetarians .. Humans did not always eat meat

 Do Vegetarians Eat Enough Protein?

It seems that every time you turn on the television there is another medical study being released to tell us what we are supposed to eat. So many times the studies contradict each other. One week they tell you to have a high protein source. The next week you are told that your carbohydrates should be high. The studies even seem to disagree on what is a good source for the varying nutrients in general.

I have been concerned about protein because my daughter has become a vegetarian. She announced this to the family when she arrived home from her first semester in college. She has always been easily swayed so I was not surprised that she had developed some new habits, however I wanted to make sure that she was getting sound nutrition.

As with any person starting a new way of life, she was filled with excitement and new found knowledge about being a vegetarian. She explained to me that meat is not the only protein source. There is protein in several of the vegetarian selections that she included in her daily diet. My first thought was tofu.

She agreed that tofu is a good protein source, but there also a number of other choices that can be made. She had not found a way to prepare tofu that she enjoys, so she is using lentils as her main protein source. This did not surprise me because she and my husband love baked beans. I remember times when I would find the two of them eating corn chips with cold baked beans right out of the can as dip. I found this disgusting, but they thought it was a great treat.

My daughter is also using soy products as a protein source. She drinks soy milk and eats soy yogurt. She also eats peanut butter, nuts and rice to round out her diet in regards to protein. She of course then supplements a wide variety of vegetables and fruits to round out her diet. When she first made her announcement I thought I was going to have to make a trip to the grocery store to buy multiple special foods for her new diet. After we talked about what she ate for protein source I realized that I could easily include her diet in the dinner that I was making that night. I was making soft shelled tacos and Spanish rice.

I had picked this meal because it has always been one of my daughter’s favorite meals. She helped me prepare the vegetables for the tacos. I had a can of refried beans which she used in her taco in place of the seasoned chicken that the rest of the family used. I mentioned to my husband that I felt our daughter seemed to be making wise choices in regards to protein as well as the rest of the foods she was choosing. He feels I should not get too concerned because he feels this is a phase she is going through and next semester break there will be something new.

Why did humans start eating meat?

It must have felt unnatural at first, to eat animal flesh. After all, we’re not so far removed from animals ourselves. Perhaps it even felt cannibalistic. There might not have been that much intellectual distinction between humans and other animals. When humans were pure vegetarians, they were living in harmony with the earth and with the other creatures co-habiting the planet with them. Their closest animal relatives, apes, were vegetarians. Eating the products of the earth, like plants, grains and fruits that they could gather and eat would have seemed the natural order of things.

But necessity is the mother of invention. Prehistoric men who lived in frozen geographies, or who lived in an area that became devastated by fire, would have eaten anything to survive. Just like the soccer players whose plane crashed in the mountains of Chile, and were forced to eat the flesh of other players who died in the crash, earliest man at some point had to make the choice for survival, and that could have consuming meat for the first time and changing human history – and health – forever.

We can imagine that men first ate meat that had been charred or cooked by virtue of being caught in a natural forest fire. They might have subsequently eaten raw meat, if necessary, but we can also imagine that our earliest digestive systems rebelled against eating raw meat.

Imagine having eaten raw foods and vegetables for eons, and all of a sudden, incorporating meat products into your system. You may have heard friends who were vegetarians tell stories of trying to eat meat and becoming violently ill afterwards.

Biologists will tell you we’re really not designed to eat meat, but we adapted to it. However, in the timeline of human history, eating meat is a relatively recent evolutionary development.

Different types of vegetarians

Many people think of vegetarians as one homogeneous group that just doesn’t eat meat. But nothing could be further from the truth. There are different categories of vegetarians as diverse as the reasons for going vegetarian in the first place.

A vegetarian is generally defined as someone who doesn’t eat meat. But someone who is vegetarian could conceivably eat dairy products such as milk, eggs and cheese. A lacto ovo vegetarian doesn’t eat meat, fish or poultry, but does consume eggs, milk or cheese. A lacto vegetarian consumes milk and cheese products, but doesn’t consume eggs.

A vegan is someone who doesn’t consume any animal product or by-product, including dairy food. They eat only vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and legumes. They also don’t use animal products, such as leather. Vegans also don’t use white sugar because it’s often processed with a substance derived from animal bones that whitens the sugar.

There are other categories within the vegetarian community. Fruitarians, for example, eat only fruit. Their rationale is that fruits, including fruits such as tomatoes, are self-perpetuating and don’t need to be planted to create the food source. They consider it a way of eating that’s most in balance and harmony with the earth, the most natural.

All of the above will eat cooked vegetables, fruits and legumes. There is also a growing movement towards eating only raw or living foods. This based on the assumption that cooking food processes most of the nutrients out of it, and to get all the nutritional value, vitamins and amino acids from food, it’s best consumed raw, or juiced. If cooked at all, it should only be cooked to slightly over 100 degrees, so the nutrients are still retained.

The more restrictive you become with your diet, however, the more educated you need to become to be sure you’re getting all the necessary proteins and vitamins that you need to maintain good health, especially muscle and heart health.

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