Should I be a Vegetarian?

I have always had the desire to become vegetarian but Pro tennis, traveling and my belief in the ”need for meat” kept me a happy carnivore. Vegetarianism was a hobby I kept for my old age. Some of my friends are vegetarian and have made me think about it. Recently,  I decided to challenge myself by incorporating one completely low carb veg meal a day. Coming from Indian heritage, this was easy to do. My turkey sandwich lunch was replaced with Dal (Indian lentils) and a large salad. Easy. When I came across this Huffington Post article by Kathy Freston, it really blew my mind. People close to me have been sharing information like this for years. Somehow this list really struck a cord with me. Do your part and learn about what you are putting in to your precious body. America needs a severe food make over. Help us make the change!

Huffington Post 8/23/11:

 CNN is about to air a fantastic documentary called “The Last Heart Attack,” featuring Drs. Ornish and Esselstyn talking about successfully preventing, stopping and even reversing our number one killer — heart disease — with a plant-based diet.

Though billed as the latest cutting-edge treatment, Dean Ornish M.D. and Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. M.D. have both been publishing on reversing the heart disease epidemic through diet and lifestyle changes for more than 20 years. The food-disease correlation is only recently becoming more widely understood because multibillion dollar industries have made it their business to keep the emphasis on the latest cholesterol-lowering drugs and surgeries, leaving the average lay person to find out for themselves about the latest advances in nutrition. I meet so many people these days who want to get healthy, but just don’t know where to find easy-to-understand information that will help them make decisions on how or what to eat.
This was the impetus behind NutritionFacts.org, the brainchild of Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. When he’s not out trying to save the world from bird flu or foodborne illness, he scours the world’s scholarly literature on nutrition for the most interesting, groundbreaking and practical new research.
Check out some of this fascinating information:
• Adding vinegar to meals can help you lose weight.
• Drinking kombucha tea may be harmful.
• There’s a way to get goji berries cheaper than raisins.
• Peanut butter may significantly decrease heart disease risk in women.
• Vegans have been found to be “significantly less polluted” than omnivores.
• Even distilled fish oil is contaminated with pollutants.
• Second only to fish, eggs are the most contaminated source of industrial pollutants in the food supply.
• A quarter of fast-food burgers are contaminated with parasites.
• The estrogen in cow’s milk may be contributing to premature sexual maturation in girls.
• The meat most likely to be contaminated with fecal matter is ground turkey.
• There’s a 1 to 7 scale used by doctors to classify bowel movements.
• Even people who don’t experience pain or weakness on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may be suffering muscle damage.
• There’s a poultry virus that may be contributing to our obesity epidemic.
• Cold-steeped green tea is healthier than hot-brewed.
• Breast cancer survivors may reduce their risk of recurrence by eating soy foods.
• Researchers have raised concerns about “mad fish disease” in farmed fish.
• The U.S. Inspector General finds the USDA is failing to safeguard the meat supply from drug residues.
• Women may be getting urinary tract infections from eating chicken.
• Cooking vegetables can boost the absorption of certain nutrients.
• Raw alfalfa sprouts present a significant food safety risk.
• In meat-eating households more fecal bacteria can be found in the kitchen sink than the toilet.
• Diet can affect body odor.
• The best superfood bargain (most antioxidants per dollar) is red cabbage.
• White tea is healthier than green tea, but only if you add lemon.
• Sharing your home with a cat or dog may decrease one’s risk of cancer.
• Coconut oil may be as harmful as butter.
• There are two classes of vegetables particularly adept at stopping cancer cell growth.
• There’s a toxin in certain fish that can be sexually transmitted.
• Eating tuna is the equivalent mercury exposure to living with dozens of amalgam tooth fillings.
• Mushrooms should be eaten cooked — not raw.
• The #1 source of arsenic in the diet is chicken.
• The #1 source of aluminum in the diet is chicken.
• There are more hormones in skim milk than in whole milk.
NutritionFacts.org features hundreds of short captivating clips on the latest nutrition research and Greger is promising to upload a new video every day, seven days a week, for the first year. The first of his 365 new videos was posted today with the official launch of the site.

Non-commercial (not funded by interested parties who have products to sell) science-based sources of good nutrition information are hard to find. Check out NutritionFacts.org today and every day for the next year. I think you’ll find it hugely interesting and educational.

End article

Since reading this list of horrific facts I have not touched meat. Out of convenience I am still eating some dairy products. It has been 5 days and I already feel better; I am sleeping better, have more energy and I am less pimply. Maybe its psychological maybe its physiological I will find out in time.

 

It’s been just under a week since I decided to stop eating meat. Figuring out what to eat has been a challenge! Out of the five days I have been veg, I was traveling for two of them. I didn’t think it would be this hard. I am so used to walking in to the kitchen and scrambling up some eggs or ordering a turkey sandwich if I need to grab a quick lunch.  I also want to avoid turning to carbs to fill me up. I know a lot of women who became vegetarian and gained weight. All they were eating was pasta, pizza and bread. I am fighting the notion that being vegetarian is inconvenient. There is plenty to eat! Here is a look at what I have been enjoying as an herbivore.

Day 1
Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal made with water. I added almond milk and a touch of honey.
Snack: Banana
Lunch: Big bowl of plain Dal with a slice of toast and butter.
Snack: Dry roasted almonds and a Lindt Chocolate truffle
Dinner: Maoz (chain restaurant) falafel salad with goat cheese and 100 vegetables.

Day 2
Breakfast: Left over Maoz falafel salad.
Lunch: Veggie burger with cheese and ketchup (Good Burgers NYC)
Dinner: Pasta with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese

Day 3
Breakfast: Peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich
Snack: Greek low fat yogurt
Lunch: Cheerios, Chex and Mini wheat cereal with milk
Snack: Mixed nuts
Dinner: Noodle soup made of chicken broth with corn and yuca

Day 4
Breakfast: Homemade cheese empanadas and a spoon of natural peanut butter
Lunch: Personal Pizza with mushrooms from Papa Johns
Dinner: Large salad with beans, avocado, feta cheese and a cup of tomato soup (Global Kitchens NYC)

Day 5
Breakfast: Grilled Cheese Sandwich with tomatoes
Lunch: Salad with black beans and tortilla chips and a cookie
Snack: Indian Dal
Dinner: Potato and cabbage salad (coleslaw made with yogurt in stead of mayonnaise) on a bed of spinach. Half a sweet potato.

I see how traveling and eating out can really make it hard for vegetarians so I put together a list of chain restaurants I think have healthy vegetarian options:

Chili’s
Chipotle
Qdoba
Most Pizza chains
Maoz
Houston’s
Macaroni Grill
P.F Chang’s
Pollo Tropical
Subway
Cheesecake Factory
Denny’s
IHOP

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Contact: neha@nehauberoi.com