Do Vegetarians Eat Their Vegetables?
Despite my occasional efforts at labeling myself a vegetarian, and one noble try at becoming vegan, the truth is that I'm an omnivore. Most humans are omnivores. That's how we evolved, that's how our bodies are designed. Being an omnivore promotes survival -- it allows us to eat whatever foods are available in our environment.
I admire some of those who try the vegan way ... although the vegan meme complex has a lot in common with certain fundamentalist belief systems. The vegan meme complex is organized around the belief that human exploitation or killing of animals is always bad. (It would be nice if we could first organize a world in which humans don't exploit or kill other humans ... imagine if vegans refused to buy any product manufactured by the oppressed masses ...)
I won't spend time here explaining all the different kinds of vegetarians. My main question is this -- do most vegetarians actually eat vegetables?
The US Food & Drug Administration recommends that all Americans eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It is easy to avoid fruits and vegetables when your main meal is a mass of meat and wheat ... but isn't it just as easy to avoid fruits and vegetables without the meat?
If you are the type of vegetarian who eats eggs and/or cheese, then you can eat lots of cheese pizza or scrambled eggs w/ waffles and never encounter a fruit or vegetable. Sugars and oils don't contain fruits or vegetables. A lot of the veggie burgers you buy in the store are full of salts, sugars, and plant proteins, but that doesn't mean they contain enough vegetables to count as a serving. Personally, I don't think french fries count as a serving of vegetables either ;-)
Here's what the National Cancer Institute recommends as a serving of fruit and vegetables:
1 medium fruit or 1/2 cup of small or cut-up fruit
3/4 cup (180 milliliters) of 100 percent juice
1/4 cup dried fruit
1/2 cup raw non-leafy or cooked vegetables
1 cup raw leafy vegetables (such as lettuce)
1/2 cup cooked beans or peas (such as lentils, pinto beans, and kidney beans) Fruits and Vegetables: Eating Your Way to 5 A Day
Whether you choose to be an omnivore, a vegan, or something in between, if you aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables you are increasing your chances of heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
It is easy to forget that modern humans evolved within an environment that did not include any Twinkies or Ruffles. Our ancestors survived by eating lots of nuts, leaves, berries, and roots, supplemented by the occasional animal or fish. People who eat a natural diet, like that of our ancestors, generally avoid the common health problems of the typical middle-aged or elderly American.
Take a look at what you eat during the day. It is worth repeating -- you are what you eat, and if you don't like the way your body feels you probably aren't giving your body the types of food it needs.
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