Thursday, February 23, 2012

Vegetarian on a Budget

In many family budgets, one of the biggest food expenses is often meat.  So in theory at least becoming a vegetarian should be an outstanding financial maneuver.  In theory, if all you ate was rice and vegetables, you should be able to live for very little.

But theory and reality are often far apart from each other.  Because the culture of vegetarian living has developed so many high quality foods to fill the gap left behind by a good steak or a plate of barbeque ribs, you can spend as much or more on your vegetarian lifestyle as you did when you were a meat eater.  The high cost of living as a vegetarian is not entire attributable to gourmet foods however.

The truth is if you are going to live in day in day out and month in month out on a vegetarian diet, not only do you need some high quality foods to substitute for taking a whole food group out of your diet, you need variety.  The quality is needed because its your health on the line if you don’t get the proper nutrients.   The diversity is needed because if you get bored with the vegetarian lifestyle, you may quit and give up.  And nobody wants that.

Another reason that the cost of vegetarian eating is often higher than a "normal" diet comes from the fact that vegetarians are still in the minority.  So prepared vegetarian foods and vegetarian only restaurants are rare.  And to be able to make a profit, these specialty stores must charge a lot because they are specialty stores.  Unfortunately, even though we see the vegetarian community as a supportive one, if you are going to be able to afford the vegetarian lifestyle, you are going to have to learn to cut costs.

Cutting costs means eliminating shopping at "boutique" vegetarian markets and no more eating out.  Or at least it means cutting down on the eating out significantly.  You can buy fresh vegetables and fruits at farmers markets or grocery stores that are just as valid as vegetarian options as any you get as a specialty store.  Using a good food processor and other means, you can chop, dice, boil and puree just about any kind of vegetarian meal that you might be able to imagine getting in a restaurant.  And at a much lower cost.  Not only that but the leftovers can go into a compost pile to make fertilizer for your garden when you can grow your own vegetables next spring.

That "grower to consumer" market that often surfaces as a farmer's market is a great way to save lots of money also because you are buying your produce directly from the farmer and you cut the grocery store out of the loop entirely.  One way to make sure you capitalize on every opportunity to buy inexpensive produce is to work as a community.  Get about a dozen vegetarian families working together to always be on the lookout for a great buy.  One might find a small farmer's market or roadside stand that is selling produce far below grocery store prices.  Another might find a farmer who will basically give his food away just to clear the field.  With some coordination, you could field an army of vegetarians to grab those bargains while they are fresh and stock everybody's kitchen with low cost fresh produce.

These are just a few of many ways  you can find to save money on your vegetarian groceries and still have just as much quality but without as much cost.  By shopping smart and shopping for bargains, you can live the vegetarian life and feel good about it because you are not only healthy, you are smart.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Good of Vegetarianism

Sometimes the only thing really holding you back from making the big step of becoming a vegetarian is to come to a firm grasp of what good you will get from it.  Too often we see eating right and cutting meat from our diet as a drudgery and something we "should do" but we don’t want to.  But becoming a vegetarian is a big life change and one that you should make with every intent of remaining a vegetarian for life.  The only way to make that kind of life change "stick" is to have some concrete and desirable positive outcomes that you will realize from the change.  If there is "something in it for you" besides being seen as a good person because you  "should" do it, you will embrace the change more enthusiastically.

One big advantage that a vegetarian lifestyle can bring you is that it is a lot less fuss to life as a vegetarian and it is far less expensive.  It doesn’t take a very extensive trip to the grocery store to realize that even a small slab of steak or a pound of hamburger is far more expensive than a head of cabbage or a bunch of carrots.  Your food costs can plummet if  you simplify your life and eat only meatless dishes.  And your food will last longer in storage.

One advantage that many new converts to vegetarianism notice but that don’t get much coverage is how much better their digestive systems will work without the heavy load that meat places on your insides.  Not only will you digest your food more easily, you will not feel that "heavy and sluggish" sensation and you will sleep better and even have better sex.  That is because the negative impact of animal muscle on your intestines will disappear. You will also notice it in your lower intestines and your elimination.  In every way, the functioning of your internal mechanisms will be much smoother when you only give it meatless meals to live on.

The health benefits are probably the motivation that convinces most people to adopt a meat free diet.  The simple fact is that science has proven that humans are not natural meat eaters.  Yes we can live on meat but our systems are not well suited to digest the heavy food that meat represents in your digestive system.

Many of the most chronic national health problems can be traced to meat consumption.  Everything from obesity to cancer to heart disease to aging seems to be linked to the consumption of meat.  Because meat is so much more difficult on our internal systems to digest, utilize and eliminate, the impact on your insides is devastating.  Vegetarians do not suffer with as high an incidence of colon cancer, heart disease or obesity.

As many high priced weight loss programs as there are, there may be no more effective one and one that can be done for virtually no cost is to just stop eating meat.  You rarely meet a fat vegetarian because there is just not very much in a nonfat meal to become fat.  Vegetables quickly convert to energy, deliver vitamins to your systems and the remnant leave your system without difficulty so your metabolism will naturally speed up so you lose weight.

The moral, ethical and spiritual reasons for becoming a vegetarian are also well known.  Many religions call for a diet of no meat and frequent fasting.  A vegetarian diet gives you much greater control over your appetite so you can observe religious disciplines that call for physical denial for a short time and get all of the spiritual good from them.

Besides the spiritual values, more and more people are becoming aware that eating meat is unethical or immoral.  It is not "kooky" or crazy to see that the raising of animals for us to kill and eat seems barbaric for an evolved culture such as ours.  It is easy to find horror stories of the gruesome ways that animals are slaughtered to become our food.  To become part of the solution rather part of the problem is appealing to many people who have a conscience.  And vegetarianism is part of the solution that if all of us embraced vegetarianism, it would be a better world for everyone.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Learning about Vegetarianism

Is It Time for an Intervention?

"Guess what mom and dad, I'm a vegetarian!"

If those words would strike terror in your heart if it came from your child, this article is for you.  While we all are aware that vegetarians walk amongst us, when someone we love becomes a vegetarian, its easy to fear they have fallen in with some strange eastern cult and that we should start looking into organizing an intervention before they go off the deep end and go to South America to disappear forever into a commune or follow some cult leader to doom because.

But before mom goes into hysterics or dad puts the kid in a padded room, lets have a reasonable discussion about what it means when your loved one becomes a vegetarian and what you can do to make sure they are safe and still the same person you always have known and loved.  And the heart of being able to cope with the conversion of a child or a loved one to vegetarianism is knowledge and understanding.

The truth is you have not lost your child to a cult or to another religion if they become a vegetarian.  In fact, you can still take them to church and they can be the same religion they always were and also be a devout vegetarian at the same time.  That is because their decision to not eat meat is primarily a dietary decision and it doesnít have to mean anything severe or odd about the one you love.

More and more normal and healthy people you already know have made the move to a vegetarian lifestyle and it doesnít change who they are.  There are primarily three reasons the one you love may have decided to become a vegetarian or a vegan.

1. For health reasons.  Eliminating meat from your diet is good for you and it is an outstanding way to diet.  If your loved one just wants to eat more healthy, there is no reason to organize an intervention to put a stop to that.
2. For ethical reasons because your loved one is upset about the cruel and unethical treatment of animals who are raised for slaughter to provide the meat industry with food to feed us.  Even if you disagree with this ethical position, eliminating meat from the diet is not a radical thing to do. It is just a different lifestyle and a healthy one at that.
3. for spiritual reasons.  Most religions encourage some form of fasting or limitation of excess in eating.  Perhaps your loved one is going through a time of greater religious devotion and not eating meat helps with times of contemplation and prayer.  Anyone would see that as a good thing to be encouraged and supported.

Notice before the list we used the word "vegan".  Donít be afraid of that word. If your child calls from college to say, "Guess what mom and dad, I'm a vegan", that just means your child has become a vegetarian but is following a culture of vegetarianism that is more extreme than others.

Instead of overreacting and putting your loved one into an intervention, the best response to learning he or she has become a vegetarian is to learn more about it and encourage the move.  Your loved one can be a life long vegetarian and have nothing bad come of it.  If fact, he or she will live better and longer because of the decision.  Do some reading about what it means to live a vegetarian lifestyle and be supportive in how you prepare meals or in what restaurants you chose when spending time with your loved one.

Then be open to hear why your friend or family member made this change in their life.  Will they try to "convert" you to become a vegetarian also.  Perhaps.  But by engaging in an open discussion of what it means to be a vegetarian, you can express support for your loved one without becoming a vegetarian yourself.  And when you make their decision normal and approved of as part of your family life, it can enrich your loved ones life and yours too.  Because becoming a vegetarian is a very healthy step for anyone.


Becoming Vegetarian

Adapting to a vegetarian lifestyle encounter the ability to get the right information to start. I became a vegetarian two years ago, at first I felt that something was missing in my diet. I had an urge to eat sugary food, I found out that I was not consuming enough protein. After doing some research about vegetarian diet, I learned quite interesting ways that you can have plenty of protein by just eating more vegetables ,soy products, tofu, and protein derivatives.  I will tell you more of my life changing experience in a few days, and you might end up considering that vegetarian life style is the best option for you. In addition, I will share great vegetarian recipes to give you a taste of simple and flavorful eating.