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The Human Herbivore H E A L T H ,





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A vegetarian diet is nutritionally adequate Cutting meat

How Does Vegetarianism Affect Physical Health?

lowers risk for heart disease and cancer Becoming a vegetarian can aid weight loss Vegetarianism is becoming increasingly popular

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Physical Health


Defining Vegetarian


Common Myths


Weight Loss


How to supplement


Foodborne Illnesses








Vegetarian can be loosely defined as a diet that excludes meat, poultry, and fish. According to the American Dietetic Association (ACA), “appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” (9) In fact, vegetarian diets have been proven to lower the risk of heart disease in some cases. (#) This is because plant foods lack cholesterol, which can cause fat buildups in the blood-stream. These buildups can lead to coronary heart dis-

ease and heart attacks (13). Also, there is evidence that eating a vegetarian diet can lower a person‟s risk for cancer, especially colon cancer. People who eat meat daily (3oz.) are 30-40% more likely to develop colon cancer in their lifetime (13). However, vegetarian diets

require planning in order to be properly nutritious. Vegetarians commonly experience deficiencies in Vitamin B12, protein, and iron. (3) The ADA recommends that a person choosing a vegetarian lifestyle consult a dietician in order to adequately balance their nutrition. Overall, vegetarian diets prove to be healthful and beneficial to a person‟s physical health.

Defining Vegetarian Commonly, the term „vegetarian‟ usually refers to a person who eats a diet without meat, poultry, or fish; the term „vegan‟ more often refers to a person who does not eat any animal products, including dairy and animal flesh. However, most organizations centered around the subject feel that the true meaning of vegetarian is a person who does not eat any

animal flesh or animal products. This includes gelatin, milk, eggs, and more. Some varieties of vegetarianism include: *lacto-vegetarians: do not eat animals, but do eat dairy products (excluding eggs) *ovo-lacto-vegetarians: eat the lacto vegetarian diet with the addition of meat *semi-vegetarians: do not eat red

meat, eat the ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet in addition to poultry and fish Other important definitions to know: *factory farm: a complex in which mass amounts of animals are slaughtered for food



Bust A Myth: Some Common Misconceptions About Vegetarianism In today’s American culture there’s a lot of speculation that surrounds the vegetarian lifestyle. While some of these can be rooted in truth, most are not factually based. Myth: Vegetarianism is a small movement in America. Verdict: This myth is not true. A survey performed in 2008 reported that 22.8 million American adults follow a vegetarian-inclined diet. (14) Vegetarian-inclined means that while these people may eat certain animal products (milk, cheese, etc.), they do not eat others (beef, pork, etc.).

What mistruths have you heard about vegetarianism?

Myth: A vegetarian diet is harmful to children‟s growth and development. Verdict: This myth is not true. According to the American Dietetic Association: “Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle including

“Vegetarians have been reported to have

during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.” (13) This myth comes from the fact that meatless diets can potentially lack certain nutritional elements (like Vitamin B12, Iron, and Vitamin D) (14). In order to prevent this health issue, a dietician is recommended. Myth: The animals at factory farms are humanely treated. Verdict: This myth has been disproven numerous times and there is overwhelming evidence to refute it. Just a few points: Chickens are fed hormones that make them grow unnaturally fast in order to reach market weight (3 1/2 lbs) by about 7 weeks. The chemicals make their bodies so heavy that their bones cannot support them and they become crippled. (7) Cows are slaughtered by first being stunned to experience no pain when their heads are sawn off

by workers. In a survey of 61 redmeat slaughtering plants, nearly 30% of the cows were vocalizing in pain after attempted stunning. (10) This means that the stunning process is ineffective, rendering it cruel. Mother pigs are housed in cages so small that there is not even room to stand, resulting in burns on their bodies from the ammonia in their own urine. (15)

Myth: Meat is brain food. Verdict: The opposite is true. Actually, vegetables are more helpful in maintaining long-term brain function. Alzheimer’s disease affects areas of cognition (such as memory, logic, etc.). A wellbalanced vegetarian diet is high in unsaturated, unhydrogenated fats. These fats, found in vegetables, have been seen to lower the risk for Alzheimer’s by around 80%. (1)

lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians”

Nix the Meat, Lose the Weight A vegetarian diet is lower in total and saturated fat; a fact which experts believe makes switching to vegetarianism a viable option for weight loss.

Can becoming vegetarian help you lose weight?

A recent survey performed by the presi-




dent of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute concluded that a switch to a vegetarian diet prompted an average weight loss of 24lbs (2). The 2003 position statement of the American Dietetic Association stated that “Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than non-vegetarians.” (9) A similar statement was made by the

American Heart Association, who said “Many studies have shown that vegetarians seem to have a lower risk of obesity.” (11) Overall, there is a definite link between eating a vegetarian diet and achieving and/or maintaining a healthy weight and body mass index.





What to Eat When Not Eating Meat If planned well, vegetarian diets have the potential to surpass carnivorous ones in nutritional benefits. Vegetarians have the advantage of a naturally lower diet in both total and saturated fat, as well as harmful cholesterol. However, those who opt to live a vegetarian lifestyle must be mindful of filling in the nutritional gaps that meat would otherwise fill. The most commonly missed nutrients are Iron (strengthens red blood cells), Vitamin B12 (works to help brain)), Vitamin D ( helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus), and Pro-

tein (helps regulate body processes). (3)To supplement, fortified foods or other foods rich in these nutrients are recommended. Some examples are: Fortified breakfast cereal Fortified soy milk Nuts Tofu Nori (seaweed) Dried fruit Legumes (vegetables like green beans, peas, etc )

Green leafy vegetables (spinach, etc.) (3, 12) If these needs cannot be met, daily vitamins may be necessary. A deficiency in any of these essential nutrients can have both temporary and permanent negative effects on the body, so it is important that vegetarians get the proper nutrition by eating a well-balanced diet.

Foodborne Illnesses: What’s Really in the Meat You Eat Vegetarians also have the added benefit of a lower risk of foodborne illness, says the Center for Disease Control (CDC). They state that "raw foods of animal origin are the most likely to be contaminated(5)." Foodborne illnesses range from infections to actual food poisoning. Three out of the four most common of these diseases originate in the bodies of animals and can only be transmitted through the consumption of contaminated animal products. Campylobacter is found in the intestines of birds, Salmonella is found in the intestines of many small animals, and the E Coli

virus is found in cattle. According to the CDC, "Meat and poultry carcasses can become contaminated during slaughter by contact with small amounts of intestinal contents(5)." However, there is a margin for risk in consuming raw

most common symptoms of foodborne illness are stomach complications such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps. The best way to avoid these diseases is to be clean and organized when preparing food as to not cross contaminate in the case of the presence of a disease, and avoid eating raw meat products or foods that have been exposed to contact with these products. While these precautionary steps can help keep foodborne illness at bay, there is no foolproof method of prevention.

fruits and vegetables as well. The

“Meat and poultry carcasses can become contaminated during slaughter by contact with small amounts of intestinal contents. “


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

BBC News. "BBC NEWS | Health | Vegetables ward off Alzheimer's." BBC NEWS | News Front Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. <http://>. BBC News. "BBC NEWS | Health | Vegetarian diet 'cuts heart risk'." BBC NEWS | News Front Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2009. <http://>. "Becoming a Vegetarian ." KidsHealth - the Web's most visited site about children's health. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. < food_fitness/nutrition/vegetarian.html>. "Big Fun City Time." Tickle Fight. N.p., 3 Oct. 2009. Web. 11 Nov. 2000. <>. "Disease Listing, Foodborne Illness, General Information | CDC Bacterial, Mycotic Diseases." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. <>. "Famous Vegetarians - Vegan Celebrities - by HappyCow." Vegetarian Restaurants Guide and Directory of Natural Health Food Stores by HappyCow. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. <>. " // Cruelty to Animals: Mechanized Madness." Vegetarian and Vegan Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2009. <http://>. New York Times. "Vegetarianism - News - Times Topics - The New York Times." Times Topics. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. <http://>. "Position of the American Dietetic Association and ... [Can J Diet Pract Res. 2003] - PubMed result." National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. <>. USDA. "SPECIAL SURVEY ON HUMANE SLAUGHTER AND ANTE-MORTEM INSPECTION." United States Department of Agriculture Mar. 1998: 1-13. Print. "Vegetarian Diets." American Heart Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2010. <>. "Vegetarian Food Pyramid." Vegetarian Weight Loss Diet Information: Vegetarian Diets. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2009. <>. "Vegetarianism: Healthy and Humane // Take Charge! // peta2." // Interviews, Giveaways, and Free Stickers. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. <>. "Vegetarianism In America." Vegetarian Times - Great Food, Good Health, Smart Living. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2009. <http://>. 15. " // Cruelty to Animals: Mechanized Madness." Vegetarian and Vegan Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2009. <>.



Which Greyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Anatomy actress does not eat meat? A. Ellen Pompeo B. Sandra Oh! C. Shondra Rhimes D. Chyler Leigh


Which of these fashion models is a vegetarian? A. Tyra Banks B. Kate Moss C. Agnes Deyn D. All of the above


Which of these literary legends is/was cruelty-free? A. H.G. Wells B. Mark Twain C. Emily Dickinson D. All of the above



For More Information Visit:

Which of these leading ladies says no to meat? A. Hayden Panettiere B. Natalie Portman C. Kate Winslet D. All of the above

Which of these Beatles eats/ate no meat? A. Ringo Starr B. George Harrison C. John Lennon D. Paul McCartney E. All of the above Which of these rocker guys nixes the animal flesh? A. Benji Madden (Good Charlotte) B. Brendan Urie (Panic! At the Disco) C. Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) D. All of the above Which of these past president was not a carnivore? A. George W. Bush B. Abraham Lincoln C. William Clinton D. All of the above

* Debbie Tuitasi, Nurse and Director of Health Services at MICDS



* The Vegetarian Society of America

1. Which of these famous brains was/is a meat eater? A. Sir Isaac Newton B. Albert Einstein C. Paris Hilton D. All of the above

* The Saint Louis Vegetarian Society

One or more in each of these groups of celebrities is a vegetarian. Can you spot them?


Can You Guess the Vegetarians?

Answers: 1:C 2:D 3:B 4:B 5:D 6:E 7:D 8:B

Anna Robson Vegetarianism  
Anna Robson Vegetarianism