375 million people- that is the number of vegetarians worldwide there were in 2014 and that number isn’t decreasing anytime soon. Since this statistic was calculated, vegetarianism has taken off as a fad for fitness icons, celebrities, millennials and everyone in between. Is this lifestyle just a passing trend or is there real truth behind why an estimated 4 percent of the worlds population has decided to go meat free? In this article we will define what vegetarianism is, explain why people go vegetarian and educate on what you can eat.
The growing amount of documentaries like What the Health and Forks over Knives have educated many people on the possible health benefits of switching to a vegetarian diet. According to the Harvard Medical School, a study found that vegetarians, on average, are 25% less likely to die of heart disease, have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and even lowers risk of diseases like colon cancer. Personally, I noticed I was only eating processed meat from fast food companies which isn’t natural or healthy, so I decided to cut it out completely.
There is strong ties to vegetarianism in religions like Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and even some sectors of Christianity. Many of these religions consider these animal sacred and unethical to kill them in a non-ceremonial way. For some, vegetarianism isn’t a choice but a strict religious obligation.
What can vegetarians eat?
Short answer, a lot of things! Vegetarians can indulge in a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, soy, eggs and dairy products. For some vegetarians, they stick to just cutting out meat and eating how they normally would before switching to this diet; however, some vegetarians start getting creative and do exotic and unique recipes. When you’re starting out, stick to the basics. Here are some staples for a vegetarian diet that are rich in vitamins, minerals and protein.
- Peanut Butter
Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be afraid to dip your toes into this new diet if you are a beginner! Subscribe to The University of Vegetarianism where I will be diving into how to integrate this diet into your college experience. Whether you live in a dorm or live off campus, there are ways you can make vegetarianism work for you.