Being a vegetarian for health reasons

  • Thread starter ehrenfest
  • Start date
  • #1
2,013
1
Does it make sense to be a vegetarian purely for health reasons?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
A balanced diet is a balanced diet. I think the debate is still ongoing however as to whether there are specific health benefits/dangers in eating meat that are eliminated with a vegetarian diet. I've known many a person who lived quite well on vegetarian diets and many people whose health suffered on vegetarian diets. I couldn't say I know enough though to determine if those that were in ill health were not managing a balanced diet. Of course it's possible that different people will react differently and may have different dietary needs that may or may not be met with a vegetarian diet.
 
  • #3
Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
11,558
53
Just be careful to blend vegetables appropriately to get complete proteins. If you still include some dairy products in your diet, it's easier to eat a healthy vegetarian diet than if you eliminate all animal products completely. For purely health reasons, there's no reason to choose one diet over another, as long as it's balanced, like StatutoryApe already pointed out.
 
  • #4
2,013
1
OK. Thanks for that advice. I have been a vegetarian for about six months now. I try to follow the recommendations for eating healthy but one major problem is that it is so hard to find a good source for meal-to-meal nutrition. Sure there are tons of websites that give you a general description of what is healthy (e.g. "avoid excessive saturated fat" or "maintain of a good ratio between carbohydrates and lipids (4:1)" ). I have been trying to find something quantitative for a long time.

I tried this site:

http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramid/index.aspx [Broken]

but the problem is that they list their recommended values in cups. I have no idea what a cup is and nutrition facts on food labels are always listed in grams or milligrams. I wish I could find something similar to that site that listed the recommended intakes in grams or milligrams so I can compare them to the food labels. Please let me know if there is any site that meets that description.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #5
cristo
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
8,122
74
You could google what a cup is, no?
 
  • #6
2,013
1
You could google what a cup is, no?

Even if I knew what a cup was that still does not change the fact that nutrition labels list everything in grams not cups.
 
  • #7
cristo
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
8,122
74
One could, if one knows the conversion, convert the info in cups into info in grams.
 
  • #8
2,013
1
One could, if one knows the conversion, convert the info in cups into info in grams.

We don't live in a universe where there is a universal conversion factor between the two. It would be insane to look up conversion factors between mass and volume for every type of food I might eat.
 
  • #9
cristo
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
8,122
74
The wiki page says cups are used to measure vegetables, and liquids... the site you give returns only vegetables and liquids in cup form.
 
  • #10
Evo
Mentor
23,550
3,240
  • #11
Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
11,558
53
We don't live in a universe where there is a universal conversion factor between the two. It would be insane to look up conversion factors between mass and volume for every type of food I might eat.

This isn't really all that difficult, it's a simple conversion process. You know now what a cup is in terms of milliliters, so if you do not have cups available where you are, you can measure out the food in milliliters based on that conversion factor. If you're basing your measures on weights, you must already have a kitchen scale to know how much you're eating of a certain weight, so just dump the volume on the scale...instant conversion. Or, just use the nutrition label itself to determine what's in the food...it tells you already what is a serving and how much of many nutrients are in that serving. It's just a little practically applied knowledge that any science student ought to be able to handle.
 
  • #12
2,013
1
This site has everything, including a conversion chart in the bottom right hand corner.

http://www.nutritiondata.com/

I don't understand how that site is converting cups (volume) into grams (mass) without saying what the substance is.

This isn't really all that difficult, it's a simple conversion process. You know now what a cup is in terms of milliliters, so if you do not have cups available where you are, you can measure out the food in milliliters based on that conversion factor. If you're basing your measures on weights, you must already have a kitchen scale to know how much you're eating of a certain weight, so just dump the volume on the scale...instant conversion. Or, just use the nutrition label itself to determine what's in the food...it tells you already what is a serving and how much of many nutrients are in that serving. It's just a little practically applied knowledge that any science student ought to be able to handle.

No, I don't have a kitchen scale. I usually only eat at places that post their nutrition facts online. I am trying to compare the intake recommendations that myPyrimad.gov (which is in cups) to information on the nutritional labels (which is in grams). I don't see how any of these methods help me with that.
 
  • #13
837
2
There are problems of being a 'veg' if don't become aware of them. One of my ex's ended up in the hospital due to some nutrient deficiency. (I poke fun at it to some extent still when I don't fill in all the 'blanks'.) But, it can be very serious. It sounds like it may be good if you read up some more.
 
  • #15
Evo
Mentor
23,550
3,240
I don't understand how that site is converting cups (volume) into grams (mass) without saying what the substance is.
Oh good lord, you look up whatever food you want information on. Ever try reading?
 
  • #16
Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
11,558
53
No, I don't have a kitchen scale. I usually only eat at places that post their nutrition facts online.

Here's a hint...if you're only eating at places that post nutritional info online, you're eating crap. And only vegetarian from those places? What are you getting, fast food fries and salad?
 
  • #17
I'm having trouble understanding how exactly you translate cups into grams myself. I mean unless everything you are measuring in cups is wet and liquid. Perhaps nonliquids measure out nearly the same so long as they are wet but what about dry and semi dry substances or particularly dense substances?
 
  • #18
837
2
Here's a hint:

convert cups into pints, pints into pounds, pounds into feet, feet into ergs---and then ergs into grams.

that should help
 
  • #19
Evo
Mentor
23,550
3,240
I'm having trouble understanding how exactly you translate cups into grams myself. I mean unless everything you are measuring in cups is wet and liquid. Perhaps nonliquids measure out nearly the same so long as they are wet but what about dry and semi dry substances or particularly dense substances?
The website I furnished shows weight in grams and ounces and even has a converter.

In answer to your question http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_grams_are_in_a_cup

The conversion site they recommend is http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/cookingconversions.asp

Seriously, this isn't rocket surgery. :biggrin:
 
  • #20
837
2
Seriously, this isn't rocket surgery. :biggrin:

funny--you're just a Veetoo cut up
 
  • #22
Evo
Mentor
23,550
3,240
Good one:approve:


But,
<---------This is
Yes, I stole it from you. I read your explanation of where your name came from and loved it!
 
  • #23
Yes, I stole it from you. I read your explanation of where your name came from and loved it!

Haha nice. I'm glad you like it.
 
  • #24
2,013
1
Here's a hint...if you're only eating at places that post nutritional info online, you're eating crap. And only vegetarian from those places? What are you getting, fast food fries and salad?

No, why would you think so? Most of the restaurants and cafeterias at my university post their nutrition facts online. Subway is not crap either.
 
  • #25
Be careful though. I tried going veg for a Month. I ate salads/fruitcuts/pancakes and had a multivitamin everyday. After about a month though I was always wide awake and could only sleep 4hrs everynight. When I started eating meat every few days I stopped having this problem.
 
  • #26
2,013
1
Be careful though. I tried going veg for a Month. I ate salads/fruitcuts/pancakes and had a multivitamin everyday. After about a month though I was always wide awake and could only sleep 4hrs everynight. When I started eating meat every few days I stopped having this problem.

Interesting. I have not had that problem. The main problem with being a vegetarian for me is that there ARE SO FEW options when I go out to eat. When I go to a place like Subway, almost 95% of the things on their menu have meat in them. And a lot of times restaurants load their few vegetarian items with fat or sodium or both to "make up" for the lack of meat, which makes me furious. Thus, it is very difficult to eat a balanced diet. I end up eating way too many bagels and way too many cups of Panera's "black bean" or "garden vegetable" soup. I imagine it would be easier if I lived in an apartment and not a dorm so that cooking would be more feasible. But I still continue to be a vegetarian:
1) because I think even my restricted herbivorous diet is healthier than the carnivorous diet I ate beforehand
2) because my role model Kiran Kedlaya (http://math.mit.edu/~kedlaya/) is a vegetarian
3) because I don't think eating meat is environmentally sustainable for the entire world population

I really need to read a book about healthy dieting since it means so much to me and yet I am so badly versed in it. Anyone have any suggestions? Has anyone seen a nutritionist? Is that helpful?
 
Last edited:
  • #27
Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
11,558
53
Subway is not crap either.

Yes it is. Lots of processed meats and cheeses filled with preservatives and breads made with refined flours...certainly not much vegetarian on their menu. Now stop being lazy, introduce yourself to standard food measures (it's inconceivable that someone in the US would not know what a cup is), and sort out your diet. None of us is going to monitor what you eat for you, so learn how to do it yourself. This is seriously simple stuff that you should have learned in elementary school.
 
  • #28
Evo
Mentor
23,550
3,240
Interesting. I have not had that problem. The main problem with being a vegetarian for me is that there ARE SO FEW options when I go out to eat. When I go to a place like Subway, almost 95% of the things on their menu have meat in them. And a lot of times restaurants load their few vegetarian items with fat or sodium or both to "make up" for the lack of meat, which makes me furious. Thus, it is very difficult to eat a balanced diet. I end up eating way too many bagels and way too many cups of Panera's "black bean" or "garden vegetable" soup. I imagine it would be easier if I lived in an apartment and not a dorm so that cooking would be more feasible.
If you want to eat out and expect a vegetarian menu, don't go to sandwich shops that specialize in meat sandwiches. Either find vegetarian restaurants or make your own.

Can I ask how you can be of college age and not know the simplest, most basic things that most elementary school children would know? No insult meant, I am just really curious how you can not be aware of so many basic things. Were you home schooled? Were you kept out of society before you went to college? I find this intriguing. It's like that Jodie Foster movie where she was a wild child and knew nothing of the basics.
 
Last edited:
  • #29
2,013
1
Can I ask how you can be of college age and not know the simplest, most basic things that most elementary school children would know? No insult meant, I am just really curious how you can not be aware of so many basic things. Were you home schooled?

I was not home-schooled. They definitely do not teach you how to be a vegetarian in elementary school. Maybe I should know what a cup is...but what else are referring to? I go to subway because it is one of the few places nearby (in walking distance).
 
Last edited:
  • #30
Interesting. I have not had that problem. The main problem with being a vegetarian for me is that there ARE SO FEW options when I go out to eat. When I go to a place like Subway, almost 95% of the things on their menu have meat in them. And a lot of times restaurants load their few vegetarian items with fat or sodium or both to "make up" for the lack of meat, which makes me furious. Thus, it is very difficult to eat a balanced diet. I end up eating way too many bagels and way too many cups of Panera's "black bean" or "garden vegetable" soup. I imagine it would be easier if I lived in an apartment and not a dorm so that cooking would be more feasible. But I still continue to be a vegetarian:
1) because I think even my restricted herbivorous diet is healthier than the carnivorous diet I ate beforehand
2) because my role model Kiran Kedlaya (http://math.mit.edu/~kedlaya/) is a vegetarian
3) because I don't think eating meat is environmentally sustainable for the entire world population

I really need to read a book about healthy dieting since it means so much to me and yet I am so badly versed in it. Anyone have any suggestions? Has anyone seen a nutritionist? Is that helpful?

I agree with your reasons. My appreciation for Hindu philosophy also influenced my decision for the diet (the idea of preventing the suffering of all living creatures).

But like you I am in a dorm and unable to get the nutrition I need on this type of diet. I may try again when I get out though.

Edit: I know it's normally shunned upon to talk about religion here but I'm not promoting any religion. I'm simply saying that the philosphy behind the religion influenced me in a certain way. If this violates any rules I'll be happy to remove it.
 
Last edited:

Related Threads on Being a vegetarian for health reasons

  • Poll
  • Last Post
8
Replies
211
Views
22K
  • Last Post
6
Replies
166
Views
21K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
4
Replies
95
Views
10K
  • Last Post
Replies
27
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
11
Views
10K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
4K
Replies
14
Views
19K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
1K
Top