Being a vegetarian for health reasons

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In summary: I don't know...looking up the food you want information on?In summary, there is still ongoing debate about whether a vegetarian diet provides specific health benefits or dangers compared to a diet that includes meat. It is possible for individuals to thrive on a vegetarian diet, but it is important to ensure a balanced diet and be aware of potential nutritional deficiencies. While there are many websites that provide general recommendations for a healthy diet, it can be difficult to find quantitative information in grams or milligrams. However, there are resources available that provide this information and it is important for individuals to educate themselves about their dietary needs and make informed choices.
  • #1
ehrenfest
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Does it make sense to be a vegetarian purely for health reasons?
 
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  • #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
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
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

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.
 
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  • #5
You could google what a cup is, no?
 
  • #6
cristo said:
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
One could, if one knows the conversion, convert the info in cups into info in grams.
 
  • #8
cristo said:
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
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
  • #11
ehrenfest said:
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
Evo said:
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.

Moonbear said:
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
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.
 
  • #14
ehrenfest said:
I don't understand how that site is converting cups (volume) into grams (mass) without saying what the substance is.
The assumption is that most of the fluids you drink are mostly water: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluid_ounce
 
  • #15
ehrenfest said:
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
ehrenfest said:
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
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
TheStatutoryApe said:
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
Evo said:
Seriously, this isn't rocket surgery. :biggrin:

funny--you're just a Veetoo cut up
 
  • #22
RocketSurgery said:
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
Evo said:
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
Moonbear said:
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
RocketSurgery said:
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?
 
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  • #27
ehrenfest said:
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
ehrenfest said:
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.
 
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  • #29
Evo said:
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).
 
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  • #30
ehrenfest said:
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.
 
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  • #31
Moonbear said:
This is seriously simple stuff that you should have learned in elementary school.

Considering the fact that such a high percentage of the American population is obese, overweight, or whatever, I think this is NOT something most people learn in elementary school (or in higher grade levels for that matter).
 
  • #32
ehrenfest said:
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).
I'm referring to all of your recent threads. From a sociological aspect it appears that you were sequestered until you went to college.

Seriously, for example, you want to become a vegetarian. Go to the library and get some books. Look online. It doesn't take much common sense to figure out what you need to eat. You do not need to take it down to grams of anything. And if you do, you have been provided links that will calculate that for you. More important than how much something weighs is understanding how to combine things to get complete proteins and adequate fiber, minerals, and vitamins. You will probably consume more than you need if you maintain a healthy weight. When in doubt take a multi-vitamin.
 
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  • #33
ehrenfest said:
Considering the fact that such a high percentage of the American population is obese, overweight, or whatever, I think this is NOT something most people learn in elementary school (or in higher grade levels for that matter).
They are taught it, they choose to ignore it later. You certainly should be taught about basic weights and measures...ounces, cups, pints, quarts, milliliters, liters, etc. sufficient to follow nutrition recommendations you find online. No, you won't be taught how to have a vegetarian diet, because the recommendations for a balanced diet include meat and dairy products, but you should have the basic knowledge to be able to read a nutrition label and understand it.
 
  • #34
Evo said:
I'm referring to all of your recent threads. From a sociological aspect it appears that you were sequestered until you went to college.

OK. You probably do deserve to know a little more about my past. Here's the quick story. I went through the American K through 12 school system in a pretty nice suburban public school district. Neither of my parents had careers in science or math and neither of them knew any advanced science or math. In fact, the same holds for everyone in my extended family as well.

High school introduced me to the excitement of math and science. I just finished my second year of college. I am majoring in math and physics. The courses I have taken over these two years and the students and professors I have met have opened up my eyes to mind-bogglingly new ideas. The math professors I have had, especially, have given me a entirely new different type of adult role model than my parents have. In general, the interactions I have with other people as a math and physics major have been shockingly different than the interaction I had when I lived with my parents.

This has led me to try to apply the kind of things I learned in math and physics courses to my personal life. I am just trying to take a more scientific/mathematical approach outside of the classroom. I have been going through all of the things I do by "habit" or that my parents taught me and asking myself if they really make sense. I find that a lot of them do not. The result is that I am adopting many new practices and I have a lot of questions about them. Sorry if I sound like a big baby.
 
  • #35
Moonbear, this is a post that you wrote from another thread:

Moonbear said:
A lot of people completely misunderstand the current recommendations for a healthy diet (yes, this is a MAJOR flaw in the design of the Food Pyramid that nobody knows how to "read" it) and are completely overeating breads/grains.

Color added for emphasis. I don't see how this is consistent with saying that everyone learns this stuff in elementary school.
 

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