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Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism

Definition

Vegetarianism refers to voluntary abstinence from eating meat. Vegetarians refrain from eating meat for various reasons, including religious, health, and ethical ones. Lacto-ovo vegetarians supplement their diet with dairy (lactose) products and eggs (ovo). Vegans (pronounced vee-guns) do not eat any animal-derived products at all.

Origins

The term vegetarian was coined in 1847 by the founders of the Vegetarian Society of Great Britain, but vegetarianism has been around as long as people have created diets . Some of the world's oldest cultures advocate a vegetarian diet for health and religious purposes. In India, millions of Hindus are vegetarians because of their religious beliefs. One of the ancient mythological works of Hinduism, the Mahabharata, states that, "Those who desire to possess good memory, beauty, long life with perfect health, and physical, moral and spiritual strength, should abstain from animal foods." The yoga system of living and health is vegetarian, because its dietary practices are based on the belief that healthy food contains prana. Prana is the universal life energy, which yoga experts believe is abundant in fresh fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables, but absent in meat because meat has been killed. Yogis also believe that spiritual health in influenced by the practice of ahimsa, or not harming living beings. The principle of ahimsa (non-violence) appears in the Upanishads (Vedic literature) from c. 600300 b.c. Taking of animal life or human life under any circumstances is sinful and results in rebirth as a lower organism. It became a fundamental element of Jainism, another religion of India. Some Buddhists in Japan and China are also vegetarian because of spiritual beliefs. In the Christian tradition, the Trappist Monks of the Catholic Church are vegetarian, and some vegetarians argue that there is evidence that Jesus and his early followers were vegetarian. Other traditional cultures,

such as those in the Middle East and the Mediterranean regions, have evolved diets that frequently consist of vegetarian foods. The Mediterranean diet , which a Harvard study declared to be one of the world's healthiest, is primarily, although not strictly, vegetarian.

The list of famous vegetarians forms an illustrious group. The ancient Greek philosophers, including Socrates, Plato, and Pythagoras, advocated vegetarianism. In modern times, the word to describe someone who likes to feast on food and wine is "epicure," but it is little known that Epicurus, the ancient philosopher, was himself a diligent vegetarian. Other famous vegetarians include Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Leo Tolstoy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Thoreau. This century's celebrated vegetarians include Gandhi, the physician Albert Schweitzer, writer George Bernard Shaw, musician Paul McCartney, and champion triathlete Dave Scott. Albert Einstein, although not a strict vegetarian himself, stated that a vegetarian diet would be an evolutionary step for the human race.

Vegetarianism in America received a lot of interest during the last half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, during periods of experimentation with diets and health practices. Vegetarianism has also been a religious practice for some Americans, including the Seventh-day Adventists, whose lactoovo vegetarian diets have been studied for their health benefits. Vegetarianism has been steadily gaining acceptance as an alternative to the meat-and-potatoes bias of the traditional American diet. In 1992, Vegetarian Times magazine performed a poll that showed that 13 million Americans, or 5% of the population, identified themselves as vegetarians.

Several factors contribute to the interest in vegetarianism in America. Outbreaks of food poisoning from meat products, as well as increased concern over the additives in meat such as hormones and antibiotics, have led some people and professionals to question meat's safety. There is also an increased awareness of the questionable treatment of farm animals in factory farming. But the growing health consciousness of Americans is probably the major reason for the surge in interest in vegetarianism. Nutrition experts have built up convincing evidence that there are major problems with the conventional American diet, which is centered around meat products that are high in cholesterol and saturated fat and low in fiber. Heart disease, cancer , and diabetes, which cause 68% of all deaths in America, are all believed to be influenced by this diet. Nutritionists have repeatedly shown in studies that a healthy diet consists of plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, and foods that are high in fiber and low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Vegetarianism, a diet that fulfills all these criteria, has become part of many healthy lifestyles. In alternative medicine, vegetarianism is a cornerstone dietary therapy, used in Ayurvedic medicine, detoxification treatments, macro-biotics, the Ornish diet for heart disease, and in therapies for many chronic conditions.

Benefits

Vegetarianism is recommended as a dietary therapy for a variety of conditions, including heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and stroke . Vegetarianism is a major dietary therapy in the alternative treatment of cancer. Other conditions treated with a dietary therapy of vegetarianism include obesity, osteoporosis , arthritis, allergies, asthma , environmental illness, hypertension, gout, gallstones, hemorrhoids, kidney stones , ulcers, colitis, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety , and depression . Vegetarians often report higher energy levels, better digestion, and mental clarity. Vegetarianism is an economical and easily implemented preventative practice as well.

Preparations

Some people, particularly those with such severe or chronic conditions as heart disease or cancer, may be advised by a health practitioner to become vegetarian suddenly. For most people, nutritionists recommend that a vegetarian diet be adopted gradually, to allow people's bodies and lifestyles time to adjust to new eating habits and food intake.

DR. JOHN HARVEY KELLOGG 18521943


John Harvey Kellogg is known as the father of modern breakfast cereal. He was born in Tyrone Township, Michigan, on February 26, 1852, into a Seventh Day Adventist family. At age 12, he became an apprentice at the Review and Herald Press, a publishing company run by the church. He attended school in Battle Creek, Michigan. He attended Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York where he received his medical degree in 1875. In 1876, at the age of 24, Kellogg became an abdominal surgeon and superintendent of the Western Health Reform Institute, which he renamed the Battle Creek Sanitarium. There, he began applying his theories about natural living to his medical practice. Himself a vegetarian, he first advocated a diet high in whole grains, fruits, nuts, and legumes. He later included all types of vegetables in the diet. His controversial health regimen included morning calisthenics, open-air sleeping, cleansing enemas, chewing food hundreds of times before swallowing, and drinking plenty of water.

In the 1890s, Kellogg established a laboratory at the sanitarium to develop more nutritious foods. His brother, Will Keith Kellogg, joined in his research. In 1895 they developed a breakfast cereal of wheat flakes called Granose. The cereal quickly grew in popularity and was soon sold by mail order. This was followed by rice flakes and corn flakes. The brothers established the Sanitas Food Company. But philosophical differences led them to split into two companies. Will founded the W. K. Kellogg Company, which retained the rights to the cereal products. John set up the Battle Creek Food Company, which produced coffee substitutes and soymilk. John Kellogg also edited Good Health Magazine, which promoted vegetarianism, for 60 years. In 1904, he published a book, The Miricle of Life. He continued to promote his version of healthy living and radical techniques until his death in 1943.

Ken R. Wells

Some nutritionists have designed transition diets to help people become vegetarian in stages. Many Americans eat meat products at nearly every meal, and the first stage of a transition diet is to substitute just a few meals a week with wholly vegetarian foods. Then, particular meat products can be slowly reduced and eliminated from the diet and replaced with vegetarian foods. Red meat can be reduced and then eliminated, followed by pork, poultry, and fish. For those wishing to become strict vegetarians or vegans, the final step would be to substitute eggs and dairy products with other nutrient-rich foods. Individuals should be willing to experiment with transition diets, and should have patience when learning how to combine vegetarianism with such social activities as dining out. Fortunately, the number of restaurants that offer vegetarian dishes, or even all-vegetarian menus, is growing in the United States, particularly along the West Coast.

The transition to vegetarianism can be smoother for those who make informed choices with dietary practices. Sound nutritional guidelines include decreasing the intake of fat, increasing fiber, and emphasizing fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains in the diet while avoiding processed foods and sugar. Everyone can improve their health by becoming familiar with recommended dietary and nutritional practices, such as reading labels and understanding such basic nutritional concepts as daily requirements for calories, protein, fat, and nutrients. Would-be vegetarians can experiment with meat substitutes, foods that are high in protein and essential nutrients. Thanks to the growing interest in vegetarianism, many meat substitutes are now readily available. Tofu and tempeh are products made from soybeans that are high in protein, calcium , and other nutrients. There are "veggie-burgers" that can be grilled like hamburgers, and vegetarian substitutes for turkey and sausage with surprisingly authentic textures and taste. There are many vegetarian cookbooks on the market as well.

A set of guidelines for North American vegetarian diets, updated for 2004, is available from the American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada. The new guidelines are intended to promote variety within vegetarian diets and to meet the needs of different stages in the life cycle as well as incorporate the most recent findings of medical research.

One remaining drawback to the widespread practice of vegetarianism is the unpleasant taste or smell of many vegetables. A number of phytonutrients have a bitter, astringent, or acrid taste that they impart to products made from vegetables that contain them. Some experts think that people tend to reject such strong-smelling or bitter-tasting vegetables as turnips, cabbage, brussels sprouts, or broccoli because humans have been programmed in the course of evolution to associate bitter taste with poisonous plants. It is increasingly recognized that the major barrier to dietary change for the sake of health is taste. One recommendation for improving the taste appeal of vegetarian diets is more frequent use of spices. In addition to pleasing the human palate, spices derived from plants have been shown to have chemoprotective effects, boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and fighting harmful bacteria and viruses.

Precautions

In general, a well-planned vegetarian diet is healthful and safe; in the summer of 2003, a position paper endorsed by the American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada referred to vegetarian diets as "healthful, nutritionally adequate, and [able to] provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." However, vegetarians, and particularly vegans who eat no animal products, should be aware of particular nutrients that may be lacking in non-animal diets. These are amino acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D , calcium, iron, zinc , and essential fatty acids . Furthermore, pregnant women, growing children, and those with health conditions have higher requirements for these nutrients.

Vegetarians should be aware of getting complete protein in their diets. A complete protein contains all of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks for protein essential to the diet because the body cannot make them. Meat and dairy products generally contain complete proteins, but most vegetarian foods such as grains and legumes contain incomplete proteins, lacking one or more of the essential amino acids. However, vegetarians can easily overcome this by combining particular foods in order to create complete proteins. For instance, beans are high in the amino acid lysine but low in tryptophan and methionine , but rice is low in lysine and high in tryptophan and methionine. Thus, combining rice and beans makes a complete protein. In general, combining legumes such as soy, lentils, beans, and peas with grains like rice, wheat, or oats forms complete proteins. Eating dairy products or nuts with grains also makes proteins complete. Oatmeal with milk on it is complete, as is peanut butter on whole wheat bread. Proteins do not necessarily need to be combined in the same meal, but generally within four hours.

Getting enough vitamin B12 may be an issue for some vegetarians, particularly vegans, because meat and dairy products are the main sources. Vitamin supplements that contain vitamin B12 are recommended, particularly for older vegetarians. Spirulina , a nutritional supplement made from algae, is also a vegetarian source, as are fortified soy products and nutritional yeast.

Vitamin D can be obtained by vitamins, fortified foods, and sunshine. Calcium can be obtained in enriched tofu, seeds, nuts, legumes, dairy products, and dark green vegetables including broccoli, kale, spinach, and collard greens. Iron is found in raisins, figs, legumes, tofu, whole grains (particularly whole wheat), potatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables. Iron is absorbed more efficiently by the body when iron-containing foods are eaten with foods that contain vitamin C , such as fruits, tomatoes, and green vegetables. Zinc is abundant in nuts, pumpkin seeds, legumes, whole grains, and tofu. For vegetarians who don't eat fish, getting enough omega-3 essential fatty acids may be an issue, and supplements such as flaxseed oil should be considered, as well as eating walnuts and canola oil.

Vegetarians do not necessarily have healthier diets. Some studies have shown that some vegetarians consume large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. Eggs and dairy products contain cholesterol and saturated fat, while nuts, oils, and avocados are vegetable sources of saturated fat. To reap the full benefits of a vegetarian diet, vegetarians should be conscious of cholesterol and saturated fat intake. Vegetarians may also consider buying organic foods, which are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, as another health precaution. Lastly, consuming large quantities of vegetables without other carbohydrates and sources of protein can produce its own kind of dietary imbalance. Cases have been reported of carotenemia, which is a yellowish discoloration of the skin caused by high levels of carotene, a fat-soluble plant pigment turned into vitamin A in the liver. In one instance, the patient developed blood carotene levels nine times higher than normal values after putting himself on a diet that involved eating 23 pounds of vegetables every day. While carotenemia resulting from high vegetable intake has no known lasting consequences to health, it is still an indication of the importance of balance in vegetarian diets.

Research & general acceptance

A vegetarian diet has many well-documented health benefits. It has been shown that vegetarians have a higher life expectancy, as much as several years, than those who eat a meat-centered diet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that data have shown vegetarians to have a strong or significant probability against contracting obesity, heart disease, lung cancer , colon cancer, alcoholism , hypertension, diabetes, gallstones, gout, kidney stones, and ulcers. However, the FDA also points out that vegetarians tend to have healthy lifestyle habits, so other factors may contribute to their increased health besides diet alone.

Vegetarianism has been associated with for many decades with abstinence from other habit-forming substances, including alcohol and tobacco. There is evidence, however, that this long-standing connection between vegetarianism and other health-conscious practices is breaking down. A recent study of Scandinavian teenage vegetarians found that there was no difference between their lifestyles and those of meat-eating peers with regard to smoking , alcohol consumption, exercise , or weight. Partly because of this trend, physicians in family practice as well as those in sports medicine are increasingly recommending nutritional counseling for vegetarian teens.

A vegetarian diet, as prescribed by Dr. Dean Ornish, has been shown to improve heart disease and reverse the effects of atherosclerosis , or hardening of the arteries. It should be noted that Dr. Ornish's diet was used in conjunction with exercise, stress reduction, and other holistic methods. The Ornish diet is lacto-ovo vegetarian, because it allows the use of egg whites and nonfat dairy products.

Vegetarians have a resource of statistics in their favor when it comes to presenting persuasive arguments in favor of their eating habits. Vegetarians claim that a vegetarian diet is a major step in improving the health of citizens and the environment. Americans eat over 200 lbs (91 kg) of meat per person per year. The incidence of heart disease, cancer diabetes, and other diseases has increased along with a dramatic increase in meat consumption during the past century. Many statistics show significantly smaller risks for vegetarians contracting certain conditions. The risks of women getting breast cancer and men contracting prostrate cancer are nearly four times as high for frequent meat eaters as for those who eat meat sparingly or not at all. For heart attacks, American men have a 50% risk of having one, but the risk drops down to 15% for lacto-ovo vegetarians and to only 4% for vegans. For cancer, studies of populations around the world have implied that plant-based diets have lower associated risks for certain types of cancer.

Vegetarians claim other reasons for adopting a meat-free diet. One major concern is the amount of pesticides and synthetic additives such as hormones that show up in meat products. Chemicals tend to accumulate in the tissue of animals that are higher in the food chain, a process called bioaccumulation. Vegetarians, by not eating meat, can avoid the exposure to these accumulated toxins, many of which are known to influence the development of cancer. One study showed that DDT, a cancer-causing pesticide, was present in significant levels in mother's milk for 99% of American women, but only 8% of vegetarian women had significant levels of the pesticide. Women who eat meat had 35 times higher levels of particular pesticides than vegetarian women. The synthetic hormones and antibiotics added to American cattle has led some European countries to ban American beef altogether. The widespread use of antibiotics in livestock has made many infectious agents more resistant to them, making some diseases harder to treat.

Vegetarians resort to ethical and environmental arguments as well when supporting their food choices. Much of U.S. agriculture is dedicated to producing meat, which is an expensive and resource-depleting practice. It has been estimated that 1.3 billion people could be fed with the grain that America uses to feed livestock, and starvation is a major problem in world health. Producing meat places a heavy burden on natural resources, as compared to growing grain and vegetables. One acre of land can grow approximately 40,000 lbs (18,000 kg) of potatoes or 250 lbs (113 kg) of beef, and it takes 50,000 gal (200,000 l) of water to produce 1 lb (0.45 kg) of California beef but only 25 gal (100 l) of water to produce 1 lb (0.45 kg) of wheat. Half of all water used in America is for livestock production. Vegetarians argue that the American consumption of beef may also be contributing to global warming, by the large amounts of fossil fuels used in its production. The South American rainforest is being cleared to support American's beef consumption, as the United States yearly imports 300 million lbs (136 million kg) of meat from Central and South America. The production of meat has been estimated as causing up to 85% of the loss of topsoil of America's farmlands. A German researcher in the field of nutrition ecology hs summarized the environmental benefits of vegetarian diets: "Research shows that vegetarian diets are well suited to protect the environment, to reduce pollution, and to minimize global climate changes."

Despite the favorable statistics, vegetarianism does have its opponents. The meat industry in America is a powerful organization that has spent millions of dollars over decades advertising the benefits of eating meat. Vegetarians point out that life-long eating habits are difficult to change for many people, despite research showing that vegetarian diets can provide the same nutrients as meat-centered diets.

Resources

BOOKS

Akers, Keith. A Vegetarian Sourcebook. New York: Putnam, 1993.

Null, Gary. The Vegetarian Handbook. New York: St. Martins, 1987.

Pelletier, Kenneth R., MD. The Best Alternative Medicine, Part I: Food for Thought. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.

Robbins, John. Diet for a New America. Walpole, NH: Still-point, 1987.

PERIODICALS

American Dietetic Association; Dietitians of Canada. "Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets." Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 64 (Summer 2003): 6281.

Berger, Joanne M. "Curiously Yellow." Family Practice News 32 (September 1, 2002): 47.

Fornell-Barratt, Anne, and Adam Drewnowski. "The Taste of Health: Nature's Bitter Gifts." Nutrition Today 37 (July-August 2002): 144-150.

Greydanus, D. E., and D. R. Patel. "Sports Doping in the Adolescent Athlete: The Hope, Hype, and Hyperbole." Pediatric Clinics of North America 49 (August 2002): 829-855.

Jenkins, D. J., C. W. Kendall, A. Marchie, et al. "Type 2 Diabetes and the Vegetarian Diet." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78 (September 2003) (3 Suppl): 610S616S.

Kwok, E., G. Cheng, J. Woo, et al. "Independent Effect of Vitamin B12 Deficiency on Hematological Status in Older Chinese Vegetarian Women." American Journal of Hematology 70 (July 2002): 186-190.

Lampe, J. W. "Spicing Up a Vegetarian Diet: Chemopreventive Effects of Phytochemicals." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78 (September 2003) (Suppl 3): 579S583S.

Larsson, C. L., K. S. Klock, A. Nordrehaug-Astrom, et al. "Lifestyle-Related Characteristics of Young Low-Meat Consumers and Omnivores in Sweden and Norway." Journal of Adolescent Health 31 (August 2002): 190-198.

Leitzmann, C. "Nutrition Ecology: The Contribution of Vegetarian Diets." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78 (September 2003) (Suppl 3): 657S659S.

Messina, V., V. Melina, and A. R. Mangels. "A New Food Guide for North American Vegetarians." Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 64 (Summer 2003): 8286.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Dietetic Association. 216 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60606. (312) 899-0040. <www.eatright.org>.

Dietitians of Canada/Les diététistes du Canada. 480 University Avenue, Suite 604, Toronto, ON M5G IV2. (416) 596-0857. <http://www.dietitians.ca/>.

North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS). PO Box 72, Dolgeville, NY 13329. (518) 568-7970.

OTHER

Vegetarian Journal. Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG). PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

Vegetarian Times. 4 High Ridge Park, Stamford, CT 06905. (877) 321-1796.

Vegetarian Nutrition and Health Letter. 1707 Nichol Hall, Loma Linda, CA 92350. (888) 558-8703.

Douglas Dupler

Rebecca J. Frey, PhD

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Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism

Definition

Vegetarianism is the voluntary abstinence from eating meat. Vegetarians refrain from eating meat for various reasons, including religious, health, and ethical ones. Lacto-ovo vegetarians supplement their diet with dairy (lactose) products and eggs (ovo). Vegans (pronounced vee-guns) do not eat any animal-derived products at all.

Purpose

Vegetarianism is recommended as a dietary therapy for a variety of conditions, including heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Vegetarianism is a major dietary therapy in the alternative treatment of cancer. Other conditions treated with a dietary therapy of vegetarianism include obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, allergies, asthma, environmental illness, hypertension, gout, gallstones, hemorrhoids, kidney stones, ulcers, colitis, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety, and depression. Vegetarians often report higher energy levels, better digestion, and mental clarity. Vegetarianism is an economical and easily implemented preventative practice as well.

Description

The term vegetarian was coined in 1847 by the founders of the Vegetarian Society of Great Britain, but vegetarianism has been around as long as people have created diets. Some of the world's oldest cultures advocate a vegetarian diet for health and religious purposes. In India, millions of Hindus are vegetarians because of their religious beliefs. One of the ancient mythological works of Hinduism, the Mahabharata, states that, "Those who desire to possess good memory, beauty, long life with perfect health, and physical, moral and spiritual strength, should abstain from animal foods." The yoga system of living and health is vegetarian, because its dietary practices are based on the belief that healthy food contains prana. Prana is the universal life energy, which yoga experts believe is abundant in fresh fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables, but absent in meat because meat has been killed. Yogis also believe that spiritual health is influenced by the practice of ahimsa, or not harming living beings. The principle of ahimsa (non-violence) appears in the Upanishads (Vedic literature) from c. 600-300 b.c. Taking of animal life or human life under any circumstances is sinful and results in rebirth as a lower organism. It became a fundamental element of Jainism, another religion of India. Some Buddhists in Japan and China are also vegetarian because of spiritual beliefs. In the Christian tradition, the Trappist Monks of the Catholic Church are vegetarian, and some vegetarians argue that there is evidence that Jesus and his early followers were vegetarian. Other traditional cultures, such as those in the Middle East and the Mediterranean regions, have evolved diets that frequently consist of vegetarian foods. The Mediterranean diet, which a Harvard study declared to be one of the world's healthiest, is primarily, although not strictly, vegetarian.

The list of famous vegetarians forms an illustrious group. The ancient Greek philosophers, including Socrates, Plato, and Pythagoras, advocated vegetarianism. In modern times, the word to describe someone who likes to feast on food and wine is "epicure," but it is little known that Epicurus, the ancient philosopher, was himself a diligent vegetarian. Other famous vegetarians include Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Leo Tolstoy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Thoreau. This century's celebrated vegetarians include Gandhi, the physician Albert Schweitzer, writer George Bernard Shaw, musician Paul McCartney, and champion triathlete Dave Scott. Albert Einstein, although not a strict vegetarian himself, stated that a vegetarian diet would be an evolutionary step for the human race.

Vegetarianism in America received a lot of interest during the last half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, during periods of experimentation with diets and health practices. Vegetarianism has also been a religious practice for some Americans, including the Seventh-day Adventists, whose lacto-ovo vegetarian diets have been studied for their health benefits. Vegetarianism has been steadily gaining acceptance as an alternative to the meat-and-potatoes bias of the traditional American diet. In 1997, Vegetarian Resource Group performed a Roper poll that showed that 13 million Americans, or 5% of the population, identified themselves as vegetarians.

Several factors contribute to the interest in vegetarianism in America. Outbreaks of food poisoning from meat products, as well as increased concern over the additives in meat such as hormones and antibiotics, have led some people and professionals to question meat's safety. There is also an increased awareness of the questionable treatment of farm animals in factory farming. But the growing health consciousness of Americans is probably the major reason for the surge in interest in vegetarianism. Nutrition experts have built up convincing evidence that there are major problems with the conventional American diet, which is centered around meat products that are high in cholesterol and saturated fat and low in fiber. Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, which cause 68% of all deaths in America, are all believed to be influenced by this diet. Nutritionists have repeatedly shown in studies that a healthy diet consists of plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, and foods that are high in fiber and low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Vegetarianism, a diet that fulfills all these criteria, has become part of many healthy lifestyles. In alternative medicine, vegetarianism is a cornerstone dietary therapy, used in Ayurvedic medicine, detoxification treatments, macrobiotics, the Ornish diet for heart disease, and in therapies for many chronic conditions.

Preparations

Some people, particularly those with severe or chronic conditions such as heart disease or cancer, may be advised by a health practitioner to become vegetarian suddenly. For most people, nutritionists recommend that a vegetarian diet be adopted gradually, to allow people's bodies and lifestyles time to adjust to new eating habits and food intake.

DR. JOHN HARVEY KELLOGG (18521943)

John Harvey Kellogg is known as the father of modern breakfast cereal. He was born in Tyrone Township, Michigan, on February 26, 1852, into a Seventh Day Adventist family. At age 12, he became an apprentice at the Review and Herald Press, a publishing company run by the church. He attended school in Battle Creek, Michigan. He attended Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York where he received his medical degree in 1875. In 1876, at the age of 24, Kellogg became an abdominal surgeon and superintendent of the Western Health Reform Institute, which he renamed the Battle Creek Sanitarium. There, he began applying his theories about natural living to his medical practice. Himself a vegetarian, he first advocated a diet high in whole grains, fruits, nuts, and legumes. He later included all types of vegetables in the diet. His controversial health regimen included morning calisthenics, open-air sleeping, cleansing enemas, chewing food hundreds of times before swallowing, and drinking plenty of water.

In the 1890s, Kellogg established a laboratory at the sanitarium to develop more nutritious foods. His brother, Will Keith Kellogg, joined in his research. In 1895 they developed a breakfast cereal of wheat flakes called Granose. The cereal quickly grew in popularity and was soon sold by mail order. This was followed by rice flakes and corn flakes. The brothers established the Sanitas Food Company. But philosophical differences led them to split into two companies. Will founded the W. K. Kellogg Company, which retained the rights to the cereal products. John set up the Battle Creek Food Company, which produced coffee substitutes and soymilk. John Kellogg also edited Good Health Magazine, which promoted vegetarianism, for 60 years. In 1904, he published a book, The Miracle of Life. He continued to promote his version of healthy living and radical techniques until his death in 1943.

Some nutritionists have designed transition diets to help people become vegetarian in stages. Many Americans eat meat products at nearly every meal, and the first stage of a transition diet is to substitute just a few meals a week with wholly vegetarian foods. Then, particular meat products can be slowly reduced and eliminated from the diet and replaced with vegetarian foods. Red meat can be reduced and then eliminated, followed by pork, poultry, and fish. For those wishing to become pure vegetarians or vegans, the final step would be to substitute eggs and dairy products with other nutrient-rich foods. Individuals should be willing to experiment with transition diets, and should have patience when learning how combine vegetarianism with social activities such as dining out.

The transition to vegetarianism can be smoother for those who make informed choices with dietary practices. Sound nutritional guidelines include decreasing the intake of fat, increasing fiber, and emphasizing fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains in the diet while avoiding processed foods and sugar. Everyone can improve their health by becoming familiar with recommended dietary and nutritional practices, such as reading labels and understanding basic nutritional concepts such as daily requirements for calories, protein, fat, and nutrients. Would-be vegetarians can experiment with meat substitutes, foods that are high in protein and essential nutrients. Thanks to the growing interest in vegetarianism, many meat substitutes are now readily available. Tofu and tempeh are products made from soybeans that are high in protein, calcium, and other nutrients. There are "veggie-burgers" that can be grilled like hamburgers, and vegetarian substitutes for turkey and sausage with surprisingly authentic textures and taste. There are many vegetarian cookbooks on the market as well.

A set of guidelines for North American vegetarian diets, updated for 2004, is available from the American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada. The new guidelines are intended to promote variety within vegetarian diets and to meet the needs of different stages in the life cycle as well as incorporate the most recent findings of medical research.

One remaining drawback to the widespread practice of vegetarianism is the unpleasant taste or smell of many vegetables. A number of phytonutrients have a bitter, astringent, or acrid taste that they impart to products made from vegetables that contain them. Some experts think that people tend to reject such strong-smelling or bitter-tasting vegetables as turnips, cabbage, brussels sprouts, or broccoli because humans have been programmed in the course of evolution to associate bitter taste with poisonous plants. It is increasingly recognized that the major barrier to dietary change for the sake of health is taste. One recommendation for improving the taste appeal of vegetarian diets is more frequent use of spices. In addition to pleasing the human palate, spices derived from plants have been shown to have chemoprotective effects, boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and fighting harmful bacteria and viruses.

Precautions

In general, a well-planned vegetarian diet is healthful and safe; in the summer of 2003, a position paper endorsed by the American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada referred to vegetarian diets as "healthful, nutritionally adequate, and [able to] provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." However, vegetarians, and particularly vegans who eat no animal products, need to be aware of particular nutrients that may be lacking in non-animal diets. These are amino acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc, and essential fatty acids. Furthermore, pregnant women, growing children, and those with health conditions have higher requirements for these nutrients.

Vegetarians should be aware of getting complete protein in their diets. A complete protein contains all of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks for protein essential to the diet because the body cannot make them. Meat and dairy products generally contain complete proteins, but most vegetarian foods such as grains and legumes contain incomplete proteins, lacking one or more of the essential amino acids. However, vegetarians can easily overcome this by combining particular foods in order to create complete proteins. For instance, beans are high in the amino acid lysine but low in tryptophan and methionine, but rice is low in lysine and high in tryptophan and methionine. Thus, combining rice and beans makes a complete protein. In general, combining legumes such as soy, lentils, beans, and peas with grains like rice, wheat, or oats forms complete proteins. Eating dairy products or nuts with grains also makes proteins complete. Oatmeal with milk on it is complete, as is peanut butter on whole wheat bread. Proteins do not necessarily need to be combined in the same meal, but generally within four hours.

Getting enough vitamin B12 may be an issue for some vegetarians, particularly vegans, because meat and dairy products are the main sources. Vitamin supplements that contain vitamin B12 are recommended. Spirulina, a nutritional supplement made from algae, is also a vegetarian source, as are fortified soy products and nutritional yeast.

Vitamin D can be obtained by vitamins, fortified foods, and sunshine. Calcium can be obtained in enriched tofu, seeds, nuts, legumes, dairy products, and dark green vegetables including broccoli, kale, spinach, and collard greens. Iron is found in raisins, figs, legumes, tofu, whole grains (particularly whole wheat), potatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables. Iron is absorbed more efficiently by the body when iron-containing foods are eaten with foods that contain vitamin C, such as fruits, tomatoes, and green vegetables. Zinc is abundant in nuts, pumpkin seeds, legumes, whole grains, and tofu. For vegetarians who do not eat fish, getting enough omega-3 essential fatty acids may be an issue, and supplements such as flaxseed oil should be considered, as well as eating walnuts and canola oil.

Vegetarians do not necessarily have healthier diets. Some studies have shown that some vegetarians consume large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. Eggs and dairy products contain cholesterol and saturated fat, while nuts, oils, and avocados are vegetable sources of saturated fat. To reap the full benefits of a vegetarian diet, vegetarians should be conscious of cholesterol and saturated fat intake. Vegetarians may also consider buying organic foods, which are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, as another health precaution.

Research and general acceptance

A vegetarian diet has many well-documented health benefits. It has been shown that vegetarians have a higher life expectancy, as much as several years, than those who eat a meat-centered diet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that data has shown vegetarians to have a strong or significant probability against contracting obesity, heart disease, lung cancer, colon cancer, alcoholism, hypertension, diabetes, gallstones, gout, kidney stones, and ulcers. However, the FDA also points out that vegetarians tend to have healthy lifestyle habits, so other factors may contribute to their increased health besides diet alone.

A vegetarian diet, as prescribed by Dr. Dean Ornish, has been shown to improve heart disease and reverse the effects of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. It should be noted that Dr. Ornish's diet was used in conjunction with exercise, stress reduction, and other holistic methods. The Ornish diet is lacto-ovo vegetarian, because it allows the use of egg whites and non-fat dairy products.

Vegetarians have a resource of statistics in their favor when it comes to presenting persuasive arguments in favor of their eating habits. Vegetarians claim that a vegetarian diet is a major step in improving the health of citizens and the environment. Americans eat over 200 lbs (91 kg) of meat per person per year. The incidence of heart disease, cancer diabetes, and other diseases has increased along with a dramatic increase in meat consumption during the past century. Many statistics show significantly smaller risks for vegetarians contracting certain conditions. The risks of women getting breast cancer and men contracting prostrate cancer are nearly four times as high for frequent meat eaters as for those who eat meat sparingly or not at all. For heart attacks, American men have a 50% risk of having one, but the risk drops down to 15% for lacto-ovo vegetarians and to only 4% for vegans. For cancer, studies of populations around the world have implied that plant-based diets have lower associated risks for certain types of cancer.

KEY TERMS

Cholesterol A steroid fat found in animal foods that is also produced in the body from saturated fat for several important functions. Excess cholesterol intake is linked to many diseases.

Complex carbohydrates Complex carbohydrates are broken down by the body into simple sugars for energy, are found in grains, fruits and vegetables. They are generally recommended in the diet over refined sugar and honey, because they are a more steady source of energy and often contain fiber and nutrients as well.

Legume Group of plant foods including beans, peas, and lentils, which are high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients.

Organic food Food grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

Saturated fat Fat that is usually solid at room temperature, found mainly in meat and dairy products but also in vegetable sources such as some nuts, seeds, and avocados.

Tempeh A fermented cake of soybeans and other grains; it is a staple food in Indonesia.

Tofu A soft cheeselike food made from curdled soybean milk.

Unsaturated fat Fat found in plant foods that is typically liquid (oil) at room temperature. They can be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, depending on the chemical structure. Unsaturated fats are the most recommended dietary fats.

Vegetarians claim other reasons for adopting a meat-free diet. One major concern is the amount of pesticides and synthetic additives such as hormones that show up in meat products. Chemicals tend to accumulate in the tissue of animals that are higher in the food chain, a process called bioaccumulation. Vegetarians, by not eating meat, can avoid the exposure to these accumulated toxins, many of which are known to influence the development of cancer. One study showed that DDT, a cancercausing pesticide, was present in significant levels in mother's milk for 99% of American women, but only 8% of vegetarian women had significant levels of the pesticide. Women who eat meat had 35 times higher levels of particular pesticides than vegetarian women. The synthetic hormones and antibiotics added to American cattle has led some European countries to ban American beef altogether. The widespread use of antibiotics in livestock has made many infectious agents more resistant to them, making some diseases harder to treat.

Vegetarians resort to ethical and environmental arguments as well when supporting their food choices. Much of U.S. agriculture is dedicated to producing meat, which is an expensive and resource-depleting practice. It has been estimated that 1.3 billion people could be fed with the grain that America uses to feed livestock, and starvation is a major problem in world health. Producing meat places a heavy burden on natural resources, as compared to growing grain and vegetables. One acre of land can grow approximately 40,000 lbs (18,000 kg) of potatoes or 250 lbs (113 kg) of beef, and it takes 50,000 gal (200,000 l) of water to produce 1 lb (0.45 kg) of California beef but only 25 gal (100 l) of water to produce 1 lb (0.45 kg) of wheat. Half of all water used in America is for livestock production. Vegetarians argue that the American consumption of beef may also be contributing to global warming, by the large amounts of fossil fuels used in its production. The South American rainforest is being cleared to support American's beef consumption, as the United States yearly imports 300 million lbs (136 million kg) of meat from Central and South America. The production of meat has been estimated as causing up to 85% of the loss of topsoil of America's farmlands. A German researcher in the field of nutrition ecology hs summarized the environmental benefits of vegetarian diets: "Research shows that vegetarian diets are well suited to protect the environment, to reduce pollution, and to minimize global climate changes."

Despite the favorable statistics, vegetarianism does have its opponents. The meat industry in America is a powerful organization that has spent millions of dollars over decades advertising the benefits of eating meat. Vegetarians point out that lifelong eating habits are difficult to change for many people, despite research showing that vegetarian diets can provide the same nutrients as meat-centered diets.

Resources

BOOKS

Pelletier, Kenneth R., MD. The Best Alternative Medicine, Part I: Food for Thought. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.

PERIODICALS

American Dietetic Association; Dietitians of Canada. "Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets." Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 64 (Summer 2003): 62-81.

Fornell-Barratt, Anne, and Adam Drewnowski. "The Taste of Health: Nature's Bitter Gifts." Nutrition Today 37 (July-August 2002): 144-150.

Greydanus, D. E., and D. R. Patel. "Sports Doping in the Adolescent Athlete: The Hope, Hype, and Hyperbole." Pediatric Clinics of North America 49 (August 2002): 829-855.

Jenkins, D. J., C. W. Kendall, A. Marchie, et al. "Type 2 Diabetes and the Vegetarian Diet." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78, Supplement 3 (September 2003): 610S-616S.

Kwok, E., G. Cheng, J. Woo, et al. "Independent Effect of Vitamin B12 Deficiency on Hematological Status in Older Chinese Vegetarian Women." American Journal of Hematology 70 (July 2002): 186-190.

Lampe, J. W. "Spicing Up a Vegetarian Diet: Chemopreventive Effects of Phytochemicals." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78, Supplement 3 (September 2003): 579S-583S.

Leitzmann, C. "Nutrition Ecology: The Contribution of Vegetarian Diets." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78, Supplement 3 (September 2003): 657S-659S.

Messina, V., V. Melina, and A. R. Mangels. "A New Food Guide for North American Vegetarians." Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 64 (Summer 2003): 82-86.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Dietetic Association. 216 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60606. (312) 899-0040. http://www.eatright.org.

Dietitians of Canada/Les diététistes du Canada. 480 University Avenue, Suite 604, Toronto, ON M5G IV2. (416) 596-0857. http://www.dietitians.ca/.

North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS). PO Box 72, Dolgeville, NY 13329. (518) 568-7970.

OTHER

Vegetarian Journal. Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG). PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

Vegetarian Nutrition and Health Letter. 1707 Nichol Hall, Loma Linda, CA 92350. (888) 558-8703.

Vegetarian Times. 4 High Ridge Park, Stamford, CT 06905. (877) 321-1796.

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Dupler, Douglas; Frey, Rebecca. "Vegetarianism." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. 2006. Retrieved September 30, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3451601708.html

Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism

Definition

Vegetarianism is the voluntary abstinence from eating meat. Vegetarians refrain from eating meat for various reasons, including religious, health, and ethical ones. Lacto-ovo vegetarians supplement their diet with dairy (lactose) products and eggs (ovo). Vegans (pronounced vee-guns) do not eat any animal-derived products at all.

Description

Vegetarianism has been steadily gaining acceptance as an alternative to the meat-and-potatoes bias of the traditional American diet. Several factors contribute to the interest in vegetarianism in the United States. Outbreaks of food poisoning from meat products, as well as increased concern over the additives in meat such as hormones and antibiotics , have led some people and professionals to question meat's safety. There is also an increased awareness of the questionable treatment of farm animals in factory farming.

But the growing health consciousness of Americans is probably the major reason for the surge in interest in vegetarianism. Nutrition experts have built up convincing evidence that there are major problems with the conventional American diet, which is centered on meat products that are high in cholesterol and saturated fat and low in fiber. Heart disease, cancer , and diabetes, which cause 68 percent of all deaths in America, are all believed to be influenced by this diet.

A vegetarian diet has many well-documented health benefits. It has been shown that vegetarians have a longer life expectancy than those who eat a meat-centered diet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that data has shown vegetarians to have a strong or significant probability against contracting obesity , heart disease, lung cancer, colon cancer, alcoholism , hypertension , diabetes, gallstones, gout, kidney stones, and ulcers. However, the FDA also points out that vegetarians tend to have healthy lifestyle habits, so other factors may contribute to their increased health besides diet alone.

Vegetarians have a huge number of statistics in their favor when it comes to presenting persuasive arguments in favor of their eating habits. Vegetarians claim that a vegetarian diet is a major step in improving the health of citizens and the environment. Americans eat over 200 pounds (91 kilograms) of meat per person per year. The incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases has increased along with the dramatic increase in meat consumption during the twentieth century.

Many statistics show significantly smaller risks for vegetarians contracting certain conditions. The risks of women getting breast cancer and men contracting prostrate cancer are nearly four times as high for frequent meat eaters as for those who eat meat sparingly or not at all. For heart attacks, American men have a 50 percent risk of having one, but the risk drops to 15 percent for lacto-ovo vegetarians, and to only 4 percent for vegans. For cancer, studies of populations around the world have implied that plant-based diets have lower associated risks for certain types of cancer.

Nutritionists have repeatedly shown in studies that a healthy diet consists of plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, and foods that are high in fiber and low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Vegetarianism, a diet that fulfills all these criteria, has become part of many healthy lifestyles.

Some nutritionists have designed transition diets to help people become vegetarian in stages. Many Americans eat meat products at nearly every meal, and the first stage of a transition diet is to substitute just a few meals a week with wholly vegetarian foods. Then, particular meat products can be slowly reduced and eliminated from the diet and replaced with vegetarian foods. Red meat can be reduced and then eliminated, followed by pork, poultry, and fish. For those wishing to become pure vegetarians or vegans, the final step is to choose other nutrient-rich foods in order to eliminate eggs and dairy products. Individuals should be willing to experiment with transition diets and should have patience when learning how combine vegetarianism with social activities such as dining out.

The transition to vegetarianism can be smoother for adolescents who make informed choices with dietary practices. Sound nutritional guidelines include decreasing the intake of fat, increasing fiber, and emphasizing fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, beans and lentils, and whole grains in the diet while avoiding processed foods and sugar.

Thanks to the growing interest in vegetarianism, many meat substitutes are now readily available. Tofu and tempeh are made from soybeans that are high in protein, calcium, and other nutrients. There are "veggieburgers" that can be grilled like hamburgers, and vegetarian substitutes for hot dogs, corn dogs, chicken, turkey, ham, bologna, pastrami, and sausage with surprisingly authentic textures and taste. Major vegetarian meat substitute brands include Morningstar Farms, Boca, Gardenburger, and Lightlife. There are many vegetarian cookbooks on the market as well as magazines such as Vegetarian Times, Veggie Life, and Vegetarian Journal.

Famous vegetarians, past and present, include Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Leo Tolstoy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gandhi, physician Albert Schweitzer, writer George Bernard Shaw, champion tri-athlete Dave Scott, and musicians Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Alanis Morissette, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen.

Infancy, toddlerhood, and preschool

Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can do well on a vegetarian diet, especially one that includes eggs and dairy products. If they are not included, the young child may suffer from shortages of vitamins B12, B2, and D; protein; calcium; and zinc. The child may also need iron supplements because iron in plant food is not absorbed well.

Infants and toddlers require many calories in order to grow at the normal rate. At about seven to eight months of age, babies are ready to start eating protein-rich foods. Instead of pureed meats, vegetarian infants should be given protein alternatives such as pureed peas, beans, and lentils, cottage cheese, pureed tofu, and yogurt.

It is important that toddlers eat high-calorie vegetarian foods such as diced nuts, olives, dates, and avocados so they get enough calories. Most importantly, parents should make sure a vegetarian child eats a wide variety of foods, according to a 2002 advisory from the journal Clinical Reference Systems.

Parents must take care to insure the child gets enough food for growth, since a vegetarian diet relies heavily on bulk foods that are filling but usually short of calories. Parents who are vegetarians and want their baby to be one should discuss the topic with a pediatrician. Young children who are vegetarians should be monitored regularly to make sure their weight and height are appropriate for their age.

School age

About 2 percent of Americans age six to 17 (about 1 million) are vegetarian, the same percentage as among American adults, and 0.5 percent are vegan, according to a 2002 survey by the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG). Six percent of six to 17 year olds do not eat meat but do eat fish and/or poultry.

Teens who follow a vegetarian diet are more likely to meet recommendations for total fat, saturated fat, and number of servings of fruits and vegetables as compared to non-vegetarians. They also have higher intakes of iron, vitamin A, fiber, and diet soda, and lower intakes of vitamin B12, cholesterol, and fast food. Most teens, whether they were vegetarian or not, do not meet recommendations for calcium, according to the VRG survey.

The survey concluded that rather than viewing adolescent vegetarianism as a phase or fad, the diet could be viewed as a healthy alternative to the traditional American meat-based diet. The survey also stated that vegetarian diets in adolescence could lead to lifelong health-promoting dietary practices. The survey was reported in the July-August 2002 issue of the VRG publication Vegetarian Journal.

Common problems

In general, a well-planned vegetarian diet is healthy and safe. However, vegetarians, and particularly vegans who eat no animal products, need to be aware of particular nutrients that may be lacking in non-animal diets. These are amino acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc, and essential fatty acids. Infants and growing children have higher requirements for these nutrients.

Vegetarians should be aware of getting complete protein in their diets. A complete protein contains all of the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks for protein essential to the diet because the body cannot make them. Meat and dairy products generally contain complete proteins, but most vegetarian foods such as grains and beans contain incomplete proteins, lacking one or more of the essential amino acids. However, vegetarians can easily overcome this by combining particular foods in order to create complete proteins. For instance, beans are high in the amino acid lysine but low in tryptophan and methionine, but rice is low in lysine and high in tryptophan and methionine. Thus, combining rice and beans makes a complete protein.

Eating dairy products or nuts with grains also makes proteins complete. Oatmeal with milk on it is complete, as is peanut butter on whole wheat bread. Proteins do not necessarily need to be combined in the same meal, but generally within four hours.

Getting enough vitamin B12 may be an issue for some vegetarians, particularly vegans, because meat and dairy products are the main sources. Vitamin supplements that contain vitamin B12 are recommended. Spirulina, a nutritional supplement made from algae, is also a vegetarian source, as are fortified soy products and nutritional yeast.

KEY TERMS

Amino acid An organic compound composed of both an amino group and an acidic carboxyl group. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of proteins. There are 20 types of amino acids (eight are "essential amino acids" which the body cannot make and must therefore be obtained from food).

Cholesterol A steroid fat found in animal foods that is also produced in the human body from saturated fat. Cholesterol is used to form cell membranes and process hormones and vitamin D. High cholesterol levels contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.

Essential fatty acid (EFA) A fatty acid that the body requires but cannot make. It must be obtained from the diet. EFAs include omega-6 fatty acids found in primrose and safflower oils, and omega-3 fatty acids oils found in fatty fish and flaxseed, canola, soybean, and walnuts.

Gout A metabolic disorder characterized by sudden recurring attacks of arthritis caused by deposits of crystals that build up in the joints due to abnormally high uric acid blood levels. In gout, uric acid may be overproduced, underexcreted, or both.

Hypertension Abnormally high arterial blood pressure, which if left untreated can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Lacto-ovo vegetarian People who do not eat meat, but do include dairy products and eggs in their diets.

Lysine A crystalline basic amino acid essential to nutrition.

Methionine An amino acid that, when not metabolized properly, allows homocysteine to build up in the blood. Folic acid aids methionine metabolism.

Spirulina A genus of blue-green algae that is sometimes added to food to increase its nutrient value.

Tryptophan An essential amino acid that has to consumed in the diet because it cannot be manufactured by the body. Tryptophan is converted by the body to niacin, one of the B vitamins, and serotonin, a neurotransmitter.

Vegan A vegetarian who does not eat eggs or dairy products.

Vitamin D can be obtained by vitamins, fortified foods, and sunshine. Calcium can be obtained in enriched tofu, seeds, nuts, beans, dairy products, and dark green vegetables, including broccoli, kale, spinach, and collard greens. Iron is found in raisins, figs, beans, tofu, whole grains, potatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables. Iron is absorbed more efficiently by the body when iron-containing foods are eaten with foods that contain vitamin C, such as fruits, tomatoes, and green vegetables. Zinc is abundant in nuts, pumpkin seeds, beans, whole grains, and tofu.

For vegetarians who do not eat fish, getting enough omega-3 essential fatty acids may be an issue, and supplements such as flaxseed oil should be considered, as well as consumption of walnuts and canola oil. Another essential fatty acid, omega-6, found in fish, can be obtained from borage oil or evening primrose oil supplements.

Vegetarians do not necessarily have healthier diets. Some studies have shown that some vegetarians consume large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. It is quite possible to be a vegetarian yet eat an unhealthy fast-food or junk food diet. Eggs and dairy products contain cholesterol and saturated fat, while nuts, oils, and avocados are vegetable sources of saturated fat. To reap the full benefits of a vegetarian diet, vegetarians should be conscious of cholesterol and saturated fat intake.

Parental concerns

Parents should closely monitor their vegetarian child's height, weight, and general health. A child who is not getting enough vitamins, minerals , and other nutrients may have symptoms such as skin rashes , fatigue, a painful and swollen tongue, irritability, pale skin, mental slowness, or difficulty breathing. The diets of vegetarian adolescents should be monitored closely to make sure they are eating a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and non-meat protein sources.

When to call the doctor

Parents should consult their child's pediatrician or physician if they are unsure the child's vegetarian diet is nutritionally adequate. A doctor should also be consulted if a child's weight or height is not appropriate for their age.

Resources

BOOKS

Poneman, Debra, and Emily Anderson Greene. What, No Meat?! What to Do When Your Kid Becomes a Vegetarian. Toronto, ON (Canada): ECW Press, 2003.

Schwartz, Ellen, and Farida Zaman. I'm a Vegetarian. New York: Tundra Books, 2002.

Stepaniak, Joanne, and Vesanto Melina. Raising Vegetarian Children. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002.

PERIODICALS

Brayden, Robert. "Vegetarian Diet." Clinical Reference Systems (Annual 2002): 3470.

Grossman, Jeff. "Vegan with a Vengeance: Strict Form of Vegetarianism Attracts Young Adherents." Psychology Today 37 (March-April 2004): 16.

"How Many Teens Are Vegetarian? How Many Kids Don't Eat Meat?" Vegetarian Journal (January 2001): 10.

Mangels, Reed. "Good News about Vegetarian Diets for Teens." Vegetarian Journal 21 (July-August 2002): 2021.

. "Vegetarian Journal's Guide to Foods for Vegetarian Teens." Vegetarian Journal (September 2001): 20.

Ortinau, Rebecca. "Proud to Be a Vegetarian." Vegetarian Baby and Child Magazine 4 (September-October 2002): 3840.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Vegan Society. 56 Dinshah Lane, PO Box 369, Malaga, NJ 08328. Web site: <www.americanvegan.org>.

The Vegetarian Resource Group. PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203. Web site: <www.vrg.org>.

Vegetarian Youth Network. PO Box 1141, New Paltz, NY 12561. Web site: <www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/4482/>.

WEB SITES

Vegetarian Baby and Child Online Magazine, 2004. Available online at <www.vegetarianbaby.com> (accessed November 14, 2004).

Vegetarianteen.com. Available online at <www.vegetarianteen.com> (accessed November 15, 2004).

Douglas Dupler Rebecca J. Frey, PhD Ken R. Wells

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Dupler, Douglas; Frey, Rebecca; Wells, Ken. "Vegetarianism." Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health: Infancy through Adolescence. 2006. Encyclopedia.com. 30 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Dupler, Douglas; Frey, Rebecca; Wells, Ken. "Vegetarianism." Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health: Infancy through Adolescence. 2006. Encyclopedia.com. (September 30, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3447200598.html

Dupler, Douglas; Frey, Rebecca; Wells, Ken. "Vegetarianism." Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health: Infancy through Adolescence. 2006. Retrieved September 30, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3447200598.html

Vegetarianism

VEGETARIANISM

VEGETARIANISM. The dietary practice and philosophy of vegetarianism dates back to the views of Pythagoras in the fifth century B.C.E., as well as to religious practices associated with Hinduism, Janism, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism. Historically, support for a vegetarian lifestyle has been grounded in both health and ethical and moral arguments. However, in the United States and Canada health arguments have dominated, and ethical and moral arguments typically have taken a lesser role. While many people become vegetarians because of concern for the treatment of animals raised in factory-like conditions, North Americans more commonly become vegetarians because they believe that it will help them lose weight, have more energy, or ameliorate such health conditions as high blood pressure or heart disease.

While the percentage of North Americans practicing vegetarianism has remained rather consistent at about one percent of the total population (and about 5 to 6 percent in the United Kingdom), social acceptance of this lifestyle increased dramatically in the late twentieth century. In large part, recognition by medical and nutritional authorities that vegetarian diets can be healthful and even desirable when appropriately planned has led to the legitimacy of vegetarian diets and to fewer fears regarding nutritional deficiencies. While the increasing scientific and cultural acceptance of vegetarian diets has not led to a greater percentage of the population adhering to vegetarian diets, more people are experimenting with "semivegetarianism," adding more meatless meals to their weekly menus.

Varieties of Vegetarianism

A wide range of dietary practices falls under the rubric of "vegetarianism." People who practice the strictest version, veganism, do not use any animal products or byproducts. They do not eat meat, poultry, or seafood, nor do they wear leather or wool. They avoid foods that contain such animal by-products as whey and gelatin and do not use products that have been tested on animals.

Other vegetarians limit their avoidances to food. For example, ovo-lacto vegetarians consume eggs and dairy products but not meat, poultry, and seafood. Ovo vegetarians do not consume dairy products, and lacto vegetarians consume dairy products but not eggs. Semivegetarians occasionally consume some or all animal products and may or may not consider themselves vegetarians. Studies suggest that semivegetarians outnumber "true" vegetarians by about four to one.

These terms define the various types of vegetarians by what they do not consume. Consequently, many vegetarians are concerned that nonvegetarians view vegetarian diets as primarily prohibitive and restrictive. They emphasize that following a vegetarian diet often leads people to consume a wider variety of foods than many meat eaters do, as vegetarians often include a wider range of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes in their diets.

A Brief Historical Perspective

Vegetarianism arrived in the United States in the early 1800s as primarily a religious practice associated with the Bible Christian Church of Philadelphia. The church's leader, William Metcalfe, advocated abstinence from meat as a form of spiritual temperance. In 1830 the Bible Christian Church hired Sylvester Graham, who had been studying medicine in Philadelphia, as a temperance lecturer. Graham soon branched out on his own, turning elements of a religious philosophy into a more secular set of practices in which he advocated abstinence from alcohol, sex, coffee, tea, spices, and of course meat.

Graham's philosophy was rooted in a deep distrust of the emerging industrial revolution of the 1830s and 1840s. He expressed concern that the marketplace was supplanting the role of "hearth and home" in developing moral character and stressed the importance of individual efforts to restore a moral balance in an increasingly chaotic social world. With Metcalfe and such vegetarian advocates as William Alcott and Russell Trall, Graham helped form the American Vegetarian Society in 1850. Many early suffragists and abolitionists, such as Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Horace Greeley, attended the early meetings of this organization.

The vegetarian legacy continued with the efforts of John Harvey Kellogg, who developed cornflakes in 1894. The Seventh Day Adventist Church hired Kellogg in the 1870s to run its Battle Creek Sanatorium, where popular treatments included exercise, hydropathy (water cure), and a vegetarian diet. The Seventh Day Adventist Church continued to endorse and promote vegetarian diets in the twenty-first century, although it did not require its members to adopt them.

Interestingly, although early vegetarianism was strongly associated with religion (first with the Bible Christian Church and then with Seventh Day Adventism), vegetarianism has been primarily a secular rather than a spiritual practice in North America. Even the early vegetarians were encouraged to adopt vegetarianism as a means to good health that would enhance their individual capacities, including their capacity to experience the Divine, and vegetarianism has rarely been promoted as a spiritual path in and of itself. Consequently, despite its historically religious underpinnings, the health aspect of vegetarianism has predominated in the United States and Canada.

Characteristics of Contemporary Vegetarians

While vegetarians probably exhibit more differences than similarities, researchers have discerned several patterns regarding their social backgrounds and statuses. Vegetarians tend to come from predominantly middle-class backgrounds, and a substantially smaller percentage comes from lower social classes. This can be explained by the fact that people who have less money view meat as desirable and associate it with upward social mobility. Therefore, when they have discretionary income, they are likely to use it to purchase meat products. In North America meat is often associated with success and social status. People are only likely to reject meat once they have the opportunity to consume as much as they want.

Gender is another patterned feature of vegetarians in North America. Studies have consistently found that about 70 percent of all vegetarians are female. Several explanations are possible. First, the foods embraced by vegetarian diets are those already symbolically linked with feminine attributes, that is, foods that are light, low-fat, and not bloody (as people often equate blood with strength). For many people meat and masculinity are inextricably linked; therefore it is easier for women than for men to escape cultural expectations. In addition, women tend to be more concerned with weight loss, and many pursue a vegetarian diet as the means to that end. Finally, some researchers hold that women are more likely than men to hold a compassionate attitude toward animals, leading them to have more concern about killing animals for food. All of these factors contribute to the reality that women are more likely than men to become vegetarians.

Studies have suggested that vegetarians may share a variety of other characteristics as well. For example, while vegetarians are less likely than the general population to follow a conventional religion, they are more likely to describe themselves as spiritual and to practice some form of yoga or meditation. They are more likely to describe themselves as "liberal" and less likely to adhere to traditional values that embrace upholding the existing social order. They are also less likely than the general population to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. Yet it is important to point out that vegetarians are more different than similar in their social backgrounds, political beliefs, and health practices.

Reasons for Vegetarianism

People become vegetarians for a variety of reasons, including personal health, a concern for the treatment of farm animals and the environment, spiritual beliefs, and sometimes simply a physical disgust toward meat. Most commonly North Americans follow a gradual path toward vegetarianism that starts with a health motivation. They perceive that a vegetarian diet will give them more energy, will help them lose weight, or will assuage a health condition, such as heart disease or cancer. Other people become vegetarians out of a concern for the rights of animals or a belief that meat production causes devastating effects to the environment. Some grew up with or adopted a religion (for example, Hinduism, Jainism, Seventh Day Adventism) that encourages or requires a vegetarian diet. Still others are concerned with world hunger and take the view that many more people can be fed on a vegetarian diet than on a meat-based one.

People tend to first stop eating the foods they view as the most offensive or unhealthy. For most gradual vegetarians this is red meat. The typical path for a new vegetarian is to stop eating red meat first, then poultry, and then fish. Some move to further prohibitions by adopting a vegan lifestyle as they eliminate eggs, dairy products, and other animal by-products. As people progress along the vegetarian "path," they tend to adopt new reasons to support their lifestyle practices. Most commonly people begin with a health motivation and gradually become concerned with the humane treatment of animals and protecting the environment, and many develop a disgust response to meat products.

Scientific Controversy and Gradual Acceptance

After the mid-1800s, the medical establishment responded to advocates' claims that vegetarian diets are healthful and desirable. In the 1800s vegetarians were primarily labeled as "quacks" and were characterized in the popular press as weak, sallow, and emaciated. The notion that vegetarians are weak and lack energy persisted throughout the twentieth century.

In the 1970s dietitians and nutritional scientists focused much attention on vegetarian diets, and many considered them a medical problem. These nutritionists were particularly concerned that vegetarians did not consume adequate protein. During the 1970s and 1980s many articles in nutrition journals debated whether or not vegetarian diets were desirable and gave advice about how to deal with obstinate vegetarian clients. Over time, however, dietitians accepted the idea that vegetable protein derived primarily from grains and legumes is not of lesser quality than protein from meat and other animal-based foods. Eventually dietitians accepted their clients' vegetarian lifestyles and began to help them improve those diets instead of trying to convert them to meat eating.

By the early twenty-first century the American Dietetic Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture both endorsed the healthfulness of vegetarian diets when they are appropriately planned (just as any diet should be). However, new controversies have arisen, particularly regarding the necessity and desirability of consuming milk and other dairy products. This controversy was spurred in the late 1990s in large part by the view of the renowned pediatrician Benjamin Spock that children should be fed a vegan diet after age two. This stance has generated much debate, as it challenges the deep-seated cultural notion that milk is necessary to build strong bones and to foster physical development.

The Vegetarian Movement

Most people adopt vegetarian diets at least in part as a result of interactions with other practicing vegetarians. People rarely become vegetarians in isolation. Through social interactions, people learn the reasons for adopting vegetarian diets and how to successfully follow them. For example, they learn how to cook vegetarian meals and where to buy foods that will ensure that their new diets are both nutritionally sound and personally satisfying. Consequently, vegetarianism is typically much more of a social experience than an individual experience.

Numerous vegetarian organizations facilitate this social learning. Although they are largely distinct from animal rights and environmental organizations, they sometimes share leadership and other resources. At the national level the American Vegan Society, the North American Vegetarian Society, and EarthSave hold conferences, distribute literature on vegetarian diets, and help form local vegetarian societies. In these local groups people interact, share potluck meals, listen to speakers, and sometimes distribute vegetarian literature to the public at local events.

Other national vegetarian organizations, such as FARM, Vegan Action, and Vegan Outreach, encourage vegetarians to take a more activist stance. The Vegetarian Resource Group distributes well-documented, scientifically oriented literature to the public and works with governmental and professional organizations to advance the movement's goals. All of these groups primarily promote vegetarianism through education and embrace the varied reasons for adopting vegetarian diets.

See also Kellogg, John Harvey ; Organic Food ; Pythagoras ; Vegetables .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Amato, Paul R., and Sonia A. Partridge. The New Vegetarians: Promoting Health and Protecting Life. New York: Plenum, 1989. A sociological work based on a survey of vegetarians.

Fox, Michael Allen. Deep Vegetarianism. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999. A philosophical examination of vegetarianism.

Jabs, Jennifer, Carol M. Devine, and Jeffery Sobal. "Personal Factors, Social Networks, and Environmental Resources." Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 59 (1998): 183189. A qualitative investigation of the social aspects of maintaining a vegetarian diet.

Marcus, Erik. Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating. Ithaca, N.Y.: McBooks Press, 1998. A vegan's perspective that includes interviews with vegetarian leaders.

Maurer, Donna. Vegetarianism: Movement or Moment? Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002. An analysis of the contemporary vegetarian movement in the United States and Canada.

Melina, Vesanto, Brenda Davis, and Victoria Harrison. Becoming Vegetarian: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Vegetarian Diet. Summertown, Tenn.: Book Publishing, 1995. A guide to vegetarian diets written by three dietitians.

Spencer, Colin. The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1995. A global historical analysis of vegetarianism focusing on its philosophical aspects.

Stepaniak, Joanne. The Vegan Sourcebook. Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1998. A compendium of vegan information, including recipes.

Donna Maurer

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Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism

A vegetarian eating plan, also known as plant-based eating, is based on a diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, with occasional use of dairy and egg products. This style of eating has existed since the beginning of recorded history. As early as 600 B.C.E., a vegetarian movement was founded in ancient Rome. Vegetarian eating became popular in England and the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. For many individuals, their whole lifestyle is defined by their vegetarian eating. In 1998, 7 percent of American adults considered themselves to be vegetarians.

Types of Vegetarians

There are several vegetarian eating styles. Most vegetarians consider themselves lacto-ovo vegetarians, meaning they generally eat dairy and egg products, but do not include meat, poultry, or fish in their diet. Lacto vegetarians eliminate all animal foods except dairy products. Total vegetarians, or vegans (pronounced VEE-guns), eliminate all animal products. Individuals who occasionally eat meat, poultry, or fish consider themselves semi-vegetarian.

Most individuals who choose a vegetarian eating style want to be healthier and lower their risk for disease. Others are concerned about the environment and the cost of raising animals for food. Some do not agree with the inhumane treatment and killing of animals for food. There are also a number of individuals who choose vegetarian eating for religious purposes.

Benefits of Vegetarianism

Research has shown a number of health benefits related to vegetarian eating. Heart disease , high blood pressure , adult-onset diabetes , obesity , osteoporosis , and certain cancers occur less often in people who are vegetarian. Science has demonstrated that these health benefits are related to healthful food choices. Eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds provides the body with the ammunition needed to fight disease and illness. A diet high in meat, saturated fat , milk, cheese, and butter does not provide the same health benefits.

Nutritional Adequacy

Almost every food contains protein . Even though animal foods are high in protein, they are not the only foods able to supply protein, which is necessary for the growth and maintenance of the body. Sources of protein in the vegetarian diet include cooked dried beans, nuts, seeds, and soy products.

Dairy and egg products provide vitamin B12. For the vegetarian, foods such as fortified cereals and soymilk can provide the vitamin B12 needed by the body. Dairy products are also an excellent source of calcium , along with calcium-fortified soymilk, tofu processed with calcium, broccoli, nuts, collard greens, and calcium-fortified orange juice. High-calcium foods are important for strong bones and should be consumed early in life to build the body's calcium stores.

Although red meat is a major source of iron in Western diets, vegetarians actually have higher iron intakes than nonvegetarians. Plant sources of iron include beans, fortified cereals, whole grain products, tofu, dark green leafy vegetables, seeds, prune juice, and blackstrap molasses. Including a vitamin Crich food with meals will help to increase the body's absorption of iron.

The American Dietetic Association has stated that "appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, are nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases" (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 1317).

Vegetarianism at Different Ages

When choosing vegetarian eating, it is important to be aware that there are special nutritional needs at different stages of life. Pregnancy and breast-feeding require additional calories and nutrients . A well-planned vegetarian diet can provide these in the amounts needed for a healthy mother and baby.

During infancy, childhood, and the teenage years, adequate calories to sustain proper growth are necessary. This usually is not a problem for infants because they are either breastfed or on formula. During childhood and the teenage years, meals should consist of high-calorie, high-nutrient (good sources of protein, vitamins , and minerals ) foods. Because many plant foods are low in calories and high in fiber , it is easy for the child or teenager to feel full before eating an adequate amount of calories. Moderate amounts of high-fat foods can help to increase calorie intake. In-between-meal snacks are useful, as they also provide needed calories. Healthy snacks include items like peanut-butter sandwiches and milk (or soy milk), a melted cheese and bagel sandwich, fruit smoothies, and, after three years of age, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds.

Older adults may have difficulty obtaining vitamins D and B12, as well as calories. Many people do not get enough sunlight for their bodies to produce the recommended amount of vitamin D , which is essential for absorbing calcium and preventing osteoporosis. Using breakfast cereals and soy products fortified with vitamin D is important, though it may also be necessary to take a supplement because the absorption of vitamin B12 decreases as people get older.

It is important to eat foods that are fortified with B12, such as soymilk, or to take a B12 supplement. Older adults are also at risk for not getting enough calories, because the appetite tends to decrease with age. Eating foods that are low in calories and high in fiber makes it difficult to get the needed energy intake to stay healthy. Eating high-calorie, nutrient-dense foods and in-between-meal snacks is important.

Careful planning ensures that vegetarian eating will provide the nutrition needed to stay healthy. One helpful tool is the Vegetarian Food Guide Pyramid, which provides guidelines for selecting foods and the appropriate portion sizes.

Using a variety of foods is essential to good health when following the Food Guide Pyramid. One single food cannot provide the body with all the nutrition it needs. Five portions of fruits and vegetables should be consumed daily, including a citrus fruit and a dark green leafy vegetable. Whole grains should be eaten whenever possible; these have more nutrients and fiber than processed grains such as white bread and white rice. Proteins should be chosen wisely. While dairy products and eggs are good protein sources, they are also high in saturated fats and cholesterol . Nuts, seeds, beans, and soy products should be part of the diet.

A carefully planned vegetarian diet can provide the nutrients needed for health at any time during the life cycle. Most individuals who choose this eating style do so because of the many health benefits associated with vegetarian eating, including reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

see also Meat Analogs; Plant-Based Diets; Soy; Vegan; Whole Foods Diet.

Cheryl Flynt

Bibliography

American Dietetic Association. "Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets." Journal of the American Dietetic Association 97(11):13171321.

Duyff, Roberta Larson (1996). The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Minneapolis, MN: Chronimed.

Seventh-day Adventist Dietetic Association (1997). The Vegetarian/Vegan Resource: An Annex to Diet Manuals. Roseville, CA: Author.

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vegan

vegan diets comprise only plant foods and exclude all meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, and honey. Although many poor peasant agriculturalist populations have diets based on plant foods with only small amounts of animal food, there are no traditional societies which follow a completely vegan diet. The word was coined by Donald Watson as ‘the beginning and end of vegetarian’, and the first vegan society was formed in Britain in 1944.

The reasons for choosing a vegan diet are similar to those for choosing a vegetarian diet, but the philosophy is more logical because dairy foods, which are included in vegetarian diets, cannot be produced efficiently without the slaughter of cattle. To produce milk a cow must give birth to a calf: most of these calves are reared and slaughtered for meat, and the cows themselves are also slaughtered for meat as soon as they fail to conceive or develop other health problems. The production of eggs involves the slaughter of male chicks and of old laying hens.

Unfortified plant foods contain all the nutrients needed by humans except for vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Animals used for meat obtain vitamin B12 from bacteria in the rumen (cattle and sheep), bacteria in the soil (pigs), or by eating their own faeces (rabbits). Vitamin B12 is now synthesized cheaply and added to many foods including breakfast cereals, yeast extracts, and various soya-based foods. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin in response to sunlight, and is also added to several foods including margarine. Therefore, with fortification and sunlight, vegan diets can supply all the nutrients needed by humans. Vegan diets are usually higher than non-vegetarian diets in some nutrients such as fibre, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium, and lower than non-vegetarian diets in protein, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and calcium. Vegan diets can be low in iodine and selenium, but this depends on the soil in which the plants are grown.

The nutritional status and health of vegans has been investigated in a number of small studies. These have shown that most vegans are adequately nourished and in satisfactory health, and that vegans are thinner and have lower blood cholesterol concentrations than comparable non-vegetarians. Vegan children grow normally provided that they receive well planned diets. There have been some cases of nutritional deficiency in vegans, notably vitamin B12 deficiency in vegans who were not eating foods fortified with this vitamin (or taking a vitamin B12 supplement).

There is little information on the long-term health of vegans. Epidemiological studies of mortality in vegetarians have included some vegans, and the mortality rate of these vegans has been similar to that of the vegetarians, but the total number studied throughout the world is still far too small to be able to draw any firm conclusions. A diet comprised largely or entirely of plants has several potential advantages for health, land use, and ecological impact, and looking further ahead may be the diet of choice for the extended exploration of space. Further scientific research on plant-based diets and the health of vegans is therefore a priority for the future.

Tim Key

Bibliography

Langley, G. R. (1995). Vegan nutrition. The Vegan Society, St Leonards-on-Sea.

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vegetarian

vegetarian diets exclude all meat, poultry, and fish and are based on plant foods. Most vegetarians include dairy products and eggs in their diet; this type of diet is sometimes described as lacto-ovo-vegetarian whereas vegetarians who exclude all animal foods from their diet are termed vegans.

There are three major reasons for which people choose a vegetarian diet. The first is aversion to the slaughter of animals; this view is not logically compatible with the consumption of dairy products or eggs, because the production of these foods inevitably involves the slaughter of calves, cows, and chicks (see vegan). The second major reason for choosing a vegetarian diet is for more efficient land use, because a hectare of good farmland can produce much more plant food than animal food. The third reason is health, because most of the meat consumed in Western societies is rich in saturated fat and this increases the concentration of cholesterol in the blood and therefore the risk of developing ischaemic heart disease.

Well planned vegetarian diets are adequate for normal growth and health. Some Hindus in India have, for religious reasons, followed vegetarian diets for many generations and their diet is clearly adequate for maintaining a viable population. In Western countries the number of vegetarians has increased greatly since the 1960s. Nutritional studies have shown that on average the diets of these people are nutritionally adequate and are closer to current recommendations for maintaining health than average non-vegetarian diets. Epidemiological studies have shown that vegetarians have significantly lower mortality from ischaemic heart disease than comparable non-vegetarians, and are less likely to be obese, but have not established differences in mortality rates from other causes of death.

The proportion of the population who are vegetarian is still rising in many Western countries, and has probably been accelerated by health issues such as the link between ‘mad cow disease’ (bovine spongiform encephalopathy — BSE) and new variant Creutzfeld–Jacob disease in humans. Future trends in the dietary preferences of populations are difficult to predict, but there is no doubt that a move towards a ‘semi-vegetarian’ diet low in animal products would allow more people to be fed from less land and could have substantial ecological benefits.

Tim Key

Bibliography

Thorogood, M. (1995). The epidemiology of vegetarianism and health. Nutrition Research Reviews, 8, 179–92.


See also diets; health foods; vegan.

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Vegetarianism

VEGETARIANISM

VEGETARIANISM, the practice of eating a diet composed primarily or wholly of vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, and seeds, with or without eggs and dairy products, was endorsed in the United States in 1838 by the American Health Convention. Various proponents such as William Alcott (1798–1859) advanced the vegetarian cause for ethical and health reasons throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Vegetarianism enjoyed new attention and became a political stance with the counterculture of the 1960s as abuses and inefficiencies of mass-market meat production were brought to light. Still, in 1971 only 1 percent of U.S. citizens described themselves as vegetarians. But vegetarianism became an increasingly attractive and accepted dietary option by the century's end. A 2000 Zogby Poll sponsored by the Vegetarian Resource Group found that 2.5 percent of respondents reported not eating meat, poultry, or fish while 4.5 percent reported not eating meat. Additionally, the National Restaurant Association reported that in 2001 approximately eight out of ten restaurants offered vegetarian entrees.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Root, Waverly Lewis, and Richard de Rochemont. Eating in America: A History. New York, 1976.

Spencer, Colin. The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1995.

Loren ButlerFeffer

See alsoDiets and Dieting ; Health Food Industry ; Nutrition and Vitamins .

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vegetarianism

vegetarianism, theory and practice of eating only fruits and vegetables, thus excluding animal flesh, fish, or fowl and often butter, eggs, and milk. In a strict vegetarian, or vegan, diet (i.e., one that excludes all animal products), the nine amino acids that must be supplied by the diet can be obtained by eating foods that include both grains and legumes (e.g., beans or tofu) at any point during the day. Vitamins B12 and D can be obtained through supplements or the addition of a cup of nonfat milk or yogurt to the daily diet. Ovolactovegetarians obtain complete proteins by including milk, cheese, and eggs in their diets.

The basis of the practice of vegetarianism may be religious or ethical, economic, or nutritional, and its followers differ as to strictness of observance. Certain Hindu and Buddhist sects are vegetarian, as are Seventh-day Adventists. As a general movement vegetarianism arose about the middle of the 19th cent.; it made considerable progress in Great Britain and in the United States. In the contemporary United States, vegetarianism has gained acceptance as a practice that lowers one's risk for the "diseases of affluence," e.g., high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

See C. Spencer, A History of Vegetarianism (1995); T. Stuart The Bloodless Revolution (2007).

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Vegan

Vegan

A vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is a vegetarian who does not eat any animal products, including eggs and dairy products. A well-planned vegan diet can be nutritionally adequate, even for children and pregnant and lactating women. However, it is important that wise food selections are made. These selections include soymilk fortified with vitamin B12, vitamin D , and calcium . Also important are whole grains, nuts, and seeds, which are rich sources of zinc and other nutrients . Foods high in vitamin C will help to increase iron absorption .

see also Plant-Based Diets; Vegetarianism.

Cheryl Flynt

Bibliography

Seventh-day Adventist Dietetic Association (1997). The Vegetarian/Vegan Resource: An Annex to Diet Manuals. Roseville, CA: Author.

Internet Resources

Vegetarian Nutrition Resource Group. Available from <http://www.vegetariannutrition.net>

Vegetarian Resource Group. Available from <http://www.vrg.org>

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vegetarians

vegetarians Those who do not eat meat, either for ethical/religious reasons or because they believe that a meat‐free diet confers health benefits. Apart from a risk of vitamin B12 deficiency (vitamin B12 is found only in meat products), there are no adverse effects of a wholly meat‐free diet, although vegetarian women are more at risk of iron deficiency. Vitamin B12 supplements prepared by bacterial fermentation (and hence ethically acceptable to the strictest of vegetarians) are available.

The strictest vegetarians are vegans, who consume no products of animal origin at all; fruitarians eat only fruit, not other vegetables. Those who consume milk and milk products are termed lacto‐vegetarians; those who also eat eggs, ovo‐lacto‐vegetarians. Some vegetarians (pescetarians) will eat fish but not meat, and the least strict will eat poultry, but not red meat.

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vegetarian

veg·e·tar·i·an / ˌvejiˈte(ə)rēən/ • n. a person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, esp. for moral, religious, or health reasons. • adj. of or relating to the exclusion of meat or other animal products from the diet: a vegetarian restaurant. DERIVATIVES: veg·e·tar·i·an·ism / -ˌnizəm/ n.

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vegetarianism

vegetarianism Practice of abstaining from eating meat and fish. A minority of vegetarians, known as vegans, further exclude from their diet all products of animal origin, such as butter, eggs, milk, and cheese. Vegetarianism has a religious basis, particularly among Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist sects.

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Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism. The conscious avoidance of eating animal flesh, frequently extended to fish, and sometimes to animal products. In the East, it is most closely associated with Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist traditions: see FOOD.

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vegan

vegan a person who does not eat or use animal products. The word was coined in 1944 as the existing terms vegetarian and fruitarian were already associated with the permitted consumption of dairy produce.

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vegan

veg·an / ˈvēgən; ˈvejən/ • n. a person who does not eat or use animal products: I'm a strict vegan | [as adj.] a vegan diet.

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"vegan." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Retrieved September 30, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-vegan.html

vegan

vegan •deafen •griffon, stiffen •antiphon •hyphen, siphon •often, soften •orphan • ibuprofen •roughen, toughen •colophon •dragon, flagon, lagan, pendragon, wagon •snapdragon • bandwagon • jargon •Megan •Copenhagen, pagan, Reagan •Nijmegen •Antiguan, Egan, Keegan, Regan, vegan •Wigan • cardigan • Milligan • polygon •hooligan • mulligan • ptarmigan •Branigan • Oregon • Michigan •Rattigan •tigon, trigon •toboggan •Glamorgan, gorgon, Morgan, morgen, organ •Brogan, hogan, Logan, slogan •Cadogan • decagon •Aragon, paragon, tarragon •hexagon • pentagon • heptagon •octagon • Bergen • Spitsbergen

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"vegan." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. 30 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"vegan." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. (September 30, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-vegan.html

"vegan." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Retrieved September 30, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-vegan.html

vegetarian

vegetarianantipodean, Crimean, Judaean, Korean •Albion •Gambian, Zambian •lesbian •Arabian, Bessarabian, Fabian, gabion, Sabian, Swabian •amphibian, Libyan, Namibian •Sorbian •Danubian, Nubian •Colombian • Serbian • Nietzschean •Chadian, Trinidadian •Andean, Kandyan •guardian •Acadian, Akkadian, Arcadian, Barbadian, Canadian, circadian, Grenadian, Hadean, Orcadian, Palladian, radian, steradian •Archimedean, comedian, epicedian, median, tragedian •ascidian, Derridean, Dravidian, enchiridion, Euclidean, Floridian, Gideon, Lydian, meridian, Numidian, obsidian, Pisidian, quotidian, viridian •Amerindian, Indian •accordion, Edwardian •Cambodian, collodion, custodian, melodeon, nickelodeon, Odeon •Freudian • Bermudian • Burundian •Burgundian •Falstaffian, Halafian •Christadelphian, Delphian, Philadelphian •nymphean • ruffian • Brobdingnagian •Carolingian • Swedenborgian •logion, Muskogean •Jungian •magian, Pelagian •collegian •callipygian, Cantabrigian, Phrygian, Stygian •Merovingian • philologian • Fujian •Czechoslovakian • Pickwickian •Algonquian • Chomskian •Kentuckian •battalion, galleon, medallion, rapscallion, scallion •Anglian, ganglion •Heraklion •Dalian, Malian, Somalian •Chellean, Machiavellian, Orwellian, Sabellian, Trevelyan, triskelion •Wesleyan •alien, Australian, bacchanalian, Castalian, Deucalion, episcopalian, Hegelian, madrigalian, mammalian, Pygmalion, Salian, saturnalian, sesquipedalian, tatterdemalion, Thessalian, Westphalian •anthelion, Aristotelian, Aurelian, carnelian, chameleon, Karelian, Mendelian, Mephistophelian, Pelion, Sahelian •Abbevillian, Azilian, Brazilian, caecilian, Castilian, Chilean, Churchillian, civilian, cotillion, crocodilian, epyllion, Gillian, Lilian, Maximilian, Pamphylian, pavilion, postilion, Quintilian, reptilian, Sicilian, Tamilian, vaudevillian, vermilion, Virgilian •Aeolian, Anatolian, Eolian, Jolyon, Mongolian, napoleon, simoleon •Acheulian, Boolean, cerulean, Friulian, Julian, Julien •bullion •mullion, scullion, Tertullian •Liverpudlian •Bahamian, Bamian, Damian, Mesopotamian, Samian •anthemion, Bohemian •Endymion, prosimian, Simeon, simian •isthmian • antinomian •Permian, vermian •Oceanian •Albanian, Azanian, Iranian, Jordanian, Lithuanian, Mauritanian, Mediterranean, Panamanian, Pennsylvanian, Pomeranian, Romanian, Ruritanian, Sassanian, subterranean, Tasmanian, Transylvanian, Tripolitanian, Turanian, Ukrainian, Vulcanian •Armenian, Athenian, Fenian, Magdalenian, Mycenaean (US Mycenean), Slovenian, Tyrrhenian •Argentinian, Arminian, Augustinian, Carthaginian, Darwinian, dominion, Guinean, Justinian, Ninian, Palestinian, Sardinian, Virginian •epilimnion, hypolimnion •Bosnian •Bornean, Californian, Capricornian •Aberdonian, Amazonian, Apollonian, Babylonian, Baconian, Bostonian, Caledonian, Catalonian, Chalcedonian, Ciceronian, Devonian, draconian, Estonian, Etonian, gorgonian, Ionian, Johnsonian, Laconian, Macedonian, Miltonian, Newtonian, Oregonian, Oxonian, Patagonian, Plutonian, Tennysonian, Tobagonian, Washingtonian •Cameroonian, communion, Mancunian, Neptunian, Réunion, union •Hibernian, Saturnian •Campion, champion, Grampian, rampion, tampion •thespian • Mississippian • Olympian •Crispian •Scorpian, scorpion •cornucopian, dystopian, Ethiopian, Salopian, subtopian, Utopian •Guadeloupian •Carian, carrion, clarion, Marian •Calabrian, Cantabrian •Cambrian • Bactrian •Lancastrian, Zoroastrian •Alexandrian • Maharashtrian •equestrian, pedestrian •agrarian, antiquarian, apiarian, Aquarian, Arian, Aryan, authoritarian, barbarian, Bavarian, Bulgarian, Caesarean (US Cesarean), centenarian, communitarian, contrarian, Darien, disciplinarian, egalitarian, equalitarian, establishmentarian, fruitarian, Gibraltarian, grammarian, Hanoverian, humanitarian, Hungarian, latitudinarian, libertarian, librarian, majoritarian, millenarian, necessarian, necessitarian, nonagenarian, octogenarian, ovarian, Parian, parliamentarian, planarian, predestinarian, prelapsarian, proletarian, quadragenarian, quinquagenarian, quodlibetarian, Rastafarian, riparian, rosarian, Rotarian, sabbatarian, Sagittarian, sanitarian, Sauveterrian, sectarian, seminarian, septuagenarian, sexagenarian, topiarian, totalitarian, Trinitarian, ubiquitarian, Unitarian, utilitarian, valetudinarian, vegetarian, veterinarian, vulgarian •Adrian, Hadrian •Assyrian, Illyrian, Syrian, Tyrian •morion • Austrian •Dorian, Ecuadorean, historian, Hyperborean, Nestorian, oratorian, praetorian (US pretorian), salutatorian, Salvadorean, Singaporean, stentorian, Taurean, valedictorian, Victorian •Ugrian • Zarathustrian •Cumbrian, Northumbrian, Umbrian •Algerian, Cancerian, Chaucerian, Cimmerian, criterion, Hesperian, Hitlerian, Hyperion, Iberian, Liberian, Nigerian, Presbyterian, Shakespearean, Siberian, Spenserian, Sumerian, valerian, Wagnerian, Zairean •Arthurian, Ben-Gurion, centurion, durian, holothurian, Khachaturian, Ligurian, Missourian, Silurian, tellurian •Circassian, Parnassian •halcyon • Capsian • Hessian •Albigensian, Waldensian •Dacian • Keatsian •Cilician, Galician, Lycian, Mysian, Odyssean •Leibnizian • Piscean • Ossian •Gaussian • Joycean • Andalusian •Mercian • Appalachian • Decian •Ordovician, Priscian •Lucian •himation, Montserratian •Atlantean, Dantean, Kantian •bastion, Erastian, Sebastian •Mozartian • Brechtian • Thyestean •Fortean • Faustian • protean •Djiboutian •fustian, Procrustean •Gilbertian, Goethean, nemertean •pantheon •Hogarthian, Parthian •Lethean, Promethean •Pythian • Corinthian • Scythian •Lothian, Midlothian •Latvian • Yugoslavian •avian, Batavian, Flavian, Moldavian, Moravian, Octavian, Scandinavian, Shavian •Bolivian, Maldivian, oblivion, Vivian •Chekhovian, Harrovian, Jovian, Pavlovian •alluvion, antediluvian, diluvian, Peruvian •Servian • Malawian • Zimbabwean •Abkhazian • Dickensian •Caucasian, Malaysian, Rabelaisian •Keynesian •Belizean, Cartesian, Indonesian, Milesian, Salesian, Silesian •Elysian, Frisian, Parisian, Tunisian •Holmesian •Carthusian, Malthusian, Venusian

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"vegetarian." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. 30 Sep. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"vegetarian." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. (September 30, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-vegetarian.html

"vegetarian." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Retrieved September 30, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-vegetarian.html

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