What are some advantages of a vegetarian diet?
First, a vegetarian diet is easier on our stomachs and is a diet more in line with the composition of our bodies. Our bodies and the earth are approximately 70 percent water and 30 percent matter. It makes sense to eat a high water content diet of soup, vegetables, fruit, whole wheat bread and pure milk.
According to the book, “How to Eat to Live” by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, we can survive a long time on bean soup, whole wheat bread and pure milk. This combination of food is a good source of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Furthermore, a vegetarian diet leaves us feeling light, energetic and fulfilled. Meat (dead, decomposed flesh) is really too hard on our digestive system and is linked to a lot of health issues. Meat doesn’t give us long life, especially with the hormones, etc. that are being injected into the animals of today.
Most importantly, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad states in “How to Eat to Live” Book II: “It is good for us to abstain from eating meat, for we should not eat meat at all. Meat is not good for our health nor for our body. Actually by nature, we are not made to live off meat” (p. 52-53).
What does the American Dietetic Association say about a vegetarian diet?
“Can vegetarian eating supply your body with enough nutrients? Yes, as with any eating style, you need to choose foods carefully–and consume enough food energy, or calories. Ã‰ For most vegetarians, adequate protein is not an issue. Except for fruit, almost every food of plant origin contains protein–at least a small amount Ã‰ because protein is abundant in plant foods, vegetarian meals and snacks usually can supply enough proteins–and their building blocks, called amino acids.” (The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, p. 561.)
Can a vegetarian diet help you lose weight?
Yes, a vegetarian diet can definitely help you lose weight, if you add exercise to eating a lot of vegetables and staying away from sweets, dairy products and fattening processed foods like white bread and pasta. One fattening food that you should stay away from if you are trying to lose weight is macaroni and cheese. Macaroni is a starchy, processed food.
“How to Eat to Live” Book I states that a person shouldn’t eat pasta if they are overweight (p. 31). It is also a dish that is usually made with lots of fattening cheese, milk and butter. Granted, we can eat cheese, milk and butter, but an abundance of these ingredients can cause you to gain weight. Depending on the ingredients, a cup of macaroni and cheese can have as much as 250-400 calories! Try making a cheese casserole dish using brown rice (instead of pasta), low-fat milk and cheese. You could also throw some vegetables in the mix.
Instead of fattening foods such as pizza made with white bread and fatty cheeses, make your own pizza using whole wheat bread, cheese and sauce sprinkled with a little cheese, or just have a bowl of bean soup, salad and whole wheat bread. If you are trying to lose weight, make sure you add more vegetables and high water content food (which is often low in fat and calories).
Need an appetizer? Try fruit. Eat some kiwi fruit while you are waiting for your meal to cook and get extra fiber and vitamin C at the same time. Fresh fruit allows your body to take the necessary nutrients and “move right through.” According to the book, “Fit for Life,” fruit takes only about 20 minutes to digest.
Lastly, don’t forget to exercise. If you want to lose weight and be fit, you need to perform some type of exercise. Make it a habit to take a walk after dinner or early in the morning. Get moving to get fit! Let’s eat to live and get fit for life!
Read a good book on nutrition and consult with a dietician to see what foods you would like to incorporate into your diet.
(Audrey Muhammad is a certified personal trainer and aerobic instructor. She is also the author of “The Sister’s Guide to Fitness” and creator of the KIBOS exercise video and the Get Fit to Live KIBOS Challenge. Questions and comments may be sent to [email protected]. Visit her web site at Getfittolive.com.)