The Seven Types of Vegetarian Diets…
Their Pros & Cons
© 2008-2011 Richard J. Chandler Saint Cloud, MN USA All rights reserved
1. The ‘Transitional’ Vegetarian. For most people, it is best to transition into a strictly vegetarian diet. For many, this process takes a year or two. By doing a transition, you can develop the knowledge and acumen needed to eat a healthy vegetarian diet without risking the most common downfall to vegetarianism… not getting enough protein.
Pros: It keeps your protein intakes stable while transitioning.
Cons: In addition to the less healthy meat and animal fat itself, you are still getting toxins from the meat that you eat including the increased levels of pesticides, herbicides, the antibiotics fed to the animals and the growth hormones the animals have eaten.
2. The ‘Mostly’ Vegetarian. This works well for people who are vegetarian for reasons of better health and have not embraced all of the other good reasons to be a vegetarian, which have to do with benefiting our planet at large. The advantage with this is that you can have meals with family and friends and not make a big deal out of not eating parts of the meal. A second advantage is to be able to get your protein intake if a vegetable, fish, dairy or egg source is unavailable.
Pros: It is more convenient on many levels, especially during get-togethers with friends and family.
Cons: You will not have the full advantages of being a vegetarian while still eating meat, including the health benefits and the mental and emotional benefits of having your life reflect your beliefs in what is right for you and for human and animal-kind. And as noted above, you are still ingesting toxins from the meat that you eat including the increased levels of pesticides, herbicides, the antibiotics fed to the animals and the growth hormones the animals have eaten.
3. The ‘Fish and Egg’ Eating Vegetarian. This is what my wife and I have personally chosen to do over the past 16 years. As noted in point 2 above, while eating out, one usually can find non-meat protein on the menu by eating fish or eggs. Furthermore, one gets a good deal more variety of tastes than would be the case if one was vegan.
Pros: More readily available. Unlike many other kinds of meat products which one can get the flavor of through soy-based products, vegetarian fish and egg products have not been widely available.
Cons: If you wish to be a vegetarian due to not wanting to kill animals in any form, you might feel bad for killing the fish. Even though the chickens contribute the eggs, (perhaps not all that voluntarily), these same chickens are eventually slaughtered for food once their egg-laying days are over.
4. The ‘Dairy’ Eating Vegetarian. Many people from India fall into this category. Here the motivation for vegetarianism primarily has to do with the belief that one takes on the vibration of the animals when you eat them and eating animals, fish and eggs (a embryonic animal) pass the lower vibrations, including the fear the animals have in being killed, on to us who eat them. Food from dairy, on the other hand, is seen as a contribution from the cows, and therefore is simply a way for the grass and vegetarian food that the cow consumes to be converted into a form that we humans can benefit from.
Pros: Readily available and a relatively inexpensive source of protein. You can almost always find some pizza!
Cons: It is the easiest form of protein to already have an allergy to, or to eventually develop an allergy by eating it. This happened to me. In my early years of vegetarian eating, I overly relied on dairy, and after about 5 years, I became completely lactose intolerant.
5. The ‘Vegan’ Vegetarian. This is a strict vegetarian who eats no meat, no fish, no eggs and no dairy. Generally people who arrive at vegan diets do so from strong belief in the equal rights of all animals on our planet, rather than the attitude most humans hold that animals are here to serve us. Vegans have considered and adjusted their lives to be consistent with the ethical issues involved in taking the lives of other sentient beings for food, when in fact, it is not necessary to eat other animals to live in a healthy way.
Many vegans are proud of their ability to be exemplary citizens of planet earth, through living these non-violence ethics, as well as on issues pertaining to reducing their own contribution to global warming, pollution and other ways in which that raising, coercing, (dairy and egg production) and killing of animals, including fish, has on the land, rivers, lakes and oceans or our planet.
Pros: Ethically on high ground. This is a very healthy diet for greatly reducing the risk for heath disease, cancer and a host of other health concerns as long as one can keep daily protein levels adequate.
Cons: Much more difficult to eat sufficient variety of food to feel satisfied as well as the cost and hassle in simply obtaining enough protein on a day-in, day-out basis. Eating vegan is exceedingly challenging unless one lives in a large enough city, and one that has the kinds of food markets and restaurants available to make a sustaining a vegan diet possible without it feeling like a hardship.
6. The ‘Macrobiotics’ Vegetarian. This diet has been proven in many thousands of anecdotal stories to cure dread diseases including cancer and heart disease as well as have a very positive role in reversing the damage from most all other disease conditions. The idea of the diet is that one uses the principles of yin and yang balance for eating. It emphasizes eating locally grown foods and eating them while they are in season.
The Macrobiotic diet consists of whole grains, with an emphasis on short grain brown rice, along with fermented soy, such as tamari sauce and miso. Another major component of the diet is the use of sea vegetables as well as white fish. Eggs and dairy are not a part of the Macrobiotic diet. Refined sugar, honey, artificial flavor and other processed foods are strictly avoided.
Pros: Exceedingly beneficial to reverse damage by a major disease. One may find a dedicated community of Macrobiotic vegetarians in one’s local area to share ideas, meals and to become educated in Macrobiotics.
Cons: While I personally would adopt it for a time if I was diagnosed with cancer, in my personal view, it is too restrictive to maintain good health with this diet over many years. People that follow this diet in a strict way tend to become a little emaciated from my observations. Furthermore, with this diet, people are more likely to become more isolated from others who do not eat Macrobiotly. I have seen a number of people who only eat this way become a little cultish in their lives and seem to limit their close relationships to only include others who also are committed to a Macrobiotic diet.
7. The ‘Raw Foods’ Vegetarian. I personally have benefited from a large percentage of my own diet being raw. That advantage is that raw food is loaded with enzymes, which are like the catalyst that facilitates the nutrients in our food to be more easily absorbed and assimilated into our cells.
Proponents of raw foods speak about the quality of energy being of a “very high vibration.” It is common to feel much more sensitive to the world when eating raw foods, including a heightening of the senses. Colors may seem brighter and more vibrant, sounds and music more nuanced and thoughts more clear and elevated.
In my experience, this is largely true. One can feel the sense of energy from the food in ways that are quite different from food that has been cooked. I find that during the warmer months, it is quite practical to have over half to three fourths of my diet consisting of raw fruits and vegetables. In the winter, it is not as good in my view, as one seems to need the warmth and sustaining power of cooked foods to balance out the cold.
Pros: Higher vibrational energy. Heightened sensitivity.
Cons: It seems to unbalance one during cold or damp weather. One can become a little too sensitive and find one’s emotions to be somewhat more difficult to control. One long-term raw foods person that I know told me that he needed to back down from a 100% raw foods diet to about an 80% proportion of raw food, along with cooked food, in order for him to function optimally with others in his day-to-day life.
Richard Chandler is in his 20th year of therapeutic massage and natural healthcare practice. Richard’s aticles on yoga are here: http://agelessyoga.com. And finally, if you like quotations with introductions and commentary, please go to www.famousquoteshomepage.com Richard Chandler may be reached at richardjchandler(at)yahoo.com Please substitute @ for (at). Thank you for reading this article.