Tuesday, December 28, 2010


USA (www.washingtonpost.com) - A small but growing number of children and adolescents are consciously opting for a vegetarian diet. Earlier this year, a nationwide survey of 1,258 8- to 18-year-olds found that 3 percent never eat meat, poultry or seafood, up from 1.4 percent in 1995. That’s an estimated 1.4 million young vegetarians today, says Reed Mangels, nutrition advisor for the Vegetarian Resource Group. Mangels points out that two-thirds of these meatless kids are vegan, meaning that they also forgo animal products such as dairy and eggs. Vegetarianism “is definitely a more mainstream choice than ever before,” says Mangels. “‘Vegetarian’ is not synonymous with ‘healthy’; you have to be making good, healthy food choices and avoiding junk food,” says Hemant Sharma, a pediatrician at Children’s National Medical Center. In fact, he points out, parents of a young vegetarian often need to be vigilant in monitoring their offspring’s diet: “It’s important to pay special attention and to plan different factors of a plant-based diet out carefully, to ensure that growing children get all of the nutrients they need.”

Research on adult vegetarians suggests that a plant-based diet provides many ongoing health benefits. A small sampling published this summer in the peer-reviewed Nutrition Journal, suggests that vegetarians may be less depressed and have better mood profiles than meat-eaters.
Lalita Kaul, a nutrition professor at Howard University College of Medicine and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, says eating a well-planned, well-balanced vegetarian diet “can be healthful and appropriate at any age.”

“Happily, cooking for a lone vegetarian or two doesn’t have to be stressful or take much more effort,” says Mangels, who suggests focusing on the meatless meals your family already eats, such as the aforementioned macaroni and cheese, a hearty minestrone or lentil soup, or bean burritos. Giving up meat is positive for the environment and can be much less expensive, Mangels says and adds: “Just try seeing it as an opportunity to help the whole family eat healthier.” After all, one is not required to make any special or complicated mixing of meals to make a a healthy and nutritious vegetarian menu.

Meat is often considered a relatively toxic substance for human consumption. Health authorities worldwide agree that heart attacks, cancers, and many other diseases are more prevalent in the meat-eating population than in the vegetarian population. Above all, the longevity of a person is inversely proportional to the amount of his meat intake; the more meat one eats, the fewer years one may live. Vegetarian food provides potassium to the body, which is considered a beneficial element. It also has a more alkaline base that is beneficial to good health in many ways. Vegetarian food is considered a complete diet, especially if there are sufficient dairy products and nutrient foods like soya in the diet. Some vegetarians consider milk products as non-vegetarian food, as its source is animals, but this is not acceptable to the Hindu point of view. Dairy forms the essential part of the Hindu diet, and it is therefore labeled as lacto-vegetarian. The average combined vegetarian meal contains a sufficient amount of the protein and other constituents needed by the body.

Dr. Hiro Badlani :
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 48: “Vegetarianism: The Compassionate Way of Living”

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