Vegetarian: healthy choice for teens

By Haley Hartwick

   Currently 12 million Americans are vegetarians. Teens all around are turning to the vegetarian life style. It can help develop good eating habits that positively impact on your health! Doctors say that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to have heart problems and live 10 years longer than an average meat eater.

  Some teens think becoming a vegetarian is going “cold turkey” and giving up all meat at once, but it’s actually recommended that teens don’t do that. It’s quite unhealthy just to give up meat because the body is still developing and needs that nutrition, so most teen vegetarians keep their meat limitations starting off to just three times a week, then two times, and so on. Average vegetarians should have required nutrients in their diet:  vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, protein, iron and zinc.

   A vegetarian diet might depend on what kind of vegetarian you are. Classic Vegans are those who don’t eat any animal meat products because some meat products contain saturated fat and cholesterol.  Eliminating these results in a better heart healthy diet. Many choose to be Vegans because they believe in animal rights and are not happy with the way animals are treated in factories. Did you know that more than 7 Billion animals die from human consumption each year?

   Other types are lacto-ovo vegetarians. Some though just are either ovo or lacto vegetarians who either just eat egg products or dairy products.  Lacto-ovo vegetarians’ diets are based on dairy, eggs and plant products. They actually are taking it a step further for reducing global warming because it takes more sources, energy and land mass to produce animal products. It takes 25 gallons to produce one pound of wheat, but it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat. Sounds like the vegetarian side is a good way to conserve energy.

   Being a vegetarian offers a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy diet for a longer, better life starts young. Be sure to check out local websites and ask your doctor whether vegging out is better for you. Who knows? You might love the veggie life!