Vegetarian diet has good, bad points
Published: Monday, November 26, 2007
Updated: Sunday, May 17, 2009 19:05
In a world of carnivores and fast food franchises there are still some faithful vegetarians out there and more than one kind.
According to Kathleen Yadrick, chair of nutrition and food systems in the College of Health, there are three different kinds of vegetarians. The vegan diet excludes all meat and animal products, the lacto-vegetarian diet includes plant foods plus dairy products and the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet includes both dairy products and eggs.
Some people who avoid eating red meat also consider themselves vegetarians.
A vegetarian lifestyle can give people all the nutrition their bodies need. It can even help with medical conditions.
Cutting out fats that are found in many animal products like butter can lower cholesterol and help with blood pressure.
A vegetarian's diet can also include dried beans, peas, grains, seeds and nuts. All this leads to very healthy eating habits.
However, vegetarians must be careful to eat a wide variety of foods to meet their nutritional needs.
According to Yadrick, there are some drawbacks to having too strict of a vegetarian diet.
"There are some vitamins and nutrients that are only found in animal foods and products and one in particular is vitamin B12," said Yadrick. "B12 is related to the health of your nervous system. Calcium is another nutrient that you have to make sure you include in your diet."
Yadrick also pointed out that parents who are vegetarians should keep in mind that the vegetarian diet isn't the best thing for growing children.
"Kids have higher nutrients needs for growth and development and putting children on a vegetarian diet is risky," she said.
The eating habits of vegetarians are not just in homes but also in dining establishments.
Those who pay close attention to some franchises menus may notice there are certain dishes made especially for vegetarians, but the dishes are few.
According the Carrie Bouchard, manager of Sweet Peppers Deli on Hardy Street, they have a sandwich made just for vegetarians.
"We actually have a sandwich called the vegetarian. It has cucumbers, red and green bell peppers, lettuce and tomatoes topped with swiss cheese with a side of Parmesan peppercorn dressing, said Bouchard.
Applebees also has some dishes for vegetarians.
Susan Chang, manager of Applebees, says the vegetarian dishes haven't been very popular at her restaurant.
"We did have an all veggie meal, but it wasn't selling well," said Chang. "Usually our vegetarian customers just order one of our dishes and request no meat."
The vegetarian diet is a health lifestyle, but when it comes to popularity Chang says it depends on where you are.
"What sells here doesn't sell other places and vice versa," she said. "Because of this, with our franchise we have to change our menu every three months or so."
According to Patrick T. Foley, executive director of Dining Services, it's a growing lifestyle.
"Every semester the needs of the vegetarian population are growing," said Foley. "I'm pretty sure we offer vegetarian entrees for the dining on campus."