Vegetarian is better than a meat-based diet
By Joel B. Belinan
Traditionally, meat eaters always argue that a strict vegetarian diet does not fully satisfy the human body’s nutritional needs. Several researches, however, show that a plant-based diet can easily meet our nutritional requirements. The usual statement that it’s hard to get your protein needs from a plant-based diet had been debunked already and only the un-informed and vested interest groups continue to peddle such proposition.
Contrary to the notion that a vegetarian diet lacks the much-needed protein to sustain our health has no basis whether scientifically or from common day-to-day experience. This is not just my opinion but is based on my simple internet search on how vegetarians are faring in the field of sports. Surprisingly, many top athletes including world champions, martial artists, and Olympic weightlifters, don’t seem even slightly worried about getting enough protein from their vegan diets.
Among those names I got are the following: Venus Williams (tennis), Lewis Hamilton (formula 1), Colin Kaepernick (football), Kyrie Irving (basketball), Scott Jurek (ultra-marathon), Jermain Defoe (soccer), David Haye (boxing), Fabian Delph (soccer), Barny du Plessis, (bodybuilding), Hannah Teter (snowboarding), Chris Smalling (soccer), Kendrick Yahcob Farris (weightlifting), Tia Blanco (surfing), Nate Diaz (mixed martial arts), Meagan Duhamel (skating), Timothy Shieff (free-running), Jack Lindquist (cycling), Abel “Killa” Trujillo (mixed martial arts, and Jack Wilshere (soccer). The list could go on and on as more and more people not only athletes during the past couple of decades have become interested in vegetarianism.
There are of course some athletes who regard vegetarian diets as not suited for them, but perhaps due to their lack of knowledge on how to prepare their own food. One time while we were having our work-out at the park, a friend who during his younger years was a mainstay of our country’s muay thai and wushu teams asked me how did I manage to maintain my plant-based diet all these years despite my being very active in sports. By the way, I am not only into martial arts but also in outdoor adventure sports like long hikes, rock-climbing, spelunking, among others, all of which require a very strong flexible and healthy body. He hastened to add that he was a vegetarian during his growing-up years. He, however, quit when he was playing with the aforesaid national teams because he found out his body could not cope with the rigors of daily training and the intensity of competition.
I told him it is very important for one to know the contents of one’s diet, vegetarian or non-vegetarian. His notion that his vegetarian diet could not sustain his needs as an athlete is not because vegetarian foods lack the needed nutrition but because of the still backward or incompetent management of our government in managing the needs of our athletes. I immediately asked him what they usually served him in their athletes’ quarter where they lived most of the time when he was still following his vegetarian diet, and based on what he said that he could not even get a regular vegemeat or any other kind of meat substitute, definitely put him at a disadvantage strength-wise. I then said that had his daily vegetarian food been well planned such that he got the green vegetables, nuts, fruits, milk, milk products and yes vegemeats, he would have never felt being weak. But again our country has yet to attain such competency in properly managing the food of its own people, whether they are our national athletes or are in the military. Well, maybe it’s partly due to our country’s being poor.
I make myself an example. I am way older than most of my buddies at the Burnham Park team by an average of at least 12 years and yet when it comes to endurance, strength, and flexibility, I could easily beat most of them. My friend basically agrees as he really knows my ability. As have been presented and discussed in several books when comparing animals that are carnivores and animals that only eat fruits, grass, nuts, and vegetables, the latter are much stronger. The best example here are the tigers, lions, and wolves all of which thrive on meat versus the elephants, gorillas, and carabaos who basically subsist on plants. The tigers, Lions, and wolves may be fast but compare their strength to that of elephants, gorillas, and carabaos, they can easily be trampled on. Likewise, when it comes to their lifespan, the first three or the carnivores have much shorter lives than those gentle yet giant and strong plant-eating animals.
Interestingly, I also came across the names of some famous vegetarian personalities who are still living or have become part of history: Paul McCartney (singer), Al Gore (former US vice president and environmental activist), Pythagoras (scientist, philosopher), St. Anthony of Egypt (missionary), Leonardo da Vinci (scientist, artist, writer), Mahatma Gandhi (hero of Indian independence), Leo Tolstoy (famous Russian writer).
I also got from the internet that while the number of people that subsist only on plants is still way smaller in percentage compared with the number of meat-eaters, vegetarianism has been slowly attracting many adherents in the past couple of decades. The top two countries in the world with the biggest percentage of vegetarians remain India with an estimated 40% and Israel which 13%.
For our guidance, the following are the classification of vegetarianism:
1) Ovo-lacto vegetarianism: No meat but milk and eggs are allowed.
2) Ovo vegetarianism : No meat and milk but eggs are allowed.
3) Lacto vegetarianism: No meat and eggs but milk is allowed.
4) Veganism: No meat, milk, and eggs are allowed.**