Vegetarian Lifestyle Myths


One of the things that often holds up a lot of people from considering a lifestyle of vegetarianism is a negative stereotype of vegetarians that is really not at all accurate. Of course there are extremists in any discipline and the same is true of vegetarians or vegans. Its good to dig a bit deeper and put any preconceptions on hold that might be holding you back from what would be a wonderful lifestyle choice.

It is true that the vegetarian way of life can be part of a larger spiritual discipline as well. But you can get a lot of good from a life of vegetarian eating even if it is not part of your religious or moral life. So if you are hesitant to explore making a switch to a vegetarian diet, you don’t have to also join a new religious or social community to get just as much out of it as anyone. When you begin to explore the work of vegetarian disciplines, you will find a wide variety of types of people who enjoy the lifestyle. The vegetarian “community” is a diverse population with cultures of people who are at various levels of commitment to the vegetarian lifestyle. There is not reason to have guilt or fear that if you wish to start out slowly. In fact, starting out just easing into a vegetarian way of life is a good way to find out where in the discipline you feel comfortable.

The first myth about becoming a vegetarian to overcome then is the idea that as soon as you make a commitment to start cutting meat from your diet, you will necessarily become part of some strange eastern cult that will change your beliefs and your way of life. The huge majority of people who make a vegetarian lifestyle their own are normal people just like you. It might surprise you if you found out that its very likely that many of your neighbors and coworkers are quietly enjoying a lifestyle of vegetarian living. And becoming a vegetarian does NOT “turn you into” some kind of obnoxious wild eyed religious fanatic.

In fact, you can enjoy all the benefits of being a vegetarian and live happily among others who are not following your diet choices. And you can be a vegetarian and develop a reasonable diet that still allows you to get your protein from cheese, fish and other traditional sources as you cut out the more conspicuous sources of protein such as beef and chicken. Just as it’s a good thing for you to get over the idea that becoming a vegetarian is some kind of strange or “Bizarre” idea, you should discard quickly any fears that you will be seen as odd or peculiar when you inform your friends and loved ones you have made this lifestyle choice.

There is no “coming out of the closet” to becoming a vegetarian. As long as it is as natural as switching to low fat milk from whole milk to you, it will be natural to your friends and loved ones.
The people you know well will watch your behavior closely to see if there is any reason to worry about you in making this change. If they detect you are going to be angry at them for not following you into vegetarianism or that you are going to become “an evangelist” for living without meat, then they will become nervous and avoid you, especially at meal time.

But if your vegetarian lifestyle is a choice you can make without disrupting the lives of others and one you can live in harmony with others who are not vegetarians, you will demonstrate to them that it is no problem that you just eat different things than they do and that above all vegetarians are NOT crazy.

Organic Vegetable Gardening At Home

Anybody can do organic vegetable gardening at home because the principle behind this is not that different from what they do in the farm. The only difference is that you work in a smaller area and you get to choose what you like plant.

The first thing you have to do is find an ideal location. A lot of people do organic vegetable gardening in their backyard. To make it work, whatever you are planting should get at least 6 hours of sunlight everyday and access to water. Just like the ancient civilizations that relied on an efficient irrigation system, you too should do the same by making sure there is adequate drainage because if you don’t, you will have to do organic vegetable gardening using a raise bed.

When your ideal location has been found, it is time to cultivate the land. For that, you will need your gardening tools and a pair of gloves to pluck out the weeds on the ground. This might take a few days to make sure the area is ready for planting. You will only know if the ground you are going to plant your vegetable is a good spot by testing it with some compost and mixing this with the soil. Should it be able to integrate and stabilize itself with the soil, this means that you can start planting your crops and see it grow in the succeeding weeks. If you don'’t like to buy compost from the gardening store, you can make your own using coffee grounds, dead leaves, grass clippings, food waste or even manure. They also serve as excellent fertilizers.

As for your vegetables, take note that some of these may not be suitable in the land you are planting these on. This is because of several factors that are beyond your control such as the weather, pests and other plant borne diseases. You can avoid making this mistake by doing some research on what vegetables are ideal to plant in your area and asking fellow organic gardeners.

One way to protect the organic vegetables you are planting is by planting a variety of them at a time since some of these protect each other from pests. Such practice is better known as crop rotation especially when you want to adapt with the weather in your area. Another defense system that works is getting the help of Mother Nature as birds, certain insects and even toads have proven to be useful.

If you live in an area where wild animals may eat your vegetables, you should put up fences so they are not able to get through. Other tools you can use are animal hair, baby powder and deodorant soaps. Part of preparing the land is removing the weeds. But remember that new weeds grow after some time so you have to inspect the area from time to time.

Planting your own organic vegetable garden at home will surely save you money as these are quite expensive in the supermarket. If you have some excess stocks when it is time to harvest them, maybe you can give some to your neighbors or make some money by selling it at the local market which isn’t that bad given that you do not shell out that much cash for this investment.

Non-Meat Protein For Vegetarians


Important Non-Meat Sources Of Protein For Vegetarians

Although most vegetarians consume a considerable amount of protein, they often do not absorb as much as they would on a nonvegetarian diet. This is because plant proteins are considerably less digestible than animal proteins, which contain amino acid chains that are closer or identical to human amino acid chains.

Consuming animal proteins might yield close to a 1:1 absorption ratio, while consuming plant proteins, such as wheat, might only yield 50% of the amino acids needed to build a "complete protein" or a protein that can readily be assimilated into the human body.

In order for vegetarians to absorb a healthy amount of protein, they must consume a variety of plant proteins to form complete amino chains. By eating vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits, and whole grains, vegetarians can increase the amount of complete proteins they create by combining a number of varieties of amino acid chains.

Vegetarians must also consume more foods that contain proteins because plant proteins are generally harder to digest. While a nutritional label may suggest that pasta has 5 grams of protein per serving; you may only be able to digest 2-3 grams of that protein, which means you must complement the pasta with other sources of protein.

In addition to natural sources of protein, vegetarians should also seek foods that are "protein-fortified"-- or artificially-infused with protein.

For example, many supermarkets offer a variety "protein-fortified" pasta and bread. I have seen pasta that contains as much as 12 grams of protein per serving.

Soy milk is also a good source of protein for vegetarians. Studies on isolated soy protein show that it can be absorbed nearly as well as animal proteins, yielding close
to a 1:1 protein absorption ratio.

For non-vegan vegetarians, yogurt, milk, and eggs (which contain complete proteins) are all excellent sources of protein.

As a vegetarian you have a number of options to boost your protein intake - and you should consider taking advantage of all of them. You should diversify your food selections, drink more soy products, and eat "protein-fortified" breads and pasta.

Top 5 Nutrients Vegetarians Lack


Top 5 Nutrients Vegetarians Lack

Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets have advantages. Vegetarian diets tend to be rich in antioxidants, certain vitamins, and healthy fats. Non-vegetarian diets, by contrast, tend to contain more protein, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin B-12.

If you already decided to adopt a vegetarian diet, it is essential you learn how to increase your intake and absorption of these nutrients to avoid short-term and long-term health complications. In the next few paragraphs, I will explain how you can regularly assimilate larger portions of these nutrients into your regular diet:

1. Protein. Different types of protein are made up of different permutations of amino acid chains. In order to create a "complete protein" or a protein that can be assimilated into the human body as tissue, you must consume foods that contain  complementary chains of amino acids. Wheat, nuts, and beans are three types of vegan friendly incomplete proteins; however, wheat is hard to digest and up to 50% of its protein is lost during the process. Isolated soy protein, which you can get from a number of sources (including soy milk), can be digested efficiently-enough to match the animal protein yields.

2. Iron. Plant sources contain a significant amount of iron, but in nonheme form, which is more sensitive to inhibitors than iron that comes from animal products. You should do two things to increase your blood-iron levels: 1) consume more plant iron; and 2) avoid absorption inhibitors, such as tea, coffee, and fiber.

3. Zinc. Whereas non-vegetarian diets seem to enhance the absorption of zinc; vegetarian and vegan diets do the exact opposite--they inhibit it. Nutritionists suggest that you can overcome this by consuming more foods that contain zinc, such as soybeans, cashews, and sunflower seeds while reducing your intake of inhibitors by washing vegetables and grains.

4. Calcium. While vegetarians can easily consume an adequate amount of calcium without any dietary additions, it is important that vegetarians avoid consuming certain foods that are high in oxalates, which inhibit calcium absorption. Dietitians suggest that vegetarians do not consume spinach, beet greens, and swiss chard as the calcium component of a meal plan. While they are rich in calcium, they also contain high amounts of oxalates. Rather than consuming those foods for calcium, vegetarians should consider other options, such as soy yogurt, tofu, beans, almonds, and calcium-
fortified foods.

5. Vitamin B-12. Many vegetarians lack vitamin B-12 simply because it does not exist
naturally in any non-animal forms. Vegetarians should seek out vitamin B-12 fortified foods, such as certain soy milks and cereals to supplement what they lack. As I outlined, there are a number of nutrients vegetarians can lack of they do not research
and plan. This is not meant to discourage people from becoming vegetarians, but instead to encourage them to spend time planning a health approach to their vegetarian diet before starting it. When planned adequately, a vegetarian diet can not only make up for what it lacks from animal products, but it can far exceed the healthfulness of most non-vegetarian diets.

Conserve Water With Drip Irrigation

If you’re looking for ways to keep your garden watered without wasting too much time and money, you’ve probably gone through a lot of options in your mind. Maybe you’ve considered a sprinkler, a hose, or a good old-fashioned watering can. All of these methods might be convenient, but most of the time you will end up wasting water on plants that don’t need any more. If you live in a drought stricken area like I do, you know that every bit of water counts. I ended up getting a drip irrigation system. I haven’t regretted this decision at all.
When you install a drip irrigation system, you can choose one of two varieties: above ground and below ground. The above ground version drips small amounts of water continuously onto the ground, and allows it to soak in. It is all regulated from a pressure controller, which ensures that the water just comes out at a drip instead of a spray or a stream. These pressure regulators are very inexpensive. The whole drip system can be set up with a pressure regulator and a garden hose with holes poked in it (although it is ideal for you to get a pipe designed for this type of use, I’ve found that the hose method works acceptably).
The underground system is a bit more of a pain to install and maintain. But if you’re really into the aesthetic aspect of your garden and don’t want any visible watering system, then you might consider it worth it. It’s essentially the same as the above ground version, only a small trench is dug for the hose or pipe prior to any planting. This allows the water direct access to the roots for the most watering efficiency. Plus, you can impress your neighbors by having a beautiful garden without ever going outside to water it! They’ll be baffled.
To choose between the two systems, you need to take several things into account. Do you have the same plant layout year round? If it is always changing, you probably won’t want to bury your hose. It can be a pain to dig it up and re-align it with all your new plants every year or so. Even if your plant layout never changes, you need to consider how much you
really mind seeing a hose in your garden. If it really bothers you to the extent that you’re willing to work for a few hours to get rid of it, then by all means bury it. But otherwise I would suggest staying above ground if for nothing else than the convenience of repairing and rearranging.
One of the main advantages of the drip irrigation system is its efficiency. Instead of spraying large amounts of water willy-nilly like a hose does, it makes the most of your precious water by putting it exactly where it is needed. It can also provide your garden with constant watering, instead of just having to go thirsty whenever you’re not around to water it.
So if you’re looking for an easy, cheap, convenient, and efficient alternative watering method, you should go out to the gardening store today and purchase the necessary items to install a drip irrigation system. I think you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to maintain a garden after you have it.