Not only are vegetarian physically healthier, but a recent study has shown that vegetarians are happier too. The Journal of Nutrition study linked a vegetarian diet with a healthier mood.  According to the researchers at Arizona State University, the vegetarians in their study experienced significantly less negative emotion than the people who also ate meat.

Vegetarian tacos with guacamole and salad at Chocola Tree restaurant in Sedona, Arizona

A Cambridge study in 1999 showed that compared with non-vegetarians, Western vegetarians have a lower mortality from ischemic heart disease (by about 25 %). They may also have a lower risk for some other diseases such as constipation, diverticular disease, gallstones and appendicitis. The evidence available then suggested that widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet could prevent approximately 40 000 deaths from ischemic heart disease in Britain each year. Another Oxford study showed lowered mortality, and lower mortality from malignant cancers.

Eating more vegetarian will lower blood pressure. Even if you can’t give up the meat, eating more fish, eating more fresh vegetables, and reducing the amount of meat in the diet will be beneficial to you.

HELLO! This isn’t brain surgery! What a concept?! What you put in your mouth affects your health, your happiness, and how long you live!

Being from the midwest, I was raised on meat. I liked the taste of it, I liked the smell of steaks on the grill, and I could eat 2 or 3 Big Macs in a sitting. But that was then, and this is now. I was phasing out meat while in residency, and started eating more fish, especially salmon. About 19 years ago I became a vegetarian, not so much for health reasons at the time, but more for spiritual reasons. So no meat, fish, eggs but I do eat dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and butter. I stay away from milk for reasons I have already mentioned.

Back then there weren’t so many options; now there are many. There are more vegetarian restaurants everywhere, and more vegetarian options on most menus. The grocery stores are stocking vegetarian “meat” and other items that used to only be found in specialty grocery stores. Stores like Sprouts, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods have done well and cater to a growing population of more health-conscious people. There are more farmer’s markets in cities. There is no limit to the vegetarian meals, and ideas, and restaurants available on the internet.

People ask me if it bothers me to see them eat meat in front of me. It doesn’t. It’s a choice they make. I can only make a choice for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t think about the animals that suffer for people to eat meat, but what you do is your choice. With every choice are consequences. Some are evident sooner than others, but there are consequences to every decision we make. Even just reducing the amount of meat in the diet has health benefits.

Even if you can’t be vegetarian, try to eat more fresh vegetables. I learned from Stephanie Quilao today that drinking a Coke has the same amount of sugar as eating 8 sugar packets! Try not drinking any carbonated drinks-not even the diet stuff. It’s a step toward better health. And who knows, maybe you’ll be happier too.