Health & Fitness » Men's Diet & Nutrition » Vegetables Only

Vegetables Only

Most black men in America are meat eaters. We like our hamburgers, steaks, chicken and fish. Try removing those tasty items from our daily meals and you may have a fight on your hands.

However, studies show that limiting (or completely removing) meats from your diet will improve your overall health. For African-American men, this translates to possibly avoiding diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

The majority of the world's vegetarians are women, but men are starting to see (and feel) the benefits. Exactly how much better would your health be if your diet no longer included massive amounts of beef or chicken?

Vegetarian Facts
The vegan or total vegetarian diet includes only foods from plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, seeds and nuts. This may be a bit extreme for most men, especially if you're active and your body craves carbs and protein.

Lacto-vegetarians eat everything total vegetarians eat, but their diet also includes dairy products. Lacto-ovo vegetarians follow the same routine, but also includes eggs.

Semi-vegetarians don't eat red meat, but include chicken and fish with plant foods, dairy products and eggs in their diet. This means, meats are okay, as long as you stay away from beef products.

Are Vegetarian Diets Worth It?
Definitely. According to the American Heart Association, most vegetarian diets are low in or devoid of animal products. They're also usually lower than nonvegetarian diets in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Many studies have shown that vegetarians seem to have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart attack), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer.

How Do Men Get Protein If Meats Are Eliminated?
Unless you're a bodybuilder or pro athlete, plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and non-essential amino acids. Whole grains, beans, nuts and vegetables all contain both essential and non-essential amino acids. Plus, you can supply your body with protein shakes which pack a lot of protein in one mixed glass.

You have my attention, but what should I eat?
Your veggie diet should include a variety of foods and enough calories to fill your energy needs. According to the American Heart Association:

  • Keep your intake of sweets and fatty foods to a minimum. These foods are low in nutrients and high in calories.
  • Choose whole or unrefined grain products when possible, or use fortified or enriched cereal products.
  • Use a variety of fruits and vegetables, including foods that are good sources of vitamins A and C.
  • If you use milk or dairy products, choose fat-free/nonfat and low-fat varieties.
  • Eggs are high in cholesterol (213 mg per yolk), so monitor your use of them. Limit your cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg per day.

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