Embracing vegetarianism is a quantum leap in how you view eating. Meat is no longer the hub of a meal. It made me more aware of how other cultures prepare food and made me a better cook. Around 2% of the UK population is vegetarian, which is more than 1.2 million people. May 18th – 24th is National Vegetarian Week.
Q What is a vegetarian?
A Someone who abstains from the consumption of an animal’s flesh.
Q What are the reasons people are vegetarians?
A There are many different reasons: respect for sentient life, religious beliefs, health related, aesthetic or environmental. It is kinder to you, kinder to animals and kinder to the planet.
Q Are there different types of vegetarians?
A Yes. There are: an ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, a lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs, and an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products. A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including eggs, dairy, and honey. A pescatarian diet has been described as “fish but no other meat.”
Q Is a vegetarian diet healthy?
A Yes. For the majority of people a vegetarian diet is very healthy. I have not eaten meat for over 35 years. I used to play a lot of squash. As a student I spent many summers putting up tents and marquees, an extremely physical job. The diet tends to be lower in cholesterol, sugar, salt, a reduced input of chemical adulteration of food. Special attention needs to be paid to protein, calcium, iron, vitamin B12.
You are always welcome to have a free chat with me about vegetarianism at The Clinic in Dunyeats Road: Phone 01202 692493. If you remain unconvinced look at the advert in the Broadstone Link on my son, Nick Allen. He has never eaten meat or fish. Does he look fit? (For those who’ve not seen The Link he could well be Broadstone’s answer to Poldark!).
In 2008 I survived a major stroke and complications including hydrocephalus, meningitis and epilepsy. I had three and a half months in a coma and had seven lots of surgery. I had a stroke because of genetic weakness in the arteries of my brain. I survived and made a good recovery because I was very fit. Part of my fitness was due to me being a vegetarian.
My e-book of 2013, (Bloke With a Stroke – The Hole Story), has a lot on diet and nutrition in it including over 90 recipes, all vegetarian, many vegan. A lot are of my own creation. I struggle to be modest about the fact that I am a good vegetarian cook. Anyone consulting me over National Vegetarian Week at The Clinic will be given a mini veg goody box containing a selection of meat-free snacks.
Q Have there been any famous vegetarians?
A Yes: Einstein. Gandhi. Buddha. Pythagoras. Leo Tolstoy. Leonardo Da Vinci. George Bernard Shaw. Brian May. Paul McCartney. Carl Lewis. Mike Tyson.