Illustration for article titled Is Being a Vegetarian Really the Healthiest Option?

No doubt, a diet with more plant than animal sources certainly sounds like it should be healthier, but I don’t yet know why, so . . .


Vegetarians and vegans of the world, unite: Tell me what's so great about your way of life.

Someone on the “Less Leslie” fan page suggested I look into a certain new book, and it’s on my desk now. The press release for By Any Greens Necessary: A Revolutionary Guide for Black Women Who Want to Eat Great, Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Look Phat states that it is the first vegan guide for African-American, and emphasizes we do not have to sacrifice culture or taste for healthy food.


Oh really?

I’ve been known to make some tasty, meat-free dishes, so I know it’s possible, and I do love vegetables and fruit. I just seriously doubt I could ever be a true vegetarian. Vegan? Completely out of the question. Vegans consume only plant foods, so no eggs, dairy, seafood, poultry or, in some cases, honey. Just like vegetarians, there are different factions of vegans. Wikipedia says “neither the Vegan Society nor the American Vegan Society consider the use of honey or other insect products to be suitable for vegans On the other hand, both Vegan Action and Vegan Outreach question the ethical basis of such a position and regard the consumption of honey as a matter of ‘personal choice’.”

No eggs, milk, butter or yogurt? No shrimp, lobster, crab or tilapia? No vegan.

I can see giving up beef and pork. I doubt that I would miss pork at all. Beef, I could relegate to once a month, maybe. Poultry, however, is another animal – pun absolutely intended. We consume a lot of the “gospel bird’ in this house, and chicken enchiladas are on the menu tonight.


I admit I am ill-informed about the vegetarian lifestyle. Sure, there’s plenty of research and information online, but I prefer hearing from “real” people. I know a few vegetarians, and one is quite overweight. That’s not hard to fathom, since cookies, pies, cakes and ice cream traditionally don’t contain chunks of beef.

I am planning to go vegetarian for a week in August, but first I’d like to hear from readers. If you’re vegan/vegetarian, why did you choose the lifestyle, and why do you think it’s better than others? I’d also like to know about your overall health, so leave all comments below.


I am not systematic at all when it comes to religion. I just love life. And I'm not judgmental. And I'm a vegetarian.  ~  Erykah Badu

Visit the "Less Leslie" Facebook page for more info and comments!

Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.

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