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Vegetarian Diets, commentary


[Daily Mining Gazette]

HOUGHTON -- At the age of four, Brialle Ringer made up her mind to go vegetarian for a simple reason.

"Animals are like my best friends," Ringer said.

Ringer was shopping with her mother, Kristen Hill, for rice milk, kiwi fruit, avocados and other groceries Wednesday at the Keweenaw Food Co-op.

Now 12, Ringer said she has been a vegetarian on and off over the years.

"For the past two years, I've been straight vegetarian," Ringer said.

She went vegetarian before her mother, who decided to cut meat out of her diet because she felt like her eating it made no sense.

"I never really liked eating meat, I found I was always kind of forcing myself to eat meat," Hill said. "And I'm aware of all the suffering that animals have to go through because people think they taste good."

Tara Lassila, RD, a dietitian at Portage Health who is also a vegetarian (for the last eight years), said ethical concerns were a key factor in her decision to stop eating meat, but she also did so for health benefits.
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One of the key things to include is diverse protein sources. Meat offers a one-stop shop for protein, because animals take in various types of plant food and synthesize it into what is called complete protein.

Vegetarian humans have to take in multiple different types of protein in order to get all of the necessary amino acids. Dietitians break down protein foods into four groups.

Group A is whole grains and cereals, including wheat, oats, rice. Group B is legumes -- things like peanuts, peas, lentils and lima beans. Nuts and seeds comprise group C -- cashews, walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds. Group D is vegetables including potatoes, dark green vegetables and other vegetables.

Vegetarian eaters should strive to eat items from all four groups as regularly as possible.
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For more information about vegetarian diets, Tiura can be reached at Portage Health at 483-1516. Another source of information for prospective vegetarians is the Vegetarian Resource Group. Their phone number is 410-366-3843.

Dan Schneider can be reached at dschneider@mininggazette.com

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full story:
http://www.mininggazette.com/stories/articles.asp?articleID=5108

 

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