Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal, and may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter. Vegetarianism may be adopted for various reasons. Many people object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Such ethical motivations have been codified under various religious beliefs, as well as animal rights advocacy. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, economic, or personal preference. There are variations of the diet as well: an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products, an ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, and a lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs. A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including eggs and dairy.
Running icon Bart Yasso is a vegetarian. Scott Jurek, one of the greatest ultramarathoners of all time, is vegan. Then there are the strength and bodybuilding athletes like Robert Cheeke, Natalie Matthews, and Patrik Baboumian who not only excel on a plant-based diet, but have been wildly successful in competition. A vegetarian or vegan diet for endurance athletes is really not all that different from a normal healthy diet, with the exception, of course, of the meat and animal products. You can take it as far as you want, and some vegetarian and vegan athletes tend toward raw and gluten-free diets, citing even greater energy gains. There are differing degrees of health in plant-based diets, and mine includes a lot of delicious cooked foods that people following more traditional diets would eat.
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works. People following a vegetarian diet do not eat meat or fish but may continue to eat eggs and dairy products. A person does not have to eat meat to get all the nutrients they need for good health. A meat-free diet can lead to better health for several reasons. One reason is that many people who follow a vegetarian diet tend to consume a high proportion of fresh, healthful, plant-based foods, which provide antioxidants and fiber. When a person decides to follow a meat-free diet, they often become more active in making overall healthy choices. Studies show that a vegan or vegetarian diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer. A non-meat diet may also reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, which includes obesity and type 2 diabetes.