As a vegetarian, any opportunity to promote a meatless diet amongst my peers is usually seized with pleasure (just ask my friends, they are sick of me talking about this already). Vegetarian and vegan diets are no longer relegated to the realm of hippies, crumbums, and surfer-dudes. Its mainstream acceptance has permeated Hollywood, with many celebrities going veg, including Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, and Alicia Silverstone. (We even won a big name back to the fold from veganism recently – Natalie Portman announced this week that she’s going back to vegetarian during her pregnancy). The benefits of vegetarianism range from a longer life and lower risk of heart disease to weight loss and even reversing diabetes. And a new survey from Reuters, indicating that a vegetarian diet could reduce the chances of developing cataracts, seems to fit well within my personal anti-carnivore agenda. Remember when your mom told you to eat your carrots because they’re good for your eyes? Turns out that theory has merit. Oh, the benefits galore.
However, the Reuter’s post also acknowledges that this recent survey contradicts a previous study done in India that states the exact opposite – meat-based diets reduce the chances of cataracts. With all these new studies being published every day, mostly with conflicting information, it’s difficult to know what advice to follow, and what to discard. Which makes it all the more important to remember why you made the decision to change your diet and regime in the first place. Was it because you wanted to lose weight? Were you diagnosed with a medical condition? Or did you just fancy a change?
I became a vegetarian for several reasons, none of which was to reduce my chances of cataracts. Cataracts is quite frankly low on my list of current concerns. So if you’re becoming a vegetarian just because of an irrational fear of eye problems usually associated with old age, or because you see yourself as the next Natalie Portman, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. That’s a huge lifestyle change for, quite frankly, a small pay-out. Don’t let me dissuade you, however. I encourage people to make positive and new changes in their lifestyle. Just remember why you’ve embarked on the I-don’t-care-where-the-beef-is extravaganza and try not to get too caught up in the latest craze. (And for the record, I love Natalie Portman.)