Keeping the Balance – A problem of the majority

Ashenafi Zedebub

As people nowadays have become sensitive as regards nutrition and with the increasing evidence supporting a vegan diet, there has been far too much argument and debate over the two types of diets. But experts in the field are of the opinion that what people should need is only “to focus on the balance” in order to remain healthy.

As investigators have time and again pointed out, it is worthwhile to be in a well-balanced vegan diet (without meat, eggs, or dairy products) and a well-balanced lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (which would include dairy products and eggs, but exclude meat).  It has been evident that both types of diets are excellent. However, scholars indicate that there are still some problems when it comes to the implementation of a “ well-balanced “  vegetarian diet.  Thus, according to the authorities, a well-balanced vegan diet must in any case include vitamin B 12 supplementation as well as sufficient amounts of vitamin D and calcium.  Nutritionists have always warned that a vegan diet could also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis as one grows older.

On the other hand, however, the lacto-ovovegetarian diet can also be problematic if it happens to contain too much saturated fat, which would result in very poor cholesterol profiles.  Hence, a careful management of either diet can easily overcome these drawbacks.

Proponents of the total plant-based diet often quote certain authorities in support of their beliefs. It is nevertheless worthwhile to be cautious and also look into other research papers and – if possible – attend certain seminars concerning the “well-balanced vegan diet” before coming to a final decision regarding  such issues.

For example, according to one research material distributed across the Atlantic, North Americans can now freely purchase fortified soy milk, yet in many parts of the world health promoters produce and sell “soy milks” that are actually “ sugar bean juice”. Evaluators have found out that such drinks are without a nutrient content comparable to that of regular low-fat dairy. One expert said: “ we cannot recommend such homemade drinks and more than we would recommend a fruit drink over a fruit juice.”

It is obvious that balance extends to more than the food on our plate. If someone is not at all interested in the balance and strictly adheres to the type of food or drink he or she wants, side effects are much higher than we really expect.

Here in our society people are not that much interested in keeping the balance of any type of food.  Needless to say, meat by itself plays a very important role socially and also traditionally.  I happen to make phone calls to many of my friends on the occasion of the Ethiopian New Year.  One good friend of mine did not want even to respond amicably as he used to be. I was wondering why. On the next day he himself phoned  and congratulated me, although one day had already passed as to say “ happy new year.”  He then said: “ why should I celebrate such a day on Wednesday , a day without meat and with no sheep or goat to have been killed in my house.

So, I found out that celebration without meat was nothing to most of my compatriots. But for me, as a lacto-ovo vegetarian, this does not mean anything. But keeping a balance is still sometimes my problem.  In this sense, I have joined the majority, which should be corrected promptly. What about you?


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