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I’ve been asked many, many times about following a vegetarian diet. The simplest form of the question is, “IS IT BETTER TO BE VEGETARIAN OR TO EAT MEAT?” As usual, however, I can’t give you a black and white answer. There is no single “better” diet in this case.
What is your body type?
Your ability to healthily cut out animal protein may hinge on your body type. If you don’t know your body type, take my quiz, read my book, or check out my YouTube channel for some answers.
If you are the adrenal type, you probably should not be a vegetarian. If you are constantly tired and stressed, have stubborn belly fat, and lack muscle tone, you might be an adrenal body type. Adrenal types suffer significant muscle breakdown due to cortisol, and for this reason, they need to eat some amount of dense protein with all of their meals to replace and rebuild what they’re losing. I wholeheartedly recommend high quality animal proteins for this purpose.
If you are the liver type, you may do very well on a vegetarian diet. In the case of the liver body type, too much dense, heavy animal protein can actually harm the liver, so cutting it out entirely isn’t the immediate problem that it would be for the adrenal type. In addition, liver types have a higher need for vegetables than other body types. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale help heal and clean the liver, so having more room for them in your diet is definitely not a bad thing.
These are the two primary body type-related considerations related to following a vegetarian diet. Thyroid and ovary types have their own protein considerations, but they aren’t as intimately tied with animal protein in particular.
Vegetarian means VEGETABLES!
You will never catch me suggesting that eating more vegetables is a bad idea, as long as you’re eating veggies that are compatible with your body type.
The problem I most often see with vegetarian diets is that people replace animal protein with grains, carbohydrates, and low-quality proteins like soy.
Soy is indeed a dense protein, but it is estrogenic (the mortal enemy of ovary body types!) and of a low quality. Meat eaters, by the way, are just as guilty of eating too much grains.
So everyone could benefit from eating more vegetables and less grains, but it’s especially important to make sure you are eating right when you’ve just made a drastic change to your diet like cutting out animal protein.
If you’re interested in trying to go vegetarian, take a good look at your diet as it stands now, and consider your specific protein needs. Then, come up with ways to get high quality protein without animal products, and give yourself a week.
Take care not to replace proteins with grains and carbohydrates, and assess how you feel. If you’re feeling tired and weak, going fully vegetarian may not be for you. If you feel alright, or even better, go ahead and keep it up— the vegetarian diet does your body good.
Everybody is different, even bodies of the same body type. Personally, I don’t feel my body does well with no animal protein at all, so I try to keep my animal protein consumption fairly low, and my veggies very high all the same!
Going vegetarian is not for everyone, no matter how much you mind your diet. Your body type and protein needs can be a good clue, but the only way to find out if it’s truly right for you is to give it a try.
Understand being a vegetarian or meat eater and see more Diet advice from Dr. Berg Video Blog.