I’m vego for health reasons though I call myself a ‘social vegetarian’, as I’ll eat a little bit of chicken or fish (never red meat) if someone else is cooking or I’m away from home etc. – just because it’s easier for all (and I think a little bit of meat occasionally is perfectly fine prob a good balance for most busy westerners who might struggle to have a completely healthy 100% vego diet). I began being vego once I began studying Ayurvedic medicine. It’s regarded as the world’s oldest, continuous healthcare system (having been around for over 6000 years) and it recommends what’s called a lacto-vegetarian diet. I.e. milk & milk products etc. are okay.
I also studied the world’s longest living, healthiest cultures throughout history, and nearly all of them have eaten a predominantly vegetarian diet. Most eat meat on an ‘occasional’ basis, or in small quantities – usually only ‘special occasions’ or when they could afford it.
Modern western science, also shows very clearly that diets based on large quantities of meat (particularly red meat) are strongly linked to far higher incidences of most Western diseases and illness. Of course, it should be noted that the health benefits of a predominately vegetarian diet, are only based on that diet being a healthy one (I.e. comprising a really good variety of predominantly fresh, whole plant foods not just chocolate, potato chips, and soft drinks!).
Re getting enough protein. Firstly I would say that it’s a myth that a meat-based diet provides better quality protein than a vegetarian one or that it’s hard to get enough protein on a vegetarian diet (but that’s a whole different discussion… meat lobbies etc … so we won’t go there!) I and other vego’s can get sufficient protein from things like; Milk and milk products, nuts, seeds, lentils, legumes, and even vegetables.
Here’s a really good video that outlines the myth surrounding protein – – skip to 2min mark.
A great book on the subject from a modern, scientific perspective is called ‘The China Study’ by Colin. T. Campbell.
As for fibre, vegetarians generally have much higher fibre in their diet than meat eaters (meat possesses no fibre at all, nor do any of the fats or oils). Most fibre is found in fruits and vegetables which vegetarians tend to eat more.
* Interesting thought re; the idea that a vegetarian diet doesn’t make one strong. What do the strongest and most athletic animals in nature, e.g. bullocks, horses, gorillas – eat? Nothing but grasses, hay, shrubs, fruit etc. I.e. Vegetarian diets. There is a saying, “as strong as an ox”. Strong, powerful oxen that are used to ability to pull heavy carts etc, basically at nothing but… grasses and grains!