Usedcarsalesman is going on three of the last four years as a Vegetarian (he had a year-long lapse in 2005, but returned in 2006). Used didn't really start with Vegetarianism because he hated the idea of killing and eating chickens, bulls, pigs and other livestock. Actually, Used thought those chickens, bulls and pigs were rather tasty. And, Used didn't start with a vegetarian diet because it was better for the environment or something like that. Rather, Usedcarsalesan began a vegetarian diet for the following selfish and somewhat speculative reason: he believed that it would help to optimally maintain his long-term health.
Anyway, in his own case, Usedcarsalesman came up with some interesting findings related to his vegetarian diet. He'll now do a "pro-versus-con," CNET-style review like Vegetarianism was a new High Definition big screen TV.
- Cholesterol plummets. Usedcarsalesman didn't have high-cholesterol to begin with (still, he did test at 142, down from a more typical 180s pre-veg cholesterol level test). But, if you an older person, have high cholesterol and the drugs aren't working and you are on your last legs and want to live, seriously consider Vegetarianism.
- Also, kidney function apparently improves -- kidney-function tests such as Blood Urea Nitrogen and Creatinine and Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) all improved remarkably in Usedcarsaleman. Used was concerned he might have been showing early stages of kidney disease prior to beginning Vegetarianism due to test results of the aforementioned that were borderline out-of-range. As a vegetarian, Used found these aforementioned tests numbers all stabilize to optimum "adult" levels.
- Also, Usedcarsalesman found that his hormonal levels were all maintained after becoming vegetarian; ie., there was no pronounced drop in Testosterone, DHEA, etc as demonstrated by blood chemistry tests "pre-veg" and "during-veg." (Note: Usedcarsalesan admits that his conclusions here regarding his cholesterol levels, kidney function, hormonal levels as they relate to a vegetarian diet are not "scientific;" so, reader beware!)
- However, you're going to want to keep an eye on your Red Blood Cell Count and Your White Blood Cell Count if you are a Vegetarian. 'Used' found that his Red Blood Cell Count had fallen out of the control range since he had become a Vegetarian. Why? Likely, because there was no or minimal iron in his Vegetarian diet (no egg yolks, dark green vegetables, etc) or in his supplementation and, as such, his bone marrow didn't have the mineral it needed to produce new Red Blood Cells. Used adjusted his diet to include more iron-rich foods and supplemented with moderate amounts of iron; he, then, noticed a pronounced boost in energy, less fatigue, and greatly enhanced athleticism (keep in mind, red blood cells carry oxygen; if you're short on red blood cells, then you may experience shortness of breath during exercise, chronic fatigue at work, etc.)
- Also, Used's white blood cell count (WBC) was in range, but on the low end of the scale. Low WBC count may indicate slight malnutrition and inadequate amino acid intake due to inconsistent protein quality; ie., Used might not have been getting the full range of amino acids from his Vegetarian diet because the protein he consumed may have been somewhat incomplete (he was eating protein containing foods, say nuts, beans etc. but they were not adequately balanced enough with grains etc). And, though eggs and milk tended to provide more complete protein (especially eggs) who wanted to eat such foods all the time? Since, Used had been getting sick a lot, with head colds, influenza etc., he could reasonably speculate that his low WBC count might be a contributing factor and had allowed these infections to occur.
So Usedcarsalesman saw that he needed to stick with Vegetarianism, due its apparent benefits, but add a little iron and supplement with decent quality, full-amino acid spectrum, vegetarian protein. He decided to go with MetRx-styled complete protein shakes using a mix by Puritan's Pride. Needless to say, his incidence of sickness has declined remarkably since, just by having one of these shakes every few days. Used, of course, must test and confirm his presumed Red and White Blood Cell count increases in the future. But, regardless of existing data, Usedcarsalesman currently notices a very positive difference in his overall health after supplementing his Vegetarian Diet with iron and adding a complete protein shake (2 Times per Week) to his vegetarian menu.
Usedcarsalesman obtained the aforementioned blood chemistry information on himself through his HMO and the aid of willing Medical Doctors there. 'Used' also supplemented these tests with saliva-based tests (comparable to blood tests) from companies such as BodyBalance. HMO based blood chemistry tests are one thing (covered as part of you insurance premiums); but, paying out of pocket for saliva-based tests can get a bit expensive if you are taking them regularly. Nevertheless, if you are a strict Vegetarian like Usedcarsalesman (or the even more hardcore, "Vegan") good for you; But, 'Used' suggests to Vegans, and other Vegetarians like himself, that they seriously consider having regular blood chemistry and saliva-based tests done to shore up any dietary deficiencies and insure their optimal health.