Growing up in a country where food is subconsciously linked to meat, and vegetarianism sounds more like a transient disease rather than a life choice, can sometimes feel oppressive. The decision to become a vegetarian did not occur to me all of a sudden… there were more complex reasons behind it. Last year, a YouGov survey found that 25% of people in Britain have cut back how much meat they eat, so there’s never been a better time to learn why.
Although compassion for the animals can with no doubt be classified as a valid reason for someone to give up meat and/or fish, my ideas surrounding the issue were a bit more intricate. Industrialisation and development in our world has occurred fast and in an uncontrollable way. The food chain and human diet simply have not managed to escape a similar, mechanised fate.
On a daily basis, vast amounts of meat and fish are being slaughtered and caught to meet the increasing demand of the world’s population, and that’s our reality now. The UN’s highest prediction for population exceeds 11 billion people by 2100 (read our previous article about population here). How will we feed that many people? A scary thought huh? All of this combined with the recent connection made between modern livestock practices like intensive farming and climate change. A recent study found that livestock production, accounts for about a fifth of total greenhouse-gas emissions. Vegetarianism is becoming more recognised now for its enormous benefits: saving water and energy in agricultural processes and for human health too. Things like reducing the risk of cancer, heart diseases and diabetes motivated me to change my eating habits too.
The actual process of turning into a vegetarian can be challenging, due to the absence of certain food elements from your dietary routine. Going vegetarian can leave you missing certain vitamins and minerals so you will need to come up with alternatives to increase iron and hematocrit inventories.
But don’t fear! Although some research is required, a plethora of meal options does indeed exist. Tofu, lentils, beans, lots of nuts, dried fruits and leaf vegetables are only some of the things that, if regularly consumed, can not only maintain a healthy human body, but also be proven even more efficient than the consumption of animals. In addition, a healthier, nutrient rich diet can come to life when practising vegetarianism, thus boosting your metabolism and enhancing your body’s strength and capabilities. (see more on how to have a balanced diet here)
Of course the temptation to indulge in tasty meal options that contain meat does exist and peer pressure on a night out to get a some cheeky nuggs from McDonalds may occur. However, coming to terms with the reasons why you’ve chosen this particular lifestyle, accepting other eating habits around you, and exploring multiple ways to enhance your food admissions can guarantee a smooth transition into the world of vegetarianism and its benefits!
About the Author: Stella Kyratzi studies Business and Management (BA) at the University of York. She’s keen on travelling, and exploring new cultures. She enjoys writing and taking photographs in her spare time.