Many people develop an interest in the vegetarian diet once they taste delicious vegetarian recipes and realize they don’t notice that it’s meatless. Contrary to what many meat lovers assume, vegetarian food encompasses a vast scope of cuisines and natural ingredients that are accessible, affordable, and easy to cook. But the food is only one aspect of the vegetarian lifestyle. The reasons why people choose to become vegetarian are often similar to their reasons for going green in other aspects of life.
Compassion for Animals
Vegetarians save animals by reducing the market demand for meat supply. The list of cruelties animals suffer, especially in factory farms, is extensive. Today, many animals live brief lives in cramped, windowless confinement. Many don’t raise families, build homes, eat a diet of grass or do anything that’s natural to their species.
Redirecting Food to the Poor
Millions of pounds of grain are exported every year from third world countries to feed livestock in the west. For instance, it takes 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of meat. If people in the United States reduced meat consumption by 10%, 12,000,000 tons of grain would be free to feed 60,000,000 people.
Large Scale Meat Consumption is not Environmentally Sustainable
As reported by the United Nations, the meat industry is the biggest cause of global warming, producing 40% more greenhouse-gas emissions than all of the cars, trucks, and planes in the world. Since 1960, 25% of the forests in Central American have been destroyed for cattle grazing. And while water supply decreases around the globe, it still takes 2500 gallons of water to produce 1 lb of meat.
Improve Heath and Reduce Risk of Disease
According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians are significantly less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure. Meat is full of toxins produced by stress, hormones, and pesticide residue from the grain animals eat.
On the other hand, vegetarians consume the nutrients they need from plant proteins, fibers, and minerals without the saturated fat and cholesterol in meat. Unlike fad diets that make people feel tired, vegetarians feel energetic and light because the energy in protein has a higher conversion rate. The vegetarian diet not only takes weight off, but it keeps it off. Vegetarians are one-third as likely as meat eaters to be obese, vegans are one-tenth as likely.
A Vegetarian Diet Can Be Flexible
The key to making a healthy diet last is flexibility and not feeling deprived. Going vegetarian doesn’t have to be an overnight, or an all or nothing effort. In fact, many people first choose to eat vegetarian once a week and go from there. Others choose to only eliminate red meat from their diet.
Vegetarian Food is Delicious and Satisfying
There are thousands of vegetarian food recipes available on vegetarian food websites and vegetarian cookbooks, as well as food guides. Many beginner vegetarians are surprised to find that they don’t feel hungry. The market for meat and dairy-free products is growing and many of the products currently available are tasty. The common argument the vegetarians don’t eat sufficient amounts of protein is often posed by meat eaters who consume too much protein. Vegetarians are no different from ordinary people; they eat when they’re hungry.
Ask one hundred vegetarians why they’re vegetarian and expect to get one hundred different answers in return. The key to exploring a new diet is to focus on expanding the variety of options the diet includes, and reason behind trying a vegetarian diet in the first place.