Giving up meat – easy or difficult for you
Giving up meat…
There are many reasons why people give up meat. Some people do it for health reasons, some people do it because they don`t believe it is right to kill animals and some people just don’t like the taste. There has been a great increase in the number of vegetarians in Western a countries over the past twenty years. In the United Kingdom, for example, there are well over a million vegetarians and many more who eat some of their meals without meat.
Historically, vegetarianism has very strong religious links. In many cultures, it was believed that eating animal flesh would contaminate the mind with thoughts of the pleasures of the flesh. The Hindu and Sikh religions advocate a vegetarian diet, as do certain Muslims and Christian sects.
A current and persuasive argument for giving up meat is that a vegetarian diet is more economical than one containing meat. Most cereal corps grown in developed countries are used to feed farm animals, which are then killed and used as food for humans. This is an inefficient way feeding people – it takes about 4.5kg (10lb)of cereals to produce 0.5kg(1lb) of beef.Some people believe that these cereals should be used directly for human consumption and for solving the problem of food shortages in the Third World.
People are also turning towards vegetarianism for a major part of their eating because nowadays a vegetarian diet can be so varied. Most fruits and vegetables are available all year round, and this, together with the knowledge that many animal foods are adulterated with hormones, antibiotics, chemical additives and preservatives in persuading people to give up meat.
Traditionally, meat used to be the main ingredient of a meal. The ritual of offering families or guests a roast, together with the nutritional qualities associated with meat, meat-eater`shas led many of us to believe that a meal without meat lacks essential goodness.
Although meat is an important source of protein, vitamins and minerals, a small amount can provide all you need. It is not necessary to eat meat every day, and the view that vegetarians lack crucial proteins and vitamins in their diet is false. Evidence suggests that as long as a vegetarian is a careful to fulfil all his or her nutritional needs,a vegetarian diet is as meat eaters. Plus it encourages low cholesterol levels and safe blood pressure.A vegetarian diet is high in fibre and vegetarians are less likely to suffer from heart disease, constipation, piles and bowel cancer.
There are varying degrees of vegetarianism. Strict vegetarians don’t`t eat mean, fish or poultry but will eat dairy products. Vegans are still more exclusive: they don’t eat dairy products, eggs or honey and they don’t use animal products for other purposes. They don`t weather shoes, or use cosmetics that contain animal products or that have been tested on animals.Then there are fruitarians, who exist on a diet of fruit, nuts and berries and exclude grains and processed food from their diets, this is the most nutritionally inadequate.
The idea of suddenly turning to a new way of eating can be difficult for people brought upon the meat-and-two-veg tradition of cooking. It is possible, however, to move gradually away from a meat-based, high-fat, low fibre diet. As well as the ethical and health reasons for giving up meat, reducing the amount of meat in your diet also makes good financial sense.
Usually, the first stage in becoming a vegetarian is to give up eating red meat, while still eating poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs. Fish is a good alternative source of protein and is more readily digestible than red meat. Poultry contains less saturated fat and cholesterol. Other ways of cutting down on meat include making vegetable-based stews and casseroles and substituting a pasta or bean dish for meat once or twice a week. If you are going to eat meat, choose lean cuts and opt for poultry or game rather than beef or lamb which have a higher fat content. Avoid processed meats such as sausages and mince.