Clearly, the trend is toward a vegetarian diet. Vegetarianism describes a diet that does without meat and fish. Depending on the form, completely or in parts.
A rapidly growing group are the so-called flexitarians. They do not give up meat completely, but often limit their consumption for health reasons. They also pay attention to the quality and origin of the meat.
Vegetarian or vegan? What is the difference?
One thing vegans and vegetarians have in common is that they do not eat meat. In a vegetarian diet, animal foods are not eliminated. Vegetarians eat honey, milk or yogurt, for example. This is not possible in a vegan diet.
Vegetarianism basically does not reject animal products. Eating dairy products or eggs, for example, is not a problem for them. Depending on the form of vegetarianism just. In the vegetarian kitchen these foods have even a high place value. Many dishes are refined by milk products, like cheese.
And vegans? Here it is said, “Cheese? No, thanks!” Who lives vegan, renounces animal products. This includes all dairy products, such as cheese. Eggs are also not allowed. Everything that does not correspond to a plant-based diet is taboo. In addition to the diet, vegans also abstain from other animal products. For Veganer applies: Animal things are rejected. Wool sweaters, for example, are not vegan. Or certain cosmetics. Strictly speaking, many car tires are not either.
Vegetarians, on the other hand, do not avoid it. Vegetarian diets do not mean avoiding animal ingredients. Cozy wool sweaters? No problem! Silk shirts? Everything in the green area! It is exclusively about meat renunciation.
Vegans replace animal foods with plant-based options in everyday life. Meat becomes tofu or soy. Cow’s milk becomes, for example, oat or almond milk. Substitute products offer many plant-based alternatives. They are also an interesting option for vegetarians.
What Forms of Vegetarianism are There?
Vegetarians: abstain from meat and fish. Eating dairy products is allowed.
Ovo-vegetarian: abstaining from meat and fish, eggs, milk and dairy products.
Ovo-lacto vegetarian: abstaining from fish, meat and gelatin. Consumption of animal products is allowed. They also drink milk.
Flexitarians: occasional consumption of all types of meat. Pay attention to good quality.
Pescetarians: abstain from meat. Consumption of fish.
Frutarians: abstain from meat, fish and animal products. Exclusive consumption of fallen fruit and nuts. They want to harm plants as little as possible.
Why do Vegetarians Give Up Meat?
The backgrounds for a vegetarian diet are manifold. The most common reasons are:
Ethics &Love of animals
For some vegetarians there is no ethical difference between domestic and farm animals. For them, every animal has a right to life. No matter whether it was bred for slaughter or cuddling.
For many, their meatless lifestyle means taking responsibility towards animals.
Climate protection & environmental awareness
Every piece of meat consumes resources, water and energy. So that farm animals have cheap fodder, trees are cut down, for example.
For the same amount of plant products, much less energy is used.As an example: For 1 kg of beef, about 20,000 l of water are used. For 1 kg of potatoes it is 100 l. Living vegetarian saves our resources enormously.
Conscious nutrition & intolerances
A vegetarian lifestyle is more conscious. To prevent deficiency symptoms, many vegetarians deal with the topic of healthy nutrition. This develops a certain awareness about vitamins and nutrients.
By eating a lot of vegetables, a vegetarian diet is basically very healthy. Not without reason there is a variety of vegetarian diets. Avoiding meat often means a lower calorie intake. In contrast to soy and tofu, meat is very hearty. And especially fatty. Vegetarians should therefore make sure that their calorie intake is adequate.
Another reason for vegetarianism: allergies. There are people who develop an intolerance to meat. The consumption of certain types of meat causes discomfort. However, this allergy is very rare.
People who eat a meatless diet are less likely to get sick. A twelve-year study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine proves this. It showed that vegetarian subjects have a 40% lower risk of cancer than those on a mixed diet. Their blood lipid levels were much better. In addition, their blood pressure values were lower than those of meat eaters.
By the way, vegetarians rarely give up meat for reasons of taste. A vegetarian will refuse a deliciously smelling steak because eating it goes against his principles. Not because he wouldn’t like it.
What does a Balanced Vegetarian Diet Look Like?
A little bit of everything and varied. That should be the motto of a balanced vegetarian diet. Cooking for yourself is a good start. That way you know exactly what’s coming to the table. Lots of vegetables and fresh foods should play a major role. Vegetables are not only delicious, they also keep you fit.
Also important in the vegetarian food pyramid: cereals and potatoes. These contain important fiber and vitamins. Now and then an egg and dairy products should be already. Thus the protein and calcium household is filled. Protein is important for muscle maintenance and also for the immune system.
Diets that do not include milk should cover the calcium requirement in a different way. One possibility is sesame seeds. Almonds are also a good source of calcium.
Equally important for staying fit: Magnesium. Magnesium is found in many foods. Sunflower seeds or nuts are full of it. Oatmeal or bran also contain a lot of magnesium.
Tip: Your health is in line with your vitamin balance. To stay healthy, it is important that you are well supplied. Pay attention to proteins and vitamins in your diet. They affect the body in many ways. For example, did you know that vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium?