More and more people are consciously opting for a vegetarian diet. In Germany it now represents 10 percent of the population, and the trend is rising.
Reasons for Vegetarianism
The motives for a vegetarian lifestyle are varied. The reasons given are ethical, health, aversion to meat flavors, world nutrition, environmental impact and religion. With expanding insight into factory farming and slaughter practices, many people can no longer accept how animals are tortured and killed for human consumption. Increasingly, issues such as world hunger and environmental pollution are also being considered. Producing one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of meat requires seven times more arable land and pasture than to produce one kilogram of grain or vegetables. In view of the increasing world population, meat consumption must inevitably fall in order to feed all people with the available resources.
Types of Vegetarianism
The form of vegetarianism depends on which animal food is consumed.
The ovo-lacto-vegetarian rejects meat and fish products, but allows eggs and dairy products.
Lacto-vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or eggs. Only dairy products are accepted.
The ovo-vegetarian eats eggs, but no meat, no fish and no dairy products.
In addition, there exist different forms of compliance with these guidelines.
So-called "flexitarians" are not quite consistent and eat fish or a little meat when the situation arises.
So-called "pudding vegetarians" has a negative connotation because although they do not eat animal products from dead animals for ethical reasons, they follow an unhealthy lifestyle with fast food, sweets and heavily processed products. This form of vegetarianism is often found among young people who grow up in educationally disadvantaged classes where the necessary nutritional knowledge and family support are lacking.
Numerous scientific studies on vegetarianism show that a vegetarian diet ensures a sufficient supply of all nutrients as well as health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. This is especially true for the ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet. According to recent studies, vegetarians are slimmer, healthier and live longer than meat eaters. This may not only be due to diet, but also because vegetarians in general practice a more conscious and healthy lifestyle.
The ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet is very close to the current nutritional recommendation for a complete mixed diet. This allows only 600 grams (1.3 pounds) of meat and sausage per week, plus two portions of fish. The valuable nutrients that vegetarians miss out on by avoiding meat and fish can easily be replaced by other foods; for example, milk and cheese provide protein, green leafy vegetables are rich in iron. Vitamin B12 is also found in dairy products.