A lamb taking its first steps. Photo: Peter Shanks from Lithgow, Australia
Many people give up meat for health or ethical reasons. Maybe you're trying to reduce the cholesterol in your diet, or perhaps you think the cruelty of factory farming cannot be justified. Or maybe you just don't like the thought of eating dead animals.
If you're not currently vegetarian or vegan, is becoming vegetarian something you might consider? Why or why not?
I'm not really vegetarian since I eat fish sometimes. However, I gave up eating birds and mammals about 13 years ago. I'm healthier than I was before, I think just because changing my diet forced me to think a bit more about what I was eating and try more of a variety of foods. We (my family and I) eat a lot of stir fries, Indian and Mexican food. I think if you tried to stick with more English style meals where meat is the main part of the meal it would be a bit boring, but in a good vegetarian meal it doesn't feel like anything is missing.I don't miss meat at all. Actually, after so long the smell of it cooking kind of disgusts me. My husband still eats it sometimes if we're out but doesn't cook it at home.
People worry about it from a nutrition angle but there's actually nothing in meat that you can't get from other food sources. You can still get plenty of protein, and there is iron in pulses (lentils, beans etc.), mushrooms and leafy green vegetables.
It's a lot easier to eat vegetarian food now than it would have been twenty or thirty years ago because most restaurants have at least one veggie option now (though choices are a bit limited unless you're eating Indian or Thai) and there are more interesting veggie foods available in supermarkets than there used to be.
While I still eat meat, I eat far far less than I used to, and could probably get along without it just fine. If I lived by myself, I might give being a vegetarian a go, but since I live with my family, who constantly cook and eat meat, it is too much hassle to avoid altogether.
I am a vegetarian and have been for 15 years. My choice is based on the thought of not wanting to eat dead animals, I can't bare the thought of doing so. Having said that, the rest of my family are carnivores, and I am happy to cook meat for them. I do encounter problems being a vegetarian, such as being low on iron which I have to supplement, I also find that menu choices in cafes and restaurants are somewhat limited, but I wouldn't want to change my vegetarian diet, I don't miss meat whatsoever.
I have not eaten red meat for approximately 25 yrs, chicken or fish for approximately 15 years. I don't harp on about my choices, but if people are interested and ask questions I will discuss why I have chosen this option(for ethical reasons.) My partner is a meat eater, although does not eat much because he became more and more curious about the ethical issues and in time made his own decision to cut down his meat intake. He will not eat lamb, pork or veal. We have sourced beef and chicken from farms where the animals welfare is paramount and they are slaughtered with care. It is possible to source such products. if people still want to eat meat but are really keen to cut down their intake for ethical reasons, you can do so if you look a little further/do some research to source ethical meat (and dairy for that matter.) My partner says the beef we source is amazing, so much better than any he has tasted before. Happy cows treated well and slaughtered with respect makes for tasty meat. And don't forget, grass fed beef is best. Grain fed is not natural - cows were not meant to eat grain!!!
It seems there is such a demand for meat these days that over the years some farmers have become lapse with animal welfare because the need is there to just pump out the produce quickly without concern for the animals' welfare.
I have been a vegetarian for some years now but my husband became one recently also after watching a DVD called Forks Over Knives. Now my 2 sons aged 17 and 16 have watched it and also have changed to vegetarian eating. Makes life so much easier when the whole family is veg! Also I can recommend another movie called Vegucated - very informative for the whole family.
I was a vegetarian a long time ago for ethical reasons, but my health suffered and so I went back to eating meat. I was an undiagnosed Coeliac at the time and suffered from chronic iron deficiency (which is normal for Coeliacs). Took a long time to build up iron stores again. I still believe in vegetarism on ethical grounds, but I am not totally sure that the human body was designed to not eat meat. I have heard arguments on both sides.
We weren't designed to (or rather didn't evolve to) be vegetarian, but in this day and age with the variety of food available to us in the developed world we can do it and be healthy (or at least some people can, personal circumstances vary).
I have considered it but bacon...because, bacon. All kidding aside, given the choice I would only eat free run, ethically raised and ethically slaughtered meat but finding such a thing is nearly impossible. I don't think I could completely give up meat, but I also don't condone the way we current 'harvest' our meat.
I am partly vegetarian! Could not, rather would not, give up my bacon.
After about 5 years I have now also started eating chicken again -I found I put on weight when I changed to vegetarian mostly as I made a lot of pasta, and used a lot of pastry which I didnt do before when eating red meat.
There are plenty of healthy vegetarians out there who can attest to the fact that it doesn't make you "sick constantly", at least, it is certainly not the case for everyone. There are even quite a few olympic athletes who are vegetarian or vegan. Interestingly, eating meat literally makes me sick (I have trouble digesting animal fat). Your mileage may vary.
Jen, ta. I concur with your last sentence, as when I preggers with my bubs, boy & then, girl, during BOTH First Trimesters, I could NOT look at, smell, buy, prepare, cook & certainly not EAT red meat! Yet I didn't have morning sickness with either of them. Go figure!
Ate much chook & fish, continued that pattern for much of their remaining pregnancies. Strangely, the abhorrence ended precisely at 12weeks' gestation!
Ah, the wonders & 'weirdo's' of being a female! Cheers