Vegetarianism is Becoming More Popular

Have you ever considered becoming a vegetarian? How many people would consider becoming a vegetarian if they knew what becoming a vegetarian entailed and how to be a vegetarian without putting your health at risk? I have considered becoming a vegetarian and I know many people who are vegetarians. I have always wondered why someone becomes a vegetarian.

This article will explore what vegetarianism entails and how to be a vegetarian without putting your health at risk. It will also discuss some of the reasons why people become vegetarians and I will talk about why I considered becoming a vegetarian.

In the strictest sense, vegetarianism involves not eating meat, fish, poultry, or their by-products. Vegetarianism may or may not include using eggs or dairy products. This exclusion may also include lard, gelatin, and tallow. Some vegetarians don’t wear leather, feathers, or fur because all of all these products come as the result of the death of animals. Although vegetarians attempt not to consume or use any products made from animals, some vegetarians are willing to make small concessions for their diet or clothing (Vegetarianism 1).

In the Western world, the popularity of vegetarianism grew in the 20th century because of the combination of nutritional, ethical, and environmental concerns (Vegetarianism 2).

There are different kinds of vegetarianism. Some of these types are:
1. Lacto-Vegetarianism: Lacto-vegetarians don’t eat meat or eggs, but may consume dairy products. Vegetarians in India and the Mediterranean countries, like Greece are or were lacto-vegetarians.
2. Lacto-Ovo- Vegetarianism: Lacto-Ovo vegetarians don’t eat meat, but may eat dairy and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarianism in the Western world.
3. Veganism: Dietary vegans are people who avoid eating any animal products, including eggs, milk, and honey. Vegans are people who don’t eat or use animal products such as leather are labeled vegans Vegetarianism 2-3). Now that I have presented an overview of vegetarianism and some of its types, it is time to discuss a few reasons why people become vegetarians in the first place.

A major reason that people become vegetarians is due to nutritional concerns. Some people claim that a diet full of fruits and vegetables but has little or no animal fat and proteins give us many health benefits. Among these benefits is a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and obesity. In addition, vegetarians seem to lower body mass indices and lower blood pressure (Vegetarianism 3).

It has been claimed that vegetarian protein sources are lacking in one or more of the needed amino acids. However, vegetarians get all the protein amino acids that they require by eating whole wheat bread, brown rice, nuts, and tofu burgers and hot dogs (Vegetarianism 3).

Many vegetarians consider the production, slaughter, and the consumption of animal products unethical. The reason for this belief may have to do with animal rights or hating to inflict pain or harm to other living creatures. In addition, some vegetarians believe that consuming meat and using other animal products is disgusting and not appetizing (Vegetarianism 4-5).

It surprised me that the majority of vegetarians follow the practice due to religious reasons. This is according to The Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians. Many religions, including Buddhism and Taoism firmly believe that in the ideal world life is to be valued and not thrown away like trash in order to cater to human whim and gratification (Vegetarianism 6).

Some people are vegetarians because they were raised in a vegetarian household. Other people are vegetarians because someone close to them is a vegetarian. In addition, if you lived in a completely vegetarian society then, you may become a vegetarian in order to stay in that society (Vegetarianism 6).

I am fascinated why some people become vegetarians. Therefore, I interviewed my cousin, Lauren, who is a vegetarian. It seems from talking to Lauren that she became a vegetarian because of ethical concerns because of what she said about being a vegetarian.

“I stopped eating meat in the summer of 2002 after seeing Another animal cruelty video that talked about both the inhumane treatment of the animals that are about to be slaughtered and the plain uncleanness of the whole operation. It just made me sick, so, I lost the taste for all beef, game, and foul after that” (Saul, personal interview).

It also seems that Lauren makes an exception to vegetarianism for the sake of her diet. As Lauren states:
“I do eat fish; therefore, I am a pescetarian. I started eating fish for the protein and the vitamins that I was missing. Now that I have left myself fish, I eat a lot of it” (Saul, personal interview).

But, she also believes that she will not make this exception forever.
“I will, I suspect, eventually stop eating fish. I will do this for the sake of the fish for one thing, but because of the polluted environment that the fish are farmed in. I don’t want my kids, should I have any, to have a third eye or something from the mercury” (Saul, personal interview).

Even though it appears that vegetarians get all the nutrients that they need from the food in the United States, being a vegetarian isn’t always easy. According to Lauren:

“The hardest part about being a vegetarian is traveling outside the country because some countries don’t believe that poultry is meat and it will be in some dishes and some saucesâÂ?¦. Finding Healthy options are hard also. At baseball games, all you can eat at some stadiums is FRENCH FRIES. Or, you can eat grilled cheese, ice cream, and onion rings. Therefore, all you can eat at a baseball game as a vegetarian is cheese and carbs” (Saul, personal interview).

If you still wish to become a vegetarian, Lauren gives these wise words of wisdom to new vegetarians:
“Get enough protein from soy and supplements. The trick is to NOT allow your diet to become reliant on cheeses and carbohydrates. Eat many leafy greens, NUTS, and beans will be the key to a healthy vegetarian dietâÂ?¦. Eggplant and mushrooms will be your best friends because they are the most available options in most restaurants. Finally, always ask what’s in the soup, sauces, and beans. Many people use bacon as a base for all these recipes. You can be tricked into eating pig, if you don’t ask” (Saul, personal interview).

I thought about becoming a vegetarian after reading Peter Singer’s book Animal Liberation. I also thought about becoming a vegetarian when my father died because he ate much meat and poultry. In fact, my father was a “meat and potatoes man” who hated eating vegetables. We had a hard time getting him to eat salads. Finally, I always hear about Mad Cow Disease and I was sacred that the meat that I ate would have it. I don’t think that being a vegetarian would be bad because I love to eat;so every person could eat as a vegetarian.

Works Cited
Saul, Lauren. Personal Interview, May, 26, 2005


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