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We don't need to eat meat to survive so why do people? Some people say you need to for protein, others say you need to for iron. I don't eat meat and neither do my immediate family including my children and we are totally healthy.
Most animals are stunned and killed by cutting the blood vessels in the neck causing the animal to die by extensive blood loss.
They try everything in their power to get away from the killing machine and to get away from
you. They have been stunned, so their muscles don't work, but their eyes do, and you can tell by them
looking at you, they're scared to death." - Virgil Butler, former Tyson slaughterhouse worker
Chickens arrive at the "processing plant" in crates about 1 metre square, containing twelve to fifteen chickens. The crates are opened and the chickens are hung upside down by their ankles on a chain line which will carry them through the meat processing process. An electrical charge will render them unconscious within ten seconds of their being placed on this line.
At this stage, the chickens should be unconscious but not dead. They will then have their throats and major arteries cut by a worker with a knife. If their heart is still beating they will bleed out and produce the clean white meat we recognise as chicken. If the electric shock killed them, they won't bleed. This meat from these birds is brown and will be rejected.
I haven't eaten meat for around 20 years and I am healthy, I get all the protein, iron and minerals that I should get and so do my children.
There is a lot protein in quorn (vegans don't eat this) and other non meat things.
I don't preach what other people eat but I don't cook meat in my house. When my eldest child was younger and one of her friends only ate chicken nuggets, I bought quorn (or some other non meat substitute at the time) nuggets and the child loved them.
Children surprisingly don't taste the difference between normal sausages and meat free ones. The meat free ones are a lot more healthy.
My husband and my eldest child used to eat fish as did my youngest but then my youngest thought it was wrong to eat fish as it was an animal and was killed for people to eat so she persuaded her dad and sister not to eat it any more. (at 3 year old wow she is unbelievable) Fish has certain omegas that are good for you but we take flaxseed oil and vege omegas. so we get what we need. (we alos add omega seeds to soups etc)
I do eat eggs but always buy free range in fact I get them from a friend that has chickens.
When you see 'cage eggs' printed on an egg carton, it means those eggs were laid by battery chickens. Battery chickens live a miserable life, there are three and four of them crammed into tiny metal cages. Their toes must curl around the bars to stay upright, so most cannot walk on a flat surface. As soon as they lay an egg, it rolls down into the egg compartment so they can't eat it. The only thing they have to eat is chicken feed - no grass, no scraps, no insects, none of the nice things that free chickens like to eat.
Lots of nutrients that are needed can be found in vegetables. Vegetarians can obtain all the vitamins they need from a balanced and varied diet including soya or quorn.
We do not need to kill a living thing to eat ask yourself could you personally kill the cow to eat it.
Although I feel it is fundamentally wrong to eat meat, I sincerely try to not force my opinions on others. We have a choice and mine is not to eat meat. This is purely a matter for my own conscience. I have four grown up children and only one has (recently) refrained from eating meat. Another has a vegetarian girlfriend so, although he does eat meat he will also try vegetarian dishes. In fact he quite likes Quorn. I haven't ever put any pressure on any of my family to become either vegetarian or pescatarian, so I wouldn't do it you either. This review is more about my take on not eating meat; how it affects my everyday life and the differences I've found in actually finding meat free products to buy over the years, and the difference now in being vegetarian or pescatarian.
Well you make a choice and try to stick by it. My choice is to not eat meat. I would say at the moment I'm a pescatarian but, admittedly I do feel guilty about eating fish and I aim to phase this also from my diet. The reason though that I do still eat fish is because although I don't like the thought of fishing and wouldn't do it, I don't love fish in the way that I do many animals. If I was starving I would be able to fish and prepare fish much easier than a rabbit for example. Because of this I can 'live' with myself for eating fish but feel much too guilty to consume meat.
Even in my years of eating meat I couldn't eat duck or venison and certainly not veal. Or rabbit. I first decided at the age of fifteen, in the 1970s, not to eat meat. This happened after a family holiday in Suffolk. The place where we stayed had many wild rabbits running around outside in the countryside. Everyone seemed to be saying 'Ahhh!' on seeing the rabbits but weren't affected when seeing the dead rabbits strung up in a local butchers shop.
I also feel that animals are not dealt with humanely. I don't delve into this and don't want to go about this in my review. But I cannot accept many a meat eaters' argument that the animals are there for us and were meant to be eaten as we are at the top of the food chain. Years ago it would have seemed as if these creatures were there for us; times were simpler then. I feel we should have by now evolved. Often I am given arguments such as 'Look at the Bible! Jesus ate meat' or 'What about the fatted calf?' well to me this is a ridiculous argument as thousands of years ago many people were nomadic, making cultivation of food not a good option. And Quorn or soya weren't discovered. I don't feel that anyone would starve if abstaining from eating meat in the modern western world. However, I accept that most meat is tasty; the copy products are not as good yet, and it is difficult sometimes to refrain. I have managed not to lapse though.
And in general, I feel meat eating is not a healthy option. Okay, we need iron for our bodies to work properly, which is obtained from red meat, but so much fat and low quality products can be found in products such as pies and sausages. I don't think a meat diet is especially good for humans.
You may think I would be happy that my seventeen year old daughter has recently stopped eating meat. But as she has had episodes of anaemia in the past I am concerned. Also she doesn't particularly enjoy eating vegetables. But the anaemia occurred in fact, while she was still eating meat, so is not caused by her becoming vegetarian (she has never been much of a consumer of red meat.) but I feel that it would have been preferable for her to hold off with this decision for a year or two, for the sake of her well being.
I find that because I cook for my family, who mostly eat meat, that I am often cooking meat dishes. I first stopped eating meat when I was fifteen and then started to eat it again, after about twelve years, for reasons that I won't go into now. I used to be strict in my meat free diet.
All those years ago it was harder to abstain from eating meat as it is today. One reason being that Quorn was unheard of. There were a few soya products to be found but these were only available from health food shops, certainly not most, if any, supermarkets. They were very expensive too. Still are, in fact, but if purchased in supermarkets, then offers can be found.
In the 1970s and even the 1980s there wasn't the interesting choice of vegetables in the shops as can now be found. Sunday dinner was always a joint of meat with potatoes cooked around it, served with a selection of vegetables-two or three from the following selection- peas, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, spring greens, runner beans or Brussels sprouts. Well, I like most of these but if one eats vegetables often, then a wide choice is desirable. I hadn't sampled artichokes, asparagus, and aubergines, to name but a few. Even salads then were pretty basic.
When I was a child and then a young woman, it was unusual, in fact thought to be very strange, to be vegetarain. I remember at primary school knowing one girl who would always go home for lunch saying the reason being that she was, along with her family, vegetarian. To her classmates this was very strange, and in fact unimaginable. Well, I have been asked several times, when declaring that I don't eat meat, 'But you do eat ham don't you!?'
When I stopped eating meat while I was at secondary school I can remember the consensus being: you won't keep it up.
And when dining out the only 'vegetarian choice' would be an omelette or salad. When I met my husband- to- be we found that the best choice in meat free food (for myself) was to be had in an Indian restaurant (still is probably) and we would also visit a Greek kebab house where the chef would sort out something for me which was always tasty. But a dedicated vegetarian cooking area would have ben an unusual thing to find, I think. Well, things have changed now, I believe. While there are still many who believe not wanting to eat meat is strange and unnatural; that animals are there for the sole reason of providing us superior mortals with a good Sunday lunch, most seem to still accept, and respect, this choice in others.
But, although I had been brought up to believe a meat diet was perfectly normal; not a thing to think about, since, as a child, (of about seven or eight years of age) when reading the book 'Charlotte's web' I never again really felt comfortable with eating meat. Whenever I visited a pet's corner type place, or saw lambs gambolling in the fields, I found I couldn't look a sheep, pig or cow, in the eye! But abstaining from eating meat isn't always easy, especially, in my opinion, if you are cooking and serving it to your family and friends.
Because of the fact that I still cook meat, I find myself trying to find meat free alternatives for myself and my teenage daughter who has, quite recently also, given up meat. If the whole family were vegetarian then I don't think I would buy foods that emulated meat but instead eat more vegetable type meals which I could prepare and serve to my family.
And now I have again stopped eating meat and feel this will be a permanent choice. I was surprised when I made this decision, about eight or nine years ago, to see how things have changed and improved. Now to buy meat free food one doesn't have to find a health food shop and always pay such a high price for the meat alternative. Mince alternatives can be found made from Quorn and soya, in frozen chilled and dried states. No longer is the choice of sausages only to be a soya sausalet! No, now the sausages can be found as Lincolnshire, or sausages with apple, or sun dried tomatoes... or even a good old banger! But I'll be honest...I find those that aren't trying so hard to taste like meat are usually the better option. My favourites are cheese and leak rather than a banger. The meat type ones are quite good but, as a former meat eater, I insist that I can tell the difference in both taste and texture. They aren't, regrettably as good in flavour. Though that doesn't really matter to me. What does matter is that I can cook sausage and mash for some of the family and 'fake' sausages for the rest. The same goes with Bolognese-I cook two separate dishes. But it is much, much easier nowadays.
For my part, I don't often miss eating meat but I do find it a little difficult sometimes when on holiday. Many Mediterranean hotels do not serve a good vegetarian option and I often feel very second rate in the restaurant. Even in this country the vegie option is often poor and lacking in imagination. I'm fed up with pasta in tomato and cheese sauce!
I sometimes miss convenience food. Although never a lover of Macdonald's I could on occasion enjoy a quarter pounder, if just for the convenience of eating a 'fast food' meal. I don't like veggie burgers from most places.
Life in the kitchen is harder now owing to having to cook for the omnivores and the herbivores. Sometimes it's difficult to know what to cook and it does get complicated.
But generally things are easier than they were some decades ago; now one can even buy 'fake' ham, bacon and chicken roll although I don't find the cold deli type 'fakes' that good. I prefer to have a sandwich filled with vegetarian cheese or 'vegemite.'
So now that I don't eat meat I can enjoy seeing farm animals without feeling wicked. I wouldn't say I am particularly healthier but then again I am no worse. If I had previously eaten a lot of red meat then perhaps I would have noticed the difference.
Now I am not a strict vegetarian as this review must show; I wouldn't want to be a vegan, or feel the need to be but I respect those that do. But I often get asked questions which are meant to trip me up, such as, 'Do you wear fur or leather?' I would not wear any fur. To my way of thinking, this is far worse than eating meat as it is totally unnecessary and only done for vanity's sake. I also would not choose to buy leather clothing or furniture, but wouldn't chastise those that did. But sadly, as I have a medical condition which prevents me being able to buy shoes from high street stores I have to have shoes made for me from the hospital orthotics department. Unfortunately these may be made from leather. If I had an easy choice here it would be not to wear anything made from animals which involved them being killed for the privilege.
I am glad I made this life style choice and would have liked it if my husband was like minded. But he isn't and won't change now. It has never really been an issue, as long as the children were allowed to make their own decisions, which they have. But for those who wish to not eat meat, then at least now things are somewhat easier for them. In this I am glad.
I have been a vegetarian (but do eat fish) for about 3 years now. Me and my husband decided to detox for a month and not eat meat, and we found that we didn't miss it, and actually felt loads better so we never started eating it again.
The longer I stay a vegetarian, the more I think it becomes to do with morals. It started purely on a health basis but I do understand some of the morals behind it.
I would never try and force vegetarianism on anyone, but when we have people over for dinner, we do not cook them meat, they eat what we eat, and they are always shocked that it still tastes great and is actually better for them.
The reason I actually eat fish is because my husband works in an aquatic store, and I feel I could happily kill a fish to eat it. I don't think I would ever be able to kill a chicken so I don't eat it. I think if more people thought about where their meat came from and how it is reared and killed, they would not be putting it into their body.
The only worry I have about vegetarianism, is that one day we will want to start a family, and people already ask us what we will do, and to be honest I don't really know. I don't know if no meat in a small child's diet will affect them. Obviously I would always put their health first so if meat is what they need they will get it, but I wonder what the arguments are towards and against a child being vegetarian since birth. I do worry that people will think I'm being cruel, they already have tried to tell us that children need red meat for protein but I just don't know the facts. Some people have even asked us what we would do if they were looking after our child and gave it meat, and I really don't know.
As for adult health though, I feel so much better being vegetarian, I never get so full that I feel really sluggish and slow, but I feel satisfied after a meal. It has also made us think a lot more about all the food we eat and we cook every night with fresh vegetables and ingredients, and we eat so much healthier. I don't buy organic produce from the supermarket though as I think it's a complete rip off.
Being a veggie, I know exactly what is in everything I eat and where it has come from. I don't know the facts about the health benefits, but I know I feel like a healthier person, and I appreciate more all the different vegetables that are available out there. Discovering butternut squash was amazing, and I love trying different vegetables. I have tried a few eat substitutes but I find them a bit pointless, if you want something that looks and tastes like chicken, I suggest you just eat chicken.
I think if you are trying to be healthier it is great to add a few more vegetarian dishes to your diet, and the more people that become veggie the better, we will all be healthier and its actually better for the environment.
There are obviously different levels of vegetarianism, and we literally just don't eat meat, we eat fish and I'm not too bothered if people cook me something and it has been near meat or in the same oven, but I understand people who take it to the extreme.
I would recommend trying more veggie recipes first if you are considering giving up meat, to see how it goes, but I think once you take the plunge you won't go back to meat. It's something that I don't think I will ever change. Hopefully when we have children they will be able to share this with us too.
I've been a vegetarian since I was 11. It's so incredibly easy that I do wonder to myself sometimes why other people don't opt for it, not that I would ever tell anybody what to eat.
I think a lot of people believe that veggies have a bland and boring diet..... we don't! We can eat the same meals as meat eaters because we have a wide range of meat substitutes, we have the quorn range, the cauldron range and the Linda Mccartney range, not to mention the supermarkets own brand of vegetarians subs.
I think there's a lot of snobbery that is attached to being a vegetarian. I've had people assume that I'm going to be judgemental towards them for being meat eaters, it's simply not true, many of my nearest and dearest are meat eaters, and I have no interest in telling them what to eat, people do get very defensive!
Vegetarians do have to make sure that we're getting enough vitamin b12, it's important for red blood sells and nervs. You can get it in eggs, milk but you can also buy soya "so good" milk that has added vitamin b12.
I could go into the farming side of things, and the aspects of animal cruelty that is attached to the meat trade- and although it is a subject close to my heart I wont go into, because I don't believe that talking about vegetarianism should also be forced to co-exist with discussions of that nature. It almost always turns into a debate.
If somebody was to ask me advice on going veggie then I'd say absolutely give it a shot, I think you will notice a big difference within yourself. When I was 11 and I stopped eating it my energy went up and I never had bad skin as a teenager. The self discipline involved for the first few months can only be a good thing too!
I remember hearing that Gordon Ramsey had deliberately fed some vegetarians meat without them knowing. I felt quite upset about that because everybody seem to think it was a hoot, and I've had a person in my life thinking it was something funny to try and get the veggie girl to eat meat....... Its not funny and it actually becomes quite degrading. Luckily these people are few and far between, most people are just generally interested in the veggie lifestyle.... my answer is that it's not really a lifestyle, just a minor diet adjustment.
So, if your thinking about being a veggie, then go for it and good luck, you will have people try and debate with you about it, assuming that your judging them but just nip that kind of attention in the bud (politely :-) ) and all will be well. If you don't want to be a veggie then you'll find no bad vibes from me - I love you all :-D.
Peace out dudes.
This might be considered by some to be a strange review to write as I'm not actually vegetarian. But I thought I'd put a meat-eater's slant on things.
I actually spent a few years as a veggie back when I was a teenager (my nephew who has just turned 16 is going through the same stage and has been a veggie for just over a year). I don't want to call it a phase - it's not a phase, I find that a rather patronising way of describing what is a rather large decision to make, a big commitment. Not everyone stays vegetarian but it's every person's right to decide what's best for them at the time.
I had no particular 'awakening' (some people describe the 'bacon sandwich moment') in re-introducing meat back into my diet. It just sort of happened. Before I knew it I was eating regular burgers not veggie ones. Back then I was just starting out at uni and it just sort of happened. I never really thought about it.
But why was I veggie in the first place? I guess at the time I had a problem eating meat. Flesh. Dead bodies. I don't know why it doesn't bother me now - I guess like many people I think that that's how it's supposed to be. Animals eat other animals. We're animals. I guess that's how I see it, though until I got to typing this I have never really given it too much of a thought.
I do care about the meat I put in my mouth, though. I never ever buy anything other than organic free range chicken, organic farm beef, would never dream to touch cheap mince or sausages. I'm not saying that because I want some sort of medal - I perfectly understand that I'm eating an animal however it got to my plate - but I do think that the animals which are bred for consumption should have as close to a normal natural life as possible. It's hard for me to type that and not think 'what a crock', because I don't want it to sound like I think I'm doing any animals any favours. I can perfectly understand why some people don't want to eat meat and I can even see the health benefits too. I would never dream of eating a meat product when I didn't know where it came from - I would always go for the veggie option. But I do enjoy good meat, ethical meat (ethical to me).
So really, all I can say on the matter is that I fully understand and respect vegatarians for making that choice and being so strong. Me, I do care about what I put in my body, but meat-eating really doesn't bother me. I know that if I had to, I could kill an animal. I am not blind to what meat is and where it comes from. Too many people (children especially) don't know. My nephew eats sushi and doesn't know what the fish is. Doesn't care. You SHOULD care, whether you are veggie or not. How many children don't know pork is pig, beef is cow? More than you'd think, I'm sure.
I have a lot of respect for vegetarians and enjoy non-meat meals regularly. But for me, the vegetarian life is not one I wish to live. I only hope that as I respect vegetarians, then vegitarians can respect this carnivore :)
I have been a vegetarian for most of my life. As a visiting unexpected guest or whilst travelling in far flung places I have lapsed on numerous occasions in order to 'fit in', but being vegetarian is not a religion. A principle reason I've excluded meat from my diet over the years has been the unhealthy and inhumane way that meat is produced. In the USA today and in parts of Europe they still pump their cattle full of strange hormonal growth drugs.
What we eat is strongly influenced by our cultural upbringing and the local natural environment in which we live. Some Africans who happily gorge on chimpanzee meat would be puzzled at my disgust. Millions of Hindus in India eat no meat at all. The type of animal we eat is not determined by its level of intelligence. Some Koreans eat dogs and many westerners eat pigs but both animals have similar intelligence. To be a vegetarian in a western meat-eating culture is clearly an act of conscience.
The inhumane way we treat farm animals is one of the main reasons why many become vegetarian. Although as individuals in the UK we seemingly show a growing concern for animal welfare, most people still choose to remain ignorant of how meat and fish arrives on their plate. In an age of abundance where animal food is cheaper than ever, we treat farmed animals with ever increasing cruelty - such cruelty against pet dogs and cats would lead to prosecution under law. Yes, we were once hunter gatherers and it is true that gruesome killing is a part of nature. But it is the mechanization of animal cruelty on a mass industrial scale that seems so macabre. And if it isn't, why do the farming industry go to such extreme lengths to keep it under cover? Factory farmers have successfully separated their cruel industrialised farming methods from the neatly sliced and packaged meat products we collect from supermarket shelves. And as consumers we willingly succumb and accept this dichotomy of nature. Every year about 450 million land animals are factory farmed throughout the world. Those in favour would argue that such methods have provided cheap food, but only in the same way that concentration camps provide cheap labour. And the damage to the marine environment caused by the fishing industry is largely unmeasured, but it is estimated that for every tuna fish killed approximately 145 other species are wastefully slaughtered.
Another growing argument for becoming vegetarian is based on the environmental destruction and contribution to global warming caused by livestock farming. According to the UN farmed animals are responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions - this is about 40% more than that produced by all types of transport. On one level it is obviously clear that animal farming is unsustainable. The only counter argument to this is that the real problem is too many humans. Over populated countries such as the UK do not have the enough landmass to feed itself - not without creating an environment that would be insufferable to live in. Therefore it imports much of its food and thereby contributes to the destruction of natural habitats in other countries. On the one hand we have China's demand for cheap soya and on the other we have factory chickens in America and Europe which consume soya in their feed: both demands have seen an increase in the destruction of virgin rainforests around the world as they are replaced by monocultures of soya crops. But leaving the population issue aside, there can be little doubt that the production of meat is the most uneconomical means of producing protein fit for human consumption. One kilogram of beans produces far more protein than a kilogram of meat and requires far less acreage, water and other resources in its production.
To assert that being a vegetarian is nothing more than some kind of quirky lifestyle option has always been a weak argument. And those other feeble remarks I often here at social gatherings: "but if I don't eat meat what else is there?" or "you can't just live on leaves" are no longer worthy of a response. Meat eating is no longer a viable option. Meat eating means human ignorance. Meat means a life time of suffering for sentient animals and often a prolonged cruel agonising death. Meat means environmental destruction and global warming. Meat is truly murder.
This review may to offend someone, I am sorry if that's you. It is not my intention to upset anyone I just want to share my knowledge.
As a meat eater you are increasing your risk of getting cancer and suffering from heart disease. This is a fact. I think most people would like to think this isn't true but it is a frightening fact. I dare you to spend even 5 minutes researching on the net. I promise you that the facts will shock you.
Fact: meat eaters have a strong hydrochloric acid in their stomachs that digests meat. Herbivores stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater. Humans have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater. So when meat eaters argue that we are naturally carnivores this isn't true. This lack of hydrochloric acid is the reason that meat will sit in your intestines for months. We do not have the ability to break meat down efficiently enough for it to be digested properly.
Fact: herbivores and humans have intestines that are 10-12 times the length of our bodies. Carnivores have intestines 3 times the length of our bodies. This is why meat sits rotting in our guts. We are not meant to eat meat. Our bodies aren't equipped to do so.
We spend billions of pounds each year on making ourselves perfect on the outside. It is the inside that matters most. Like a car we only run properly with the right fuel. Humans are clogging their intestines up with meat and making ourselves ill. As a result we have such high cases of colon cancer in the UK.
Statistics show that countries which have a higher consumption of meat also have the highest cases of colonic cancer, heart disease and other cancers. These levels decrease in line with levels of meat consumption.
Non smokers are judgemental of smokers. Why? By eating meat you are also increasing your risks of getting cancer and heart disease.
We use sun cream to protect our skin from cancer, but we eat food that increases our risk of getting cancer everywhere else.
The affects of excessive alcohol on our bodies is destructive enough that there are laws protecting our children from consuming it. What I don't understand is why the government armed with all of the information they have on meat, why haven't they put restrictions on us giving our children meat?
15,000 people die each year from alcohol related illnesses.
120,000 die each year from heart disease.
Vegetarians have about a 28% less risk of getting heart disease. That is double the amount of people who die each year from alcohol related diseases.
It s a reality that even though we are aware of the health risks of eating meat we will continue to feed it to our children. We are conditioned to do so. There is no one out there telling us that we shouldn't. The alarming facts are kept from us.
I think that if the government gave us all the information they have on the connection between eating meat and our mortality rates. We would have national bedlam, law suits would be issued and we would want answers. We have all lost family and friends to cancer and heart disease. It is in our hands we can all increase our chances of survival just by cutting out meat. Why don't we?
If you are a meat eater who has found it inconvenient when one of your dinner guests was a vegetarian. If you are someone who has looked down on a vegetarian and maybe even have muttered the words "they will grow out of it" Remember one thing, that vegetarian has around a 30% greater survival rate than you. We should be respected not scorned.
I may not have the exact figures but I have based my findings on a number of statistics and have averaged them.
I would like to see all meat that is sold carrying a list of additives. Which hormones and drugs have been injected into the animal. All meat should also carry a health warning. If you buy medicine then you have the basic right to know the list of ingredients. Why isn't it the same when you are taking drugs or hormones via the animal that you are eating?
This is an interesting site if you want to find out a few more facts.
I have been a vege since I was 3 and I have to be honest, I don't really know why, but apparantly, I copied my big sister (I copied her at everything!)!! I have always lived like this and I think it is a really good lifestyle choice that I think I would even make today if I hadn't allready.
Here are a few of my points about being vege and why I think it is good and an option worth considering.
People always ask me if I fancy a bacon sandwich and ask how I can live without X, Y or Z but to be honest, I dont know what these things taste like and I am not fussed, but I can see how people could revert back if they missed it.
Because I have never really eaten meat, I always wonder if I ate some animal protein in meat, if my body would know what to do with it! I think that I must have somehow changed and even psycologically, I think my body would just try to get it out of me because in my mind it is so wrong.
I am really glad I dont eat meat because while I am not a bad cook, I am not very good!! I think that as a student, living on minimum money and limited cooking skills, if i tried to cook myself meat I would probably poison myself. At least with vegetables and quorn etc, pretty much everything just takes 10 minutes in the oven. Also meat is quite expensive and the availability and taste of the vege alternatives mean my friends dont mind if we cook together and its vege - this is nice as we all get to cook and eat together sometimes.
My boyfriend is not a vegeterian and it would not be fair for me to try and ask him to be. I am not a person who pushes their opinions on other people but I have noticed that he ate less meat while at uni (ainly due to money reasons) and when we are together he is mainly fine with veg options, unless we go out to eat and in which case he generally orders the biggest steak possible! I can be a bit funny about him brushing his teeth though which is probably a bit mean!
My boyfriend does live on a farm though and obviously they see it as the way of life and as fully natural as it is their livelyhood and they know that their animals are treated fairly. They used to tease him asking when he was going to bring 'his vegetarian' round for dinner. And I do still feel a bit awkward when I go round, and can be a bit funny about checking if any lard etc has been used in cooking as is more traditional and farmy!
I think that now it is easier and more accepted than ever to be a vege and there are increasing numbers of vegetarian options on restaurant menus, and protein sources and meat alternatives such as TVP and quorn. Even now supermarkets have their own vege ranges which is something you just would not have seen even 20 years ago.
I think that with all of the animal cruelty, I just could not eat things which have been bred just to die on my plate, I genuinely understand that that is how we have evolved, but I dont think it is necessary. Eating other animals flesh just doesnt sit right with me and I dont even like to really see raw meat and I have never touched it. I just can't get my head around it!!
I think that everyone should consider all of the options before they make a choice with their diet! And being a vegetarian is definitely not an unhealthy choice so give it a go for a week! save some money and try something new!
Being a vegitarian means for some reason you dont eat meat, however some dont eat fish or gelatin etc. I have always thought that vegetarianism was a great idea, just not for me. I think that it is great that some people feel so strongly against animal welfare that they become a vegitarian. I personally cant stand the way that some animals are treated in order for us to eat their meat, however my love for meat has simply stopped me from persuing becoming a vegitarian. It was not until i watched a programme called "Blood Sweat And Takeaways" that really hit home for me how badly these aninals are treated. I sat and watched while chickens were piled up on conveyer belts and hung by their feet onto a clip, waiting to go into the killing room. I simply could not watch, and i felt the guilt piling on my shoulders, as i have never really considered where my meat has come from. There are meat alternatives such as Quorn, however i know it is not as good as the real thing. I have recently been contemplating whether to become a vegitarian, as i think that what is happening to these animals is morally wrong.
Vegetarianism is one of those incredibly devisive issues that seems to force both vegetarians and meat eaters to adopt a "you're either with us or against us" mentality. I remember during my Fresher's week here in York, I spent two hours being harrassed by a vegetarian because I was one of those filthy meat eaters. So what are the pros and cons of vegetarianism? (N.b. throughout this article when referring to vegetarianism I mean someone who does not eat meat or fish, but will eat dairy products such as milk and eggs).
The Good (the pros of vegetarianism):
Health. Government targets state we should eat five portions of fruit and veg a day. This is actually unnecessary: we do not need this much, but the hope is that by telling us we should be eating this much fruit and veg, we will eat at least 2 portions a day. It is the same way that with burns they tell you that you should keep it under cold running water for at least 10 minutes; this is in the hope you will keep it there for at least 3. However, eating more vegetables and fruit than necessary is not a bad thing: fruit and veg are full of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Of course, they can be low in calories (I believe 100g of boiled carrots contains roughly 22 calories), so a veggie must ensure that they are getting plenty of carbs from elsewhere - potatoes, cheese, etc. Again, fruit and veg can be low in fat, and our bodies do require some fat daily. This, again, must be made up somewhere, such as nuts and oils, and of course the big issue is protein: meat is one of the best sources of protein which is vital for cell growth due to its high nitrogen content. High protein veggie foods include seeds, nuts, cheese, soy etc. A veggie must be willing to do a little research to make sure that they are getting a balanced diet, but without doubt the veggie diet is very healthy.
Ethical issues. Britain is a nation of inveterate animal lovers in all forms - big, small, cuddly, furry, smelly, ugly, cute... it is unsurprising, then, that many veggies refuse to eat meat becuase firstly they don't like the idea of eating animal flesh, and secondly the worry that these animals had to suffer to provide us with meat. Whilst Britain does have better livestock protection laws than a lot of the world, the minimum standards of welfare are still pretty poor. The basic required levels of care are slowly improving, but I would never buy a supermarket value brand chicken as I know that it would have led a pretty grim life. By not eating meat you don't feel like you are exploiting an animal and its suffering for your own benefit.
Knock-on effects of the meat industry. Much of the Amazon rain forest has been chopped down to provide grazing grounds for mass-produced cheap beef. These herds of cows produce a huge amount of methane (farts!), which contributes to the Greenhouse effect. Meat is a carbon-heavy industry: it has been shown that if you are a meat eater having one meat-free day a week can have a dramatic impact on your carbon footprint. Introducing grazing animals into areas where the eco system was not encountered them can have a huge impact on the food chain, often upsetting a very delicate balance. Vegetarians, by not eating meat, reduce its worldwide demand and therefore have an effect on our planet's carbon levels.
The Bad (the cons of vegetarianism):
Diet. I have known many vegetarians who eat far less healthily than meat eaters, simply because they are not informed as to what is a healthy diet/lifestyle: protein is an essential part of a healthy diet for growth and cell regeneration and although soy is as good a source of protein as meat, it is not particularly pleasant. If you are going to be vegetarian you must be willing to make it a lifestyle, and ensure that you are getting all the things in your diet that you give up with meat: protein, essential fatty acids, certain vitamins and minerals which are found in meat. Of course, I do not mean to suggest that being a meat eater means that your diet is healthier; it can be incredibly unhealthy. However, vegetarianism as a diet only works well if you make it a lifestyle. Furthermore, plenty of seemingly vegetarian foods do contain meat byproducts (gelatine etc.), and so this can affect a veggie's diet.
Cost. Meat, unlike many vegetables, is high in energy. To allow for this, a vegetarian must make sure that they are getting a good amount of energy from their diet. Although vegetables are cheaper than meat by weight, they are not in terms of relative energy value. This is something I noticed when I did my GI diet - you are advised to only eat very small portions of meat, so I made up the difference in fruit and veg. This did make my shopping bill more expensive. Vegetarian versions of meat products (veggie chicken burgers, sausage rolls etc.) are more expensive than their meat counterparts. My sister, who eats mainly vegetarian food (she will eat a scrap of meat here and there) seems to have at least as expensive a shopping bill as I do, so I do not think that cost is an argument that can be made in favour of vegetarianism.
Society. Let's face it, it can be difficult out there for veggies. Restaurants will offer vegetarian alternatives, but if you aren't a fan of goat's cheese, mushroom risotto or baked aubergine then you aren't likely to find much, as the alternatives are normally few in number and not very inspiring. Friends often know little about vegetarianism and might just chalk you up as weird, dinner party hosts might not realise that you are veggie and fail to provide an alternative and people who don't understand might simply think you are being a fussy eater and be less than sympathetic. When my sister first tried out vegetarianism when I was 11, I simply assumed that there was something wrong with her. An attitude I have grown out of, but I am sure there are those out there who share it.
The Ugly (arguments against vegetarianism):
Ethical meat. If you are truly concerned about animal welfare then it is easy enough to choose ethical meat instead. Free range organic chicken is reared to a very high standard, and so lives a very happy life with a painless death: it is in the farmer's interest to make the slaughter an untraumatic as possible, as frightened animals release chemicals into their bloodstreams which results in tough, unpleasant meat that cannot be sold at a premium. Merely not buying meat does not solve the issue of unethical meat; it is the equivalent of seeing a group of kids baying on a bully tormenting a younger kid and choosing not to join the crowd, rather than doing something to break it up. Buying ethical meat actually sends a bigger message to the meat industry than not buying any at all, as it is, from sociologist Bourdieu's perspective, an active choice against unethical meat which carries power, rather than a passive choice against all meat which does not carry nearly as much power.
Morality. People who claim that it is "wrong" to eat meat - according to what moral authority? You cannot claim a moral superiority unless you have a higher moral authority to appeal to, which to all intents and purposes would mean a god, whose existence is empirical and whose will is manifest. Morality is relative, which is why there have been societies that celebrate killing and those that abhor it, vegetarian societies and cannibal societies. You might think eating meat is wrong, but I don't, and neither one of us is more right than the other. Furthermore, from a biological perspective we are designed to be able to eat meat, the evidence for which is in our teeth: we have both incisors and molars, indicating we evolved eating both meat and vegetables. From a biological perspective, there is nothing wrong with eating meat.
Economy. The fact is that the meat industry is huge. If we all turned vegetarian, then the industry would collapse, leading to a global recession worse than ever seen before - the current situation, predicated on exposure to the sub-prime market in the US? This would be nothing compared to the collapse of an industry worth billions of dollars that supports millions of people. Furthermore, what would happen to all the animals if we did stop farming meat? They won't just go away. There would be no financial incentive to continue caring for them, so they would either have to be exterminated (millions of animals would not be easy to kill), or turned loose, which would have a devastating effect upon the planet's eco system. Universal vegetarianism is simply not feasible, so it can only be an individual choice.
Obviously all the cons of vegetarianism cease to exist if one takes steps to ensure that one eats a good diet, looks for the best prices, and is aware that society is becoming more and more educated about vegetarianism, and I would be the first to agree that if done properly, vegetarianism is probably the healthiest diet out there. However, I believe that vegetarianism is a personal choice. I love having veggie days, and I adore making vegetable curries, as they are far more tasty than meat curries. But, if I want to eat meat, as long as I am eating ethical meat, I do not see the problem with that lifestyle choice. No diet is perfect: vegetarianism has just as many problems as eating meat does, albeit often different ones, and it would be ridiculous to suggest that everyone should be vegetarian, just as it is ridiculous to suggest that everyone should eat meat. If you are a vegetarian, then all power to you, and if you ever come round to mine for a meal I would love to whip you up something tasty. But, one thing I hate is fundamentalism. No one has the right to force a moral code on anyone else. I would defend vegetarianism just as passionately as I did defend meat eating against the girl who in my Fresher's Week was trying to make me out for being a demon for not being a vegetarian, if a meat eater were to try and condemn it. There is no such thing as objective morality and it is personal for everyone. We all have the right to choose.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope it made some people think, I know it made me!
I have been a vegetarian since I was four years old (I am now 29), and I found my grandad plucking the Christmas turkey! However my mam was a strict vegetarian so this probably had an influence on me.
My mam passed over when I was six years old and my auntie took over the care of me for a while. She used to give me Findus Crispy Pancakes for my tea; I had no idea that they had meat in them or I would never have eaten them! I remember my auntie's German friend coming round and giving me a big lecture about how children need meat to make them strong, etc. I hated that woman!
I was then raised by my nana and grandad from the age of seven. My grandad was an ex-farmer and they were definitely "meat and two veg" people! However they were very understanding of my decision and never put any pressure on me to eat meat.
Back in the mid to late 1980s there wasn't an awful lot of meat alternatives about; I remember eating a lot of Sosmix! I remember my first day at my new primary school when I was seven, and the dinner lady was practically force-feeding me sausages, and telling me not to be such a fussy eater. I was sobbing my heart out and saying "but I'm a vegetarian!" She must have thought I was insane or something, but someone got on the blower to my nana who wasn't best-pleased with said dinner lady (who was full of apologies!) After this, I was always given an alternative to the other children; unfortunately this mainly consisted of a block of cheese! This would apply even if the other children were having fish, chips and mushy peas - cheese and mushy peas is certainly a taste experience! (Memories of the dinner nanny shouting "Cheese for Louise!" still haunt my dreams...)
I am married to a meat eater, and we are raising our two children to be meat eaters as well. The way I see it is I am the one with "unusual" eating habits; my children can make up their own minds when they're older (as my daughter just loves anything "porky" I doubt that she will become a veggie!)
I have nothing against people eating meat per se; after all we are at the top of the food chain. If someone wants to go out and shoot a rabbit or something to make a stew with then that's up to them really; I wouldn't eat it myself but as far as I'm concerned it's each to their own. What really annoys me is the meat industry though; the way that animals are treated and the amount of waste involved upsets me. I think that most people would struggle to go out and catch their own food these days, and don't always think about what they are eating.
I also find the idea of eating an animal a bit disgusting to be honest; having grown up on the edge of the countryside I have seen many a sheep running around with sheep poo dangling off the back of them; I couldn't imagine eating something that could produce something like that!
I have been a bit naughty in recent years; I haven't always took the time to read the labels on any food I eat, which means I have been caught out a few times, especially with desserts which are often surprisingly full of gelatine! Even Muller Lights contain it which is a problem for a vegetarian on the Slimming World diet! If I know for a fact something contains gelatine I won't eat it. I have laspsed somewhat on the fish front though; I've always considered myself to be a lacto-ovo vegetarian, in that I eat eggs and dairy; but having suffered clinical depression in recent years I have found Omega-3 fish oil to be very helpful in treating this.
Why were animals put on earth? I think this question istems the debate about vegetarianism. I think the biggest reason is for them to be eaten. They aren't put here to be appreciated in the same ways we must appreciate each others as human beings; they weren't put here for us to look at. They were put here to be a part of the food-chain, humans at the top. But i have to say, hats off to vegetarians who sacrifice such good, nutritious food for how they feel and what their believes are. I really appreciate that. But i don't feel the same way and i don't think i ever will. I don't believe in killing animals for no reason though - that's just unethical. And i think animals should be treated with some respect and fairness as they are providing us with the food we need. Meat provides you with iron, making you much healthier. I don't think i could ever imagine my life without it.
A veggie speaks out for animals who can't speak for themselves and for farmers who are so often forgotten.......
I have been vegetarian since I was 22. Prior to that I was brought up in a Lancashire family who loved meat and we ate it most days. I don't want to criticise meat eaters because I feel there is too much of that going on but just to explain my reasons for adopting this way of life, which I don't regret and which has been part of who I am. My childhood meals were Hotpot and Meat and Potato Pie. My gran lived to be 102 on this diet and she thrived on it!
I became a vegetarian for many reasons but the main one was a love of animals. It isn't a religious view it is just I care for them and I know that if I had to kill my own I couldn't do it. I was able to buy meat and fish up to that day because often in the supermarket it would not resemble the animal and I could disassociate myself with this thought. I was ok with that but the day my mum brought me a trout complete with eyes to cook just after I got married I knew I was about to make a life changing decision.
In my late teens there had been another moment in my life when I knew I felt this way and that was when one Sunday morning we went on a "run" as my dad used to call it to a farm. I though it was an afternoon out with my gran in the car- actually it was to chose a newly born lamb which we were to collect later for the freezer.
So one day when I had a new baby and looked to his future I made the decision to become vegetarian and have been so for the last 25 years. It was harder then because it was not as common and buying ingredients was more difficult. The only ready made meals were in health food stores and there was no Quorn or good quality meat substitutes -just TVP and you needed a lot of liquid to wash that down.
When I think about eating meat or fish now something still haunts me and that is that in countries which are Buddhist such as parts of Northern India the people there have to eat meat to survive. There isn't a well stocked supermarket to buy from and so killing an animal has to be done. However it is consumed entirely and nothing is wasted. I feel this is acceptable because it is about survival and respect for the animal. I find difficulty with waste which sadly comes with choice. Each evening in major supermarkets stocked with all kinds of meat and fish from the every day to the exotic some will end up in the crusher because it is not in date anymore. This is where I find it hard to accept that many lives are ended because they were surplus to needs.
I know it is sad but Christmas sees the biggest waste here with many unwanted meat and fish products discarded after the festive season. Today there are millions of turkeys in farms all over the UK awaiting their fate and so it is for them that I speak. I don't want to preach to people but just to ask that they are respected and only consumed and not wasted.
Many people become vegetarian because they perceive it to be healthy. Personally I don't think there is much of a case to support this as there are many overweight veggies that live on a diet of cheese and chocolate. I am as guilty of this as the next person but if done properly it can be a healthy way of life as long as you take care to include iron rich foods each day. One thing though you are less likely to suffer food poisoning as chicken is one of the worst offenders. There are many reports about how it causes less cancer and heart disease but all these studies are very confusing because the way a person lives is so complicated-do they also smoke or how many vegetables and fruit portions do they eat?. I hate the "I am righteous attitude" which can come with this life choice. It should be healthier but it may not be.
Some of my reasons to be vegetarian are to do with the way I feel about the world. I have been lucky enough to give birth to 4 healthy children who have grown into adults and it is for their futures I fear. I adore wild and remote places and over a half of the rainforests of the world have been destroyed to make grazing land for cattle that are reared to make beef burgers and in the process of this burning 20% of all the greenhouse gases in the world are made. Many species are made extinct in these areas by doing this- it's a sobering thought.
I read somewhere that in a lifetime; the average meat eater will consume 36 pigs, 36 sheep and 750 chickens and turkeys. I find that scary.
What I do know is that there are many farmers in the UK who adore their animals and I feel that I must say how I feel about them because it is because of these hard working individuals that our meat and fish are so plentiful. Farming is very hard work and the meat producers in this country are decent and well meaning individuals many of whom I have met and have enormous respect for.
I have been privileged to see for myself lambing and know the round the clock care the sheep have during this time. I have frozen to death in a freezing barn watching my daughter deliver lambs in to the world and I know they are bound for the table. Like me she is veggie, but has adoration for these animals and has cared for them as part of her training to become a vet. It is her intention to work in a farm vet field because she feels, like I do, that it is possible to combine a love for these animals with a common sense view. They are enjoyed by so many British people at mealtimes and that their welfare from the farm to the fork has to be paramount.
The organic farmers and those trying to improve the living conditions for animals generally have my greatest admiration and so do fishermen. I have a very special place in my heart for someone I knew well who perished off the cost of Scotland while out fishing for lobsters. It has left an enormous gap somewhere out west and my heart goes out to his family.
So my future lies in vegetarianism and in continuing to admire the majority of farmers in the UK who are making a living in what is now one of the most stressful occupations. You only have to watch Countryfile on Sundays to know the plight of many of our farmers and the number who commit suicide is growing each day.
I admire and respect them and just urge you to make a life choice- but if that is to eat meat and fish to do so by buying carefully and wasting nothing.
I'm not a vegetarian but eat meat very rarely and when I do i make sure it is locally sourced and complies with RSPCA standards etc. I know many vegetarians will say 'big deal, the animal was still slaughtered' but I feel confident that by doing this I'm taking an acceptable level of responsibility.
I have struggled with the idea of becoming a vege before. I love animals and have sometimes felt that I can't justify eating meat. But I now realise that really I wanted to know more about where meat comes from - how the animals are treated, how they are killed etc.
I will never eat battery eggs or chickens. Chickens seem to get the worst deal, or at least the most amount of press, in the meat industry. Pretty much every chicken you see in your local supermarket will be a barn or battery hen, even the organic ones. If a chicken is free range it will say so, and that doesn't necessarily mean it's had a nice death! Most products containing eggs will be made from battery eggs too, which is worrying because it's so easy to forget about. I refuse to buy a pack of battery eggs but if a delicious looking cake is made from them i wouldn't think to look at the ingrediants.
But it's even harder to find information on where beef, pork and lamb has come from. They may have a label saying 'meets Tescos farming standards' or what have you but there is no explanation of what this actually means.
Having said all that look at the bigger picture: what would happen if humans no longer ate meat? think of all the ecostructures that would be disturbed.
Vegetarians may like cows and sheep too much to eat them but if we no longer farmed them what would happen? Who would feed them and whos fields would they live in?
I now prefer, if possible, to buy meat at farmers markets where i can chat to the person selling it and find out if i feel comfortable eating the product.
Generally though i find i don't really NEED to eat meat - all my favorite dishes (curry, chilli, bolognese) can be made with vegetables or soya mince instead and taste just as good if not better. Much better for you too!
... to beef or not to beef ...
Until I was writing another review on slow cooking, I'd almost forgotten that I used to be a vegetarian. Not just a part-time, still-eat-fish, still wear leather shoes kind of vegetarian; but a full-time, radical, meat-is-murder kind of vegetarian.
I'm 34 now, and went full-time veggie when I was 7 years old. We were lucky in having a huge garden, and my Dad kept chickens for eggs and meat. Prior to me and my sisters being born, he'd also reared rabbits for meat. By the time I came along, the few remaining rabbits were pets with names (I still remember Chloe well - she hated me and would bite at any opportunity). The chickens were never named - my Dad refused - and they lived out nice lives in a 100 x 100 ft. garden with no restraints. If they were good layers, they stayed. If they weren't, they went to the pot.
As a very impressionable 7 year old, I became attached to the chuck-chucks and - one late winter night - announced to Mum and Dad over dinner that "I'm not eating animals anymore". My Mum - bless her - took me at my word, never questioned my motives, and from that day on made something veggie-friendly for me. It must have been a real bind for her - she worked nights as a nurse on casualty (now A&E, and usually closed!), and had me, my two sisters and my Dad to feed before going to work. Making a different meal for me increased her work load.
As I got older, I was "head chef" in our family, and - although I continued not to eat meat - prepared family meals with meat in. I learned to ask my sisters to taste things during cooking so I knew they were okay. I made my own, special meals and always tried to harrangue my family into going veggie - they resisted.
As years went on, I actually became a cook in a small hotel. Although I still didn't eat meat or fish, I prepared it and cooked it for others as I didn't want to impose my beliefs on other people. As a cook, it was hard work - other kitchen staff were utilised to give opinions on the finished results, but I did develop a very keen sense of smell, being to be able to judge my own dishes by smell alone. I never had any complaints about my meals.
I stuck with vegetarianism until the age of 29, but was increasingly ill with anaemia. I was weak all the time despite taking all the right supplements. My blood pressure dropped to an unsafe level - I have low blood pessure and a slow heart rate anyway, so this made the situation much worse.
My worst time was visiting Brazil - they have no comprehension of what "vegetarian" means, and I quickly learned to ask for dishes "sin carne e sin pesche" (I think the spelling is somewhere near correct!) - "no meat and no fish". I seemed to live on fruit and plain boiled pasta & rice for 6 months. The Brazillians are big meat eaters - no wonder as the country is very poor, and livestock is the thing they have lots of - if meat is cheap and nutritious, then you eat as much as you can.
On various occasions, family and friends would try to get me to try a little bit of something. I found that if I tried even a tiny amount of meat, I was violently sick - my body simply didn't know how to process it anymore after all those years.
I got thinner and sicker over a year, and was finally "forced" to eat meat by my ex (gosh, that sounds dodgy!!!). He quite simply made a chicken casserole one night, put it on the table, and told me to "eat it or be hungry". I went hungry.
The next night, he cooked steak and did the same. I went hungry again.
The third night, he cooked fish and mash. I ate the mash, but was so hungry at this point that I tried one mouthful of the fish. I kept it down - just.
This went on over the period of about 2 months, and I gradually started eating small amounts of fish, chicken and red meat. My health improved, my blood count went up, I didn't feel so lethargic.
I now eat a moderate amount of meat in my diet - some days I don't bother, some days I'm a raving carnivore. But I do feel better for it.
I wouldn't judge anyone who chooses to be a vegetarian or a vegan, but the pros have to be weighed up against the cons. If it's having a detrimental effect on your health, then no moral-highground will counteract that. If you feel happy and healthy on your diet, and you're getting all your body needs, then stick with it.
Good luck to all who can stay veggie - morally, I'm with you and am very, very fussy about where my meat comes from. But good luck as well to all of us who aren't - vive la difference.