Vegetarianism is becoming more common around the world. It was expected that the number of vegans worldwide would increase from 2 million in 2015 to 4.1 million in 2025. But we will have at least 8 million people in Germany alone eating no or very little meat in 2022.
Meat consumption has increased over the last century. In 1900, only 3% of people ate meat every day. Today, nearly half of us (46%) eat meat at least once a week.
There are many reasons why eating meat is unhealthy. First of all, animals that are bred for food are often given hormones and antibiotics to make them grow faster. These drugs have been linked to cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even infertility.
In addition, the conditions in which the animals are kept are often cruel and unnatural. Animals raised for human consumption spend their lives crammed into tiny cages with no room to move around. They are fed grain instead of grass and are often force-fed until they are full before being slaughtered.
Those who do not consume meat, on the other hand, are deficient in important vitamins and nutrients.
- Protein is an essential nutrient we need to live. Without enough protein in our diet, we can't build strong muscles and bones. Protein helps us maintain muscle mass and repair damaged cells. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels and keeps our immune system functioning properly.
- Iron is another essential nutrient that we need for good health. Iron is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body, including the brain. It is also involved in the formation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. If you don't consume enough iron, you can suffer from fatigue, weakness, and a weak immune system.
- Vitamin B12 is needed for the production of DNA and RNA, which are the building blocks of all cells in our body. Vitamin B12 is also important for maintaining normal nerve function. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to problems with memory, depression, anxiety, and mood swings.
- Zinc is an essential mineral necessary for over 300 different body processes. Zinc is involved in regulating thyroid hormone levels, helping our skin heal, and keeping our hair and nails strong. It is also necessary for good digestion, wound healing, and bone growth.
- Selenium is another essential trace mineral that is necessary for hundreds of bodily processes. Selenium is important for protecting the liver, eyes, lungs, and prostate gland. It is also necessary to prevent certain types of cancer.
- Iodine is another trace element necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. Iodine is also important for regulating body temperature and the nervous system.
Going vegan is not easy and should always be done in consultation with a doctor. Abstaining from meat carries a risk because the body then lacks important vitamins and nutrients that can have fatal consequences for humans.
It should be noted that a vegan lifestyle may require the use of dietary supplements. There are supplements for vegans that are slightly more expensive than the normal ones for non-vegans.
A big plus is that eating too much meat is carcinogenic, which has been proven in many studies. If done correctly, it may even be worthwhile to reduce meat consumption. However, doing without it is only possible with a complete change in diet.