Although it’s rare for someone to be vegetarian from birth, many people make the choice to follow a meat-free diet relatively early on in their life.
But it’s never too late to become a vegetarian. In fact, there’s loads of reasons to give up meat: here are the ones that are most commonly cited.
Because you don’t want to eat animals
For many vegetarians, giving up meat is simply about not wanting to eat animals. When children grow up eating meat, they often dissociate the chicken on their plate with the animals they see running around a farm or at home. When the realisation dawns that all animals are living creatures, many decide they would rather not eat them at all.
So if you’re an animal lover, giving up meat may seem like the most natural dietary choice to make.
To save the environment
Even if seeing animals running around a field doesn’t give you a fuzzy feeling inside, you may choose to be a vegetarian for environmental reasons. The huge number of domesticated animals around the world has led to serious ecological problems; the cattle industry in particular uses up huge amounts of oil and emissions from cattle help make methane one of the most prevalent greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
To control your weight
Plant-based diets have been shown to promote weight-loss; so there’s a good chance that if you eat a meat-free diet, you’ll be able to lose and control your weight without trying too hard. Of course, this also depends on you leading a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of green vegetables – eating macaroni and cheese every day won’t help you keep the pounds off. But some clever vegetarian eating that’s packed with all the right nutritional elements might be the only diet you ever need to follow again.
To ward off disease
Eating too much processed meat and red meat has been linked to heart disease and certain types of cancer. So cutting out these harmful foods from your diet could contribute towards warding off these diseases. Of course, avoiding meat alone won’t help you avoid heart disease and cancer – you should always seek to achieve an overall healthy lifestyle – but it’s a good place to start.
Because you like it
Most importantly, the best reason to become a vegetarian is because you like the lifestyle it brings with it. Removing meat from your diet means you might find you’re suddenly less lethargic and have more energy to do fun things with your family and friends. You might also find that it makes you a much more creative cook, and eating becomes a pleasure once again.
Have you ever considered going vegetarian? What were your main reasons?