Think outside of your plate

Vegetarianism, ovo vegetarianism, fruitarianism, pescetarianism, veganism. So many weird terms and so much confusion about the meanings. The past couple of years can be known for a lot of things: terror attacks, Donald Trump becoming the president of USA, Brexit etc. But I want to remind you something very valuable, beneficial and very popular right now. Have you heard about vegetarianism? Of course you have, everyone has. But there is plenty of information about that, so it is better for me to put everything in one place and hope that you will read it, think about it and go vegetarian!

Vegetarianism is not only about giving up meat and eating only fruits and veggies. It is way much more then that. Looking back to the days when ancient tribes existed and date was written in before-the-Christ measure, people have already established vegetarianism as an eating habit. It is a well-known fact that Indian culture is very closely connected to the attitude of no violence towards animals and rooted that in their religion and philosophy of living. All of this evolved and according to the Meat Atlas of the Friends of the Earth, in 2014 there was about 375 million vegetarians worldwide, so you can imagine what is the number now in 2017.

Being a vegetarian myself, to be more precise- almost vegan (getting there), I can point out a lot of benefits of this kind of living. A real example is way better then the one, who’s going to Nando’s after writing this article, don’t you think? One of the greatest benefits is that you are still friends with pigs, cows, calves, fish and many more animals. George Bernard Shaw once said, “Animals are my friends and I don’t eat my friends” and I completely agree with him. Being vegetarian not only helps you save the animals, but the environment itself. Statistics states that animal agriculture water consumptions ranges from 34–76 trillion gallons annually. Also, to compare something for your interest: 1.5 acres can produce 37.000 pounds of plant-based food, while the same amount can produce 375 pounds of meat. I think numbers speak for themselves. When it comes to dietary points, scientific researches have proven that meat causes cancer and vegetarians live longer and healthier lives. Of course it causes a lot of discussions, but after all, science is the most precise source, isn’t it?

If you want to get on the nerves of vegetarian person, here’s the trick: ask him or her that one question- so, what do you eat? Speaking for almost every vegetarian/vegan person I wouldn’t be wrong by saying that if you ask that question, you will be our target and we might let all of our anger on you. But nothing to worry about, you know, it’s just because we don’t eat meat; it’s our hormones and well being to blame. The answer to this question is simple- we eat everything, just not any animal meat. The burger is the same burger with meat, but the meat is vegetarian. Famous Carbonara is the same Carbonara, just with vegetarian bacon or minced veggie meat. There are so many choices for vegetarians nowadays that it is even more popular to be one than to eat meat. If you balance your nutrition correctly, there’s nothing to worry about the health or fainting just because you climbed a couple of stairs going to your room. I agree it is a long process until you become a proper vegetarian with normal nutrition and right understanding, but once the first step is made, everything becomes easier.

As in every part of life, there is a bad side to every story. I praised vegetarian way of living, but yes, there are a couple of disadvantages. Firstly, sometimes it is hard to find vegetarian food that is not fruits and vegetables. For example, tofu products, vegan cheese or any other meat substitute can hardly be found in many countries. Furthermore, if you your diet is not balanced well enough you might lack proteins, iron, vitamin B12, but that happens 2rarely. And last, but not least- whenever there’s a party at your friends’, they might forget to provide you with vegetarian food resources. But it is okay, you will get used to bringing your own food. It might sound unnatural or unbelievable, but the truth is that vegetarianism doesn’t have as much disadvantages as everyone might think. It is the idea in people’s minds that causes the most misconception.

In the end, I do believe that becoming vegetarian is everyone’s free choice. Nobody has the right to force someone to change their living habits. Even if you don’t become a vegetarian or vegan, at least I will feel better and my mission to make sure people are aware will be marked as completed. Natalie Portman once commented about her choice of being a vegan: “Everyone has to find what is right for them, and it is different for everyone. Eating for me is how you proclaim your beliefs three times a day. That is why all religions have rules about eating. Three times a day, I remind myself that I value life and do not want to cause pain to or kill other living beings. That is why I eat the way I do.”

Viktorija Lipkaite