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World Vegetarian Day: What do vegans, vegetarians or flexitarians actually eat?
October 1st is World Vegetarian Day. A few years ago it was claimed that the vegetarian diet was unhealthy compared to the mixed diet, the scientific picture has changed completely. It has been proven that a vegetarian and balanced diet can drastically reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. According to a long-term study by the German Cancer Research Center in Heilberg, the death rate on a vegetarian diet is reduced by 30 percent in women and even by 50 percent in men.
Although vegetarians are rarely seen at currywurst stalls, there are now numerous balancing products made from tofu from soy or the quorn mushroom. More and more people, who prefer a mixed diet, are still worried about the origin of their dishes and often do without meat. Nutritionists have identified a new trend: meat consumption has been falling in western industrialized countries for years. Instead of grilled steak, more and more people are also trying vegetarian recipes and realizing that the meat is no longer missing.
A vegetarian is not a vegetarian. There are many different forms of nutrition among those who despise meat. Some also eat fish, others do not eat animal products such as eggs, cheese or yoghurt at all. So there are vegetarians, vegans, Frutarians or Pescetarians. Who now eats what is declared World Vegetarian Day on October 1st.
Meat eater / mixed food: According to some nutritional studies, men eat more meat than women. The Federal Ministry of Food found in an evaluation that men eat twice as much meat as women. On average, every German eats around 88.2 kilograms of meat per year. Consumption has increased rapidly since the 1950s and has only been decreasing for a few years. Numerous scientists are calling for a massive rethink in nutrition. Due to the high meat consumption worldwide, especially in the industrialized nations, it is already impossible today due to the increasing global population to provide all people with sufficient food. Numerous studies indicate that high meat consumption significantly increases the risk of heart disease or stroke.
Vegetarian: A few decades ago, vegetarians had to justify themselves because they did not eat meat, but today it is the social standard to avoid sausage and roast beef. Many stars like rock singer Nina Hagen or ex-Beatle Paul McCartney are committed to their meatless life. Experts estimate that around a billion people have a purely vegetarian diet. The Association of Vegetarians says that the number of German meat despise is currently around six million people, and the trend is rising. In the past, many people called for meat to be avoided for political, religious or ethical reasons. Today, more and more people are also renouncing health reasons. In addition, aspects such as animal suffering and factory farming play a key role in avoiding meat. Environmental protection and animal welfare are the most cited reasons why someone does not eat meat. But many also say, "I just don't like meat". According to studies, vegetarians today are mostly female, young and well educated. In Asia, a great number of people have not eaten meat for centuries for religious reasons, which is why vegetarian cuisine is highly praised by many vegetarians.
Vegan: With the vegan diet, people do not consume any animal products. Accordingly, vegans do not eat meat, cheese, eggs, gelatin from animal meal or honey. Many vegans want to live very consistently and also pay attention to content and origin when choosing their clothes. Therefore, most do not wear leather shoes, sheep's wool, down feathers or standard cosmetics. Vegans usually live very strictly according to their rules and criticize vegetarians for not acting just as consistently. Critics claim that the vegan diet can lead to a lack of nutrients and therefore trigger illnesses. According to some studies, this is only partially true, because it depends on whether a vegan has a varied and balanced diet. All proteins, proteins, minerals and vitamins can also be found in plants. Vegans therefore have to eat a wide variety of foods. However, some also swallow additional preparations so as not to suffer from deficiency symptoms.
Flexitarians: More and more people want to eat consciously. The flexitarians reject factory farming, are committed to environmental protection and pay attention to their own healthy nutrition. They do not want to do without the very moderate consumption of meat. They pay more attention to the origin and demand organic goods. Vegetarians and vegans accuse the “recreational vegetarians” of inconsistent action and reassurance. A well-known proponent of this way of life is, for example, the US writer Jonathan Safran Foer. A Forsa study found that there are around 42 million so-called flexitarians in Germany. Here, too, there is an upward trend.
Pescetarians: Many people do not eat meat, but they use fish, crabs and other seafood all the more frequently. The name comes from Italy, as the word "pesce" already suggests. The almost vegetarians usually also eat eggs, milk and honey. Health factors are also crucial for them. But many also say they don't like meat.
Frutarians: These people do not eat animals, do not eat cheese, do not drink milk, but only plants that did not die during the harvest. Accordingly, Frutarians do not eat carrots, fennel, leeks or onions. Frutarians only eat fruit, i.e. the fruit itself must have fallen from the tree and not be picked. In Germany there are only a few thousand people who eat this way. Her main concern is the consistent protection and protection of nature.
Freegans are a relatively new group in the western world. You have a socio-politically critical attitude towards the consumer world. The representatives eat what other people have already thrown away. After the sales close, they go to supermarkets and restaurants to steal fruit, vegetables or yogurts that have already expired. Many supermarkets have already started to lock up the discarded food. Some activists even had to accept criminal charges, although the goods were supposed to end up in the trash. Most of the freegans eat either vegan or vegetarian. With their attitude and their actions they want to draw attention to the throw-away society, the abundance and the bitter poverty in the third world. Most therefore also reject capitalism as an economic form. The criticism is well justified: According to the World Food Organization FAO, 1.3 billion tons of food are thrown away every year. In the United States and Europe, every inhabitant throws away around 115 kilograms of food a year. In contrast, thousands of children in Africa die of hunger every day. (sb)
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