Nutritional therapist Ian Marber looks at why vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise
Did you know that many food futurologists are predicting that vegan and vegetarianism will be the norm by 2030, with meat eaters very much in the minority by 2035? Given our historic devotion to eating meat, poultry, fish and other animal products, it may seem unlikely, but could they be right?
According to a 2016 NatCen Social Research survey, 29 percent of adults in the UK reduced their meat consumption in 2015, and amongst older people aged 65 to 79, meat consumption was reported to be down a massive 39 percent. In the industrialised world, 79 percent of people eat meat while in developing countries this falls to 32 percent.
Even allowing for anomalies and differences between age groups and location, we are eating fewer animal products than before and there are several reasons why this trend is likely to continue. Here are just a few…
• There is growing concern for animal welfare, not just while the animals are alive, but also for the way that they are slaughtered.
• Maintaining animals is costly for the environment – in fact, the production of 1 kilo of beef requires 15,000 litres of water and 6.5 kilos of crops for feed, and emits a great deal of CO2. Producing the same amount of say, potatoes, takes only 500 litres of water.
• Food offerings are changing as the cost of eating out increases and food outlets have begun to include more and more vegetable-based dishes in their ranges. Sandwich chain Pret a Manger has taken this further and opened two sites in London selling solely vegetarian food after the success of its first all-vegetable store.
• The cost of meat and animal products is rising and in uncertain economic times people are more cautious about what they spend. A plant-based diet can be significantly less expensive than eating meats and may be appealing for this reason.
• Fashions change, and while the cult of ‘clean eating’ has been discredited in parts, awareness of our diets is at an all time high. Nutritional therapist Ian Marber looks at why vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise Vegetarian and vegan diets are increasingly fashionable, helped by highprofile celebrity endorsements.
Whilst eating meat offers nutrients and complete proteins, a vegetarian or vegan diet, done well, can offer all the nutrients that a human being needs. That said, if you’re thinking of cutting meat out of your diet, special attention needs to be paid to ensuring that you’re getting enough iron, B12, omega 3 and protein but it is quite possible to do so.
Although living a meat-free life might seems inconceivable in 2017, a future with self driving cars was also unthinkable 20 years ago but now that’s seemingly imminent. Perhaps it’s time to think again.
Ian is one of the UK’s top nutritional therapists ianmarber.com
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