Although there is no compelling SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that it is necessary to completely abandon animal products for the sake of health, experts do not cease to emphasize the importance of plant foods. Eating red meat is considered safe at 80 grams per day or 400 grams per week. However, scientists have linked processed red meat in the diet (such as sausages) to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, type II diabetes, stroke and early death. A plant-based diet has been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. In addition, vegetarianism contributes to a decrease in body mass index, the likelihood of developing cancer and, in general, has a beneficial effect on health. The compilers of the Canadian nutritional guide - the most advanced to date - do not point out the need for meat or milk in the diet at all.
And although there is a risk that essential amino acids and a number of important micronutrients will not be supplied in sufficient quantities with the rejection of animal products, there are ways to level it without the help of meat. It all depends on planning your diet and, if necessary, taking nutritional supplements. For example, the essential amino acid lysine is found in nuts, beans, lentils, soybeans, and brewer's yeast (ovegetarians also get it from eggs, and lacto vegetarians get it from cottage cheese). Tryptophan is rich in pumpkin seeds, spinach, bananas, oats and sesame seeds.
Vegetarianism, along with responsible consumption, is becoming fashionable. Some refuse meat to be healthier, others for reasons of ethical attitude towards animals, and still others care about the environment and want to reduce the impact of animal husbandry on the planet. Someone fasts regularly for religious reasons; many have become supporters of Meatless Mondays - no meat on Mondays. We talked to girls who don't eat meat or any animal products about why they did it, what changed it and how to diversify their diet.
Interview: Anton Danilov
author of the telegram channel "Profeminism"
journalist, host of the telegram channel God bless the concealer, Flacon editor
25 years old, does not eat meat and fish for 9 years
I gave up meat when I was sixteen years old. As a teenager, I had a very difficult attitude to food: I counted calories, carbohydrates, was afraid of a piece of bread, weighed myself every day and generally considered food the main enemy on the way to my dream of having a body like Freya Beha Eriksen. Once my friend and I had a bad trip in the field after hallucinogens: I saw a cow rotting under a blanket of flies and worms. Even before that, I was indifferent to meat and fish (I ate only crab sticks and ham), but that day I was completely turned away from them. Ten years have passed since then, and I have never felt the urge to eat a burger or steak. A couple of times it happened that I unknowingly ate something meat: once at a press breakfast I confused dessert with foie gras, and I felt nauseous from habit all day. I did not feel any special changes in my health. Pressure problems remained, but did not worsen. Once a year I do a blood test: hemoglobin, iron, protein - everything is normal. The gastrointestinal tract is also in order.
In most European countries, it's hard for me to find food, if not talking about vegetable salad and pasta. The worst was in France: there I ate only bread, cheese and eclairs. In my opinion, the best situation with this is in Moscow, Kiev and Amsterdam. It also pisses me off that when we order a lot of pizzas as a company, the vegetarian ones (which are already fewer in number) are always eaten first, and I only get one piece, and the meat ones remain until the end of the party.
People think that vegetarianism is a diet to lose weight quickly. But many, on the contrary, by switching to vegetarianism, gain weight - they begin to eat twice as much potatoes, pasta, and rice. Eating macaroni and cheese without sausage is not a meaningful diet. It is important to keep track of the balance of all the necessary components.
I do not have strict rules about leather goods - and between leather and plastic bags, I will choose the first one and will wear it for many years. In order not to encourage the use of slave labor and not harm the environment, I try not to buy things in the mass market.
Senior PR Manager, Digital Agency Affect
33 years old, has not eaten meat for over 5 years
For two years I haven't eaten any animal products at all, but a few months ago I started eating cheese in Brazil. Brazil is not adapted for vegans: the food culture of this country does not stipulate that a person does not eat meat. There are no vegan dishes in regular catering, and going to specialized ones was very expensive. The only option is to cook everything yourself.
I gave up meat in several stages. It all started with a feeling of discomfort: I didn't want to move, there was a heaviness in my stomach. After giving up meat, I felt positive changes, but after two or three months without chicken in my diet, I found myself constantly thinking about it. I started dreaming about chicken meat. Then I began to eat chicken secretly from friends and parents; Once I was caught by a friend, and I asked not to tell anyone about it. But then I realized that this was absurd, and simply returned the meat to the diet.
After another five years, my health problems returned, and I decided to give up meat completely. This time there was no withdrawal, I simply did not want meat. Then I gave up fish, and then my favorite shrimp: once I simply became disgusted with their smell. Then I watched Joaquin Phoenix's film "Earthlings", which tells about the horrors of animal husbandry (a documentary that compares the treatment of animals with the genocide of Jews in Nazi Germany; according to the authors, switching to veganism can end animal suffering. - Approx. ed.). I realized that keeping animals is unethical and badly damaging to the planet, and I completely abandoned animal products. After giving up milk, the skin on my face became clearer, and with the transition to a plant-based diet, I lost five kilograms.
broker and artist
21 years old, does not eat meat and dairy products for 2 years
A couple of years ago, I began to come across posts or articles about cruelty to animals, both domestic and livestock. I saw what was happening in slaughterhouses, dairy factories and similar places, watched the films "What does health have to do with it" (according to medical experts, there are a lot of exaggerations and distortions of facts in this tape, for example, its authors argue that the harm of eggs can be compared to harm cigarettes. - Approx. ed.), "Earthlings" and others, read a lot of different materials and literally in one day gave up meat. I did not experience any inconvenience: no headache, no weakness. The diet did not change much, because I always ate a lot of fruits and vegetables, and rarely meat. Now I do not eat not only meat, but also dairy products. However, I really like sweets, which almost always contain ingredients of animal origin. It was difficult to refuse it.
At first, my attitude towards people who eat meat changed dramatically: I kept telling my relatives about its dangers, persuading them to stop eating it. But then I realized that I did it incorrectly: everyone has their own life, they decide everything for themselves. I am also sure that giving meat or milk to children is not necessary. I believe that baby mammals, including humans, should only drink milk of their own kind. (There is evidence that one serving of milk and dairy products per day (a glass of milk, a can of natural yogurt, a slice of cheese) reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.The American dietary guidelines recommend low-fat dairy products in your daily diet because they reduce the risk of heart disease, type II diabetes, and improve bone health. - Approx. ed.)
I believe that vegetarianism and veganism are suitable for all people - you just need to correctly build a diet. Now my health is fine. Some people think that vegetarians and vegans are inactive, weak, lethargic, that their hair falls out, their nails suffer - but this is not true. You can find thousands of confirmations that meat is useful or harmful, but everyone makes specific decisions based on their own knowledge, views and inner feelings.
telegram channel "Lesbian Lobby"
27 years old, does not eat meat for 11 and a half years
I had several reasons for giving up animal products. First, I was worried about the ethical side: I am convinced that in the modern world, a person can eat well without harming the planet and hurting living beings. Secondly, I started to think about health. Then I came across books and films about the dangers of meat for the human body and the benefits of diets based on plant foods. As a child, I was a sickly child, I got tired quickly. In the ninth grade, from constant snacking on sandwiches with rubber cheese and fatty sausage, I developed gastritis.
I can't say for sure if this is due to the refusal of meat, but I became less sick. There are no more problems with the gastrointestinal tract - if I do not overeat and do not eat frankly low-quality food. There is more energy, there is lightness, the skin is clearer. I do not have competent knowledge in this area and cannot decide for others, but I think that it is possible to provide a child with a complete diet without products of animal origin (medical experts note that a vegetarian or vegan diet can be suitable for a child, but it is important to think carefully about it to ensure a growing body with the right amount of protein and other components. Young children with small stomachs may become saturated with plant foods too quickly, so you need to include in the diet foods high in protein, fat and calories, such as nuts and nut butters. Approx. ed.).
After giving up meat, I had no problems. Well, except for stupid jokes from some relatives, friends and acquaintances, as well as conditional public condemnation from the series "you will die without meat." Now I feel good, I periodically check with different doctors. I donate blood every six months - primarily for indicators that can suffer without food of animal origin (calcium, magnesium, iron). I believe that veganism is not suitable for everyone, but becoming a vegetarian is quite within its power. There would be convictions and willpower.
junior brand manager
23 years old, has not eaten meat for more than 3 years
Now I adhere to a pescetarian diet - I eat fish and seafood, I love cheese. My mother said that even as a child, I ate a side dish, and left the meat on a plate and they literally forced me to eat it. I finally gave up meat in my second year at university when I got very sick. My gastritis returned, and then I was diagnosed with an ulcer. I began to follow the prescribed diet, ate everything boiled, including turkey, beef, chicken. After eating, it got worse: sometimes I could not get out of bed, because I was very nauseous. At some point, I just stopped eating meat.
I associate my refusal partly with the illness, but I am sure that over time I would stop eating meat anyway. I do not like its appearance and smell, I have no desire to "eat a steak" like other people. The body made it clear that meat makes it worse. After the refusal, I did not feel any problems. Even hemoglobin never dropped below normal, although my pallor is always attributed to this.
I have a younger brother who loves meat and always wonders why I don't eat it.My answer is that I just don't like it. I don’t understand yet how I’ll raise my children. But I do not think that I will forbid them to eat eggs and meat, drink milk if they want to. The most important thing is freedom. In my childhood, there were no vegetarian or vegan cafes and there was a cult of meat consumption - it is possible that today's children will quickly come to the fact that there are many other tasty and healthy foods in the world.
There is an opinion that vegans or vegetarians refuse animal products just because they protect animals. But not everyone does this. Many people choose this way of life because it is more comfortable - and this is also good. As a result, with your choice you do better not only for yourself, but also for the environment. I believe that we all need to be able to accept someone else's choice.
PR and SMM specialist
34 years old, does not eat meat for 9 years
I had a friend who was one of the first among my acquaintances to become a vegetarian - more than ten years ago. She tried so hard to convince us that everyone was eating wrong that we were wary of her. Then she began to send various films, and I caught the eye of Tolstoy's First Step - after reading it, I realized that I no longer want to eat meat: I do not want to take part in the murder. Then I began to study this topic and decided that all the meat that is on the shelves in the store, most likely, does not benefit my body.
After giving up meat, I did not catch a cold for two years; sometimes, of course, I get sick, but much less often than before. The inflammation on my forehead has passed, now I have clear skin (to date, the connection between acne and dietary habits has not been established. - Approx. ed.). In addition, my taste preferences changed - I started eating what I could not stand before: bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, persimmons, pomegranates, spinach, basil. I drink preparations with iron, because I have very low iron - not after giving up meat, but since childhood. All friends respect the fact that I do not eat meat. At family gatherings, there are always vegetarian options on the table. If we come to a restaurant or cafe and take something for two (for example, pizza), then the companion supports my choice. I, too, respect other people's choices and how they feed their children.
My main problem is laziness. To get enough protein and trace elements, you need to rebuild the diet, and this is difficult for me. Therefore, at home I eat the simplest dishes: buckwheat, wholemeal pasta, bulgur, quinoa, fresh vegetables and fruits. But my salvation today is restaurants. Previously, there was not such a variety of vegetarian cafes, and the usual ones did not have particularly vegetarian dishes - therefore my favorite period was fasting: here you have buckwheat and potatoes with mushrooms. Nowadays, any establishment has dishes for all tastes that are suitable for vegetarians.
I do not believe that vegetarianism or veganism is for everyone - so I never advocate my philosophy. Everyone eats the way they feel comfortable. But I think people should try a vegetarian diet at least once in their life to feel the difference. After all, vegetarianism is surrounded by many misconceptions, for example, that it is a meager diet, or that the body cannot survive without animal protein. Today the choice of food is huge, there is a lot of information about different types of food - people can choose. The main thing is to treat without fanaticism and not prohibit anything for yourself.
curator of contemporary art
27 years old, does not eat meat and dairy products for 5 years
I can't say that I used to eat a lot of meat - sometimes chicken or beef. Once, a young man and I went to a cool restaurant in Florence and ordered a Florentine steak - a huge piece of low-roasted meat, from which "blood" can flow (the red juice flowing from the meat is water and the protein myoglobin, which gives the meat color - Prim ed.). When I looked at him, the desire to eat vanished.
Before giving up meat, I often experienced a heaviness in my stomach after eating, but now this does not happen (today, with a heaviness and bloating after a meal, dietary recommendations imply, first of all, avoidance of lactose and a number of other carbohydrates. - Approx. ed.) To be honest, it seems to me that my character has also changed, I got rid of aggression. I have not excluded fish and seafood from the diet - my body reacts to them differently. I never miss the taste of meat. About two years ago, I flew from New York and a chicken was served on the plane - after that I was even more convinced of my decision.
After the refusal, I had no problems. Even if you don't eat fish and seafood, protein can be obtained from legumes, hemp or pumpkin seeds, and tofu. I plan to undergo a medical examination and understand what vitamins and minerals the body needs in addition - these are probably group B vitamins. In general, I advise everyone to consult a doctor and trust professionals.
I think that vegetarianism and veganism are suitable for all people, but due to the habitat it can be difficult. I travel a lot and when I find myself in places where vegetarian cafes are just popping up, I have difficulty eating. It is very difficult to find vegetable salad in Italy: there will be mozzarella almost everywhere. It was the same in Provence. It was very difficult to give up cheeses: I lived for six months in Italy, where they are a national pride. In the morning, the cafe could serve cheese that was cooked at night - and it was very tasty. In Russia, I loved cottage cheese, it was also hard to imagine my morning without cheesecakes, but I quickly got used to it.
journalist and blogger
28 years old, has not eaten meat, eggs and milk for 10 years
Before becoming a vegan, I was a vegetarian. I gave up meat, eggs and milk for ethical reasons, because I believe that it is wrong to eat animals. After the refusal in self-awareness, nothing changed except that my biliary dyskinesia - due to the fact that food became lighter - began to manifest itself much less often (with functional disorders of the biliary tract, pain and other symptoms appear after eating food with a high fat content.- Approx. ed.). Unfortunately, over time, I developed mild anemia, but although it was very annoying, I did not give up and began to approach the diet even more responsibly. I discovered anemia not because I began to feel bad, but because I began to take tests regularly. I am a vegan geek, so I am scrupulous about my health: I check the indicators every year, and if something bothers me, I immediately go to the doctor. And they, by the way, support me and do not say that I "have to eat something." Now I feel good, I go in for sports.
The main problem with veganism and vegetarianism is not that plant-based foods do not contain enough nutrients, but that reliable information is difficult to find. But there are a lot of fakes: for example, I used to think that you can cover the body's need for iron with the help of a large number of apples. People, in principle, are not very savvy in nutritional science, and almost no one knows where to get all the important nutrients and trace elements. So, in order to solve the problem of adequate information about veganism, I created my own YouTube channel.
Many people also think that vegans have a very meager diet, but this is not true - the dishes of many cuisines of the world can be adapted. Of course, in ordinary cafes you face restrictions, but this does not mean that you cannot cook at home. Our eating habits are shaped by our moms, by what we see on TV screens. When you become a vegan, you kind of nullify all this knowledge: you need to study the issue on your own, because you can't rely on your mom or on the TV show anymore.
Another part of the problem is incompetent bloggers, of which there are many now. They insist that plant-based foods are great no matter what you eat.But this is not the case, because planning is very important in veganism, and an unbalanced diet can lead to health problems. Many of the former and irresponsible vegans who made this mistake now scare others into trying a vegan diet, with intimidating videos of how veganism ruins health. Also, as a rule, men speak about the "carelessness" of this type of diet - but they need two to three times less iron than women, who, even with a normal diet, may face anemia due to regular menstruation.
Photos: nakornchaiyajina - stock.adobe.com, nipaporn - stock.adobe.com