“Humans have always eaten meat” – does this phrase sound familiar to you? When it comes to the topic of meat consumption, opinions differ, and those who don’t eat meat often stir up debate at family dinners. According to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the amount of meat slaughtered in Germany in 2021 decreased by 2.4 percent compared to the previous year. However, per capita meat consumption remained around 55 kilograms.
Meat is unhealthy – isn’t it? My reasons for a meat-free life
I often hear from people who eat vegetarian or vegan that they have never liked to eat meat – unfortunately that’s not the case for me. Because: I like the taste of meat. However, the need to eat meat is also a matter of habit. Because the longer I go without it, the less I feel about beef steaks and the like, but what are the reasons not to eat meat?
It is not true that meat is generally unhealthy – it is a high-quality source of protein rich in minerals such as iron, zinc or selenium and vitamins of group B. In particular, we only get vitamin B12 from animal products. In general, we can also think of our nutritional requirements in other ways. It also largely depends on the type of meat we eat: according to studies, red meat, highly processed meat and sausage products not only increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also colon cancer. Therefore, the German Dietetic Association (DGE) recommends eating no more than 300 to 600 grams per week. Aside from the nutritional values of meat, there are two factors against eating meat in my view: animal welfare on the one hand and carbon dioxide emissions on the other. For me, my love for animals is incompatible with eating meat. Aside from the fact that animal husbandry is responsible for a significant portion of global greenhouse gases – those who go without meat can contribute to its reduction, measures such as driving less or shopping in the area can also be taken.
Finally Meat-Free: My Tips for Living Without Meat
1. Watch documentaries
The best advice I can give to anyone looking to cut back on meat or cut out entirely is to watch documentaries on the topic. As cliched as it may sound, to me it was the crucial point that made my diet change. As mentioned earlier, I am an animal lover and even shed tears when a fly was killed in my apartment. You’re probably thinking to yourself: It’s kind of awful to eat meat then, isn’t it? the correct! For this reason, the idea of giving up meat arose long before it was put into practice. Whenever I find a video from animal welfare organizations like PETA or Greenpeace on social media showing how cows or pigs live or die under the harsh farming of the factory, I’m quick to browse. And I think that’s the case for many people: if you don’t have to see the suffering it causes, you can easily suppress it. For this reason, it is important to deal with it carefully – not only with the suffering of animals caused by the consumption of meat, but also with the associated effects on the environment or on the health of the individual. The documentaries I can recommend in this context are “Cowspiracy” (Netflix), “What the Health” (Netflix) and “Hope for All” (Amazon Prime).
2. Reduce meat consumption first
Man is a creature of habit – nothing is said of it. So if you suddenly eliminate meat from your diet, you may relapse quickly. Once you have the urge to give up meat, you can slowly approach your goal. For example, at first, for several months, I only ate meat once a week, but then it was organic. After that time, it is no longer difficult for me to avoid meat in my meals. And even if you stick to it once a week, that’s a step in the right direction. In this case, you should only make sure to eat organic meat, as this means not only better animal husbandry, but also meat free from drug residues.
3. Eating internationally
Do you like Italian food? Fabulous! Because another point that can be very useful when not eating meat is to cook internationally. Because in many countries a lot is cooked without meat anyway or dishes can be wonderfully prepared without meat. Anyone who eats roast beef or schnitzel every day will find it difficult to replace the meat. On the other hand, in Italian cuisine, things are completely different – because whether it’s pasta, bruschetta or pizza, many delicacies are meat-free. By the way, Indian or Thai cuisine is also good if you are looking for delicious vegetarian dishes.
Also interesting: this is what happens if you don’t eat meat for four weeks >>
Conclusion: It’s not always easy
Naturally, a complete waiver, especially in the beginning, is not easy. So if you get weak and you’re a piece of beef, you shouldn’t feel bad. And to be honest, in my three years without meat, I’ve made an exception at Christmas dinner. You should always keep in mind that every change, no matter how small, has a positive impact – and this gives you the motivation to continue into the future.