Vegetarians and Meat Consumers Lifestyles
4th semester student of English department, Binus University
The image is taken from: http://www.blisstree.com/2012/01/23/food/why-do-vegans-and-meat-eaters-hate-each-other-693/
The argument between vegetarian and meat consumers has been happening since the beginning of World War II, in which animal flesh, dairy, and egg were considered to be the only source of rich protein (dfwnetmall.com). Until the recent days, the debate has not stopped and it seems to become more visible. However, as time goes by, more and more evidences are believed to have been found to justify the idea of goodness that vegetarianism lifestyle brings. More people have decided to alter their lifestyle to become vegetarians which creates the evident, though immeasurably, distinction between vegetarian and meat consumers’ way of life. Although both lifestyle seem to bring almost the same amount of nutrition (American Dietetic Association) , their differences on how they affect human and environment as a whole are also important to point out.
As a start, vegetarians and meat consumers do not share the same effect on health based on the type of food they choose. Vegetarian, according to diffen.com, do not consume any kind of meat, fish, or poultry while meat consumers, as the name itself explains, consumes all of them. A study by a group of doctors in the Harvard School of Public Health shows that consumption of red meat has a huge correlation to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and metabolic diseases, while choosing the vegetarian lifestyle reduces those risks. Moreover, they also show significant association between life expectancy and food consumption. Eating meat on daily basis decreases the life expectancy by 13% while vegetables, on the other hand, increase it by 10%. Hence, both lifestyles carry different and significant effects to human health.
Image is taken from http://tefldaddy.com/Vegetarian.htm
The level of thoughts and awareness towards the importance of health also seem to be different between these two food-related practices. According to Hoek, et al. vegetarians tend to pay more attention towards health quality in comparison to meat consumers. They are more health conscious and pay higher attention towards product information labels. Furthermore, huffingtonpost.co.uk stated that lean people, who are more likely having the shape because of their vegetarian lifestyle, tend to exercise regularly, eat healthy, and avoid cigarettes. Therefore, it can be inferred that vegetarians have more awareness towards the value of health than those who do not follow vegetarianism.
Finally, vegetarians and meat consumer see the environmental issue differently, which also causes the different choice of lifestyle. Vegetarian, according to huffingtonpost.co.uk believe in the holistic nature of humankind which has also became an encouragement for them to practice such way of life. According to Sir Paul McCartney, being a vegetarian is a simple but effective way of life that they can save the environment and be healthy at the same time (PETA.org). Meat consumers, conversely, do not seem to be very aware towards environmental concerns. Some environmental problems that they have made are endangering 171 species of animals (ers.usda.gov) and carbon-dioxide production (PETA.org). For that reason, environmental issues are a trigger for vegetarian while it does not affect meat consumers as much. Different types of eating habit brings different effects and understanding to human being. It is proven that both lifestyles are able to provide all essential nutrients people need for optimal health. However, seeing the further effects that these lifestyles bring, it is obvious that the outcomes are very distinct especially in terms of health, awareness of well-being, and actions toward environmental concerns.
The article is also available at : http://padlet.com/wall/lifestylecomparison
List of References
Vernon R. Young and Peter L. Pellett, (1994) “Plant Proteins in Relation to Human Protein and Amino Acid Nutrition,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA, 2008), “Environmental Interactions with Agricultural Production: Grazing Lands and Environmental Quality,” www.ers.usda.gov, Nov. 20, 2008