Why do people become vegetarian?

It's not just stop eating meat, it's a stir of life that will impact your inner and outer world.

Vegetables displayed in a supermarket.

Vegetables displayed in a supermarket. / Photo: Unsplash - Reference Image

LatinAmerican Post | Natalia Isaza

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué las personas se vuelven vegetarianas?

There are three main reasons why people adopt this diet without animal protein (speaking only of this, without taking into account the multiple types of vegetarianisms that exist), they can do so for a health issue, also for a spiritual process or to take care for the environment, or simply for all three. I don't come here pretending to make every person vegetarian, but I do want to share and raise awareness about all the benefits and positive contributions that comes with carrying this lifestyle, both individually, for the body itself, and collectively for the world.

I'm going to start talking about the health issue, which is one of the biggest reasons why people adopt this diet. Let's start by understanding that simply many people can be meat intolerant, reflecting stomach swelling, diarrhea, constipation, constant tiredness, halitosis and loss of muscle mass. On the other hand, there is the fact of seeking to maintain more and better energy, reducing unnecessary work to the body, due to how heavy the meat is for our digestive system.

Meat remains in the stomach for about four hours, while fruits, vegetables and grains last only one. We must keep in mind that in our intestines, meat can last up to 3 days to go out, which means that all that time our body is wasting energy in digesting said food. Energy that could be used in another activity if we simply eat foods that are easier to digest.

Now, there are those people who decide to make this decision through a spiritual process. The basic and central premise is Nonviolence, which entails not harming any animal, that is, not consuming any dead animals, but also not contributing to their sacrifice or violent death. Very easy to understand, right? But at the time of carrying it out it is more complex, considering that many social spaces revolve around meat, such as a BBQ, a snack between friends or family, etc.

Another aspect, which has been a little more difficult for me, personally, is the fact to not harm any animal, it encompasses them all. That also includes mosquitoes, cockroaches and other animals with which our first reaction by habit is to crush them. It is difficult to unlearn those behaviors, but not impossible.

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Finally, there is the fact of going beyond our own body, reflecting on the whole process that comes with bringing a plate of meat to the table. The production, for example, of a quarter-pound hamburger, requires 1,650 liters of water. A resource that we market as if it was never going to end and as if it were not indispensable to live. Like this, there are many other resources that are spent on meat production and that alone could feed a greater number of citizens.

People usually begin this process for one of the three reasons mentioned, but they are clearly contributing to all three, sometimes without thinking about it. The consequences of a vegetarian diet are more positive than negative, although it is often difficult because of the context in which we develop .

When it is decided to live in consciousness, it is a little more complex than living in ignorance or importculism, as they say, because we begin to question actions and habits that were deeply rooted in us since we were little and that society itself is continually emphasizing. Sometimes it can feel like swimming against the tide, however, if the reasons for the decision are very clear and strong for each person who makes the decision, this change of life will be simple. This reaffirms the premise that such actions serve a greater purpose, taking into account that it is not just to stop eating meat, it is a stir of life completely that will impact your inner and outer world.