How important is meat in your diet? Could you happily live without ever eating any meat? In the UK vegetarianism is becoming more and more popular.

Vegetarianism is increasing in the UK as more and more British people are deciding not to eat meat and animal products. According to the UK Vegetarian Society, 2,000 people are giving up meat and ‘going veggie’ in Britain every week. There’s even a National Vegetarian Week organised every year to encourage people to try a meat-free lifestyle.

Vegetarians and vegans

In 1989 a poll indicated that three per cent of the UK’s population was vegetarian. A more recent poll put it at 5.7 per cent. This means there are over three million vegetarians in the UK today.

Vegetarians (people who don’t eat meat) and vegans (people who don’t eat or use any animal products) are both becoming increasingly common in UK culture. Visit a British supermarket and you will see a wide range of vegetarian ingredients and prepared meals on the shelves, including vegetarian sausages, vegan cheese (it doesn’t contain milk!) and meat-free burgers.

A healthy diet

So why are Brits cutting out meat from their diets? Many vegetarians and vegans choose not to eat meat or animal products for ethical reasons. They are unhappy about the bad treatment of the animals and the effects of meat and fish production on the environment. Worries about food safety (for example BSE, or ‘mad cow disease’, as it is commonly known) cause many people to stop eating meat. Others choose to change their diet to improve their general health. According to the Vegetarian Society, a meat-free diet could help reduce the risk of certain cancers and the possibility of heart disease, as well as other health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure.

Organic farming

Another rising trend in the UK’s food culture is related to how our food is produced. Many people are rejecting GM (genetically modified) food and intensive farming procedures. They want their food to be organically farmed. What exactly does ‘organic’ mean? Organic food is produced in a more natural way. Organic farmers use no or very few chemicals, pesticides or fertilisers. Organic farming isn’t only for plant crops: animals can also be farmed organically. Organic meat is produced without the use of drugs and antibiotics. Organically farmed animals also have better living conditions, for example more space and more nutritious food.

Organic food

According to the Soil Association, the UK’s leading organisation for organic food and farming, three out of every four households in the UK now buy some types of organic food. Some people buy organic meat, fruit and vegetables from farmers’ markets, where local farmers sell their products directly to the consumer. Others have a box of organic mixed fruit and vegetables delivered to their homes each week. Many people buy organic produce in their local supermarket. As with vegetarianism, people choose organic foods for health reasons or because of concern for the environment. Although it’s often more expensive, fans of organic food say it tastes much better!

Discussion

Do you think the world would be a better place if people ate less meat? How much meat do you eat in your diet?

Comments

Flower Paradise's picture
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Flower Paradise 14 May, 2013 - 16:04

i'm vegeterian for 9years. but its so hard to be vegeterian in my country becouse there is not a lot of kind of vegeterian meals in supermarkets ((

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Student11's picture
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Student11 15 May, 2013 - 04:24

It's true. I'm vegan and I decided don't eat supermarket food. In my country, Colombia, all meals have milk, eggs, sugar, so on. I only eat plants to make assurance double sure my vegan diet.

Bye.

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Student11's picture
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Student11 15 May, 2013 - 04:16

I agree with Besjana. The only issue do not eat animals food. Food such as sugar, wheat, some vegetable fat are unhealthy.
Bye.

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sophiem's picture
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sophiem 14 April, 2013 - 13:36

And there is one very important thing : vegetarianism and veganism doesn't mean only vegetables. There is all big world of delicious flavors and values! If someone want to I can upload a few interesting blogs abous vegan cuisine.

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sophiem's picture
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sophiem 14 April, 2013 - 13:32

I think there are people who can't live witchout meat. Ok, it's not such a big problem when we are eating meat or turkey once a week, because we need to. It's begining a big problem when we're start to killing wild animals to eat "something special" and expensive. And in my opinion vegan diet is only right diet for people. Because It's not about just eating, it's about USING animals for our pleasure. Think about it, may be you can eat soy sousage or mushroom prepared like chop and save one animal's live in your country and reduce all-world's animal use. I don't eat meat and trying to become a vegan. It's worth, for your health and not only ;)

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dajana-n's picture
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dajana-n 4 April, 2013 - 14:10

I like the meat.
I think that the world would be a better place if they eat the meat ,but no very much.

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fatmira n's picture
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fatmira n 1 April, 2013 - 11:57

i do not like the diet
i eat what i want and i like meat but i do not eat it often.

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angela-h's picture
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angela-h 21 March, 2013 - 16:53

being vegetarian, for my opinion is not such a good thing 'cause it will prevent you from eating meat and stuffs like this. eating only vegetables, besides being healthy[which is something we think it is] will sooner or later make you starve. so if you like meat, you don't have to give up from it, but just eat it in the proper time and in the proper amount. in this way we are not just gone be healthy but even slim and in shape as well. vote this comment if you agree with me

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Lemon's picture
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Lemon 12 March, 2013 - 16:26

I tried to be a vegetarian because I love animals and I think that killing them for food is bad but I gave up because meet and fish are so tasty... And also there are people who are called vegans: they don`t eat ANY products that are connected with animals: no eggs, no milk, no honey! I can`t imagine it. I feel like a terrible person every time I eat meet.

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 13 March, 2013 - 06:38

Hi Lemon! You raised a really important point ... it can be hard to eat meat if you hold these beliefs. I admire your courage for being a vegetarian for a short time. :-) Good for you!

Has anyone else tried vegetarianism for a short time? Or, would you like to try it? I'd really like to know about your experience!

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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Natalija's picture
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Natalija 7 March, 2013 - 21:56

Well, considering that I am only 16 years old and I am in physical development, it is very important to eat meat, but I have never been interested in eating meat a lot. My parents force me to eat it, even if I don't want to, because they are worried about my health. But I must say that I don't like meat, I prefer fish and sea fruits. I am from country where people usually eat meat almost every day and it is hard to be a vegetarian. Everyone looks at you as a odd person, but I don't care. I like to eat what my organism wants, but I eat meat twice a week. I agree with Gabby, we should decrease the amount of meat, for the sake of planet and for ourselves.

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RehinaParker's picture
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RehinaParker 5 March, 2013 - 13:24

I dont mind for taking diet .... my body is perfect... i like meat its delicious............

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MALINE's picture
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MALINE 3 March, 2013 - 15:13

I´m not sure about eating less meat will be make a better world though we´ll be healthier,personally I love meat I often eat it. I´d say that I eat meat five days a week,all kind of it, beef,chicken,pork and cheese.

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SangVn's picture
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SangVn 24 February, 2013 - 16:30

I had been a vegetarian for a half of month after I passed the entrance exam of university. it was very difficult to do because my parents eat meat everyday, when I saw tasty dishes by meat I couldn't stand and I stopped being vegetarian. I know meat is not good for health so I think I will to be a vegetarian when I get older maybe when I'm 40 or 50 years old.

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