C: Anna Pelzer – Unsplash

Research and data collated of late has found that vegetarianism will now, somehow, cause more harm than good to animals, personal health, human rights issues, and the wider environment.

Many people choose vegetarianism as a lifestyle for several reasons; some as a result of religions, others for family reasons, and more still just because they are not interested in the taste of meat.

However, the ‘trend‘ for vegetarianism of late has gone viral – resulting in the public’s belief that vegetarianism is somehow able to reduce carbon footprints while also improving our health. This is not quite true.

C: Gareth Hubbard – Unsplash

Many claim in being vegetarian they do not hurt innocent animals.

But as more and more people turn to vegetarianism, associated problems are now being revealed.

Researchers at the Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology published an article in 2014, proving that vegetarians “suffer significantly more often from anxiety disorder and/or depression” since a vegetarian diet carries with it insufficient levels of cholesterol; low cholesterol levels generally being related to depression.

By following a vegetarian diet, some forms of nutrition are hard to obtain if not taking nutritional supplements.

For example, vitamin B12 is a form of nutrition that is abundant in meat.

Although vitamin B12 can also be found in eggs and dairy, it is still not adequate for the proper function of the human body.

Add to this the indisputable fact that to produce food for market at cheaper rates, unscrupulous vendors also infringe upon many basic human rights.

C: Bethany Randall – Unsplash

Many foodstuffs popular with vegetarians are involved in these human rights abuses it is reported.

News released in October about a British-owned avocado farm in Kenya revealed that workers had been raped, beaten, and even killed for a number of reasons, while in Asia 60% of coconut farmers in the Philippines live below the poverty line.

In India, those charged with picking cashew nuts – another popular item with vegetarians – make under two pounds sterling (US$2.67) a day.

And these claims are the tip of the human-rights iceberg.

Environmental problems are another issue often ignored, with some of the most popular food items that vegetarians rely on actually jeopardizing the environment rather than this popular ‘ism‘ helping to save it.

Almond milk, a drink that many vegetarians are familiar with, uses 74 liters of water to produce one cup.

For soy-based food the carbon footprint is dramatically higher than any meat product too, since plantations lead to deforestation, and the production process is far from eco-friendly.

Quinoa, a famous crop now planted across the world but mainly in South America, is now leading to soil degradation in Bolivia and Peru because the global demand for it is increasing exponentially.

quinoa

So, what is the solution?

To eat a balanced diet, and yes, one that includes meat, is one way to solve these problems.

By eating both adequate amounts of meat and vegetables instead of being a part of the overeating of either will allow you to take in the nutrition you need to maintain your health – the advice of medical professionals on certain food avoidance a valid exception of course.

Additionally, when buying fruits, vegetables, etc., remember to purchase the products with fair trade labels that ensure no one’s rights have been violated in the production process.

Also, look out for alternative foodstuffs rather than only eating foods that will damage the environment.

Vegetarianism is not a negative mindset or concept, as the vast majority of vegetarians harbour good intentions.

Nonetheless, a balanced diet has been proven to be the best way forward for both humans and the environment.

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