At Biome, we love supporting vegetarians and vegetarism. We also believe it is important to check that the vegetarian alternatives are made without environmentally degrading ingredients, choosing local and organic wherever possible. Our vegan and vegetarian options encourage sustainable alternatives. For vegetarian recipes see our vegetarian and vegan cookbook range.
What is a vegetarian?
A vegetarian is someone who chooses to follow a plant-based diet excluding any type of meat (whether red meat, poultry or seafood). There are numerous variations of the vegetarian diet in addition to no meat, some avoid eggs, some dairy, some animal byproducts. At the end of the spectrum, a vegan diet excludes all animal products, including eggs, dairy, and honey.
Why go vegetarian?
Below are just some of the reasons that people choose vegetarism.
For ethical reasons...
Most vegetarians object to the human use of animals for food on compassionate grounds.
For health reasons...
Balanced vegetarian diets are low in cholesterol and saturated fat, rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fibre, and can decrease the chance of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. A vegetarian diet is often recommended for people with chronic conditions such as arthritis or kidney problems. Contrary to popular belief, well-planned vegetarian diets are suitable for all age groups, and can provide ample protein.
For environmental reasons...
There are a many environmental reasons why people choose vegetarianism, as any reduction in your reliance on animal products is a generally a good thing for the planet.
Reduces your carbon footprint
Did you know that the livestock industry produces 18% of global greenhouse emissions? That’s 34% more than the entire transport sector (which produces 13.5%), including aviation. Vegetarian diets are an effective way to reduce environmental impact.
Reduces land and water required by your diet by two-thirds or more
Plant-based diets only require about a third of the water than that of an average Western diet containing animal products. Also, the amount of land needed to produce food for someone following a typical meat-based diet could feed two-and-a-half vegetarians, or ﬁve vegans! This is because farmed animals consume much more protein, water and calories than they produce. Basically, it’s feeding a crop to a crop, so a vegetarian diet cuts out the middleman!
Reduces your impact on the ocean
The single biggest threat to marine ecology is overfishing. The overfishing of targeted fish species, the collateral damage to other fish species (those caught in the same nets, and little understood ecosystem impact), and worldwide demand is increasing.
There are also massive environmental costs associated with farmed fish. With wild fish populations crashing, aquaculture is now the world’s most rapidly increasing industry of animal production. Farmed fish are fed meal made from wild fish. More than three tonnes of wild-caught fish are needed to product one tonne of farmed salmon. For some newly farmed species, the ratio can be 5:1. Additionally, fish waste and the dangerous chemicals used to treat disease are all environmental pollutants.
Reduces your environmental impact in many other ways
Farming animals for human consumption also contributes to a multitude of other environmental problems such as deforestation, water pollution, degradation and loss of biodiversity.
And some for all of the above reasons!
Isn’t it hard to become a vegetarian?
It’s easier than it ever has been. It does requires some initial research into replacement of meats in your diet and lifestyle to ensure your vegetarian diet is healthy and balanced (helpful resources below). Luckily, in terms of diet you will not have to forgo taste or familiar foods, as there are many mouth-watering plant-based dishes (from the exotic to the everyday).
The Vegetarian Resource Group
The Vegetarian/Vegan Society of Queensland
Sources: Vegetarian Society, The Vegan Society