Vegetarianism as an Option for Weight Loss Diets

Categories: Being VegetarianFood

While the percentage of vegetarians to 'carnivores' may not have changed much in recent years, the acceptance or recognition of it has. Now many restaurants offer vegetarian menus. Have our ideas about food changed? I am interested in understanding what motivates those who make the choice of excluding meat from their diets (as opposed to those for whom it is not rooted in preference but in a religious belief or medical condition).

In 1999, two events made me aware that I was a meat-eater.

Until then, I was an unquestioned and uninformed consumer. I became conscious that I was making choices that could be harmful to my body and to animals. At first, I figured I couldn’t figure out what to do in response to what I now see as the beginnings of vegetarian consciousness. Should I change my diet? It seemed that I wanted to, and yet I did not change. The world was organized to keep me a meat and dairy eater.

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This has inspired me to do research on how people decide to change their diet.

The number of groups, like PETA for example, publishing information and promoting their viewpoints on the subject is immense. I will look at the content of their arguments and evaluate them, as well as see how these arguments may be changing. In this sense, I will be looking at present values in relation to the history of ideas about food in the twentieth century. I suspect that certain external factors may also affect people’s behavior--such as Mad Cow Disease, the cost of beef and fish, increase in fast-food consumption, cholesterol consciousness.

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Once I have established an understanding of the major perspectives on this issue, I want to look more closely at how individuals take in these various arguments (or don't) and whether these campaigns or other issues shape behavior. At the same time, I will be alert for factors such as age, region, gender, and tradition that might affect such choices. For example, it seems possible that one's experience or lack of it with livestock or as a hunter might be relevant. I expect to find that, in addition to the obvious effects of publicity campaigns that other 'everyday' shifts in people's attitudes and thinking about food inform their choices.

Finally, I will look to consider whether the dietary habits of vegetarians and non-vegetarians are equally “chosen.” My suspicion is that many vegetarians make conscious decisions to avoid meat (based on whatever reasoning and beliefs) but that fewer non-vegetarians will have considered it as an issue, or consciously engaged in a choice about whether they will eat meat.

Some Research Facts

People become vegetarians for many reasons, including health, religious convictions, concerns about animal welfare or the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, or a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources. Some people follow a largely vegetarian diet because they can’t afford to eat meat. Vegetarianism has become more appealing and accessible, thanks to the year-round availability of fresh produce, more vegetarian dining options, and the growing culinary influence of cultures with largely plant-based diets.

Approximately six to eight million adults in the United States eat no meat, fish, or poultry, according to a Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit organization that disseminates information about vegetarianism. Several million more have eliminated red meat but still eat chicken or fish. About two million have become vegans, forgoing not only animal flesh but also animal-based products such as milk, cheese, eggs, and gelatin.

Traditionally, research into vegetarianism focused mainly on potential nutritional deficiencies, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way, and studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses. According to the American Dietetic Association, “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

In conducting the research I want to gather data on people’s knowledge of where their food is coming from and compare them with people who have a vegetarian diet. Do people who practice a vegetarian diet do it because of their food knowledge, religious and spiritual reasons, health reasons etc?

I will look at a number of public resources produced related to food and meat production. Government statistics and food safety/inspection programs will be part of my interest. But I will also want to see what kind of argument is going on between PR groups for the producers (those with a financial stake) in comparison with non-profit consumer groups. How do they report information about crises (e.g. The mad cow outbreak) and how do they describe the health and safety issues.

What is an animal? Anthropologist Tim Ingold posed the question to a diverse group of scholars’ (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1998) from the disciplines of social and cultural anthropology, biology, psychology, philosophy, and semiotics. It proved impossible for them to reach a consensus on the meaning of the word. Tellingly though, there were two important points of agreement: “first, that there is a strong emotional undercurrent tour ideas about animalism; and, second, sensitive and largely unexplored aspects of the understanding of our own humanity.”(Animal others and the Human imagination* Aaron Gross and Anne Valley). To ask “What is an animal?” or, I would add, inevitably to touch upon how we understand what it means to be us and not them. It is to ask “What is a Human”

Virtually everyone agrees that animals can suffer in ways that matter, even if we don’t agree on just what that suffering is like or how important it is. I would like to survey Americans on what they think animals deserve as far as legal protection. I would include in the survey asking them about animal welfare and compare the importance to them than low meat prices.

Another thing most people agree on is that the environment matters. Whether or not you are in favor of offshore oil drilling, whether or not one “believes” in global warming, whether people defend their Hummer or live off the grid, you can recognize that the air we breathe and the water you drink are important. And that they will be important to our children and grandchildren. Even those who continue to deny that the environment is in peril would agree that it would be bad if it were.

In the United States, farmed animals represent more than 99 percent of all animals with who humans directly interact. If consumers of the meat new this and how the animals were raised and treated, would the percentage of vegetarianism rise? This is the research I want to purpose.

Another huge factor in Vegetarianism is spirituality. How each of us responds to vegetarian consciousness is one of our life tasks. Research might be able to show the correlation between what diet choices someone makes and how they live. For example, what are the most common lifestyle choices of vegetarians versus nonvegetarians? . In order to do this research I would ask what spiritual practice they are following and if it has any correlation to their overall health

Updated: Dec 23, 2021
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Vegetarianism as an Option for Weight Loss Diets. (2021, Dec 23). Retrieved from

Vegetarianism as an Option for Weight Loss Diets essay
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