While many people grow up in a meat eating environment, other people are born into the vegetarian lifestyle because meat eating is not an integral part of their culture or society, such as those people living in India and many parts of Asia. Other reasons that meat may not be a large part of many people’s diets is that meat is expensive for many people. In many third-world countries, many people are too poor to afford a diet rich in meats.
For other cultures, especially the United States, meat eating somewhat defines the country’s food culture. The all-American fare is typically described as hot dogs and hamburgers. There could not be more meat than what is in a hamburger or hot dog. In fact, meat is such a large part of American culture and its diet that cattle ranching and bovine farming is still, even in present-day, a large commodity and income source for many American farmers. The “cowboy” has and will probably always be a true American icon.
Aside from the economy and social influences on the staples of a diet (vegetables, rice, meat, and so on) social stigmas are attached to overweight individuals. Therefore, many people fall prey to fad diets. One such fad diet, known the world over as the Atkins Diet, focuses more on meat eating rather than intake on fruits, vegetables, and other nourishments. These high-protein diets, with a large consumption of meat, do attribute to quick and effective weight loss, but at the risk of longer-term side effects such as heart, liver, and kidney diseases. Therefore, these diets that focus only on meat eating can, in the long run, do more harm than good.
Today, while there is so much criticism of a meat eating diet, there are still plenty of people that eat both meat and vegetables. Some, in fact, are so-called “flexitarians”, which are essentially people that claim to be meat-eating vegetarians. People who engage in this type of lifestyle do so more for health reasons rather than for animal rights. As mentioned, it is becoming more widely known that a diet rich in meat can have long-term negative effects on a person’s health.
It has become a generally agreed upon idea that a well balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables with a small amount of meat, poultry, and fish can be beneficial the anyone’s health. While many animal activists may disagree with meat eating the practice has always been and will most likely remain a staple to many people’s diets. More and more people, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike are shopping at vegetarian markets for the high quality of the produce and food, which is typically all natural, antibiotic-free, and organic.