In Germany there are around 1.3 million people who are committed to a completely vegan diet. This accounts for just over one percent of the population. Compared to other countries in the world, Germany is some way down the list. When you look toward Asia, it is clear that veganism is much more common here. India is number one among the vegan-friendly nations. The restaurants here are almost exclusively vegetarian - and ideally also vegan, according to the source auslandskarriere.de. In percentage terms, the population eats the fewest animal products on the planet. The number of vegans in many countries is undoubtedly higher because the decision is taken for religious rather than lifestyle reasons. So what are the benefits of vegan living for the body and the environment?
A vegetarian diet benefits our bodies in a number of different ways. People who do not eat meat tend to suffer less from high blood pressure, have lower blood sugar and blood fat levels, and are at lower risk of diabetes. It is not known exactly whether and how much a vegan diet has an even more positive effect on the body. A frequent problem among vegetarians and vegans is merely a lack of B12, which can occur due to the non-balanced diet. The body's supply of B12 should therefore be checked regularly by a doctor.
In order to satisfy some vegetarians' cravings for meat and sausages, the industry has produced a huge range of food products in recent years that are like their animal-based counterparts, such as soya schnitzel, soya sausages, and vegetarian cold cuts. Vegans are now also being catered for in conventional supermarkets. There is vegan cheese, vegan mince, vegan wine, and even vegan condoms, which are manufactured without milk protein.
One hotly debated and highly controversial subject among vegans is yeast. This is an ingredient in bread, pizza, and beer. Yeast extract can also be found in some ready meals. Yet what exactly does it consist of? Yeast bacteria are microorganisms that belong to the sac fungi family. Since fungi have no nervous system, however, and therefore feel no pain, most vegans do not have a problem with eating yeast.
"Where shall we go to eat? You eat virtually nothing ..." These are words that most vegans are certainly fed up of hearing. That being said, most menus in Germany now feature vegetarian dishes, if not vegan. It is probably easiest to adhere to a vegan diet in Berlin. Here there are more than 80,000 vegetarians or vegans and more than 340 restaurants that serve vegetarian and vegan food. Worldwide, Tel Aviv tops the list of cities with the most vegan restaurants with more than 400 of them. The biggest vegan food festival is also held in the Israeli capital every year.
The environment also benefits from people's vegetarian and vegan diets. Intensive animal farming is responsible for 15 percent of the world's climate emissions. To put this into context, that is more than all planes, cars, and trains together emit. In addition, meat production uses about 70 percent of the fresh water. Numerous scientists actually consider the vegetarian lifestyle to be the one that creates the lowest emissions. Even when critics point out that soya production is responsible for the increase in rainforest clearance, the use of soya in meat substitute products is just a fraction of what is used as feed in intensive animal farming.
The founders of the vegan food brand Veganz even go as far as to say that we could fill the entire continent of Africa with the amount of farm animals currently alive. We would need an area the size of China, Australia, Europe, and North America to grow enough food for all of these animals. Conversely, this means that if we also gave up animal milk in addition to meat, we could free up 83 percent of this area to grow crops which we could then directly consume.
To enjoy a healthy diet with a clear conscience, it is essential above all else to accept that others will always be disadvantaged when you eat. If I pick salad leaves, the rabbit goes hungry, if I create a vegetable patch, I am destroying the habitat of other creatures. There are no clearly defined rules for the low-emission and sustainable consumption of food. The most important reminder that we at Rutronik24 also want to embrace is that regardless of how you eat, you should always do it responsibly.