Vegetarian carbonara with mushrooms and smoked tofuEvery Wednesday, in Keric, Language Café takes place. Psychology, philosophy, society topics… are discussed. One week ago, the question “as humans, do we have the right to kill animals ? ”, was settled. This question leaded to the topic about vegetarianism and veganism and what was it in contemporary societies.

Human changes in lifestyles and socioeconomic status have been accompanied by a change in food consumption habits. In recent years, it has been observed the emergence of new diets such as the paleo diet (exclusion of grain and dairy products), the gluten-free diet (exclusion of grain products made from wheat, oats, barley, and rye), or other variations of "no'' diets (e.g., "no added sugar," "lactose-free," "hydrogenated fat-free"). However, the vegan diet appears to be the most selective diet in western society.

Vegetarianism and veganism : which differences ?

The vegetarian diet is characterized by the fact of proscribing all meat products, that is, red meat, fish and poultry. While a vegan diet refers to a diet banning all animal products, such as milk, butter, eggs, or honey, for example. The vegan model goes further by also excluding products such as household products, clothing and footwear, cosmetics, i.e., any product where animal power was required to produce the goods in question. This vegan model goes further than simple dietary convictions, but becomes a real life philosophy.

Vegan tacos

Why do people become vegetarian or vegan ?

The reasons that can push a person to become vegan or vegetarian are multiple. According to the website Harvard Health Publishing, it can be related to 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. It can also be a matter of prices for people who can’t afford products from meat or even a question of taste, etc.“ I don’t eat meat simply because I don’t like it”, says Lavinia, a volunteer from KERIC.

"Vegans only eat seeds"

“We do eat seeds, but not only that. We are not birds !” says Francesca, a volunteer from KERIC, who decided to become vegan two years ago. “ I usually eat pasta, falafels, veggie nuggets and so on”. Actually, it’s very common food ”. To get necessary nutrients, Francesca eats chickpeas, beans, tofu, drink vegetable milk, and even Kofola (yeah, it’s veggie :))

According to an article from the website of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, published in 2020, even though the Slovak market is not as developed as in the Western countries of Europe, the categories of plant alternatives for meat and sausages are getting famous among the Slovak population... like Kofola, for example. 

“For example, in 2019, more than a third of Slovak households (36.4%) bought plant alternatives of meat and sausages at least once. More than a fifth (21.6%) bought them once or twice, and 14.8% of respondents went for three or more purchases. Half a percent of the population eats purely vegan, 3% choose a vegetarian diet, and 14.7% of Slovaks reduce their consumption of meat and animal products. In addition to that, as many as 22.7% of survey respondents consider reducing the consumption of meat and animal products in their diet., relate the website. 

Veganism, the solution to everything ?

There are many good reasons to become vegetarian or vegan, but it depends on each one.  What about omnivore people? Should all people converge to vegetarian or vegan diets? Should we prioritize our tastes over animals? “I eat meat because I want it”, says Daniela, a girl who participates in KERIC Language Café. For example, when I go to the gym, I need some proteins, and it’s not even about the food, it’s about my mental health. Because I need and like to go to the gym”, she states.

Did you know...

.... that although being the second most populated country, India held the distinction of consuming the least meat per capita, as per the website WorldAtlas. As a matter of fact and due to a variety of factors, including religious laws on meat (particularly beef), and a largely vegetarian diet, meat is simply not an item that Indian people are looking for. Around 1.8 kg of poultry per inhabitant are consumed, making it the most frequent meat to be eaten, relates the website. India is followed by Bangladesh (3.4 per capita) and Ethiopia (4.54 per capita). 

Jaipur, Indian market in Rajasthan

As we can see, there’s no right or wrong answers to these questions about eating meats or not, because if it is for some, it is a question of changing their diet, for others, it is a question of culture and other factors which can influence on the animal consumption.

Laurene portrait


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