“Reason begins in the kitchen.” Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)

“Veggie” nutrition trend

Conscious nutrition doesn't just mean eating to be full, but also to become fit, healthy and intelligent. Conscious nutrition also asks where the food comes from, whether it comes from fair trade, and whether people or animals had to suffer for it. Eating with soul and head is on the agenda of vegetarians and vegans.

Reasons for and against veggies

The “veggie” lifestyle is widespread among Germans. According to estimates, in 2014 around 10% were vegetarian and 1-1.5% were vegan, with an increasing trend (Yougov Study, 2014). Ethical or health reasons are causing Germans to switch to vegan or vegetarian – “veggie” for short. A high demand for meat and animal products puts a strain on forests and soils, because factory farming uses large areas of land for feed production and damages the quality of the soil through excessive waste such as manure. In addition, excessive consumption of low-quality meat from factory farms is harmful to health, where drugs are increasingly being used to prevent animal diseases and epidemics.

Ethically motivated vegans, for whom animal rights and animal welfare are central, not only avoid all foods of animal origin such as eggs, honey and milk, but also such clothing and everyday objects and products based on animal testing.

As good as the arguments against animal products are, the counterarguments are also convincing: “Vegan nutrition is expensive and time-consuming, I can't afford it alongside my full-time job,” “animal proteins are important sources of protein,” “a purely plant-based diet is sufficient The supply of some nutrients is not possible or only possible with difficulty,” are the dissenting voices.

A vegan diet does indeed require time and good organization, as many nutrients that occur naturally in animal products must be obtained from plant-based foods or vegan dietary supplements. The intake of vitamin B12 is a particular problem. “The potentially critical nutrients in a vegan diet also include protein or essential amino acids and long-chain n3 fatty acids as well as other vitamins (riboflavin, vitamin D) and minerals (calcium, iron, iodine, Zinc, selenium). Therefore, “a vegan diet is not recommended by the DGE for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, infants, children and adolescents”. (see DGE, 2016)

The vegan hero and the flexitarian

Vegans often hear accusations of a one-sided and dogmatic diet. Following the vegan food concept consistently and in a disciplined manner requires not only time and money, but also willpower and steadfastness.

Some vegans and vegetarians give in under social pressure and loosen their resolutions. One also includes fish on the menu (about half of all vegetarians), the other becomes a flexitarian (from the words flexible and vegetarianism) and only eats selected organic meat in small quantities. (See Cordts, Spiller, 2013)

In contrast to the carefree meat eater, who consumes an average of 32 kg of pork per year, the flexitarian is critical: the fact that supermarket shelves are full of inexpensive meat and animal products makes him suspicious. The consequence is moderate meat consumption. High-quality meat is rare, costs more and is therefore a luxury good that not everyone can have on their plate every day.

Part-time veggie: Known and conscious

Eating consciously means rethinking your eating concept. Not only what is put on the table, but also where the food comes from, is of interest to people who care about their own health, but also a healthy environment. Not everyone can afford to completely and permanently avoid animal products. However, temporarily adopting the vegan perspective can be healing. Phases without animal products, such as a vegetarian week or a vegan weekend, can help you examine your own consumption behavior and adopt a more flexible and conscious attitude.


Anette Cordts: Meat consumption in Germany. From carefree meat eaters, flexitarians and (stage of life) vegetarians. Article from FleischWirtschaft from July 23, 2013: Answeren-zu-veganer-ernaehrung/#c2933

Position of the German Society for Nutrition e. V. (DGE)

Plasma concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans: results from the EPIC-Oxford study.

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