Vegetarianism is a diet that consists of only vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts for religious, environmental, and nutritional reasons. According to the Korean Federation of Vegetarians, the number of vegetarians in Korea is estimated at 1 to 1.5 million, and is increasing every year. Like this trend, vegetarianism is no longer a unique lifestyle. Specifically, we can see many vegetarian images in the media. In the just-finished TV show, Hyorine Minbak, Lee Hyo-ri is a vegetarian, and in Yoon Sik-dang 2, they prepare a separate menu for vegetarians. Moreover, a number of foreign celebrities, including Natalie Portman, Johnny Depp, James Cameron, boxer Mike Tyson, Paul McCartney (of the Beatles), Jessica Chastain, and Leonardo DiCaprio, are also vegetarians. Therefore, vegetarianism has become a global trend in modern times.
Vegetarianism is becoming increasingly popular. Nevertheless, non-vegetarian people often regard vegetarianism as an incomprehensible lifestyle choice because they simply think of a vegetarian diet as eating just only vegetables. However, vegetarianism is not a simple concept like this. There are many different kinds of vegetarians. Vegetarians are usually classified according to the range of foods they eat. The extreme vegetarian is classified as Fruitarian, Vegan , Lacto , Ovo, and Lacto-Ovo. Semi-vegetarians are classified as Pesco, Polo, and flexiterian.
Ancient vegetarianism used to be practiced for religious reasons but, in modern times, vegetarians emerged for various reasons, such as environment and personal beliefs. First, vegetarians for environmental protection are the most common. They are aware of environmental problems caused by livestock farming, like the destruction of the ecosystems caused by using plenty of water and methane gas. Second, people become vegetarians for ethical reasons. People limit meat consumption in terms of animal protection because they love animals. These include people who become vegetarians due to trauma caused by seeing people burcher livestock. Third, some people adhere to a vegetarian diet for health reasons. Obese people with high cholesterol risk often go on a vegetarian diet. Some people get used to vegetarian food, and become a vegetarian because of an extreme diet.
However, many people worry that they are rather unhealthy from a health standpoint. This is partly true. A vegetarian diet is likely to prevent the body from getting nutrients easily from meat, such as essential amino acids, iron, calcium, and vitamin D. The vegetarian association recognizes the importance of nutrition, and develops recipes using beans, nuts, cheese, eggs, etc., while focusing on preparing foods that also meet the ethical standards of vegetarians. Therefore, nutritional concerns are fully complementary.
There are still many people who view vegetarians in a negative light, saying that being a vegetarian is not good for their health, and they just seem to be overreacting. However, it is a way of life based on individual beliefs. In a diversified society, it is important to have the virtues to respect other people’s decisions about lifestyles.