Fondazione Zoé

Vegetarians, Vegans, Raw foodism, fruitarians: when eating becomes “green”.


Data from a recent survey from the important GfK-Eurisko Institute prove that in Italy as well the phenomenon of “green” food is taking off. According to these data, in Italy a person on ten is vegetarian (meaning, refusing to eat meat or fish), while one on fifty is vegan (meaning, refusing to eat all food of animal origin, including derived products). We are first in Europe in this particular scale (below us there is Germany, where 8% of the population is vegetarian). Yet, we are still far from what is registered in those countries where food has a strong religious connotation (for instance, in India, where more than one person on three does not eat meat). We are talking about people in “high” socio-cultural position. According the profile drawn by this recent Gfk Eurisko survey, vegans live above all in the North-West (36%), they live in big cities (13%), hold managerial positions (25%), and the phenomenon is above all retraced among women (58%) between 45 and 54 years old (28%), generally graduated from University (17%). New emerging phenomena, reaching the edge of fundamentalism, have found their place next to the army of the vegetarian and the vegan. They can be described as follows:
Fruitarianism: fruitarians follow a diet based on fruit, sweet (apples, pears, peaches, etc.), fruit-vegetables (eggplants, pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers), and fat (olives, avocado). They exclude products of original origin as well as every other plant;
Raw foodism: their diet only implies raw food, not processed or cooked at a temperature below 50°. Even more interesting is to observe that, in addition to the vegetarian lifestyle, a constellation of food habits of philosophical and religious inspiration are taking place. For instance, the Reducetarian regime, for the individuals who reduced the consumption of meat, fish and animal derived products, including eggs and diary products, circumscribing their consumption to the weekend or one day of the week. In addition, Pescatarians and Pollotarians represent the main variant to the vegetarian diet: the former banished meat but not fish, the latter banished red meat but not white meat. The macrobiotic diet starts from the assumption that to reach physical well-being you need a rigorous balance in the daily nutritional contributions (50% or the calories from grain cereals in grains, 20-30% from season vegetables, 10-20% from white meat, fish, legumes or equivalent, 10% from dry or fresh fruit). Moreover the “local food movement”, whose adepts are also called “Locavores,” is a theory consisting in the consumption of local food, produced and transformed in an area of 200 km from your house. In addition, the Palaeolithic diet is inspired by the food habits of our ancestors: therefore, only the food that men could find in nature through hunting, fishing and collecting roots, berries, vegetables and fruit are allowed, preferably in their fresh variant, with no industrial processing. Therefore, no product typical of the diet are allowed. The phenomenon reached a global scale, at least as far as the Western world is concerned. In an equally recent survey by Nielsen-Coop, involving 9 Occidental countries, the data concerning the increase of attention towards fruit and vegetables is remarkable, as shown by the chart presented below.

Besides, the desire to consume OGM free food seems to concern the USA too, while in Italy the crave for local food does not seem to stop. The substitution of vegetable proteins to animal proteins is also imposed by sustainability and ecology. Today, most of cereal products goes in farmed animal feeds, instead of feeding those in need. At the same time, while the poor cannot afford to buy meat, animal farming causes a large amount of pollution. We still do not know if the consumption of insects (with good proteins and other virtues we don’t suspect as Italians) will be able to substitute chickens, fishes and mammals. For now, the raise of green food (garden, vegetables, fruit) seems unstoppable. Will we all die vegetarian?

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