Vegetarianism, the abstinence from meat, was developed by Pythagoras as a philosophical concept in Ancient Greece; but it was not a widespread movement.
On the other hand, Greeks have been mainly vegetarian throughout history, up until recently, not by choice, but by necessity. Conditions are such, in our mountainous country, that it was not possible to pasture large herds and so provide meat for everybody.
Now that we have become 'affluent Europeans' and import cheap meat from all over the world, we are increasingly turning into avid carnivores. Steaks and hamburgers have replaced traditional bean soup. Most Greeks eat meat twice a day, with devastating consequences, especially for the younger generations. Greek kids are the heaviest in Europe, according to EU statistics, and diseases associated with obesity and bad eating habits such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular problems, are gradually affecting an increasing number of young people.
Furthermore, switching from plant-based foods to meat, a worldwide trend, is not only affecting those who practice it. According to the findings of a recent study from the University of Chicago, factory-farming animals for meat greatly affects global warming, more , in fact, than the whole planet’s SUVs and other cars together! The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has reported that the livestock business generates more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined!
In other words, modifying our diet and cutting down on the amount of meat we consume, will significantly curb global warming. Eating more beans and vegetables, thus following the traditional Mediterranean Diet, will not just keep us healthy and active as we age, but will have more of an impact in saving our planet, than switching from an SUV to a hybrid car…