We just live in a world were all sorts of diseases are being passed around, and because of the non-ethical treatment of animals, problems like these will exist until something is done about how animals are raised for food.
Here is one the most important questions people have about becoming a vegetarian. How can a diet not based on meat by safe for our body? our whole lives we have been told to eat our chicken soup when we are sick, to eat our steak for protein, and to take fish oil for omega 3. So now, when you become a vegetarian, all these options are no longer available. Lucky for you, there are alternate ways of getting all these things into your body, without the animal.
First of all, who said a diet that consumes "meat" is good anyway? about 90% of most peoples health problems come from diets that consume meat, like bacon, steak, sausages and many others. So the question is, why are we all so skeptical about choosing a vegetarian diet? because we have all been told by the meat industry and the USDA that consuming meat is great for you, so go ahead and eat it, while they make billions off of you. So in the end, if we all became vegetarians, a multi-billion dollar industry would end. Well of course you are going to hear that a plant based diet is not good for you. In this life most companies do not care about our health, they care about our wallet.
The main problem meat eaters have with a plant based diet is the thought of "lack of protein". Protein is extremely important for our diets, however, meat is not the only way to get it. There are much healthier ways to get it, like walnuts, almonds, beans and soy based substitutes. What most people don't understand is that your body needs lean protein without saturated fat or cholesterol. Meat does have high levels of protein, along with high levels of sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. So to answer your question, No, you do not need meat to get protein in your diet, through a vegetarian lifestyle you have several healthier options of adding protein to your diet.
We also recommend taking supplements no matter what diet you are on. Taking a multi-vitamin should be a must on everyone's list. When you are a vegetarian, vitamin B12 (which is mostly consumed through meat) should be taken as a daily capsule, as it is extremely important for the functioning of your brain and nervous system. With all the talk of Omega 3 these days, many people feel they need to take fish capsules, but here is a better choice, raw walnuts have more Omega 3 than any type of fish, so have 7 a-day and your good to go in that department.
So, is having a meat free diet safe? Absolutely, in fact its much safer than a meat diet. Consider this, in a study that was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 75 million cases of food borne illnesses that occur each year in the United States. Of those, about 325,000 result in hospital visits, and around 5,000 end in death. Most of these food borne illnesses come from eating meat products. Some people will say "well what about that lettuce outbreak a couple of years ago were most lettuces contained the bacteria e coli?" Well, E coli comes from animals, not vegetables, the bacteria had gone from one hand to another and ended up in a lettuce farm. We just live in a world were all sorts of diseases are being passed around, and because of the non-ethical treatment of animals, problems like these will exist until something is done about how animals are raised for food.
Here is some last food for thought, in a statement released by the American Dietetic Association, they stated: "It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."