As the barbecue season is about to be declared open, many of us are faced with this existential question: prime rib or grilled chickpeas? We will neither choose for you nor close the endless debate between meat afficionados and ‘seed-eaters’, but we’re going to try to clarify a little whether or not it is possible to remain fit and healthy while cutting meat out of our diet.


Vegetarianism is on the up

People’s eating habits are changing. Vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian, flexitarian… more and more people around the world are reducing or stopping altogether their consumption of the sacrosanct meat, long seen as an indicator of well-being, a privilege and an essential element in our nutritional balance. But is it really that indispensable?


Health comes first

There’s no denying that the nutrients found in meat play an important role in a balanced diet. The famous proteins, of course, essential among other things for the growth of bones and muscles as well as for the regeneration of tissue. But also vitamin B, particularly B12, which plays a central role in the transport of oxygen in the blood, immunity and the nervous system, and trace elements such as iron, zinc and selenium. Can we do without all these beneficial nutrients for our bodies? Absolutely not! But it is possible to get them from other sources than meat provided you plan your diet carefully.


Becoming a vegetarian without nutritional deficiencies

Becoming a vegetarian is not something you do on a whim, and there are three golden rules to be followed.

Rule 1: Rigor

It’s essential to find out not only which ingredients to favor, but also how to combine them. Complementarity is the key to achieving a satisfactory balance. In short, a REALLY healthy Veggie Poke Bowl can’t be improvised with leftovers in the fridge, and it’s not just for the pretty colors that it mixes rice, lentils, cashew nuts, mango and kale, all drizzled with that delicious funky sesame oil sauce…

Rule 2: The tempo

It’s important to reduce meat gradually so as not to shock your metabolism and your microbiota, which will be in the process of undergoing quite a revolution.

Rule 3: Case by case

Don’t forget to take into account at what stage of your life you are (age, pregnancy, etc.) and your personal state of health.


No meat, no problem

So you’ve got it, and even the Vidal says it: not eating meat ‘should not be a cause for concern, provided that the nutrients are replaced either by plant-based equivalents, or by supplementation’.

For some, this is even a guarantee of top performance, as shown by many great sportsmen and women who have opted for various ‘no meat’ diets: the Williams sisters, Novak Djokowic, marathon runner Fiona Oakes, Carl Lewis and even weightlifting champion Patrik Baboumian, to


Should we fear ‘too little’ or ‘too much’?

Now this surely raises yet another question. Could an omnivorous diet be bad for our health? No! But, as with many things in life, the problem is excess. It has been shown that eating too much meat – particularly red or of poor quality – increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel syndromes, diabetes, and certain cancers. And actually, it seems that we are unfortunately a little excessive in this area, with one-third of French people eating too much red meat and two-thirds indulging in too much “charcuterie”.

The impact of meat consumption on the environment

But let’s widen our horizons beyond our own little bodies…. as our taste for meat also has a considerable impact on the planet. Livestock farming occupies more than 40% of all habitable land on Earth and is thought to be responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The main culprit is the methane produced by ruminants when they belch (and not when they flatulate – high time we set the record straight…). Producing one kilogram of beef protein generates the same level of emissions as five London-Rome round trips and 27 times more than the equivalent in vegetable protein.

According to a study by the Climate Action Network and the French Nutrition Society published in February 2024, halving meat consumption in France would enable the country to meet its climate targets. Omnivores in need of an impact … here’s an individual action that could really make a difference to the future of our planet!


Source, MeatlessMonday

On the tight side? Become a vegetarian!

Finally, there are other deficiencies that we’d always rather avoid…those in our bank account. Vegetarian diets are often blamed for being more expensive than a meat-based diet. Not so! A recent study by Oxford University shows that switching to a meat-free diet can reduce your food budget by up to a third.

Not bad for your health, good for the planet and your wallet… barbecued chickpeas may sound like a good option after all!


1 ESTEBAN study 2014-2016 (health study on the environment, biomonitoring, physical activity and nutrition) – Santé publique France l

2 Poore et Nemecek, 2018; Half of the world’s habitable land is used for agriculture | Future of Food (

3 The global and regional costs of healthy and sustainable dietary patterns: a modelling study, Published:October 26, 2021DOI:

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