BBC Learning English 英语教学

Vocabulary: eating habits 词汇:饮食习惯

No meat, but two veg 素食麦当劳

Why is McDonald's opening its first vegetarian restaurant in India?

Successful businesses adopt the philosophy that the customer is always right and McDonald's, famous for serving hamburgers, hasn't ignored that. So much so that it is opening, next year, its first totally vegetarian restaurant in India.

About 40% of households in the country are vegetarian, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, and the company, the world's second biggest food outlet, wants to beef up its operation.

''We just have 271 restaurants in India and across the world we have nearly 33,000'', said Rajesh Kumar Maini, a spokesman for the fast food chain in northern India.


Hindus see cows as sacred and abstain from eating beef, while Muslims view pigs as unclean and avoid pork. Since it decided to enter the market, McDonald's has tried not to risk ending up with egg on its face. The chain's Indian menu has some meat-free dishes and some that include chicken.

Vegetarianism has been around for centuries. According to the Vegetarian Society in Britain, the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras favoured the practice due to concerns about cruelty to animals. He also thought it could be a healthier lifestyle as it prevented men from being violent. Nowadays, the pressure on natural resources from rearing animals has been turning environmentally-conscious people into veggies.

Some people are even stricter about eating animal products than vegetarians. They are known as vegans and they do not eat dairy products and eggs either.

But some experts frown upon the idea of a meat-free diet. Dr Elizabeth Weichselbaum, a nutritional scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, says meat is an important source of a number of nutrients in our diet, including high quality protein, iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin D and some B vitamins.

"It can make an important contribution to a healthy and balanced diet. Meat and other protein sources, including eggs, beans and nuts, should be eaten in moderate amounts."

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