I gave up meat when I moved into my first apartment at age 19...for my health. I started eating meat again at age 28 when my health went south because of malnutrition from lack of meat. I feel like avoiding meat, along with some other factors, tanked my health so bad by my late 20s and did some permanent damage. I don't regret what I did, but I wish I was more informed back then.
Some people can do fine on a vegetarian or vegan diet. I'm not one of those people. Most actually aren't. Some will see initial benefits from going vegetarian or vegan, only to notice negative health consequences down the road. Negative consequences can show up for some within months, and some (like me) can go nearly a decade or more before experiencing negative effects of malnutrition.
Most meat, when properly raised, sourced, and prepared, is a health food. Should I say that again for the people in the back? Meat can be a health food when done right. Don't neglect it unless you have a medical reason to do so. I get the ethical reasons too. But if you're giving up one of our species most ancient food sources "for your health", you may have been misled by some bad dietary dogma.
Here's why I am pro-meat:
Protein, Protein, Protein
Meat is a great source of complete protein. Protein is an important macronutrient that acts as building blocks for our body. We need protein for thousands of body processes, including muscle repair, wound healing, and proper organ function, just to name a few. Protein is made up of amino acids. Our bodies only make a few of the amino acids and the rest have to come from other sources. The amino acids that we cannot make on our own are referred to as essential amino acids, and the best sources of them are from animal products. Protein is a satiating macronutrient. When we eat more protein, we have less room for carbohydrates. This can help reduce obesity risk and improve blood sugar levels.
Can we please stop villainizing fats already? Fat is not the enemy when it's consumed as part of a proper balanced diet. Meat contains saturated fat as well as some other types of fat. This isn't a bad thing. We need fat to function. Our brains are made up of mostly fat. Fat also protects our organs, insulates us, boosts immunity, aids hormone synthesis, and helps us absorb certain nutrients such as the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
When I was vegetarian with a stint of veganism, I tanked my B12 levels and started developing pernicious anemia. I looked unhealthy. I felt frail and weak, lacked muscle tone, and had pale and dull skin. B12 is essential for the development of red blood cells. Low B12 levels can cause permanent nerve and organ damage. Meat is the best dietary source of B12.
More Nutrient Density
Meat is a nutrient dense food. It's far better than the fake meat products you can get in the market. I'd much rather get my nutrients from a grass-fed, grass-finished steak than from a fake soy burger or a portobello mushroom subbing for a hamburger patty. Essential amino acids, protein, and proper fat ratios are all abundant in meat. But there are other nutrients in which meat is also the best source. These include heme iron, zinc, vitamin K2, and choline. Steak and liver are so nutrient dense, they are actually considered superfoods. Salmon is also a good animal product to consume. Chicken is okay, but opt for fattier cuts like thighs instead of breasts to get more nutrient density out of your meal.