Nine Good Reasons
to go
Vegetarian

When a human kills an animal for food, he is neglecting his own hunger for justice. Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why should man then expect mercy from God?
Isaac Singer

The reasons to keep a strict vegetarian diet grow stronger every day – and I’m not only thinking about the environment. If you have understood and accepted the principle of ahimsa as no unnecessary killing, then the next step is to recognize the slaughter of animals for food as a truly bad practice for at least nine good reasons. If you are not already a vegetarian, this list is my gift to you.

1. Follow Your Conscience

If you cannot have sympathy with defenceless animals, how much more difficult will it not be to have sympathy with grown men and women? The following videos will show you the stark reality of the meat industry. Let’s hope they will also give you all the motivation you need to leave indifference behind and make a difference.

If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be a vegetarian. – Sir Paul McCartney

The Videos the Meat Industry Doesn’t Want You to See

Once you see for yourself the routine cruelty involved in raising animals for food, you’ll understand why millions of compassionate people have decided to leave meat off their plates for good. – Alec Baldwin

Becoming a vegetarian will be one of the best choices you’ll ever make – that I can easily promise you, because I made it myself some 15 years ago, and it’s one of the few choices I still haven’t regretted making. It makes me a happier person every day; You can be happier too!

2. Embrace Your Nature

It is not harmful for a meat-eater such as a cat to kill a rat and eat its flesh. This is because the cat has no choice in the matter and actually cannot produce one of the amino acids found in meat. A cat’s body is finely tuned for the hunting and killing of other animals, as well as for the digestion of meat.

For a human it is a different matter. Just like other frugivores humans can produce all the amino acids the body needs from proteins found in fruit. The human body is not suited for hunting and the digestive system from the mouth down is clearly optimized for a diet consisting mostly of fruit, but no meat, fish or eggs.

The following links explain why and the consequences in a lot more detail.

3. Maintain Your Health

Being on a vegetarian diet comes with many indirect benefits. These include a stronger immune system, reduced risk of sexual impotence, and improved overall endurance and physical fitness (no wonder so many athletes are vegetarians and I am not only talking Edwin Moses here). In addition many serious health hazards associated with regular consumption of meat, fish and eggs can be avoided completely. These hazards are so called chronic degenerative diseases and they include cardiovascular diseases, cancers and osteoporosis. A vegetarian diet also reduces the risk of other NCDs such as diabetes and obesity-related conditions.

China Project

Findings in support of a vegetarian diet comes from numerous studies including the largest epidemiological study ever completed on diet and disease: The China-Cornell-Oxford Project.

A variety of specific disease, nutrient and biomarker associations have been investigated. Virtually all support the idea that nutrients usually present in plant based foods minimize the occurrence of chronic degenerative diseases.

It [Breast Cancer] is significantly associated with dietary fat and higher levels of reproductive hormones such as estrogen and testosterone (yes, there is a small amount of testosterone among women), both of which typify meat and dairy rich diets characteristically found in Western countries.

This disease [Osteoporosis] is much less common in China even though calcium intakes are much lower.

Obesity is far less prevalent in China than in the US, even though they consume about 30% more total calories.

EPIC

An even bigger study under way is EPIC, European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, the first massive study in Europe, and the largest ever undertaken into diet and health. It should be noted, however, that Europe is not as well suited for epidemiological studies as China. The main findings quoted below are only preliminary in nature.

The EPIC study has confirmed the reduction in incidence of cancers of the colon and rectum and upper aerodigestive tract associated with fruits and vegetables. However, the protective effect previously found for stomach cancer was observed for fruit intake only ...

Inverse relation of dietary fibre with colorectal cancer incidence with the greatest protective effect in the left colon, and least in the rectum.

High consumption of processed and/or red meat is associated with an increase in colorectal cancer risk...

Intake of milk and cheese was significantly associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk.

In summary, the findings show a decreased risk of cancer associated with consumption of fruits (not vegetables) and fiber for a couple of cancer forms such as stomach (gastric) and colon. Foods high in soluble fiber – the type that has also been shown to help lower blood cholesterol – include oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp. Higher nut and seed intake shows an inverse association with colon cancer in women. High consumption of processed and/or red meat is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Consumption of red and preserved meat also increases gastric cancer risk.

National Cancer Institute

The National Cancer Institute of the United States provides scientific (cautious) summaries of a number of studies with regard to various cancer forms (see quotes on colorectal, esophageal, pharyngeal and prostate cancer below).

Cancer in general
Fruit and vegetable consumption has generally been found in epidemiologic studies to be associated with reduced risk for a number of different cancers.

Colorectal cancer
Epidemiologic, experimental (animal), and clinical investigations suggest that diets high in total fat, protein, calories, alcohol, and meat (both red and white) and low in calcium and folate, are associated with an increased incidence of colorectal cancer.

Esophageal cancer
Diets high in vegetables and fruits are associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer.

Oral and pharyngeal cancers
A diet high in fruits and fiber is associated with a decreased risk of oral and pharyngeal cancers, particularly among smokers.

Prostate cancer
Increased dietary intake of fruits and vegetables has been associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer in some studies.

Commentary

Common to most studies seems to be the assumption that various vegetables, fruits, nuts or components of the same protect against cancer. Another interpretation would be that meat in all its forms damages the body. Adding vegetarian foods to a meat-based diet would be like trying to put out a fire by adding a little water while hosing with gasoline. Meat and fruit do not go well together. If you eat meat you will find it cumbersome to add fruit, and if you eat fruit you will not want to find meat on your plate.

UICC Statement on Diet

The International Union Against Cancer (UICC) has issued a statement on diet for the purpose of cancer prevention. UICC has motivated the statement with the following observations: 1) There is sufficient scientific evidence that the burden of cancer can be reduced by change in dietary practices, 2) the problem is global in scope, and 3) UICC members and its cancer control partners can be a significant force for change. Point one of the Guideline Recommendations reads: Consume a life-long, varied diet rich in plant foods including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) – including cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity-related conditions – now account for some 60% of global deaths and almost half (47%) of the global burden of disease.

The proposed WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health suggests: limiting intake of sugars, fats and salt in foods, and increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.

Links have been removed due to linkrot at the UICC website (linkrot is evident when a previously working URL/URI produces Error 404 Page Not Found for an extended period of time).

Diet and Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes: Insulin-dependent diabetes (Type I), with onset in childhood, and non-insulin-dependent diabetes (Type II), which starts in adulthood. Both types benefit from a low-fat vegetarian diet, and Type II need never occur at all.

The safest approach to diabetes and other diet-related diseases is a dietary approach.
– Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)

Vegan diet reverses diabetes symptoms (see below for original article)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — People who ate a low-fat vegan diet, cutting out all meat and dairy, lowered their blood sugar more and lost more weight than people on a standard American Diabetes Association diet.
– ABC News

A Low-Fat Vegan Diet Improves Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Randomized Clinical Trial in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes

Forty-three percent (21 of 49) of the vegan group and 26% (13 of 50) of the ADA group participants reduced diabetes medications. Including all participants, HbA1c (A1C) decreased 0.96 percentage points in the vegan group and 0.56 points in the ADA group (P = 0.089). Excluding those who changed medications, A1C fell 1.23 points in the vegan group compared with 0.38 points in the ADA group (P = 0.01).
– Diabetes Care 29:1777-1783, 2006 (American Diabetes Association)

Ayurveda

Ayurveda defines medicine – not western and in no way modern (expensive, experimental, poisoning, coming and going, but never staying).

Vegetarian recipes are much sought after by many people and for many reasons. Ayurveda offers reasons that many might not have considered.

4. Preserve Your Environment

Livestock (animals raised for food production) requires huge inputs of food, water, land, chemicals and electrical energy, while generating equally staggering amounts of waste. These things combined make livestock production the number one cause of water pollution in the U.S. The excellent NRDC website has more on the largest contributor to this ongoing environmental disaster and developing health hazard: Factory farms.

On most factory farms, animals are crowded into relatively small areas; their manure and urine are funneled into massive waste lagoons. These cesspools often break, leak or overflow, sending dangerous microbes, nitrate pollution and drug-resistant bacteria into water supplies.
– Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

In 1996, the Center for Disease Control linked the high nitrate levels in Indiana well water near animal feedlots to spontaneous abortions in humans. Studies of people living near swine factory farms have found higher numbers of respiratory problems and behavioral changes.
– Wisconsin Stewardship Network

Update: If you want to do something to alleviate climate change and in particular emissions of greenhouse gases, your most efficient route is to make a dent in the worst culprit – the global meat industry.

According to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.
– The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

5. Keep Your Faith

A vegetarian diet is part of many faiths around the world: Adventist, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Rasta, Sufist, Taoist, and probably countless others. Not all subscribers to these faiths are vegetarians, but a vegetarian diet is either recommended and given special importance or a prevalent practice. Eating food natural to the body is a requirement for all religious practices and maintains a basic level of harmony in your life. If you instead lead a life of torture you can only expect torture in return.

Buddhist

Buddhism in itself does not promote vegetarianism, but has a less straightforward relation to the consumption of meat than many of the religious/theistic faiths of India. Buddha was perhaps not a vegetarian, but at the same time many sources of meat were considered off limit, and in no way was it allowed for a buddhist to be the direct cause of killing for meat. Today many buddhists eat meat, while many others are vegetarians. The latter group (Mahayana) include Buddhist monks in China, Korea and Japan.

In Buddhism, one cares for other beings as s/he does for one’s self - they are interconnected, a part of one whole. The Buddha taught that all sentient beings are really a part of one original whole organism. Therefore, when one kills another, they are actually killing a part of themselves.
– The Buddhist Diet

When a scholar named Chou Yu was cooking some eel to eat, he noticed the one of the eels bending in its body such that its head and tail were still in the boiling point liquid, but its body arched upward above the soup. It did not fall completely in until finally dying. Chou Yu found the occurrence a strange one, pulled out the eel, and cut it open. He found thousands of eggs inside. The eel had arched its belly out of the hot soup to protect its offspring. He cried at the sight, sighed with emotion, and swore never to eat eel.
– The Perspective of a Buddhist in China

Devadatta proposed to the Buddha that all the monks should henceforth be vegetarians. The Buddha refused and repeated once again the regulation that he had established years before, that monks and nuns may eat fish or meat as long as it is not from an animal whose meat is specifically forbidden, and as long as they had no reason to believe that the animal was slaughtered specifically for them.
– Buddhism and Eating Meat

Christian

There are many Christian vegetarians around the globe. Lacking a religious philosophy within Christianity itself, most Christians are vegetarians solely on individual basis. Some have perhaps followed the word of the scripture reading: Seek and you shall find. The truth is definitely to be found if you want it to. An international, ecumenical fellowship of Christians promoting plant-based nutrition is the Christian Vegetarian Association.

Adventist

According to the bible man was put on Earth to protect and rule over the animals. The raising of animals for slaughter is a gross violation of this sacred mission. Adventists believe that whatever is done in eating or drinking should honor and glorify God.

There are numerous health and mortality studies targeting Seventh-day Adventists. The following link provides summaries of findings from the Adventist Mortality Study and the Adventist Health Study: LLU Adventist Health Study Abstracts.

Hindu

Hindu is someone who does not eat meat. In modern times this has been relaxed considerably to mean no beef. Religious hindus, however, tend to be vegetarians.

All life is sacred and is to be loved and revered, through the practice of nonviolence, realizing that there is unity and inter-dependency among all forms of life and all aspects of the universe.
– United Religions Initiative

Most vegetarians are people who have understood that to contribute towards a more peaceful society we must first solve the problem of violence in our own hearts. So it’s not surprising that thousands of people from all walks of life have, in their search for truth, become vegetarian.
– Vegetarianism: A Means to a Higher End by Adiraja Dasa

Of course animals are less intelligent than people. They can’t defend themselves against us. But that doesn’t mean they have no rights. They are born into this world just like you and me and they have a right to live here also.
– Vegetarianism and Cow Protection

Jain

Jainism is one of the ancient religions of India making up Hinduism. The small community of about nine millions Jains in India are all vegetarians. Traditional Jainism belongs to the most advanced form of vegetarianism in practice today. Ahimsa is a key concept of Jainism.

Vegetables and fruits that grow underground (roots of plants) are prohibited as a general rule. Clearly enough, to procure such vegetables and fruits, one must pull out the plant from the root, thus destroying the entire plant, and with it all the other micro organisms around the root. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be plucked only when ripe and ready to fall off, or ideally after they have fallen off the plant. In case they are plucked from the plants, only as much as required should be procured and consumed without waste. Grains, such as wheat, rice, maize, beans are obtained when the plants or the pods are dry and dead.
– Dietary Code of Practice amongst Jains

Judaist

Judaism has a long tradition of vegetarianism. At the time of Jesus vegetarians were commonplace. Even today Judaism allegedly has a concentration of vegetarians second only to Hinduism. For more please see: The Schwartz Collection on Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights.

Rasta

Rastafari is the religion of black Jamaica begun in the 1930’s. It is a most sympathetic religion, known for its dreadlocks, reggae music and ital food (natural, pure and clean).

Ital is generally a vegan diet, even if some Rastas eat fish. Some prohibit salt, some not. In all cases, Ital prohibits pork, preservatives, chemical ingredients. Ingredients have to be the most natural possible. – Rastafarism Throughout Time

Sufist

Sufism is the mystical movement within islam. Central to sufism is the recitation of the name of God or of certain phrases from the Qu’ran as a way to loosen the bonds of the ego. Sufism has some 500 000 followers in Iran and several million worldwide.

The principles of Sufism are all based upon the rules and teachings of the Koran and the instructions of the Prophet. To a Sufi there is no gulf of separation between all of Being, the Creator, and His creations.
– Introduction to Sufism by Seyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha

The 15th Century poet Kabir, whose Sufism represented a fusion of principles from both the Islamic and Hindu traditions, unequivocally condemned meat eating, characterizing it as the ultimate failure of compassion, deserving of eternal punishment; he stated that even the companionship of meat-eaters was harmful to the soul.
– Sufism and Vegetarianism

Taoist

Taoism or daoism, the movement of the way (dao), is the major religio-philosophical tradition of China. Lao Zi is thought to be the founder as well as the author of its classic text, the Dao De Jing. The tradition holds that all beings and things are fundamentally one. This understanding combined with the suggestion that you in life follow the most natural path has made adherents follow a predominantly vegetarian diet.

As early as the sixth century B.C., Taoist theory encouraged people to seek harmony with nature by leading a simple, balanced life, sustained by a predominately vegetarian diet.
– Eating Vegetarian and Eating Well in Taipei

Visitors to Taiwan, who prefer eating vegetarian food, will find that the island offers an abundance of vegetarian restaurants. Taipei city alone boasts more than 200 establishments specializing in vegetarian cuisine, ranging from low-cost buffet style cafeterias to stylish upscale restaurants.
– Vegetarian Cuisine (Taipei)

Animal flesh is by nature disgusting.
– Tao’s Culture Center

Human beings are by nature born to be vegetarians. ... Human beings are smart enough to use other means to cut the flesh from the corpse of the animal. But, very few of us would want to eat the animal meat raw.
– Chee-Meng Chew

6. Enjoy Your Food

For me becoming a vegetarian was easy. Even before becoming a vegetarian meat eating never appealed to me. It had simply been the case of growing up in the west and being unaware of the riches of vegetarian cuisine. Preparing meat for eating is hardly anything to make you excited. You need a whole bag of tricks just to conceal its smell or at best lack thereof. Usually those tricks involve vegetarian seasoning and condiments, so why not simply exclude the meat all together, making the preparation more fun, the result more colorful, and the time eating more enjoyable.

7. Share Your Fortune

It is no secret that you can feed a lot more people on a vegetarian diet than one based on meat. As many as ten times more people to be precise. By becoming a vegetarian you require less of Earth’s resources. Resources that you now are free to share with others, thus preventing war and strife. You have probably heard the myth of over population advanced by the Queen of England. The Earth is not over-populated (except maybe in parts of England), but even if it were, the Earth could sustain at least ten times as many people if they were all vegetarians.

8. Protect Your Brain

You probably know about Mad Cow Disease and its human counterpart, although truly horrific it is also an unlikely disease to contract, but there are less horrific and unfortunately more likely brain wasting effects from regular meat consumption.

Meat is an especially rich source of toxic chemicals both naturally occuring, additives and pollutants. Fish comes with really nasty parasites and in some parts of the globe – including Sweden and the Great Lakes area of the US – levels of PCBs high enough to have significantly reduced the IQ of whole populations.

Both PCBs and Dioxins (the latter constitutes the most toxic group of chemicals known to man) are biomagnified, climbing up the food chain. The main source of exposure to both PCBs and dioxins is through the consumption of fatty animal foods such as meat, fish, milk and milk products.

9. Expand Your Understanding

The highest realms of thought are impossible to reach without first attaining an understanding of compassion. – Socrates (469 BC—399 BC)

In all matters of science it is imperative to have a clear conscience. To start any process of enlightenment without it will spell constant setbacks. When you become a vegetarian you slowly but surely free your conscience from the harmful consequences of regular meat consumption. Within years you begin to understand things that you have not had clue about before.

Conclusion

Having been a vegetarian for many years you come to realize how blessed you have been. Hopefully this text has someway managed to pass that blessing on to You!





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