Chitra Jha | Nov 25, 2008
Let us revisit¬†some of the more compelling reasons¬†¬†and freshen our perspective. Let me clarify here that vegetarian food means food from the plant kingdom. All dairy products are as much animal food as meat and eggs are. Even though in our culture we have always considered milk and milk products as vegetarian, we cannot deny the fact that these come from animals and are technically animal products.
Some of the arguments for eating food from the plant sources are categorized here.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Vegetarianism helps conserve fossil fuel in a major way. Studies have shown that it takes 35 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of mutton; 22 calories of fossil fuel for 1 calorie of poultry; but just 1 calorie of fossil fuel for 1 calorie of vegetables. By eating plant food we can help conserve our non-renewable sources of energy.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† It has been observed that it takes about 3 to 15 times as much water to produce animal food, as it does to produce plant food. Thus by becoming vegetarian we can conserve our water resources.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† It is seen that it takes about 5-10 kilogram of plant matter and grains to produce one kilogram of animal protein. By eating this vegetarian food directly (and not through the animals) we can save a lot of this food material to feed all the hungry people in this world.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Plant foods have a longer shelf life than animal foods. One needs to spend more energy in preserving animal food products, thus exacerbating the energy crisis.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† The plant food takes care of all the nutrient needs. If we eat enough fruits and vegetables we will not suffer from any nutrient deficiency. On the other hand animal foods are largely deficient in vitamins, except for vitamin B complex.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Everyone knows that the animal foods are higher in fat and cholesterol than the plant foods. Animal foods are also high in protein content. This causes excess nitrogen in the blood; leading to many health problems. By eating vegetarian food, we can say goodbye to many bothersome diseases, such as heart diseases, osteoporosis, kidney stones, gall stones, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, gum disease, obesity and acne.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Animal food is totally deficient in carbohydrates, which are essential for good health.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Animal foods contain far higher concentrations of agricultural chemicals than plant foods.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Most of the animals are given drugs such as steroids, antibiotics, and growth hormones. These drugs are consumed by us humans when we consume meat.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† There are many bacteria and viruses that thrive on animal foods, when we eat these foods we end up eating these organisms as well. It is not as if the plant foods do not have any micro-organisms, but their number is nowhere near as much as in meat products.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Animal products take rather long to digest. They keep putrefying in the colon, creating intestinal toxemia. It is a well known fact that the condition of the intestinal flora is critical to overall health of the body. Vegetarian food travels quickly through the gastro-intestinal tract.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Plant foods are high in fibre content. Fibre absorbs unwanted, excess fats; cleans the intestines; provides bulk and helps in peristaltic movement; ensuring regular bowel movements. Meat, poultry, and dairy products are deficient in fibre content.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Animal foods contain the body wastes of the animals such as adrenaline, uric acid, and lactic acid.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† When we consume plant foods we consume a chlorophyll module which is very similar to our hemoglobin.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Plant foods contain trace elements that not only nurture our cells, but are precursors of all our genetic material.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Animal food is primarily acidic in nature. It leaves behind an acidic residue after digestion. This acid upsets the delicate pH balance of our body. A chronically over-acidic pH ratio begins to corrode body tissues, produces neuro-toxins, interrupts all cellular functions and generally creates havoc with our health. However, some of the plant foods are also acidic in nature, and should be avoided e.g. alcohol, coffee, white bread, oatmeal, sugar, tobacco, chillies, and all packaged and processed foods.
‚Ä¢¬†¬†¬† Raw plant foods such as fruits detoxify our bodies, increase immunity, and improve our skin and hair.
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†Vegetarian foods cost much less than non-vegetarian foods. So being vegetarian makes a lot of economic sense.
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†When we eat vegetarian foods, we stay healthier; thus saving on health care expenses.
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†If we love animals, we have no desire to kill them for food.
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†Our body has been designed in a way to make us natural herbivores. Our hands, teeth, feet, intestinal tract‚Ä¶all are different from those of carnivorous species.
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†Mahatma Gandhi promoted the spirit of non-violence, but this spirit can‚Äôt be fostered if we indulge in killing animals.
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†There can be no peace in the world, if we declare war on other species for food.
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†There are many substitutes available in the vegetable kingdom to satisfy all taste buds.
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†Plant foods carry an inner light; both philosophically and biologically, as natural sunlight is a vital ingredient of plant foods. This light nourishes our physical body, mind, and spirit.
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†Plant foods keep us healthy. These healthy cells have a harmonic frequency that raises our overall energy vibration.
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†Plant food is rich in natural energy, vital for self-transformation.
‚Ä¢¬†¬† ¬†Ellen G. White the famous writer of early twentieth century said, ‚ÄúWhatever affects the body has a corresponding effect on the mind and soul.‚Äù In other words, what we eat affects our consciousness.
These are some of the factors that are making vegetarianism a fashion and health statement. I do not expect you to change your food habits based on what I have enumerated. However, if you keep an open mind and verify these truths in your own life, I am certain that you will feel inclined to turn vegetarian! Three cheers to that!!!
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