If you love meat, chances are that any talking about giving it up would make you salivate even more for a fat piece of juicy steak, or bbq cooked bacon….hmmmm bacon.
I’m no leading expert on being a vegetarian. I’m not a doctor. I’m no vegetarian evangalist. I’m not much of an animal activist either. I’m definitely not a historian, so I can’t argue that we were meant to be vegetarians. I also don’t particularly care if you want to eat meat or not. It’s all your choice and you’re life. Do what makes you happy*. The cavet though is know enough to know that your current paradigms may be wrong and that you may have just been wearing horse blinkers for most of your life.
So Why Vegetarianism?
Historically, even in the Paleolithic era, when humans first discovered the use of a hand axe, it was initially used to dig and cut roots as the initial axes were clearly not for hunt. Later, once the Mesolithic era gave rise to communal living, the first development in sustainable living, establishment and growth of civilizations was agriculture (“Paleolithic: Technology”, Wikipedia) . Vegetarianism was the dominant diet form in the world and resurfaced from time to time. Today, we see more and more people, even celebrities, adopting and promoting vegetarianism with groups like PETA.
Following is a list of reasons why you should adopt vegetarianism, not just to jump on the bandwagon, but to recognize its true benefits and allow your body to rejuvenate itself.
1. More bang for your buck.
Typically, vegetarian diets consist of more nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. In doing so, you get a wider variety of the nutrients for the body, resulting in better health, a strengthened immune system, more stable moods, and more energy. Is it any surprise that most pharmaceutical and drug research begins with phytochemicals? Why do you think detox and cleansing diets are a strict consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables?
2. Better overall health.
Innumerable studies have shown that vegetarians tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, obesity and other chronic diseases. There are a plethora of studies to reference, but here are three of my favourite:
- Doctors Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn have used a vegan diet to prevent and reverse heart disease with a 100% success rate(Esselstyn Caldwell B, 2008)
- Vegetarians are at a 40% lesser risk of cancer compared to meat eaters. (Hall, Celia, 1994)
- A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1990 found that regular meat consumption increases the risk of colon cancer by as much as 300%.
3. Lose a little, gain a lot.
Vegetarians are healthier. Fullstop. One reason is because meat contains a lot of fat, especially saturated fat coupled with no fibre, antioxidants or micronutrients. As commonly known, all vegetables are basically made up of fibre and water. These two essential nutrients are at the root of prevention for countless digestive disorders.
Antioxidants and micronutrients are substances which protect our bodies from the stresses of day to day living. Micronutrients such as selenium, magnesium, potassium etc. are just as important for our bodies as protein but only necessary in small amounts, easily supplied by consuming colorful fruits and vegetables. Thus replacing meat with fruits and vegetables will provide your body with loads of fiber, antioxidants, and micronutrients that form the basis of good health.
4. Reduce acidity.
Meat is highly acidic and offsets your blood pH, which should be slightly alkaline, and this essentially sets up an inner terrain for disease.
5. Anatomical design.
This point is sure to creat some debate, so let me know your thoughts. Meat takes longer to digest, up to four days, and it often putrefies in your system before being completely digested. This encourages bad bacteria to grow, leading to disease. Anatomically speaking, our digestive system, from the mouth all the way through is similar to herbivores and not designed to digest meat. True carnivores have claws and fangs for killing its prey and short, straight intestines to eliminate meat quickly to avoid food poisoning as meat begins to putrefy (typically two to five hours). However, humans have extremely long, convoluted intestines to fully absorb nutrients from plant and vegetable matter along with blunt nails, similar to herbivores.
Carnivores also have twenty times the stomach acid to break down meat more efficiently than humans. Carnivores, as a result, live shorter lives than herbivores such as elephants, rhinoceroses, whales, or giraffes whose long lifespan mirror ours or even extend ours, in some cases (Tora, Raj, 2011). I told you this might be a bit contenscious, didn’t I?:)
6. Better bone health.
A study from Cornell under nutritional biochemist Colin Campbell has found that a diet with meat uses more calcium from the body than a plant-based diet. This is responsible for low bone density and higher rates of osteoporosis. The culprit is likely excess protein consumption with poor retention and absorption of dietary calcium. Calcium is most easily absorbed in a dietary form rather than taken externally. A vegetarian diet helps deliver both vitamin D and calcium, both necessary for higher bone density.
7. Avoid food poisoning.
Meat is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, especially if not stored, prepared or cooked correctly, and millions of people each year get food poisoning as a result. Every living thing is a host to microorganisms and while living they provide good health, after death, these same microorganisms begin decaying its host. Rarely does our society process fresh meat, so how careful do you think your grocery store is being in caring for this dead meat which is at least a few days old? So avoiding meat is the best way to avoid food poisoning.
8. Easier weight management.
Numerous studies show that vegetarians are slimmer and are less likely to be obese than meat-eaters. Vegetarian diets are actually ideal for our bodies because their quick digestion keeps our metabolic rate high and our body active and functioning all day. This in turn keeps the body feeling light, fresh and active. Some vegetables are also known as “negative calorie foods” in a dieter’s world. They burn more energy while being digested by the body than what they provide. For example, celery forces the body to spend lots of calories on chewing and digesting all that fiber than the amount of calories it provides! Vegetarianism helps you to lose weight steadily, but permanently. Since you are basically shedding excess weight by clearing out clogged arteries, digestive tract and other waste along with a reduced intake of animal fat, you lose this weight… permanently.
Again, this is a debatable point as there are many side factors that would need to be taken into account. Research shows that vegetarians live an average of seven years longer than meat-eaters do, while vegans tend to live about fifteen years longer. Since vegetarianism has proven to demote growth and development of many diseases, it ensures that your body stays active and functioning for longer with the least problems possible. Vegetarian diets inherently clean and detoxify the system regularly, therefore fewer places for germs and bacteria to grow. I’d argue here that the research is flawed, but due to the side benefits that generally happen when one become vegetarian (i.e. Increased exercise, better concern with their body and their environment, etc).
10. Reduce animal suffering.
Well, this is an obvious. We could take all day about animal cruelty, the tiny cages, the fact that they can feel pain. But one paragraph here of words will not make you understand animal sufferings. If you’re want to shift your paradigm, watch some movies like Food Inc. I have a page of resources like this. But if you are serious about this, head into your local abattoir. Tell them Babe sent you.
11. Help the environment.
Save our Planet. Promote World Peace, etc. The meat industry harms the environment in a multitude of ways. Raising livestock for meat production wastes food and grain which can otherwise feed the world, wastes fuel, pollutes air and water with their waste matter, and causes loss of biodiversity, among others. Some animals take so long to fully mature and reproduce that they are killed off before birthing the next generation, causing a significant decrease in population.
12.Energy and behavioral differences.
Imagine a wall of gears all attached to each other, if you push one, they all begin turning one-by-one and if you stop one, they all slow down and eventually stop. Our body is similar to this, in that constant work keeps it energetic. A timely working of all systems in our body keep it full of energy, which in turn helps you do work and feel fresh and light all day. We all know how being low on energy translates into bad moods and irritation. A vegetarian diet is like the ice-cold lemonade on a hot, sunny summer day—it will provide tons of energy and refresh your mood instantly.
13. Hormonal imbalance.
Another big problem these days is the amount of hormones pumped into meats for the look, weight, texture etc. Our bodies are so delicately balanced and so perfectly timed endochronologically, that even slight fluctuations can cause damage. John Verall, a chemical expert of the British Veterinary Products Committee, recently showed a link between increased rates of breast cancer, prostate cancer and other hormonal imbalances due to hormones pumped into beef in the US (“Artificial hormones in U.S. beef linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer.” (Natural News, 2006). Children at the age of puberty are so sensitive to hormonal balances, that any external agitation in levels can cause many harmful effects.
These are only 13 reasons. I ended up writing 28 very different and distinct advantages for becoming a vegetarian in the first chapter of my book (which hopefully should be finished by April 2013. Let me know if you would like a specific topic included in it). The thing is thought that all these reasons do just one thing.
They make us feel better.
So the answer to “Why Vegetarianism?” is simple. It makes you feel better.
I would really like to know other knowledgable individuals thoughts on this list. It is always interesting to find out different studies or other facts that may have been missed. So as per usual, feel free to leave a comment or email me at email@example.com. In the meantime, thanks and vegeout.
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