Cont'd: Page 9

Various Articles on Vegetarianism: From Health To spirituality


Mechanical Engineer Los Angeles, USA

Eating to satisfy the hunger or eating to enjoy the taste is one of the favourite pastimes of the human race. The very smell of a favourite food itself creates a sense of enjoyment to the mind, expecting something will be coming into the body. Meat is one such food in the western societies. Belonging to a Hindu family and educated in the modern sciences, I have been faced with the dilemma to find out the rationality and scientifically proven facts as to why my race has strongly prohibited eating meat diet with a few exceptions. Hindu scriptures have strongly advocated eating the" Satvic food " which is a low calorie protein vegetarian or lacto vegetarian diet. The killing of animals for food is a social and moral crime. Cows and buffaloes are merely to distil vegetation into milk for the human race. Milk is one of the biggest blessings given to mankind. Humans are born to live on vegetables, fruits and herbs that are grown on earth.

My research mainly focussed on (I) the anatomy of the digestive system, as to its suitability to eat meat diet, (2) the meat diet and its dangers, (3) the role of the food industry and (4) ethics and religion. After this research, I am completely satisfied and delighted with the lifestyles and beliefs of vegetarianism. I am also glad to find out the glorious past of the Hindu race. The Hindu society of 2800 years before the modern medicines, was an advanced society of the Vedic Era and they scientifically established the lacto vegetarian diet as nutritionally complete and proved the irrationally of cow slaughter.

Interestingly, we are very picky about our drinks: Diet Coke, Mineral Free water, or pure Mountain spring Water, but for our eating, there is a big question mark. Enjoying the food with a satisfying burp is enough. We should be aware of our diet especially how it would affect our body. Once the food has passed through our throat, we do not have any control of the outcome. An average American consumes over 840 pounds of animal products per year or 70 grams of protein each day. Combined with other non-animal proteins, it comes to about 3 times the requirements set by the World Health Organization, i.e., 33 grams. One doctor has concluded, "Whatever an average American eats, only 1/4th of the food supports the body, and the remaining 3/4th supports the doctor".

The answer to the statement "3/4th of diet supporting the doctor" is given by our digestive system. Virtually the human body is unsuitable for meat eating. Humans have physiologically, more in common with herbivores than with carnivores. For example, carnivores have sharp claws and elongated teeth for rearing flesh. Their digestive tract is only 3 times the body length (to expel decaying flesh rapidly), and they gel large amounts of acidic saliva in the system. Furthermore, they can metabolise almost unlimited amount of cholesterol and fats without any adverse effects. Whereas herbivores, including humans, have molars for grinding food, a perspiration system to expel toxic substances, and get alkalinised saliva in the stomach. The intestines of the digestive system are convoluted and are 12 times the body length. The meat to be digested inside the stomach requires juices high in hydrochloric acid that we produce in low amounts; rather it is 20 times weaker than in carnivores. Meat produces poisonous wastes in the stomach. These toxic wastes were stopped in the animal's blood stream at the time of slaughtering. By the time the human produces enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach, the meat is practically rot ting in the intestine, releasing toxic substances. This causes the problems in- the system like stomach pains, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea, etc. The kidney, another important organ which extracts wastes from the blood, is heavily strained by the overload of poisons introduced by meat consumption. Even a moderate meat eater demands 3 times more work from his kidneys than does a vegetarian. The risk of kidney failure increases, as we grow older. Studies have established direct relationships between colon cancer and meat eating.

Meat introduces an excessive amount of saturated fat, cholesterol, and protein into the diet and is devoid of two important components; fibre and carbohydrates. Over a period of many years, an excess of fatty deposits accumulate on the inner walls of arteries, clogging the flow of blood to the heart - a potent for heart attacks, strokes, and blood clot. With the high level of animal protein intake, lesser intake of fibre, it is not surprising that 1 in 3 Americans get cancer and 1 in 4 get heart problems. There are 50 million Americans with high blood pressure, and annually about 1.2 million die of heart disease. Stroke, cancer or other chronic diseases all of which are conclusively linked with the consumption of animal flesh products. The American Medical Association, The American Heart Association, and The National Academy of sciences have, all reported that 90 -97% of heart diseases could have been prevented by vegetarian diet. The meat diet of today is contaminated with dangerous toxic residues of pesticides, herbicides of cattle feed and antibiotics and chemicals like DDT; arsenic -growth stimulant: sodium sulphate, DES -a synthetic hormone (a known human carcinogen) etc. Interestingly, of all antibiotics used in America. 55% are fed to livestock for beef growth. These toxic chemicals weaken our immune system and its capability to fight 'disease. Again, due to the unhygienic nature of the slaughterhouses, there is possibility of meat contamination with deadly bacteria. Legally, the business can sell up to 49% of raw ground poultry and 2.7% of red meat contaminated with deadly salmonella and E-coli bacteria. Further, by and. large, the diseased animals are slaughtered for beef. USDA inspectors cannot detect the presence of microscopic bacteria. Inspection is often compromised to protect the profits of the beef industry .A new innovation of the modern high tech factory farming; the remains of dead animals (including sheep with Scrapie and cows with Mad Cow Disease) are converted into animal feed for the growth of high protein beef. No doubt, this kind of meat diet will pass on incurable diseases to the human ace. Next to tobacco, the use of meat is the single largest cause of mortally in USA.

In the western societies, beef is merely a tradable commodity. Commercial interests alone influence food and 19riculture. They will sacrifice human welfare and the truth businesses, Government Agencies, and scientists bonded to the commerce often lie and systematically mislead the public to protect corporate profits. The Government Agencies and scientist will claim that there is no bard scientific evidence of problems in the meat diet. We often hear some of the typical convincing messages: " A recent study has shown., " A survey bas indicated ...". Businesses will introduce new meat products, and provide new promotions for tastes. The consumer is poured with misinformation, deceptive advertisements and contrary statements to eat, eat and only eat their food. In the British Courts of Law, The McDonald's is facing a lawsuit for promoting unhealthy food with deceptive advertisement. Dr. Sidney Arnott, McDonald's cancer expert, has clearly stated' " A diet rich in fat, sugar, animal products and salts with low fibre, vitamins and minerals is linked with cancer of breast and bowel and heart disease. It is claimed that meat has superb taste and the vegetarians miss the nice taste and flavour. Taste is an acquired phenomenon" An individual can develop taste for any food and enjoy that food, whereas the same food can be totally unpalatable to another individual. For example, spicy food can be a source of delight to some, may be a means of torture for others. The taste of meat is developed due to various psychological factors. Once one develops taste for vegetarian dishes," those will be really enjoyable and tasty.

Vegetarian beliefs are simple to follow and one benefits with a long, healthy and happy life and saves the animals too. It is very easy to have a well-balanced vegetarian diet with enough proteins, minerals, vitamins and carbohydrates. To live a healthy life, the human body requires certain types of foods that will strengthen, nourish, and protect body cells. This diet should have a low amount of fats, cholesterol, and calories. Grains are rich in fibre, protein vitamin B and complex carbohydrates.

Vegetables and fruits provide vitamin C, beta-carotene, iron, and Calcium and fibre carbohydrates. Nuts and seeds combined with legumes or even cereals provide high protein diet. Yogurt, honey, and especially pasta (spaghetti, fettuccini, macaroni, etc) are rich in carbohydrates. An 8 oz glass of carrot juice has the same quality and amount of protein as an egg. Milk has all the essential amino acids for the body. Cow slaughter is unethical and non productive. One cow can produce 114,000 pound of milk in its lifetime or 500 pounds of beef. Milk is vital to life. Calcium and protein, two essential nutrients of life, flourish more in the cow ' s milk, than in beef. For example, 11,400 pounds of milk (which one cow gives during the lactation of its lifetime) gives 59 million milligrams of Calcium and 1.5 million grams of protein, whereas cow's 500 lb beef only gives 20,250 milligrams of Calcium and 50,000 grams of protein. In other words, a cow's milk bas 30 times more protein and 25,000 times more Calcium than its 500 lb of beef. Obviously, with a meatless diet, the vegetarians enjoy a life of ethics and morality.

World hunger is another talk of the day. Many claim that the meat diet will end food scarcity, which is not true. Rather the world's natural resources are being rapidly depleted as a result of meat eating. Pound for pound, far more resources must be expended to produce meat than produce grains, fruit and vegetables. An example, while 25 gallons of water are needed to produce a pound of wheat, 5000 gallons are needed to produce a pound of beef. That same 5000 gallons of water can produce 200 pounds of wheat. Again, one acre of land can produce 10,000 pound of potatoes or 250 pounds of beef. To produce each pound of beef, we need to feed 16 pounds of edible grains and soybeans to the livestock. It is a sheer waste of 80% of agricultural resources.

In addition to ethics, for some vegetarians, it is the sacred duty to their religion. Religion has always taught the reverence for all life, as a highly spiritual ideal and the universal brotherhood of compassion for nature and all creatures. Human's pursuit of God -the quest for spiritual knowledge separates him from the animals. Our all actions, including the choice of our food has 'karmic' consequences. If we want to live a life of higher consciousness in peace and happiness, we cannot eat meat, fish or eggs. We involve ourselves to the cycle of inflicting injury, pain and death by meat eating. By ingesting the grosser chemistry of animal meat, we introduce into our body and mind anger, jealousy, fear, and anxiety of death.

The world's major religious traditions go by the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you". Modern science has proven the fact: 'For every action there is and equal and opposite reaction' -the implication applies to the material nature. For Hindus, it goes deeper to the Law of Karma, "We all get the rewards for our own actions, Karma". In dietary terms, you are what you eat; 'in Karmic science - violence begets violence. The violence of today is the result of merciless killing of innocent animals -with no compassion for life. The Hindu scriptures have quoted, " All life should be revered, for the body is merely an outer shell for the Great Spirit (The Immortal soul) inside". Buddhism, another common religion, declares, "The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion". Judaism supports the tradition of vegetarianism. Christianity has the general belief of protecting the world and the practicality of vegetarian life.

In conclusion, the benefits of vegetarianism: " A pure bacteria free food with a happy and healthy life" -a gift of longevity (free of diseases, illnesses and cancers) and the strengthening of the immune system (less colds) " .The mind will also benefit: no guilt of eating the body of another being and thus contributing to your religion. Dr. J. H. Kellog, a famous theologian once remarked, "It's nice to eat a meal and not to have to worry about what your food may have died of. " The happiness of good health is the real happiness and is enjoyed much more than the wealth of all acquisition".

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Veal calf in confinement crate. 
Photo Credit: Dale Smith
Is there any excuse in this day and age of excess information, for humankind to continue practicing the superstitious belief and cruelty that allow the assassination of poor, helpless, beautiful, innocent animals for food? Are we not bombarded enough with knowledge that enables us to prevent and stop this ridiculous behaviouristic pattern of ours?

For some reason, we have failed, and continue to fail to acknowledge the fact that humankind does not need meat for food. Numerous teachings that we live by have made it clear that one ought not to take life when one cannot restore or revitalize one.

In Rig Veda, it is written that he who eats meat or who consumes the meat of horse or other animals or deprives others of the milk of cows, etc by killing them --such a brute should be beheaded (Rig. 10-87-16). The Bible says that God has provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for human beings to eat and for the animals HE has given grass and leafy plants for food (Genesis I :29). Furthermore, in Genesis, meat with blood in it is prohibited (9:4). Both flesh eating and wine drinking is forbidden in Romans (14:21). The Koran says that one must not eat dead animals, blood and flesh (surat 2 Al Baqarah, the Heifer, (Ayat 173).

Despite all this, we keep on minimizing God's will to put salt into the wound we raise those animals just like our children, then we refuse them life a few weeks later, by shoving a big old knife into their throat. What a horrible thing to do to any living creature! A non-informed person will say that he or she does not do the killing, not knowing that the cruelty and sinful act is applicable to him or her. Why hurt any living creature, when we do not want to hurt our self? Il is sad commentary but a simple truth that everybody ought to know.

In addition to the scriptural passages, all scientific research has shown that vegetarianism is beneficial physically, mentally, emotionally and spirituality. Any intestine that is suitable for meat is short and large, smooth and straight. This is the case of carnivores such as a lion -the nutrient is easily absorbed. Furthermore, the wild animals that eat meat for food are known to have fangs. In human beings and animals that do not eat meat, their teeth are more or less flat. They have two intestines, one long and narrow and other long and wide.

There were vegetarian sages, rishis, seers, artists, adapts, writers and philosophers such as: Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Plato, Socrates, Petrach, Virgil, William Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, Richard Wagner, Albert Einstein, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Mile Zola, Voltaire, Ovil, Pythagoras, Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Percy Byssche, shelly, Mohammed Ali, Lindsay Wagner etc.

In the United States of America, it is said that cardiovascular disorders are the leading cause of death. The origin of the cholesterol and saturated fats that create this disorder has its root in the meat consumption. It is also said that meat eaters have a high rate of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

Do not be deceived by commercial propaganda and advertisements that say that human beings need meat in order to live. One of the weird superstitious belief among Native Americans is that the heart of the little; beautiful, tiny humming bird will prolong life. So some people keep killing without mercy this cute, little, tiny bird just to eat its heart, which is no bigger than a small peanut. The whole idea of meat consumption is to help the meat industry get richer and richer. In the meantime, consumers are dying every day of heart attack or heat failure, which is caused by meat products. Why make yourself a candidate of such a death when we can easily prevent this by eliminating meat eating? We are actually exchanging our money for death, digging our own grave, moving ourselves away from God, the Creator, each time we put a piece of dead meat into our mouth. How can we find peace of mind? When we are taking life away from God's beautiful creatures for our own delight, arrogance, superstitious belief, superiority and despicable deed? Our action is very deceitful indeed.

There are many validated points to prove that meat eating is not good. A sage once said, "The flesh of the cow is disease, but its milk medicine". Modern athletes have discovered how to keep a beautiful strong body with incredible endurance by becoming vegetarians. Of course, not to mention people who are born into vegetarian households? Brothers and sisters, we are in the "Kali Yuga Age". Enough is enough. Let us look for a perfectly healthy body, mind and soul. This condition can only be reached when we follow with scrutiny what we put into our mouth, and meat is definitely "NO --NO". For those who find it difficult to change their horrible meat eating habits like any addiction, they can stop the meat eating without any regret. It only takes compassion, and love toward all living creatures, without forgetting self-love. In addition to self-love, this good old saying is still well and alive: " A visit to the slaughterhouse will make you a life time vegetarian". Remember: Health is our birthright. So is 'sakahara' or vegetarianism.

Meat eating is the greatest of all sins: Man stands at the apex of ail the living beings in the world because of his piety, goodness and, sense of discrimination. Otherwise as regards hunger, thirst, sleep, fear and sex, he is at par with the animals. Therefore, if ill behoves him to degenerate himself to the lowest level of beasts of prey which live on flesh of others. Even the higher species amongst the animals' -the cow, buffalo, horse etc., which spend their lives in the service of humanity, all, live on grass and vegetables.

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