Vegetarianism: From Health to Spirituality
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1 Scientific facts about meat eating and vegetarianism by DR. Hameed Khan
2 Vegetarianism- From a Scientific, Economic, Sociologic, Health and Religious View- by  Swami Baldev Acharya

Scientist, National Institute of Health
Scientific facts about meat eating and vegetarianism

Washington, USA Regardless of race, religion or my place of origin, a simple scientific fact we must all understand, if want to survive in me next millennium, we must conserve all our food resources and eating meat is a luxury we cannot afford.  There are three questions I would like to answer: first, why do we eat meat? Second, can we enrich our food with essential nutrients so that we don't have to eat meat? Finally, what price will we pay, if we continue on the present trend?

To answer the first question, let me share some scientific facts with you. Our body is made of 20 amino acids. It requires all 20 amino acids for normal growth. There are eleven essential amino acids which we must take to be in good health. All amino acids are present in vegetables, but in small amounts. To get the required amounts of amino acids, we need to eat large amount of vegetables. To avoid eating large amounts of vegetables, we eat meat because meat is a rich source of those amino acids. One of the biggest problems is that to produce one pound of meat, we have to feed hundreds of pounds of crop to me livestock. To produce high priced enriched meal, farmers in Texas feed their livestock corn, milk and molasses mat are important food supplement we need for ourselves.

To answer the second question, we look into me future. To introduce me essential ingredients in vegetables, we need to know how these ingredients are formed in animals and how can these be inserted into vegetables. We have to decipher how the book of life is written in humans and compare it with me book of life in animals and plants. If the book of life of all living creatures are written in the same language, it would be easier to take the instructions from animals and insert into plants to enrich vegetables with essential amino acids. We should also be able to use plants and animals as factories to produce amino acids, antibiotics and a variety of chemicals needed to run our modern society. To decipher the book of life of humans, we, at NIH, are conducting the greatest biological experiment ever conceived by human mind. It began as an attempt to understand the scientific basis of ail diseases and the search for about five thousand genetic afflictions, what we found out has totally surprised us. What we learned is that this is a journey of search of ourselves. We see this project as a response to the biblical injunction 'Know thyself' we refer to the sequencing crusade as the search for Holy Grail. It begins to answer the most fundamental questions we have asked ourselves since the dawn of human civilization, who are we? And where have we come from? And what it was that made us that way?

We call this deciphering of the book of life, 'The Human Genome Project'. It will locate and map the exact site of every information molecule in our body. When we look at a map of a city we realize that map contains within themselves a great deal about the lives of those who drew them. They show the size and position of cities, the paths of human migration, and the record of peoples long gone. The genetic map of humanity is no exception; and it may also hold the secret to many of the diseases, which afflict us.

At a cost of three billion dollars over a period of fifteen years, we are authorized by US Congress to decipher all genes present in us. The results of this single biological experiment will also tell us why we are same and at the same time why we look so different from each other. Why some of us are born healthy and others are not? Why no two persons look exactly identical? Why we are so different from other living creatures? Although life begins with a single cell, by the time we grow up, that single blue prim is copied over three trillion times. In a grown up person, the human body is made up of about three trillion cells; brain alone contains about 300 billion cells.

With the help of a microscope, let us look inside a single white Blood Cell of our body. We find that each single cell in all living creatures contains a nucleus, inside the nucleus, we have chromosomes, which contain genes, and genes are made of DNA, the blue prim of life. The same molecule: that was formed nearly four billion years ago. Let me give you a very simple analogy; compare your house with a cell. A single cell is like your house. Each house has a kitchen, the cell has a nucleus. Imagine your kitchen has 23 volumes of cookbooks; our cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes. The cookbooks in your kitchen contain 100,000 recipes to make different dishes such as Masala Dosha, Ras Malai, Gulab Jamun etc. The chromosomes in our cell contain 100,000 genes, which contain instructions to make proteins essential to carry out our body functions. What is surprising is that the entire volumes of cookbooks of life are written in four letters AT and GC and they come in pairs. These are the initials of four chemicals found in the nucleus called nucleotides. They are Adenine, Thiamine, Guanine and Cytosine also known as the DNA molecules. There are three billion AT/GC base pairs in every cell in humans and are arranged like a spiral staircase. We inherit each strand of the staircase from each parent. All humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. We look different from each other because in each of us the AT/GC pairs are arranged slightly differently.

Under the title of the Human Genome Project, US congress has authorized us to map and locate base by base all three billion pairs in all of us. All living creatures from the tiny blade of grass to the largest blue whale have their books of life written in the same AT/GC base pairs. What makes us different is that the number of chromosomes is different in each species and some of the AT/GC letters are arranged differently.

Different recipes in the cookbooks of our kitchen have different ingredients. Similarly, each recipe in our body called a gene is written in AT/GC base pairs (usually from a few thousand to a few million); these AT/GC base pairs functions together to produce proteins. You can chemically A T/GC base pairs together. With the help of 20 postdoctoral fellows and over a period of five years, one of our-most Indian scientist Dr. Hargobind Khurana accomplished that feat.

He is the first scientist to make the first functional gene, which paved the way for Dr. Walter Gilbert to instruct a household germ E.Coli to make insulin, used for treating diabetes. It was one of the greatest intellectual achievements of the 20th century for which Drs. Khurana and Gilbert were awarded a Nobel Prize.

Since the genetic instructions in the plants and animals are written in the same AT and GC base pairs, it is possible to insert genes of all essential amino acids from animals into crops such as rice, wheat or corn genome. We call this transgenetic crop. Transgenetic rice, wheat or corn will have genes of all essential amino acids and will provide a complete meal. By becoming vegetarians, we can reduce the death rate of the number one killer of human beings, cardiac diseases in this country. By reducing the livestock, we can save enormous amounts of food and we can wipe out hunger from the world.

To answer the last question, we need to look at the food production and population explosion in the next century. There are five and a half billion people living on the planet Earth today; we are adding a quarter million children every day and about 100 million humans each year .If we continue to increase the world population at the present rate, by year 2050, the population will increase to 10 billion. Our planetary resources are limited. We will not be able to feed, clothe or house all 10 billion. If our population continues to expand at the current rate, most scientists predict that there will be a massive starvation within the next fifty years.

It took from the beginning of time when mother 'Lucy' was born in the Afar Valley in Ethiopia about three million years ago until 1850 for the world population to reach one billion. It took only 80 more years for the world population to reach two billion in 1930. It took 30 more years for world population to reach three billion in 1960. It took 17 more years for world population to reach four billion in 1977. It took only nine years for world population to reach five billion and by the middle of this decade, it will exceed 6 billion. The population is supposed to reach 10.5 billion by year 2060. Today, more than half of every one who has ever lived on earth is alive today -the dead are in the minority.

We are one third on our way and rapidly approaching our goal to decipher the entire human genome. It is only a matter of time. When we decipher the entire human genome, we will see how healthy it are to become vegetarians. By becoming vegetarians, we will save food for our millions of starving brothers and sisters around the world. The Human Genome project will enlighten us in ways; we have never been enlightened before. It will show us how closely we are all related to each other.

How soon we accomplish this feat is uncertain, but one thing is certain that you and I are the extension of the same single DNA molecule that formed nearly four billion years ago on earth. The first woman 'Lucy' who was born in the Afar Valley in Ethiopia about three million years ago was the mother of all of us and the result of the four billion years of biological evolution. You and I are the children of same mother 'Lucy'. If one of us starves, we all suffer. The faster we learn this truth; the better it is for all of us. Then and only then, men and women of different faiths, different races and different religions, will respect each other and treat each other like brothers and sisters and time begins now

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Ved Mandir, Kuteti Uttarkashi, India

We will discuss here in this article from health, scientific, economic, socialistic and religious points of views.

Health depends upon food. We are what we eat. For the sake of life, man is eating day and night. Even then he has lost his health. Doctors and scientists are trying to save his life. But the number of diseases is increasing day by day. The reason behind it is his unnatural diet. All over the world, when an infant takes birth, mother's milk is the first diet. It is full of all nourishments. The health of the infant goes on improving day by day on mother's milk. All the scientists the world over are agreed that mother's milk is the best and natural diet for the infant. The qualities of every mother's milk are not the same. They vary with mother's diet. Natural diet, the milk will also be natural. But with unnatural diet, mother falls ill and her milk becomes poisonous.

When the child grows up, other additional diet plus milk is given. Cow's milk is the next substitute for mother's milk. Ayurveda said w. It means cow's milk is Amrit (full of life). Nature has produced it by her own hands. The Mother Nature wants to see us healthy and strong. So, she has made beautiful tasty fruits, vegetables, nuts and so many other things for us. When we take them in their original forms, they become part of our body soon. By cooking or any other means, they lose their properties and become poisonous. One particle of poisonous food makes thousands of insensible cells in our body. They fall ill and ultimately go to die. Thousands of results in nature cure centres show us that by taking fruits and vegetables serious sick persons also become healthy in a short time without any .aid of medicines. The author of these lines himself is living on natural diet since the last 15 years and never goes to the doctor for medicines.

Our body is made up of tiny particles called cells. The cell has a morphological, chemical and physical organization, which enables it to assimilate, grow and reproduce. The health of the body depends upon the health of the cells. So, I want to draw your attention towards the cell.

In the human body, the large nerve cell is well over ten thousand times bulkier than a red blood corpuscle. The smallest free-living true cells are in the same size class with the smallest tissue cells, but parasitic protozoa, which live inside other cells, may be 100 times smaller. A cell consists of a complex system with about 85% of water, 7% protein, organic, substances, 2 % carbohydrates, 1% lipids, 1% inorganic substances, 0.7% DNA, l% pigments, latex, vitamins, enzymes, growth regulators and alkaloids. The complicated colloidal proteins built of primary bricks known as amino acids. They are about twenty-two in number. There is the possibility of there being millions of proteins for there are 1048 different ways of putting very simple proteins together from twenty two amino acids. It is full of wonders, 'How a cell divides itself into two cells and two cells combine together to form a new cell'.

One cell is a small factory in itself. It creates thousands of types of secretions. You can help it in its work by taking vegetarian diet. Clean water, fresh air, sunlight, light exercise and some rest. If you will do so, the cells will take in wanted and expel unwanted material from the body. The foreign matter introduces cellular constipation and causes illness of the body. The cells are very active part of our body. They are working day and night. Their works become slow only when they fall ill. They want aid from your side that you should supply them the raw materials. They will digest it as they want according to the need of the body. MEAT, FISH, EGGS ETC., ARE NOT RAW MATERIALS BUT THE PRODUCTS OF THEM. If you throw them in your stomach, the digestive system is disturbed. Acidity, hyperacidity, ulcer, dysentery, colitis etc., are the results of such diet. Other serious diseases also take birth. The cell needs protoplasm with chlorophyll which can be obtained vegetarianism only.

I want to ask my dear doctors, 'Why don't you give permission to inject the blood of any animal to the sick person?' Not only the animal but also they do not permit for the blood of a common man without group testing. The fact is this that the properties of blood and meat of any animal are the same, but they differ from animal to animal, bird to bird and man to man. That is why doctors do not give the blood of a common man to a sick person. If science does not allow for the animal's blood, how it can be allowed for the meat of that animal to be eaten?

Now we consider from the economic point of view. Suppose one cow gives 10 litres of milk per day and another gives 50 litres. The average is 30 litres per day. One cow gives up to 8 months and another cow up to 16 months. The average is 12 months. Thus, a cow gives 10800 litres of milk per year. If she becomes pregnant 10 times in her life, then the total quantity of milk in her life would be 108000 litres. Approximately 54000 persons will be satisfied with that quantity. It is calculated for one cow only. The benefits obtained from her calves are separate. Some of them give milk and some are used in agriculture. A family of five or six persons is brought up with one cow in India. But on the other hand only 50 -60 non-vegetarian persons become satisfied with the meat of one cow in one time. It is only one example. Here we can't explain in detail. As for the cow same is in the case of buffalo, goat, sheep and other animals also." They are useful in many ways.

There is 89 million population, 45 million goats, 15 million cattle in India, and all these depend upon the agriculture. Seven kilograms of cereals give one kilogram of meat and one kilogram of meat exported gives us 100 Rupees income. But to get one kilogram meat we need 500 Rupees to fulfil that loss which is created by the damage of natural resources from which the animal got nourishment. In other words, ' As much as we sell so much will be in the loss'. Here the question that arises is, in this way we become rich or poorer? So, if we want to save the forests, resources of water and increment of oxygen, it is necessary to avoid meat eating.

The basic social principle is that every individual has a place in the society. A society is based on love, affection, regards and reverence. In other words, it is based on the concept of universal brotherhood and friendly relations. Sacrifice is a sacred act and it would become most sacred when one' s own life is sacrificed to save the other's life. To sacrifice a lamb or a goat or a buffalo or a cow at the shrine is a heinous crime. Violence is based on malice and hatred. That is why; non-violence has been given the supreme importance in our moral code. Violence is not one single evil; it is accompanied by a host of evils. Non- vegetarian diet can never be obtained by non-violence. It means non-vegetarianism introduces a lot of evils in the society. The occurrence of Mad-Cow disease is a terrible happening for Europe these days, which is created by meat eaters. It is difficult to estimate its loss.

Man is a social living being. Love is the demand of our heart. When you come to your home, how affectionately your dog jumps, and licks your feet and welcomes you. Can you ever think to kill it and eat it? Similar is the case with cow and other animals. They also want your love. ' Live and let Live' is the universal law to keep the society in peace. Non-vegetarian diet has filled so much cruelty in the nature of humanity that man wants to live in peace but it does not allow him. Vegetarianism only can give peaceful life to humanity. Religion stands for dedication not of the weak for the interest of the strong, but of the strong for the interests of the weak and humble. Religion strengthens the bonds of love, affection, reverence and peace of groups even further most in geographical boundaries. The cattle also depend on our affection. Be it a dog or a cow or a horse or a domestic bird, we have to be compassionate towards them. Many of our civilized societies have byelaws for the protection of these mutes and dumb against cruelty. A beast of burden deserves our compassionate attention. A cow, goat or sheep, which provides us with milk and other needs, claims all the more care. There are clear instructions in Vedas to save the life of he animals, AHIMSA ' -non-violence is the root of the religion of man. If you cannot give life, you have no right to make any ones life. Nature has made all birds and animals for the welfare of mankind. They are not to be killed. In Yajur Veda, here are two chapters in which the importance of birds and different animals is explained in detail. They are very useful for he human life. The Bible and the Koran also do not give permission to kill the innocent animals.

From all points of view, vegetarianism is the only way or the welfare of mankind. It saves our health and economy and gives us a peaceful happy life. Human life cannot exist without vegetarianism. You will be surprised to know that there is no word for the non-vegetarian diet in the dictionary of world. To show the negative sense of vegetarian we add 'NON' before it. It means that meat has never been the original food of mankind.

It must be honestly admitted that weight by weight vegetable substances when they are carefully selected, possess he most striking advantage over animal food in nutritive value. (Sir Benjamin W. Richardson, F.R.C.S.)

The Bible indicates that for the ten generations before the flood, people live an average of 912 years. After the Flood, they began eating flesh. The life of the next ten generations shortened to and average of 317 years (Dr. Parrett)

To sum up all the evidence on this point, it seems to me to show that with a non-carnivorous diet intelligently and temperately followed, the immunity from and power of resistance of all diseased conditions are immensely increased; while the flesh eater almost certainly becomes sooner or later the subject of degenerative changes directly due to his diet. (Robert Perks, F.R.C.S)

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