Reasons to stop eating meat

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet" - Albert Einstein

There are numerous health and worldwide benefits from not eating meat. This requires putting aside certain attitudes and misconceptions that don't stand up to modern science. Just because our parents or peers believe something, doesn't make it right or true. Millions of people are vegetarian world-wide, through cultural, religious/spiritual and health reasons

There are quite a few misconceptions regarding our physiology that are used by meat eaters to explain why we should eat meat.We'll look at all of this in more detail, but there are two which stand out and are worth analyzing immediately:

  • Canines. Check out dog or lion canines - huge and long hooked teeth for tearing flesh. Do we have teeth like that? No. Our canines and molars are perfectly adapted to grinding down, not tearing.
  • Intestinal length. Carnivorous animals have short intestines, so that meat can pass through quickly before it starts to putrefy and lead to disease. We have long intestines, like other herbivores. This is why many health bodies recommend staying away from meat as much as possible. We don't process meat efficiently. Clearly, when we started to eat meat when vegetation was lean, we took on plenty of risks doing so. Happily, we don't need to anymore!

With the United Nations Environment Programme calling for "... a significant shift in diets away from animal based proteins towards more vegetable-based foods in order to dramatically reduce pressures on the environment", it's worth considering the benefits of a vegetarian diet - both for ourselves and the planet, and dispelling some of the myths regarding vegetarianism. It's time to rethink what industry has force fed us through advertising and what our fathers and forefathers believed.

"When we kill the animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings." --William C. Roberts, M.D., editor of The American Journal of Cardiology

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Life

Today, conventional medicine discourages eating an excess of meat. This is quite a swing from the old days, when meat eating was seen as something that would be done daily. Today however, we have access to different types of food that replace the necessity of eating meat. Also, we're starting to realize the fundamental misunderstanding with regards to protein requirements and protein sources - that many beans provide a complete protein and often provide per gram more protein than meat. Top athletes such as Scott Jurek, who has been the winner of many ultra marathons around the world, is a vegan, We should embrace this evolution that allows us to move away from meat products.

On a personal level, many people move away from meat for health reasons and feel better in ways they hadn't imagined. So before looking at the ins and outs of proteins, vitamins, and so on, as related to a vegetarian lifetsyle, here's what vegetarianism can do for your health!

Liz O’Neill, of the Vegetarian Society: “Research in the UK has already shown that vegetarians have lower rates of cancer and significantly lower (32 per cent less) rates of heart disease.”

A Longer Life!

Studies have shown that vegetarians (following a well-balanced low-fat high-fibre diet) often have lower incidences of coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity and certain forms of cancer. A vegetarian diet is usually lower in fat, as vegetarians tend to eat more polyunsaturated fat than saturated fat (animal products are the major sources of saturated fat). So a typical vegetarian diet closely matches expert dietary recommendations for healthy eating, being low in saturated fat and high in fibre, complex carbohydrates, and fresh fruit and vegetables - see research from the Harvard School of Public Health below.

As a result, vegetarians tend to live longer than meat-eaters.

The evidence can be seen at the German Cancer Research Center. From their website: "...vegetarians had a 30 % lower risk of dying from ischemic heart diseases compared to non-vegetarians. Although this finding failed to reach statistical significance, it may be truly attributed to abstinence from meat and is in line with the hypothesis that animal fat and a high cholesterol diet promote ischemic heart disease" Read the whole article here http://www.dkfz.de/en/presse/pressemitteilungen/2005/dkfz_pm_05_26_e.php

To put it simply, a vegetarian diet generally puts less stress on a person's system and longer life can generally be expected.

However, as well as avoiding saturated fats and so on, avoiding meat also removes the threat of other toxins entering the body.

See: Vegetarian diet could cut early death risk

Avoiding Toxins

A lot of non-organically reared cattle have been tampered with to increase produce size, through the use of growth hormones and such like. As a result, consuming this meat also means that these chemicals - that have no place in the food chain - are consumed by human beings. Also, non-organic intensively farmed animals that are meant for human consumption, are often stressed animals, and the coctail of hormones produced by these creatures are also passed into the food chain.

On another note, this is worth considering: When an animal approaches its moment of death, and is about to be slaughtered, what happens to all the adrenalin that is released? It goes straight into the meat, which ends up on your plate.


Something else to think about: What happens to all these toxins that are consumed by eating meat?

The three ignorant arguments used to undermine vegetarianism

The following three points are often used by meat eaters to undermine vegetarianism:

  • Protein
  • Vitamins
  • Human physiology


In conversation, meat eaters will often say things such as, vegetarians can't get enough protein, or vitamins. Furthermore, they'll often cite human physiology as an example as to why we should eat meat, and end their arguments by saying things like, this is just the way life is. Lions kill gazelle, we also have to kill animals to live - and so on. They even think that vegetarians must somehow be weak, forgetting the number of vegetarian athletes in (healthy!) existence.


In this section the actual truth is put forward, with the help from information found at the Harvard School of Public Health

Protein

The Harvard School of Public Health looks at the protein package delivered by various meats and lentils i.e. the protein to fat ratio. These are the findings:

  • Meat: A 6-ounce broiled porterhouse steak delivers 38 grams of protein and delivers 44 grams of fat, 16 of them saturated. i.e. more fat than protein (Nearly three-fourths of the recommended daily intake for saturated fat.)
  • Fish:The same amount of salmon gives delivers 34 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat, 4 of them saturated. i.e. more protein than fat
  • Lentils: A cup of cooked lentils has 18 grams of protein, but under 1 gram of fat. i.e. hardly any fat at all

It recommends to "...pay attention to what comes along with the protein. Vegetable sources of protein, such as beans, nuts, and whole grains, are excellent choices, and they offer healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals."

However, for those who won't change to vegetarianism, it's worth listening to what they have to say on what types of meat are best:

"The best animal protein choices are fish and poultry. If you are partial to red meat, stick with the leanest cuts, choose moderate portion sizes, and make it only an occasional part of your diet."

So there we we have it. From the top brains of the country - stay away from red meat. Stick to the white meats if you must.

Check it out here: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/


Vitamin B12

It's easy to get overly worked up over the B12 issue and some of the arguments that circulate around are often based on a misunderstanding of the whole issue.

This page here describes the stuation clearly: http://www.vibrancyuk.com/B12.html

Check out the Vegetarian Society B12 Factsheet: : www.vegsoc.org/page.aspx?pid=807

Human physiology - Canine Teeth?

Physiology is often brought up by meat eaters, to support their view that we should be eating meat (usually only citing our two canine teeth). But take a look at the comparisons below, and decide for yourself (this is taken from a chart by A.D. Andrews, Fit Food for Men, Chicago: American Hygiene Society, 1970)


Meat-eaters: have claws

Herbivores: no claws

Humans: no claws


Meat-eaters: have no skin pores and perspire through the tongue

Herbivores: perspire through skin pores

Humans: perspire through skin pores


Meat-eaters: have sharp front teeth for tearing, with no flat molar teeth for grinding

Herbivores: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding

Humans: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding


Meat-eaters: have intestinal tract that is only 3 times their body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass through quickly

Herbivores: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.

Humans: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.


Meat-eaters: have strong hydrochloric acid in stomach to digest meat

Herbivores: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater

Humans: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater


Meat-eaters: salivary glands in mouth not needed to pre-digest grains and fruits.

Herbivores: well-developed salivary glands which are necessary to pre-digest grains and fruits

Humans: well-developed salivary glands, which are necessary to pre-digest, grains and fruits


Meat-eaters: have acid saliva with no enzyme ptyalin to pre-digest grains

Herbivores: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains

Humans: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains

Environmental

The United Nations Environment Programme calls for "... a significant shift in diets away from animal based proteins towards more vegetable-based foods in order to dramatically reduce pressures on the environment." Read it all here: http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=628&ArticleID=6595&l=en

The livestock sector produces about 15% of global greenhouse gases, roughly equivalent to all the exhaust emissions of every car, train, ship and aircraft on the planet. So without a concerted effort not to eat meat, global warming will just continue.

This is at last recognition of that fact, that large scale animal rearing puts intensive pressure on the environment, and is really unnecessary as there are alternatives.

Compassion

Becoming vegetarian is often said to be a path of compassion - compassion for all living creatures. The Book of Genesis says: 'Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."'

If we're created in the likeness of God, is it not fitting to show some of the qualities associated with God, such as compassion?

And is our rule over all the creatures, not meant to be that of a caretaker, rather than a slaughterer and destroyer?

Humans seem to willingly forget that all creatures - all creatures - are sentient beings. Perversely, we love to see little lambs jump around the fields in spring, forgetting that they're going to be separated from their mothers and have their throats slit.

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Comments 18 comments

MaryRenee 6 years ago

Electro: This hub is excllent. You brought up many great points. I'm a proud Vegetarian :) Thanks so much for sharing this hub. Bravo, Good work! :)


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 6 years ago from Wales, UK Author

Thanks MaryRenee! There's a lot more info really, might have to do another hub on it


CR Rookwood profile image

CR Rookwood 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

Great hub! We are not inclined to vegetarianism by nature, but of late we have been eating less and less meat as we realize how horrifying the production and processing of meat really is. In the US it is also very expensive and not at all safe to eat. Thank you for backing our backward journey into a meatless household. I honestly already feel better, and I'm not just saying that. :)


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 4 years ago from Wales, UK Author

Thanks for commenting CR Rookwood. Glad this hub has been of interest! Not sure about your first statement, I think that's contentious... :-) I think the theory goes that when we moved away from equatorial regions and plentiful fruit bearing trees, we looked for other things to consume... Not sure burned flesh counted as the pinnacle of human food experiments though!


CR Rookwood profile image

CR Rookwood 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

No, I meant here in our household we never thought about it much because we like meat. I totally agree with you on the part about it not being 'natural'. I was badly wording a description of our gradual shift in consciousness here under this specific roof. Sorry for the confusion! :)


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 4 years ago from Wales, UK Author

the interesting dynamic of changing food patterns under different roofs, with different individuals - endlessly fascinating!


hh 4 years ago

I will never stop eating meat! Carnivorous for life!!


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 4 years ago from Wales, UK Author

'Sup to you - We're all addicts one way or another over something or other - mine's coffee! :-))


Thatguy 3 years ago

You`re killing the tofu! :'C


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 3 years ago from Wales, UK Author

yeah :-) I don't actually eat tofu but I know what you mean!


Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

Excellent hub; well-written and convincing. I have always been a vegetarian, although I grew up in a meat-eating family with a father who bought and sold cattle. I have felt a deep conviction my entire life that eating our fellow creatures was wrong. Slaughterhouse conditions are horrifying and evil. I know; I have seen such things first-hand as a child. Vegetarians and vegans are such a minority, I don't expect to see any big change in human's meat-eating habits, but it's a dream of mine and reasonable articles like this one help.


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 3 years ago from Wales, UK Author

Thanks for your comments and feedback Silva. I feel very much the same as you. I grew up in a meat eating household but always felt uncomfortable with it. It didn't make any sense to me. During the holidays I often helped my uncle at his pig farm, including loading them up for slaughter. To me, shifting away from meat is a complete no-brainer for a multitude of reasons.


Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

I agree. We slaughtered our own pigs. They knew what was about to happen to them; they screamed piteously before they were killed. My dad would let me bottle-feed and raise the runt of the litter; give them a name, make them a pet, and love them. Then he would take them away and kill them. It was a terrible way to grow up. He tried to make me help but that didn't work out well.


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 3 years ago from Wales, UK Author

The problem seems to be this idea that killing and eating animals is a sort of right of passage, has to be done to live and one has to be tough in life etc. In fact, what's going on is that children are being taught that compassion is sentimental. Also, no-one is being taught that meat is a poor source of nutrition. This divided compassion is confusing to children. But for the most part, children never see what happens to animals and then become adults who believe in eating red stuff in cellophane. I would say only people such as us, who have been there with condemned animals actually understand the truth. The wife of an owner of a modern abattoir said that it wasn't in their interest for there to be visits. Paul McCartney said that if abattoirs had glass walls, no one would eat meat. There are good arguments that suggest that abattoir workers are not well people. I may have another hub coming on this whole subject.


Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 3 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

There's a study out there somewhere -- several years ago -- that suggested that some abattoir workers become so desensitized that they are prone to commit certain types of brutal crimes. Yes, it's all so confusing to children. How are they supposed to understand that we love and treat our dogs and cats with tender loving care, yet murder little calves and lambs? My little brother had a darling pet hen named Buffy. She followed him everywhere and they were constant companions for about a year. Then one Sunday she was served for lunch and the adults had a little chuckle over the situation. Horrible!


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 3 years ago from Wales, UK Author

My mother-in-law became vegetarian after being served up for lunch her pet chicken. Here in Wales UK, a man abducted a little girl and then murdered her, just recently. He worked in an abattoir. I do wonder how long it will take for humanity to wake up to the fact that humans could behave as keepers of the animal kingdom, rather than as their abusers. Part of the problem is re-educating people's mindsets about not eating meat. People fear change, I guess.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 22 months ago from Home Sweet Home

i don't eat meat that often, if we had meat for a week, the rest 3 weeks no meat until we go for grocery shopping again


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 22 months ago from Wales, UK Author

peachpurple, that sounds like a good example of moderation... Thanks for visiting

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