Vegetarianism

Monica Roberts
Monica Roberts

Vegetarianism Diet

Vegetarianism is a deliberate vegetable-eating diet of people who do not eat meat. This means not fish or chicken, or, as I like to explain it, nothing with eyes. It extends even farther than that to not eating products that contain something of animals, like lard, broths, marshmallows, most gelatins, and gummy candies that are made from rendered animal parts.

It's Growing!

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Grass Roots Movement

Vegetarianism is really a grass roots movement. It is a movement! We know it's a movement because it is growing. It has only been in recent years that we have seen faux meat and dairy products in our stores. Stores sell the things that customers want to buy. This growing movement is because people have begun to realize the health benefits of not eating meat.

Money Talks

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The Politics of What We Eat

There is no corporate or federal $$$ going into the promotion of healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Why is it that we can buy a hamburger that is very resource intense and should be expensive for only a $1, and the cost of a ½ pint of raspberries is $4? There is plenty of money subsidizing the meat and dairy industries. “The way we eat and the way we die is determined by politics.” Michael Anderson, DVD Eating, 2nd Edition

“These Dairymen are organized; they’re adamant; they’re militant; they’re massing an enormous amount of money that they’re going to put into political activists.” John Connally, (then, Secretary of the Treasury) to President Nixon in The Watergate Tapes, USDA Recommendations

Why don’t all of the popular diet programs, Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, denounce high calorie, fatty, animal products? Industry wrath! Look at what happened to Oprah Winfrey when she said on public television that she would never eat meat again. She was sued by the meat industry.

Healthy Meat

Most Americans still believe that eating meat is healthy. The diseases Americans are dying from today didn’t exist, except among the wealthy, when we were not eating so many animal products. Meat would generally be used as a flavoring, and still is in poorer parts of the world.

Through our schools, we have been taught the importance of eating meat. The dairy industry, for instance, pays teachers to conduct credited courses on nutrition in college, continuing education classes for teachers.

Like most Americans, I grew up thinking that meat needed to be part of every meal. My sister and I would think it was horrible when my mother would serve us a meal without meat, as she occasionally did.

Caveman

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Human History

I have heard and read conflicting information about the introduction of meat into human diets. There are people who believe that man has always eaten meat, in spite of the fact that our bodies don’t indicate that at all.

The Caveman is frequently brought up when anyone discusses man’s meat eating history. Yes, the Caveman ate meat. There is no evidence that I am aware of that shows how much he ate, or that he died from the diseases we die from today. (The surge in heart disease and cancer has been directly related to the eating of meat.) If the Cavemen ate enough meat to cause disease, we wouldn’t know because of his hard life: he didn’t live long enough to die from disease.

Humans living at this time in history couldn't go to the supermarket. They moved from a warm to a cold climate. Winter meant they could not pick food off the trees or brush. So, to survive, they ate whatever they could. They observed some animals surviving from eating meat and decided to try it.

Religious Excuse for Eating Meat

The religious excuse for eating meat goes like this, “God put animals on this earth for us to eat.” It is not hard to believe this is true if you believe in the God or Allah. After all, God and Allah tell us to slay our children, sacrifice them to God, and to sell our daughters into slavery. It is right in the Bible and the Koran. So, ‘animals for us to eat’ doesn’t sound so out of character.

However, there is also some historical evidence (Famous Vegetarians by Rynn Berry) that the clan in which Jesus was raised, the Nazoreans (Nazarenes), was strict vegetarian (vegan). His mother, Miriam (Mary) was a Nazorean-vegetarian who drank no wine, or strong drink, nor ate animal food. Why did God choose her to be the mother of his son if he wanted people to eat animals as a normal way of life (not in times of starvation)?

Vegetarianism

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Grain Based Meal

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B-12

Healthy Vegetarians

There are plenty of unhealthy vegetarians. These would be vegetarians who don’t eat animal products, but eat only cooked foods, processed foods, and lots of fat. It is easy to be a fat vegetarian, even a fat vegan. After all, potato chips, soy frozen treats, high fructose corn syrup, sodas, many breads and pastas, and some pastries are vegan. It is even possible to be a raw vegan and be fat, eating lots of fruits, dried fruits, dehydrated foods, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Healthy vegetarians should eat a well balanced diet to be healthy. All vegetables contain protein, but beans, nuts, seeds, and sprouts especially do. A good way to get enough calcium is to include in your weekly diet almonds, broccoli, oranges, and/or beans. For minerals, salads should be eaten daily including dark greens like broccoli, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, and collard greens. Orange colored vegetables are also important: carrots, cantaloupe, apricots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or squash. In fact, we should be eating much of this food raw, and, more vegetables than fruits.

Don’t vegetarians need to take vitamins for Vitamin B12? About every two years I buy a bottle of vitamins for some reason I read in the newspaper. I am not deficient in Vitamin B12. But, it may or may not be because of those vitamins. Let me explain.

We live in such a meat eating society that it is hard to impress upon people the importance vegans place on not eating animal products. The meat eating, mainstream American doesn’t understand this. For example, last week I was eating vegetarian, vegetable soup at Paneras when I bit into a piece of chicken. I ask you, how does a chunk of chicken get into a vegetarian vegetable soup? This was very upsetting to me but not the only time it has happened. What can we trust about our food when we walk into most American restaurants? Maybe, I have been getting my Vitamin B12 in my restaurant food. I don’t know.

Bottom Line

Vegetarianism is about eating foods our bodies are designed to eat, plant foods. It is a grass roots movement that keeps growing in spite of all of the money that meat and dairy special interest groups throw into advertising and lobbying.

Instead of worrying about vegetarian deficiencies, start worrying about fats in your food and lack of fiber causing obesity, heart attacks, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes to mention a few. Let’s start changing the things that are killing us and stop concerning ourselves about an easily met dietary requirement like Vitamin B12. Lack of B12 can be cured with a vitamin; can cancer, heart attacks, and all of the other diseases we die from be cured that easily?

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Comments 7 comments

Bryan 5 years ago

That is good "nothing with eyes." That IS a vegetarian. Unlike my ex-wife who called herself a vegetarian. She ate fish like she was a seal, covered it with cheese, and had a quiche for the next course.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

I really like this article and I stopped eating meat for about 6 years. Actually my whole family stopped eating meat until one Christmas my eldest son said he would love to try a turkey for Christmas. So we had a turkey for Christmas and have ever since along with all the other meats we now wolf every day. I also found the choice for vegetarian food here very limited and eating became very boring. It may be different where you live but being a vegetarian is a very different experience depending on where you live. There are people in the world who eat grubs and insects to maintain their bodies so though I respect your decision I am not as critical or as judgemental about people as when I was a vegetarian.

Thank you and you have got me thinking again but only if I leave my "holier than thou attitude" aside.


Beverly Stevens profile image

Beverly Stevens 5 years ago from College Station Author

Thanks for your comment, Spirit Whisperer. I can understand the limitations of being vegetarian. True, where I live now, in Houston, there are lots of options, lots of restaurants offering veg foods and lots of faux meats. Really, I eat at home mostly, and prefer to, without buying faux meats. I get plenty of variety. My son went to India and said the restaurant menues were mostly vegetarian. Too bad we do have that here in the U.S.


Robertj64 profile image

Robertj64 5 years ago from Burlington, Ontario, Canada

"However, there is also some historical evidence (Famous Vegetarians by Rynn Berry) that the clan in which Jesus was raised, the Nazoreans (Nazarenes), was strict vegetarian (vegan). His mother, Miriam (Mary) was a Nazorean-vegetarian who drank no wine, or strong drink, nor ate animal food."

There is no solid proof that this ever existed. In fact the Christians cited the Aramaic terms "Nazrat" and falsely attributed it to mean that Christ was a Nazarene. There is no solid proof that Nazareth existed in the first century. The earliest finds suggest that the area was solely used for burial grounds.

Even if there was a hint that Nazareth existed, there is no solid proof that the "Nazarenes" were vegetarians - How would one know that? How would one know that Mary was indeed one?

I agree with general philosophy of your hub that we North Americans eat far too much meat. I personally have gout and have been off red meat (beef) for about a year and a half and pork for about three months. I still do eat chicken.

It is important to point out that meat does have higher portions of proteins. If you are going off the meat diet, then you need to supplement these proteins with a healthy dose of beans or vitamin supplements.


Beverly Stevens profile image

Beverly Stevens 5 years ago from College Station Author

Berry states the same thing about Nazareth probably never existing as a place on the map. There is evidence that Nazarenes were a sect. "...the evidence of Jesus' vegetarianism is largely circumstantial, it is nonetheless compelling." Dr. Hugh Schonfield in The Passover Plot asserts that "Jesus belonged to a strict vegetarian branch of the Essenes in northern Judea--the Nazoreans." Mary, his mother, and James, his brother, and John the Baptist (see Professor Robert Eisler: The Messiah Jesus, 1931), a relative, were vegetarian. When I have talked with people who have read a lot more history than I, they tell me that there was a lot of history written during the time of Jesus life. However, the bible was written about 80 years after.

Also, all vegetables have protein. Anyone who eats needs to get a proper balance of nutrients to be healthy. My daughter (youngest of 5) who has been vegan since birth has always been my healthiest child. After 25 years on a veggie diet, I have had my blood tested and calcium density, and I have no health problems of any kind--and people always think I'm much younger than 64. I have eaten both ways in my life, and I can tell without hesitation that being totally vegetarian is a much healthier way to live, provided you eat a balanced diet.


Robertj64 profile image

Robertj64 5 years ago from Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Hi Beverly,

I agree that a vegetarian diet that is well balanced is probably more healthier than a diet laden with meat. However, there are species such as cats that require meat in their diet - they are true carnivores by nature. It would be irresponsible for a vegan, or a vegetarian to own a cat and impose their own values and lifestyles on the animal.

As far as Jesus' historicity, there are to date no sources from Jesus' time that make any mention of Jesus or any of his family members. We have no evidence that the Jesus mentioned in the bible was a member of any branch of the Essenes or the Nazoreans.

In fact, there are two historians - Philo of Alexandria and Justus of Tiberius who wrote extensively during Jesus' time. Philo makes not one reference of any Jesus that corresponds to those of the Gospel. Justus' works are now extant but we do have an early Christian on record lamenting that none of his works mention Christ.

In conclusion, not only do we not have any proof that Christ was a member of any of these sects (remember Yeshwah was a fairly common name), any proof of the actual existence of Jesus is found wanting.


Beverly Stevens profile image

Beverly Stevens 5 years ago from College Station Author

Yes, animals like cats should eat differently from how humans eat. You probably know more history than I do. I was only quoting what I have read on the topic. I have also read that there is no real evidence that Jesus (the one in the bible) actually lived--no real historical evidence. In fact, during a time when quite a few prophets, with less influence than Jesus was supposed to have, were historically recorded, why was there no mention of the biblical Jesus? Why not until 80 years later? So, this discussion about what he ate might be a mute point.

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