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.
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.
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.
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.
Movie on DVD
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.
The Holy Word
Vegetarians Throughout History
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)?
Grain Based Meal
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.
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?
- Women's Rights and Religion. Religion affects every aspect of our lives. Are women (and animals) being treated fairly, morally?
- Unhealthy Sugar. Why is sugar so bad for us? Doesn't it give us energy? Why do we love it so much if it's bad for us? Get the facts.
- Becoming Vegetarian Among Meat Eaters. Learn how anyone can become vegetarian in a meat-eating society. Learn how to cope while changing your diet.
- Recipes for Healthy Packed Lunches
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