- Food and Cooking
Why You Should Become A Vegetarian?
What is vegetarianism?
There are many classifications of vegetarianism. For the purpose of this article, let "vegetarianism" be interpreted as “eating meatless”. I shall discuss in three separate issues, namely, health, environmental and spiritual.
Health Issue On Vegetarianism
Vegetarian diets have less saturated fats and cholesterol. Research has shown that vegetarians have a 24% lower risk of dying from heart disease, and in fact can reverse heart problems. Red meats and processed meats have been associated with causing colorectal cancer. Meats have a high risk of containing toxic substances such as hormones, herbicides and even pesticides and antibiotics. This is because these toxins are mostly fat-soluble and are inside the fatty flesh of the animals. Apart from these toxins, there are also the risks of contamination of dangerous parasites in the meats.
Vegetarians generally tend to have a lower body mass index than meat eaters. Body mass index (BMI) is the measure of the amount of body fat. This means vegetarians are generally less obese than meat eaters. This is because vegetarian diets are high in fiber-rich and low-energy foods. The high nutrients in fruits and vegetables strengthen the immune system and slow down the aging process. Vegetarians also have a better chance of living a longer life than meat eaters.
To live healthy, should be the top priority of each individual. But many are indifferent or not aware that eating meat can contribute to health issue at a later stage in life.
Environmental Issue On Vegetarianism
According to a published report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the major culprit causing the greenhouse effect is the large-scale commercial livestock industry. It is found that the livestock industry generates more greenhouse gas emissions than the transport industry. Most of harmful gas comes from the carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide gases generated by animal manure.
Large-scale livestock farming is also a major source of land and water degradation. The livestock farming uses 30% of earth’s total land surface, turning it into permanent pasture land and land used to producing feed for the livestock. In Latin America, 70% of former forest in the Amazon has been turned into grazing land for livestock rearing and grazing.
The livestock industry is considered the most damaging sector to earth’s environment. The major pollutants are animal wastes, antibiotics, hormones, chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides for feed crops. There are also widespread overgrazing causing overuse of water to sustain the livestock.
This is simple economics. It all boils down to supply and demand. If there is less demand for meat, there will be less livestock activities. That simple.
Spiritual Issue On Vegetarianism
Spiritual issue here encompasses both religious and moral issues. In Asian religions, there are many which require a vegetarian diet. Millions of religious people in India and most parts of Asia are vegetarians. The main reason for this practice is not to be part of the process of killing animals for meat. It is compassion for all living beings, including animals.
Actually eating meat and killing animals are two separate issues. But many fail to understand this or disagree with this explanation. Technically, eating meat is simply eating “dead” meat. The person who eats the meat most probably did not kill the animal himself. Therefore, strictly speaking he does not commit the act of killing. There is this group of religious people who still eat meat because of this reasoning. However, if we reason on the moral issue, then it is another matter.
On moral ground, many have also chosen to be vegetarians. They view that eating meat is being part of the process cycle of killing animals for food. Although they do not personally kill the animals, they feel that they bear some responsibilities for the animals to be killed for food. They are part of the chain, causing animals to be slaughtered for food. Apart from that they view that a lot of animals are being abused and tortured in the process of livestock farming. On this moral ground they have good reasons to be vegetarians.
Have you ever thought of going for a compromise? Initially my intention was to stop eating animal meat, and only eat seafood. My personal opinion is that catching seafood is not as brutal as killing animals. However, since I have committed myself on a spiritual path of my choice, I have decided that eventually I shall be a complete vegetarian. Presently, I have cut down on animal meat and have stopped eating beef and mutton.
Well, the choice is yours to decide.
Have you ever wondered why most of us are so crazy over eating meat? Have you ever considered that we were conditioned from childhood to love eating meat? My take is this : "You never miss if you never know!" Had you not been given meat, would you miss eating meat? Do you miss taking drugs? No. This is because you have not been given drugs. So you are not addicted to drugs.
The children from vegetarian families have no problem becoming vegetarians simply because they have not been given meat to eat. "You never miss if you never know!"