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Vegetarian or Meat-Eater: Proper Nourishment & the Ethical Dilemma

Updated on May 17, 2014

There are many misconceptions and untruths out there about diet, health, and nutrition. There seems to be an unending cornucopia of supplements, nutritional advice from myriad viewpoints, and abundant food choices; yet there are many people in the West that are obese, malnourished, and plagued by countless diseases of the body and mind. Our food choices affect not only ourselves, but more importantly the world that we live in and share with countless forms of life. We are animals to a certain extent, but inhabited by a consciousness that gives us a choice to choose what we eat. What we eat plays a major role as to the health of our bodies and minds, and not consuming the necessary nutrients in our diet can lead to a host of problems.

Proper nutrition means going back to the basics. It’s a fundamental truth that your body will be properly nourished on the foods that your ancestors consumed; this is your genetic predisposition. Essentially what your body has become accustomed to breaking down, and utilizing for energy and support of your bodily systems for thousands of years. Your blood type also says a lot about what you might choose to eat. If you are a Type O, then this is the oldest blood type and the ancestry of this bloodline was purportedly hunter-and-gatherers. This means that they ate meat, berries, roots, and nuts as the staple of their diet, and the regions that they evolved and lived in were a factor in their food choices. The concept of a diet based on blood type originated with Dr. Peter D'Adamo and his book "Eat Right 4 Your Type."

The ethical dilemma in our diet is whether we choose to eat meat or be vegetarian, thereby reducing the suffering of animals and devastation of the world that we live in. This is a loaded subject for understandable reasons, and your food choices also branch out into the ethical world of spirituality where many traditions consider eating meat a sin. This quote from world-renowned yoga instructor Ana Forrest, during an interview for the Yoga Journal magazine, is an example of someone who cannot tolerate a vegetarian diet: “I’m so not a vegetarian anymore! Pretty much everything that you eat as a veggie I am allergic to. My real loyalty is to the truth, and the truth is that I prosper on meat. When I was healing from bulimia, I would pray over my food and still do. Whether it was a piece of broccoli or a deer, I give thanks that it has given its life so that I could live. ” She’s allergic to most grains, nuts and soybeans, and if a person is sick and wasting away from malnourishment trying to be a vegan or vegetarian, then that would seem much worse than eating meat with mindfulness. Eating meat with mindfulness means choosing animal products from sources that are cage-free, organic and ethically raised, free of antibiotics and steroids in their diet. You can also say a prayer before you eat meat, or any meal for that matter, and offer thanks and gratitude for this animal/souls journey so that you could prosper.

We do have the choice to choose what we eat, but choosing a vegetarian diet and not eating properly can have dire health consequences. Some people simply cannot eat and/or are allergic to certain grains, beans, and nuts; this limits their food choices. For the spiritual enthusiasts that are vegetarian because of an ethical problem with eating animal products, but are unhealthy and lack vital energy, even the Dalai Lama has revealed that he eats meat every other day for health reasons. Additionally, the Buddha was reported to be a meat-eater, and one story states that he died from eating a piece of bad pork!

So do not be hard on yourself if you follow a spiritual path and need to eat meat and/or animal products to sustain your body and mind. If vegetarianism doesn’t agree with your individual constitution, then do the best you can to bless the food that you eat, and choose wisely where the meat/animal product was farmed and produced.


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      8 years ago

      I agree wholeheartedly with BB that we need to become "conscious" of how we're letting the idea of others influence us. Following that trajectory of reasoning, it is self-apparent that all one can actually rely on is one's own experience. Four years ago, when I went to a well renown MD in San Francisco, I was so malnourished that my body systems where beginning to fail me. I had been a vegetarian for 15 years and I can say I did indeed thrive on that diet for about 8 of those years. The last 7 were very taxing. My doctor looked me squarely in the eyes and told me if I really wanted to get to where I said I wanted to go with my health (i.e. not die) I was going to have to eat meat again. I fought him at first and then I had distinct experience that he was offering me the medicine my body needed. I agreed to do as he suggested. Since then, my body has indeed taken huge leaps in healing from my consumption of MEAT MEDICINE, bone broths, and raw dairy. I truly respect, and oftentimes envy, those of you who have body types (energy systems) who can THRIVE on a vegetarian diet. I know there are indeed some of you out there! And some of you can even thrive on a raw diet - fantastic! I, however, have had to grapple with needing to eat meat for my own health. I have, as a result, been forced to develop an entirely new relationships with these animals. Consuming another living being is not to be taken lightly - reverence takes deep consideration - and as a vegetarian it was not required at this same level. I am very grateful for this medicine - and maybe one day my body will be able to do without it. So, to those of you who don't understand how us meat-eaters can be so blind as to not see that there is another way- please do not be so blind as to discount the true experience of another. In full support of Storke....


    • storke profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Santa Cruz, California

      I appreciate the views, comments, and opinions expressed, however I would like to clarify a few things about this article.

      I based my viewpoint on personal experience and the study of nutrition over a 20 year period. I have also tried to the best of my ability to be a vegetarian many times, and being that I know how to cook and my brother is a nutritionist and whole foods chef, I have tried most foods under the sun from a veggie-based diet. And I didn’t base this article on one yoga teacher’s quote, but the fact that many people, including myself, are allergic to wheat, other grains, and especially soy products. I cannot digest lentils, grains, nuts, and especially soy well, and being that I’m an athlete, 6’4” with a high metabolism, there aren’t many other sources of protein besides dairy products, eggs, and what little you find in the vegetable kingdom. And please, saying that you can get nutrients from fortified cereal that has been heated to the point to be the equivalent of cardboard and enriched with vitamins and minerals that are basically dead matter is complete ignorance to the subject of nutrition.

      Can some people tolerate a vegetarian diet? Absolutely. But some people’s physical needs are such that a meat based diet is the only way to stay alive and healthy. One example is the Dalai Lama. He admittedly eats meat every other day because supposedly he is anemic. Furthermore, genetically our bodies have been breaking down and digesting animal products for thousands of years, especially those with Type O blood, which is more than half of the planets population. And to drastically change the diet to vegetarian can be detrimental to some people’s health. And this is not a tradition as much as a fact of what our bodies have been utilizing as fuel since time immemorial.

      My ethical stance on this subject is that I whole-heartedly agree with the fact that animals should not be mistreated, suffer, and be slaughtered for their flesh and by products. I do the best I can to buy meat and dairy products from ethical sources if they truly exist, and also to pray at each meal for not only the animal’s spirit, but that of all the living matter that I consume.

      We are only the judge and jury of ourselves, and we all do the best we can for the level of awareness that we are at. I. So I will say again, for those that have health issues and cannot digest and/or tolerate a vegetarian diet, consuming animal products to stay healthy or rehabilitate doesn’t mean that you should feel guilty about your food choices or are a ‘bad’ person. Judgment is a form of violence in itself, so for those who felt that a personal attack was necessary to prove your point about vegetarianism, I suggest a less condescending and compassionate approach.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Eating what our ancestors ate kind of makes no sense because, first off they didn't have factory farms and the killing wasn't so brutal and industrial; therefore it was more acceptable. And as humans; completely animal with a few extras, we evolve, so sticking with old ways isn't the best for our existance. Like stopping slavery and things like that. We're mindless killers eating everything and anything and we don't care what we have to do to get it. Our "consiousness" is what's killing us. Being able to do what we want and move freely in one of our weaknesses. We need to evolve and change our destructive way or were going to have a horrible ending and bring everything else down with us. Everyone is stuck in this mindset that traditions must be followed because it must be right if we've been doing it for ever and everyone else is doing. Typical human behavior from what I've observed during my life. We're afraid of change and the cosequences but its not going kill us, staying the same will. We need to become "conscious" of how we're LETTING the idea of others influence us. We need to think for ourselves as an individual person and take it from there and try to help others.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I would like to suggest that this is a little simplistic; even with pretty severe food allergies, with a little planning, almost anyone can do better than cage free animal slaughter.

      You must plan out your vegetarian diet - animal foods contain many vital nutrients that must be replaced. A **well planned** vegetarian diet is one of the greatest things you can do for your physical and mental well-being (and sensual enjoyment).

      Case in point - I am a vegetarian (dairy, no eggs, no onions, no garlic, no mushrooms) with celiac (no gluten/wheat/etc) and limited soy tolerance. Though a majority of "vegetarian food" is outside of my diet, my diet is delicious, convenient, and nourishes me in abundance of all nutritional guidelines...and I learned how to cook.

      Seriously, it's pretty easy if you do your homework.

    • storke profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Santa Cruz, California

      Thanks create a page! I'm honored to share what I've learned and that others are enjoying the writings.

    • create a page profile image

      create a page 

      9 years ago from Maryland, USA

      Storke I really enjoyed reading this hub. I am a nutrition enthusiast and I am impressed with your unbiased approach here.

      I never heard the theory of Blood type O being the oldest, and that it determines what we eat. You have inspired me to want to research on that.

      We might have a different approach to spirituality, but we both agree that the food we choose to consume can either make us healthy or unhealthy. Thanks again for a hub well written. By the way your photo of the cat with the vegetarian meal is cute.

      I look forward to reading other hubs of yours.


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