Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

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Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

Are you considering becoming a vegetarian? Some people cite ethical reasons for their decision; others embrace vegetarianism for health reasons. Many vegetarians believe that their dietary choices go beyond their immediate families and meal choices. Others just want a better lifestyle for their families.

Nearly all vegetarians can cite benefits to their diet of some sort. Here are some of the purported benefits of a vegetarian diet.

Economic

Meat is expensive. Replacing it with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (especially if you buy produce in season and whole grains in bulk) will save you a great deal of money. Some sources estimate the average family could save $4000 a year by replacing meat with plant-based whole foods.

Another area of economic benefit of vegetarianism is the cost of health care. A host of health problems have been associated with eating meat (heart disease, high cholesterol, etc.). Some health professionals conjecture that health care costs could be greatly reduced if more people were eating a vegetarian diet.

Health

There are all kinds of potential health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Some of the more common purported health benefits include the following:

* Cancer – A vegetarian diet is reputed to lower your risk of cancer. Breast cancer in particular has been linked to the consumption of red meat. Some of this may be due to the hormone disruption that can occur when artificial hormones, sometimes found in meat, are consumed. Or it may be due to the saturated fat content of red meat. Vegetarian diets are also said to reduce the risk of colon, skin, and prostate cancers.

* Heart disease – Animal fat consumption has been associated with increased risk of heart disease. Because a vegetarian diet is low in or devoid of animal fat, some experts say that a vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of heart disease. There have been various studies done in Europe that indicate vegetarianism reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

* Cholesterol – It has been reported that vegetarians as a group have lower cholesterol than meat eaters. This may be due in part to the high fiber content of the fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans that vegetarians consume.

* Weight – People who become vegetarians often experience weight loss. Being overweight is associated with a host of health problems, all of which would, presumably, be reduced with a loss of weight.

Environmental and Ethical

Many vegetarians are concerned for the welfare of animals and for the environment. Because forest land is often destroyed to make way for grazing beef cattle, some vegetarians refrain from eating meat to reduce the number of beef cattle and therefore the amount of deforested land. Other vegetarians consider it beneficial to save an animal’s life, and do not eat meat for this reason.

Other environmental benefits that may be components of vegetarianism include less fuel used in transporting animals and meat long distances, reduction of methane (a gas produced by cattle), and decreased erosion from feedlot lands.

 

One farmer says to me, ‘You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;‘ and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.
Henry David Thoreau

Behold I have given you herb yielding seed. To you it shall be for food.
Genesis 1:29

Be not among the winebibbers nor the riotous eaters of animal flesh.
Proverbs 20:23

Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own.
Robert Louis Stevenson

My situation is a solemn one. Life is offered to me on condition of eating beefsteaks. But death is better than cannibalism. My will contains directions for my funeral, which will be followed not by mourning coaches, but by oxen, sheep, flocks of poultry, and a small traveling aquarium of live fish, all wearing white scarfs in honor of the man who perished rather than eat his fellow creatures.
George Bernard Shaw

I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other….
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thou shalt not kill” does not apply to murder of one’s own kind only, but to all living beings; and this Commandment was inscribed in the human breast long before it was proclaimed from Sinai.
Leo Tolstoy

To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.
Mahatma Gandhi

It is far better to be happy than to have your bodies act as graveyards for animals…The unnatural eating of flesh meats is as polluting as the heathen worship of devils, with its sacrifices and its impure feasts, through participation in it a man becomes a fellow eater with devils…Those who use the most frugal fare are the strongest, the healthiest and the noblest…
“If any righteous man does not burden his soul by the eating of flesh, he has the advantage of a rational motive.

Clement of Alexandria, Saint. AD ?150-?215

The vegetarian movement ought to fill with gladness the souls of those who have at heart the realization of God’s kingdom upon earth, not because vegetarianism itself is such an important step towards the realization of this kingdom (all real steps are equally important or unimportant), but because it serves as a criterion by which we know that the pursuit of moral perfection on the part of man is genuine and sincere.
“[For] [i]f a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.

Leo Tolstoy

 


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