Many people regard my diet as somewhat strange, but that is only true when viewed from a narrow Western perspective. Most of the planet eat a simple, wholesome diet of rice, vegetables and fruits, sometimes with fish or meat. I don't eat dead animals because it is no longer necessary for survival; we can feed ourselves in other ways.
I'm not interested in trying to stop people eating meat; it is a choice you must make of your own accord, if you think it's right for you. (These pages provide information useful to veg*ans and meat-eaters alike, so please don't be put off by my initially militant stance ;-)
There is evidence to suggest that cancer of the large bowel may be linked to diet. It is thought that a diet that is high in animal fat and protein, and low in fibre (fruit and vegetables), may increase the risk of developing cancer of the bowel.
"Men who eat red meat as a main dish five or more times a week have four times the risk of colon cancer of men who eat red meat less than once a month." Heavy-red-meat eaters were also twice as likely to get prostate cancer in his study of 50,000 male health professionals.
- Edward Giovannucci of Harvard Medical School
There are many other dangers from eating meat, such as Foot & Mouth, BSE, vCJD, E. coli and antibiotics in cattle (cloned or otherwise), not to mention the appalling hygiene and conditions that livestock are kept in nowadays which spread the human-threatening avian 'flu and SARS outbreaks. Also, poultry carry Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria, which can cause food-poisoning; one in twenty fresh chicken in supermarkets are infected with the vomit-inducing Salmonella bacteria. Marine toxins in fish and shellfish (which are not destroyed by cooking) can cause severe poisoning and even death, and consumption of raw shellfish has caused infection with Vibrio vulnificus. The PCBs found in farmed salmon are carcinogenic, and our overconsumption of cod has decimated the fish stocks, despite warnings.
In contrast to plant-based foods, meat and livestock production use more resources than the planet can sustain, and contributes to world hunger. Eating meat tends to make you more aggressive, competitive, argumentative; whereas plants will make you more passive, co-operative, negotiable. Watching cows being slaughtered is a terrifying, violent experience, completely the opposite from seeing crops being harvested.
There are many books written about diet; for a good one, try "Food Combining and Digestion" by Steve 'Sproutman' Meyerowitz. Here's some interesting thoughts from his often humorous interview with the questionably-named 'Swami Sproutananda' ;-)
We do not wish to kill any conscious beings. That is violence and violence makes the world a harsh place. Go to a zoo. Look at the animals. The carnivores are prowling and growling. They are restless and angry. Now look at the sheep, the cows, the horses and elephants. They sit in peace and eat from your hand.
As soon as you kill something it decays. Decaying matter creates poisons in your body. You have to work hard to counteract these poisons. Flesh also takes more time to digest. By the time you spend the energy to digest meat and counteract the poisons, you have spent more energy than you have gained from it. But a vegetable is easy to digest. When you eat vegetables and fruits, you are eating matter that is still alive. The cells contain live matter that you can transfer to your cells. Some people say "you're killing the vegetables." But it is not the same. The vegetable kingdom is here to serve us. When you pick a fruit, the tree remains unharmed and ready to give more. When you harvest beans, some seed falls back into the ground and within 90 days, you have more beans. You can eat half a potato, put the other half back in the ground and get more potatoes. Try that with an animal and tell me what you get.
Those who abstained from meat were originally called Pythagoreans until 1847 when the word vegetarian came into being. Some famous vegetarians include Pythagoras, Franz Kafka, Leo Tolstoy, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, St Francis of Assisi, Socrates, Plato, Plutarch, Kim Basinger, Yasmin Le Bon, Nastassja Kinski, Joanna Lumley, Doris Day, Richard Gere, Dustin Hoffman, Steve Martin, Steve Jobs, Ted Danson, Leonard Nimoy, Yehudi Menuhin, John & Yoko Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison (i.e., all of the Beatles), Gladys Knight, and Annie Lennox, and famous vegans include Chrissie Hynde, Prince, dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah, Lindsay Wagner (aka The Bionic Woman) and Martin Shaw (of The Professionals ;-). (So don't eat animals if you want to be a scientist, writer, singer or crime fighter :-)
I am not a
Vegan, as I wear leather
shoes and wool jumpers.
I am a Vulcan. I am living proof that "There are always other possibilities."
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© copyright Malcolm Smith 2002-04-10 - last updated 2004-02-03 - links verified 2004-02-01