Myths and Truths about Vegetarianism – For Earth, for Animals, for Yourself FAQ#1 Vegetarian=vegan, it’s too difficult I cannot do it. One of the major problems of people changing to vegetarian diets is that they have no idea how to do it. The first image that pops into many people’s heads when they hear the term “vegetarian” is green vegetables. This is wrong. Vegetarians do not just survive by munching on salads and raw, green vegetables. It would be surprising to see anyone eating a diet like that without being miserable. Vegetarians can eat pizza, delicious snacks that are breaded and deep fried, they can drink beer, eat big lasagnas, stuffed peppers, fries, chocolate cake, ice cream, and so much more. If you think about it, most food does not have meat in it. Also, there are many types of vegetarians. You can start just by avoiding the meat of mammals. That’s not very hard is it? FAQ#2 A vegetarian diet does not provide enough nutrition That would make it difficult to explain why studies show that vegetarians live longer than non-vegetarians. Even vegans have no problem getting enough nutrition if they eat balanced diets. Some people are concerned that if they become vegetarians, they will miss out on key nutrients, such as vitamin b12. It’s important to know that vitamin b12 is not even made by animals, it’s made from bacteria. The main reason some people have vitamin b12 deficiencies is because their food is too clean. Some freshly farmed vegetables, yeast, seaweed, dairy, or eggs should fix that. It is also important to note that humans need an extremely miniscule amount of vitamin b12 and that it can be stored in the body for up to 30 years. What about protein? People need to eat meat in order to get protein and stay strong, right? Wrong. Plenty of champion bodybuilders and professional athletes have vegetarian diets and get more than enough protein. Try going up to a gorilla and asking it what it’s like to be a wimpy vegetarian. Perhaps a bull would be better at answering that question. Don’t forget to buy life insurance. Protein does not need to come from animals, and animal protein is actually known to promote certain cancers in humans. So where does this myth of vegetarian diets not being nutritious enough come from? Well, the myth comes from a small group of people with irresponsible eating habits. Plenty of people become vegetarians by simply removing the meat from their diets without replacing it with other foods. This is not vegetarianism; this is what I like to call starvatarianism. People who want to change the foods they eat should change the foods they eat, not just eliminate them and starve. Here is a great example: An average person in a Western country may go out to dinner at a restaurant and order a salad and a steak. A person who has just chosen to become a vegetarian might just eat the salad and skip the steak. Do you see any problem with this scenario? A real vegetarian would order a full meal, like a plate of deep fried samosas, a spicy soup, a tall glass of beer, and some chocolate pie for dessert. Any person who eats irresponsibly or starves themselves will have health problems. Vegetarians who choose to eat bad diets or starve themselves should not blame vegetarianism for their problems. People who eat meat can also eat irresponsibly. Think of all the people who eat fast food on a daily basis, binge on sweets, or choose to be bulimic. Should they blame all of their problems on the fact that they happen to eat meat? Although a significant number of serious diseases actually do come from too much meat consumption, letting these people blame all of their health problems on meat would be unfair and would not make sense. Meat does not force people to binge on snack foods, just as vegetarian diets do not force people to starve themselves into a skinny and weak state. Let’s move away from a small group of people in Western countries choosing to be starvatarians, and move to a place where vegetarianism is common. A 2006 survey done by the Hindu newspaper revealed that 40 percent of India’s population, which calculates to nearly 400 million people, is vegetarian. That’s more vegetarians than there are people in the entire United States. Some believe that if Indians’ strict definition for vegetarianism was changed to a more lenient Western definition, most of India’s population would be considered vegetarian. That’s an extremely large population to grow with so little meat. So to those who tell horror stories of mothers having problems giving birth or breast feeding their babies due to vegetarian diets; please go to India and ask if you can help them with their small population problem. (2011 India Population Estimate: 1.21 BILLION) FAQ#3 We are designed to eat meat Quite the opposite, most of our biological traits are designed for vegetarian diets. Humans are primates like chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Chimpanzees, who have been seen to hunt meat on occasion, are actually still about 98% vegetarian and most of the meat they do eat comes from termites. Humans can eat meat, but we usually destroy it by cooking it and covering it in some kind of plant based sauces or seasonings in order to make it edible. This has gotten humans through times of famine and ice ages. It is a wonderful ability, but should not be done often if one wants to maintain optimal health. Some people are quick to mention that humans have canine teeth and that this is proof that humans are made to eat meat. But canine teeth have nothing to do with eating meat unless they are the kind that are designed for shearing meat, like those in the mouths of many carnivores. Canine teeth are mainly for holding food in place, or for fighting. Many mostly vegetarian animals have much larger canine teeth than canines themselves. Look at the huge canine teeth on monkeys and hippos. Even horses have canines. Human canine teeth are very different from the canine teeth of meat eaters. Our canines are not designed for meat eating and actually match the kind that herbivores have. This means that our canine teeth are proof we should be mostly vegetarian. Just because they are called “canine teeth” and animals referred to as canines mostly eat meat does not mean that they are for meat eating. Similarly, if a person has a “widow’s peak” it does not necessarily mean that they are a woman whose husband has died. It is just a silly name. Most people watching this documentary also have “Achilles tendons”. That does not mean that you are an ancient mythical hero of the Trojan War. Again, it is just a silly name for a body part. We are only just getting started. Let’s go through some facts compiled by Milton Mills, M.D. to learn why humans are biologically built to be mostly vegetarian. This may be shocking to some. Carnivores, Omnivores, Herbivores, Humans
Facial muscles, Jaw type, Jaw joint location, Jaw motion
Major jaw muscles, Mouth opening vs. head size, Incisor teeth, Canine teeth, Teeth: Molars, Chewing, Saliva, Stomach acidity with food in stomach, Length of small intestine, Colon, Liver, Kidney, Nails Also, Meat-eaters: typically have very few sweat glands, such as only in the paws. Herbivores and humans: often have sweat glands throughout the surface of the bodies Why go vegetarian? (1 For the Environment) Do it for the Enviroment. A UN report released in 2006 showed that farming produces more greenhouse gas than cars when measured in their CO2 equivalent. Cutting down on, or excluding meat from our diets can also solve world hunger by effectively using land and resources. It takes up to 16 pounds of grain just to produce one pound of meat. Imagine going straight to the food source and getting 16 times the food. 2 For Animals Killing is one of the worst possible cruelties. A 2008 article by Gowri Koneswaran and Danielle Nierenberg in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal mentions that 56 billion land animals are reared and slaughtered for human consumption annually Why do farm animals deserve 10,000 holocausts every year? Why do they deserve to be raised and slaughtered in the nightmarish conditions of factory farms? Let’s start a counter to watch the rate that animals around the world die from the meat, dairy and egg industries. The counter will start at zero and increase at the rate animals being killed. (a counter from sfvegan.org) (3 For Yourself) Do it for Yourself The China Study shows that people who eat vegan diets and avoid animal products like meat, fish, eggs, and milk will lower the chance of getting or even reverse the development of chronic diseases. Several major religions promote vegetarianism as a way to aid mental health. Being vegetarian promotes non-violence and the Buddha believed that great compassion cannot coexist with the eating of meat. Scientific evidence also backs up the Buddha’s belief. An international survey conducted by more than 10 scientists between 2007 to 2008 also shows the correlations between compassion for animals and compassion for other humans. The survey asked people about human rights issues and animal rights issues It appears more than once that people do not care much about animal rights issues also do not care much about human rights issues. (for details please see book Origins of Attitudes towards Animals) Many of us have heard about the correlation between serial killers and their cruelty to animals when they were younger. An Australian police study showed that 100 percent of sexual homicide offenders examined had a history of animal cruelty. Still not convinced? If you think becoming a vegetarian will make you weak and ill, please read about Mac Danzig; The Ultimate Fighter 6 winner, UFC fighter, former lightweight champion for the Gladiator Challenge and King of the Cage, and a strict vegan. Dave Scott; Ironman Triathlon World Champion, and oh yeah, the first person to win it 6 times. He is also a vegan. Mike Mahler; a vegan and a strength trainer of former UFC light heavyweight champion, Frank Shamrock. Bill Pearl; a 4-time Mr. Universe winner, winner of Mr. USA, winner of many other awards, and a vegetarian. There are heaps of top level athletes with vegetarian diets. Seeing that it is such a healthy choice, this is no surprise. If you think vegetarianism isn’t a smart idea, do some reading about Nikola Tesla Albert Einstein And Leonardo DaVinci. They were all vegetarians Conclusion Humans are capable of being omnivores, which is great because it helps us survive extreme situations such as famines and ice ages; however we are almost entirely designed for vegetarian diets. Being a vegetarian has been proven to be healthier than eating meat. It’s very easy to be a vegetarian! Imagine being able to eat many delicious, cheap, low calorie meals. Forget eating small, high calorie, intestine clogging servings of expensive meat which can make you feel too guilty to eat more out of fear of gaining weight. Keep a happy, healthy, full stomach and keep away from the doctor. Here is something everyone can do to make a difference 1. Start a balanced vegetarian diet – you can start by searching for recipes 2. Share the information in this film with others October is World Vegetarian Awareness Month! Other important dates this month include:
First of October: World Vegetarian Day; Second of October: World Farm Animal Day;
Fourth of October: World Animal Day