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Should We All Be Vegetarians?
|by Rishabh Kumar|
Most people put health & happiness on the top of their goal lists. Yet few people really understand what it takes to stay healthy. And then there are another set of people who are slaves of their tongue; who find it difficult to resist the temptations of food, sleep & illusion. They simply do not realize that if they do not take time out for ‘Fitness’ then they will be compelled to find time for ‘Illness’!
It is not my intention to write a medical or health manual, but simply to address some important issues. Want to throw some light on our myths & speculated facts.
The fat, balding Asian male was a rarity until the introduction of the fat-laden, hormone-laced, standard American diet. The hormones injected into modern foods are not on any labels – and they won’t be for a long time.
Today most of us are living on ‘instant junk’. Food is America’s biggest business. And fast-food chains’ demand have become the farmers’ command. The main concern of the major food conglomerates is profit, not health. The seeming current interest in health is nothing more than another marketing ploy. Armed with huge advertising budgets & an aggressive marketing strategy, roads into all the world’s peoples’ pockets are being made to quickly establish addictions.
I will take you through some very interesting data starting with how are lives have been commercialized!
Today many of us, specially the meat eating community have already developed immunity to antibiotics in the market. How is this?
The farm animals are held in tight confinements which results in spreading of diseases. They have no alternative but to inject them with antibiotics to arrest such happenings. With profit as a motive, it is important to ‘turn over your inventory’. Factory farms want to induce growth so they can fatten their animals up sooner & sell them. What is the solution?
Hormones! The widespread use of antibiotics, hormones & other drugs to offset disease promoting conditions as well as to boost production is prevalent. And who is the ultimate recipient of these drugs? It is any wonder our bodies are so toxic?
Ecologically, factory farms are devastating. The enormous amount of excess manure pollutes our ground, water, rivers & lakes. Water is one of the critical staples of our diet & we are allowing it to be contaminated on a daily basis.
Another result of our commercially driven society is processed foods. We have gotten into the habit of altering almost everything we eat from its original state. Refinement robs our food of almost everything that is of nutritive value. Nearly every vital element is removed, eliminated or destroyed. It is laden with salts, sugars, preservatives, flavorings & stabilizers.
It is a nutritional nightmare. Yet processed foods are the first option as they are convenient & available easily. We get our food on the table quicker & that much quicker it erodes our health.
The availability of processed & refined foods has reduced are consumption of natural sources of nutrition. Hence we must learn to read labels better & be suspicious of any food that has to be colored.
In processed foods, understanding what a process like the hydrogenation of fats (used primarily for preservation) does is important. This process adds a hydrogen molecule to the fat molecule to keep it from becoming rancid by making the fat very stable so it won’t spoil. The problem is that the body has a very difficult time breaking down such treated fats. These hydrogenated fats slows down the livers ability to excrete cholesterol, allowing cholesterol levels in the blood to rise dangerously, and thus probably playing a significant role in atherosclerotic plaques clogging the arteries.
And what about the mounds of fat poured into our processed foods? Salt is very valuable to the industry as it masks the bad odor of spoiled foods.
Another way our lives have been commercialized is the sedentary lifestyle which is a result of Technology. Our brains are overloaded with the advent of information age and our bodies too are also overloaded – with fat! The Heart is one hundred muscle and if a muscle that is not exercised ends up degenerating.
Medicine also is a result of commercialization! The sicker you are, the more money doctor makes. Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies & pharmaceutical companies depend on sick people for their livelihood. Even the insurance companies support the current system. It will reimburse an amount of $50000/- for a heart surgery but a bill of $50/- for preventive solicitation will not be covered. The incentives are all wrong as Preventive medicines do not generate a lot of money.
In medical schools; doctors are trained to treat the disease, not prevent it. Despite an overwhelming amount of literature on nutrition & how it affects us; the average doctor receives about three hours of nutritional training in four years of medical school.
Dr. Dean Ornish, assistant professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco College of Medicine & who has authored a book on reversing heart disease wrote, “I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced, vegetarian diet is considered drastic while it is medically conservative to split people’s chests open for surgery, have their veins in their legs plugged into their hearts & put them on powerful, cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives.”
Health cannot be purchased in a pharmacy. Yet today’s drug companies have infiltrated the medical profession through elaborate meetings, vacations, dinners & courses sponsored by pharmaceutical companies to win doctors’ loyalties.
Understand the Body
I am highlighting a few:
It is one hundred muscle. The heart valves are as thin as tissue paper yet they are sturdier than iron. It is instrumental in supplying oxygen to the body.
Blood cells have a natural propensity to repel one another. This allows them to flow smoothly & transport valuable oxygen to the cells. If cells don’t get oxygen, they die. When fatty foods are eaten, sludging of the blood begins within one hour. The cells become coated & loose their natural repelling ability. With the cells sticking together (clotting), the heart has to work harder. Poor circulation leads to malnourished polluted cells & as a result poor organ function.
It is an essential lubricant to life. It is a natural lubricant indigenous to the body. It forms the building blocks of the outer membrane of our cells. It is not a fat but rather a type of sterol.
Cholesterol is produced in the liver of all animals. All animal products (except egg whites) contain cholesterol. There is no cholesterol in fruits, grains, vegetables or legumes. Humans can excrete a limited amount of cholesterol (100 – 300mg per day). Because of this slow, limited excretory capability, humans run into significant problems when they eat animal products. An average of 400 – 600mg of cholesterol is being ingested in the arteries daily by consuming processed or non vegetarian products.
At rest, the stomach is about the size of a closed fist. How much can it comfortably handle? Hence two cupped hands would fill about two-thirds of your stomach. It takes twenty to thirty minutes from the time we start eating for the brain to register that the stomach is full. Imagine the amount of food that can be eaten in that time.
It is the filter organ of the body. One of the principal purposes is to detoxify the body of foreign elements. The liver of all animals is responsible for chemical detoxification. It concentrates all pollutants consumed by the animal. Therefore, it is hard to understand why someone would want to eat an animal’s filter system. The liver is responsible for almost five hundred separate functions in its role as the body’s chemical factory & filtration plant. It can be overwhelmed by the accumulation of toxic substances & when this happens, the toxins go into the bloodstream.
Alcohol is poison & very toxic to the liver. Everybody should go to an autopsy to see the liver of a person who drank water versus the scarred, contracted liver of a person who drank alcohol. You wouldn’t need a medical degree to get the message.
They are the masterpieces of biological plumbing. They remove toxic waste, filtering the body’s entire blood supply about twenty five times a day. They are the final decision makers as to what will be excreted. High protein diets are strongly associated with kidney disease, as the filtering units are destroyed by excessive exposure to protein.
As with the liver, people actually eat animals’ kidneys. Kidney stew pie is a popular dish, yet why would anyone want to eat an animal’s urine sac?
Exercise also plays a major role in strengthening the immune system. The lymphatic system (where the white cells reside) has thousands of miles of lymph vessels that parallel your circulatory system. The flow of the lymph fluids depends on the contraction of many muscles to push it through one-way valves. Exercise get the lymph flowing thus seconding the immune system.
A team of researchers in Heidelberg, Germany, began a study on the immune system in 1978. They found that the white blood cells of vegetarians had more than double the ability of their non-vegetarian counterparts to destroy cancer cells (Vegetarian Times, October 1991, Dr. Neal Barnard).
Toxins are eliminated through your lower intestine, bladder, lungs & skin. One third of our toxins are released through our skin. Yet twenty-three billion dollars a year are spent in the US alone on skin care lotions, many of which clog the pores & force the toxins back into the body.
How do I get my protein?
The greatest myth propagated was that the body was best served by getting a ‘complete protein’. Meat contains all the essential amino acids, so people were duped into thinking this was the way to eat. It is important to realize, however, that the body cannot use pure protein such as meat, chicken, poultry & fish directly. The protein has to be broken down. This extra step is not only taxing & aging to the body, but it is also unnecessary.
A lot believe that what about protein if they don’t eat meat? Let us dispel this myth.
There is no need of pure protein but rather a requirement of amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. And every amino acid you need is in fruits, vegetables & grains. Plant foods contain the same eight essential amino acids found in animal foods; they’re just in differing amounts. So if you are eating a diet based on whole plant foods & are getting your minimum number of calories, there is simply no way you can be lacking in protein. People don’t die of protein deficiency; they die of malnutrition.
Another myth to dispel is that protein builds bigger muscles.
If we put our common sense hat on for a moment, we can see how ridiculous this myth is. Saying that animal’s muscle will improve your muscle mass is like saying that consuming their brains will add to your intelligence! You will get bigger, stronger muscles by exercising, not eating. Yet many people feel that reducing their consumption of animal based protein will compromise their health & make them weaker.
Several well known bodybuilders will help shatter this myth. The best known vegetarian bodybuilders are Bill Pearl (Mr. America, Mr. USA, and four times Mr. Universe - http://ksteveh.tripod.com/pearl.html), Andreas Cahling (IFBB Mr. International) & Hercules Steve Reeves (Mr. America, Mr. World and Mr. Universe) – google them.
In addition to strength, some people still think that protein gives energy. Protein does not produce energy – it uses it. Only as a last resort is protein used as energy resource. The body prefers carbohydrates & fats for its fuel. Animal protein carries with it a very hefty price tag – artery clogging saturated fat & cholesterol.
Another myth is that animal foods have protein of superior quality. Well the quality of protein in plants is enough to grow a horse, an elephant or a hippopotamus; so why bother!
Excess protein results in the enlargement of the kidneys & the liver. It also results in an overload on the immune system. When the body breaks down pure protein down from the flesh, a powerful toxic material called uric acid is ultimately released. Unlike carnivores & omnivores, humans don’t have the enzyme uricase to break flesh protein down. Uric acid is one of the reasons meat eaters have stronger body odors.
Also, a diet with concentrated protein causes calcium to be leached from bones. The sulphur-containing amino acids in protein have to be neutralized with calcium. Calcium is a chaser. And most of our calcium is in are bones; approximately 98%. It is interesting to note the high incidence of osteoporosis in protein-consuming societies. Excess protein is converted to fat & sugar & then stored. Therefore excess protein builds fatter bodies, not bigger muscles.
Even on a vegan diet (no meat, fish, poultry, eggs or dairy products) one gets twice the amount of required protein!
Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis is a former American track & field athlete who won 10 Olympic medals including 9 gold, and 10World Championship medals, of which 8 were gold. Carl Lewis stated that “I've found that a person does not need protein from meat to be a successful athlete. In fact, my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet. Moreover, by continuing to eat a vegan diet, my weight is under control, I like the way I look.”
Dave Scott, six time winner of the IronMan Triathlon is undisputedly one of today’s greatest triathletes. He is vegetarian.
Edwin Moses, an Olympic Gold Medalist, went eight years without ever being defeated in the 400 meter hurdles. He is also a vegetarian.
A lot of misinformation has resulted in an obsession with protein!
If you spend the first half of your life giving money to the meat industry then you will most likely spend the second half of your life giving money to the medical industry.
People eat meat because their taste buds crave it, it is convenient, or it is a habit. However, with all the information we have, the only reason someone would continue to eat meat is because of an indifference to personal health, to the suffering of animals & to the environmental destruction caused by the meat industry.
Hamburger & the Hot Dog:
The power of advertising & what it does to us is truly amazing. For instance, if we were to see a mangled human body on the side of the road, our stomachs would be upset. Yet we can put a mangled cow body in between two slices of bread & our mouths water.
What makes the hamburger or hotdog such a risk is that bits & pieces of many cows go into it. Anything goes in it – the list includes guts & their secretions, organs, entrails, blood clots, toenails, scraps, intestinal matter & abscesses plus a generous helping of antibiotics, hormones & insecticides.
It takes a long time for the consequences of meat eating to catch up with you – but when it does, it is traumatic! How many young children have lost their parents due to hearts attack or cancer, simply because they couldn’t control their cravings for meat?
Ironically, the very animals being killed for us to eat end up killing us!
“The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all disasters & all automobile accidents combined” infers Dr. Neal Barnard, President of Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Many people have switched to chicken from red meat. They think it is supposedly healthier. But chicken is not health food. Chickens are high in cholesterol, bacterial contaminates & chemicals. Chicken is a pro-tein-dense food that contains the accumulated herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics & hormones fed to the chicken during its factory farm production. A muscle is a muscle, whether it’s a cow’s, a fish’s, or a chicken’s. And leaner the meat, the higher the cholesterol concentration.
Calorie for calorie, chicken meat has more cholesterol than beef. Unfortunately when people have high cholesterol, they are advised to eat chicken & fish. If that doesn’t work then they are put on drugs.
Chickens in factory farm average a life of about five years where as chickens in natural habitat would live for about fifteen years. What is important to note that they acquire a size of a full grown within four to five weeks where as in their natural habitat hey would take up to a year. How does this happen?
Genetic manipulation; for the sake of profits & addition of growth promoting hormones, which are ultimately consumed by humans.
The female chicken is cramped into a cage which is just eighteen inches wide. Her wingspan is about thirty-two inches. In these conditions, the birds go berserk & peck at each other. Solution! Cut off their beaks with a hot blade. Some poor jobs result in a major beak loss, leaving them unable to eat. And then starts the transition from living creatures to cellophane-packaged meat! We put violence behind closed doors so we can ultimately feast our eyes on a ‘beautiful buffet’ of sliced pieces of meat!
Chickens don’t eat in the dark so their cages are lit twenty three hours a day. Fluorescent light bulbs provide artificial light to stimulate laying of eggs. Therefore, they eat more & ultimately lay more eggs.
Hens in the wild lay ten to 12 eggs a year. Battery hens lay around three hundred eggs a year. After a year & a half of faithfully laying eggs, they are cruelly transported & crudely slaughtered to end up in a soup tin or a can of food dog.
Unites States Drug Association inspector Rinnie Sarratt pointed out, “thousands of diseased birds are shipped to stores every day. With yellow pus oozing from the birds, the workers are told to save them”.
The Atlanta Constitution Journal mentioned, “Each week throughout the South, millions of chickens, leaking yellow pus, stained with green feces & contaminated by harmful bacteria or marred by lung & heart infections, cancerous tumors or skin conditions are shipped to customers.”
Salmonella is a general term for about 2000 closely related types of bacteria. Government studies have found that about sixty-six percent of the chickens are contaminated with salmonella.
Leukosis (chicken cancer) is also a problem. Dr. Virginia Livingston infers that chicken receive drugs such as Gentian Violet & Nitrofurons, which advance their growth are cancer promoting in humans.
Contrary to what we think, the purpose of fish is to keep our rivers, lakes & oceans clean. As scavengers, they have a remarkable ability to pick up whatever is thrown into the water. And in the last few decades, humans have poured mega amounts of pollutants & toxins into their environment. The industrial waste & toxic chemicals that have spoiled so many waterways now pose a serious threat to anyone who eats fish.
The new definition of fish: a blend of protein & fat seasoned with an array of toxic chemicals.
The Center for Disease Control in the US says that seafood is twenty-five times more likely to cause illness due to the bioacculamation of fat-soluble substances in the oily muscles of fish which is a result of toxins.
Richard Gossett of the Southern California Coastal Water Research points out that fish eaters have five times more DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane - is one of the most well-known synthetic pesticides) in their blood than people who do not consume fish regularly.
Another myth – Fish is brain food!
In fact it is the opposite. Methyl mercury found in all ocean fish is among the most toxic, naturally occurring substances on Earth. Mercury is neuro-toxin & it damages the brain & nervous system. With most of our fresh waters filled with excess levels of mercury & toxic chemicals, fish is a wise dish to avoid.
Fish are cold-blooded creatures that live in cold environments. Many kinds of bacteria thrive in colder temperatures & are very comfortable in your refrigerator, multiplying & contaminating other food products.
Interestingly, today’s citizens, through clever advertising, have come to believe that eating two of the principal scavengers – Chicken & Fish is part of a healthy lifestyle.
When any creature dies there is involuntary defecation; thus we have instant sewage or fecal soup. This cross contamination is what allows bacteria to multiply. Frequently the chickens’ intestines are ruptured by the mechanical hands & the bacteria laden feces are spilled into the carcass.
Sometimes referred to as “the breakfast of cruelty.”
Eggs like chicken & fish are high in protein & fat. So even if you don’t eat eggs or avoid the yolk (rich in cholesterol) but if you fail to read labels; a large number of processed foods have eggs. And remember it is a bi-product of the atrocities done on the hens!
Ingrid Newkirk – President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,
Michael Klaper, MD – Director of Institute of Nutrition, Education & Research,
Neal Barnard – President of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,
Howard Lyman – President of International Vegetarian Union,
Paul Wenner – COO of Inventor of the Gardenburger, Wholesome & Hearty Foods Inc,
Kathy Hoshijo – Nutritional Consultant, by Agatha Thrash – Preventive Medicine & more have seconded a Vegetarian (vegetables, fruits, legumes, pulses etc) or a Lacto Vegetarian Diet.
‘’The Vegetarian Way’ by Virginia Messina, MPH, RD & Mark Messina, PhD infers that:
a. It is virtually impossible to be deficient in Protein on a vegetarian diet. As long as caloric needs are met and a wide variety of plant foods are consumed, protein needs are easily met. In fact, plant protein is a much safer source than animal protein, since animal protein is linked with higher risks of osteoporosis, kidney disease and kidney stone formation, especially when consumed in excess. Our body cannot store excess protein. Soy protein is recognized as a complete protein with all the necessary amino acids.
b. Calcium is abundant in plant foods. Our bodies absorb more than 50% of the calcium in many plant foods; while only32% of the calcium in milk is absorbed. Good bone health does not depend on calcium intake alone. Ironically, countries that have the highest intake of dairy products also have the world’s highest rates of osteoporosis. Other factors causing poor bone health include excessive animal protein, lack of exercise and lack of sun shine (vitamin D). Oxalates found in some vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens, can bind calcium and lead to poor absorption.
c. Almost all vegetables have higher Iron content per calorie than meat, eggs or fish. Dairy products are deficient in iron and may even inhibit iron absorption. Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the world. But long-term studies have shown that vegetarians are NO more likely to suffer iron deficiencies than non-vegetarians. Although non-heme iron (in plant foods) is not as well-absorbed by the body as heme iron (in animal foods), the problem can be alleviated by the consumption of vitamin C in the same meal, which can boost the absorption of non-heme iron fourfold. Moreover, non-heme iron has a special advantage: it is more sensitive to our iron needs and has better regulated absorption. When our iron stores run low, our body can absorb only twice as much heme iron, but up to ten times as much non-heme iron. When our iron status is good, heme iron is still absorbed, causing excessive iron stores, which our body cannot dispose of easily. Too much iron in the body catalyses the formation of harmful free radicals and aggravates cancers, heart diseases and aging.
So are human’s herbivores? While this is a complex issue, here is some hard evidence.
Both humans and herbivores have carbohydrate digestive enzymes in our saliva; while carnivores and omnivores don’t.
Most importantly, both the carnivores and the omnivores have a colon that is short, simple and smooth, and their stomach acidity is less than pH 1 with food in stomach; Humans, like herbivores, have a very long, complex and sacculated colon, and our stomach acidity is around pH 4 to 5.
Our long intestine length is designed for a high fiber diet (found only in plant food). Meat does not digest well in such an environment, and often turns toxic, which contributes to colon cancer.
Carnivores enjoy the act of savaging and the scent of blood. Sharks, for example, are highly aroused by the scent of blood.
On the other hand, we cannot tolerate the sounds and cries of animals being killed, and the mere sight of blood is disturbing to us.
Paul McCartney once said:
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian. We feel better about ourselves and better about the animals, knowing we're not contributing to their pain.”
If this write-up has tickled your brains then please try to unearth the facts. I can only hope to have invigorated the conscious you to seek the truth!
Changing our Lifestyles may not be a choice; it may be the only choice!
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