People have been eating meat as food since the ice age. Anthropologists argue that it was then that a person refused a vegetable diet in favor of meat food. This “custom” has been conveyed by a significant part of humanity to the present day, someone has done it because of necessity (for example, Eskimos), living conditions, or habits. But more often than not, the reason is a simple misunderstanding. Over the past fifty years, renowned health professionals, biochemists, and nutritionists have found convincing evidence: to stay healthy, eating meat is not necessary, on the contrary, a diet that is acceptable to predators can harm a person.
Vegetarianism, which is based only on philosophical principles, unfortunately, rarely becomes a way of life. In addition, it is important not only to adhere to a vegetarian diet but also to know what huge benefit vegetarianism brings for all of humanity. And so let’s leave the spiritual aspect of vegetarianism for now – you can write books about this. In this article we will get acquainted with purely practical, so to speak “secular” arguments in favor of vegetarianism.
To begin with, we will discuss the so-called “protein myth”. Since one of the main reasons why most people shy away from vegetarianism is the fear of causing a protein deficiency in the body. “How to get all the necessary high-quality proteins, eating only vegetable and dairy products?” – such people ask.
But before answering this question, it is worth remembering – what exactly is this protein itself. In 1838, the Dutch chemist Jan Müldscher received a substance containing nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and other chemical elements – in smaller quantities. This connection, which underlies all life on our planet, he called “paramount.” The indispensability of protein was indeed subsequently proven: for the survival of any organism, a certain amount of protein must be consumed. The reason, as it turned out, is amino acids, the “primary sources of life”, from which proteins are formed.
Only 22 amino acids are known, 8 of them are considered essential (they are not produced by the body and should be consumed with food). These 8 amino acids are actually: lectin, valine, isoleucine, tryptophan, lysine, methionine, threonine, phenylalanine. All of them should be included in a balanced nutritional diet in appropriate proportions. Until the 1950s, meat was considered the best source of protein: since it contains all the main 8 amino acids, and in the right proportions. However, in modern times, nutrition experts have come to the conclusion that plant food as a source of protein is not just worse than meat, but even superior to it. All 8 amino acids are also found in plants. Plants have the ability to synthesize amino acids from the air, water, and soil, and animals can get proteins only through plants: either by eating plants or by eating animals that ate plants and absorbed all their nutrients. It turns out that a person can choose: to receive them through plants directly, or in a roundabout way, at the cost of large resource and economic costs – from animal meat. It turns out that the meat does not contain any amino acids, except for the amino acids that animals get from plants, which means that the person himself has the opportunity to get them from plants.
Moreover, plant foods have another very important advantage: together with amino acids, a person receives substances that are necessary for more complete absorption of proteins: carbohydrates, trace elements, vitamins, hormones, chlorophyll, etc. Back in 1954 a group of scientists from Harvard University conducted research and concluded: if a person consumes vegetables, dairy products, cereals at the same time, he covers the daily protein rate with interest. They concluded that it is very difficult, preferring a varied vegetarian diet, not to exceed this indicator. A little later, Dr. F. Stear in 1972. conducted a personal study of protein intake by vegetarians. The results were amazing: most of the subjects received more than two protein standards! This is how the “protein myth” was destroyed.
And now let’s pay attention to the next aspect of the problem under discussion, which can be called this: hunger on the planet and meat-eating. The harm of meat is very global, just think about these figures: 1 thousand acres of land sown with soybeans is a source of 1,124 pounds of valuable protein, and 1 thousand acres of rice is 938 pounds. This figure for corn is – 1009, and for wheat – 1043. Now think about this: 1 thousand acres of beans: wheat, rice, or corn, which is used to feed the goby, will become a source of only 125 pounds of protein! From this we can draw a disappointing conclusion: it is not paradoxical, but the hunger on our planet is connected precisely with meat-eating. Many experts in the field of nutrition, environmental research, and politics have noted more than once: if the United States transferred the supply of grain and soybeans that are being fed to cattle to the starving and impoverished of other countries, the hunger problem would have been solved! According to estimates by Gene Mayer of a Harvard nutritionist, a 10% reduction in meat production would release enough grain to feed 60 million people.
And in terms of water, land and other resources, meat is the most expensive product you can imagine. Only 10% of calories and proteins are found in feed, which subsequently returns to us in the form of meat. In addition, hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land are sown annually underfeed. Meanwhile, with an acre of feed for fattening a bull, we get only about 1 pound of protein. And if you sow the same area with soybeans, the output is 7 pounds of protein! Raising livestock for slaughter is nothing but a meaningless squandering of the resources of our planet.
In addition to the huge areas of arable land, cattle breeding for its needs requires 8 times more water than vegetable growing, growing grain, or soybeans: feed requires watering, and animals drink. In general, millions of people are doomed to starvation, while a handful of privileged people are overeating with meat proteins, exploiting mercilessly land and water resources. Ironically, it’s meat that becomes the enemy of their organisms.
Today, modern medicine confirms that meat-eating is very dangerous. The harm of meat is so extensive that it causes a wide variety of diseases. Cardiovascular and oncological diseases are growing into epidemics in those countries where the average per capita consumption of meat is at a high level, while in countries where this indicator is low, such diseases are extremely rare. In his book, entitled “On the Causes of Cancer,” Rollo Russell writes: “I found the following – out of 25 countries whose inhabitants eat mostly meat, in 19 there is an extremely high percentage of cancer, and only in 1 country is it relatively low. And at the same time, out of 35 countries whose inhabitants eat meat in limited quantities or do not eat it at all, there is not one where the percentage of cancer is high. ”
Back in 1961, in the Journal of the American Association of Physicians, it was said: “In 90-97% of cases, switching to a vegetarian diet prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases.” The animal’s vital products cease to be excreted by the circulatory system when it is killed and remain “preserved” in the dead body. Naturally, the health damage of meat is obvious here – meat-eaters, therefore, absorb into themselves toxic substances that usually leave the body of a living animal with urine. In his work, entitled “Why I Do Not Eat Meat,” Dr. Owen S. Parrett noted: when the meat is cooked, harmful substances appear in the broth, as a result, the broth is almost identical in urine to its chemical composition. In industrial countries where agriculture is in an intensive type of development, meat is “enriched” with many harmful substances: arsenic (used as a growth stimulant), DDT, sodium sulfate (used to give the meat a “fresh”, blood-red hue), synthetic hormone (a known carcinogen), DES. In general, meat products contain many carcinogens and even metastasogens. For example, just two pounds of fried meat has as much benzopyrene as it does in 600 cigarettes! By reducing cholesterol intake, we also reduce the chances of fat accumulation, and therefore also the risk of death from apoplexy or heart attack.
For a vegetarian, a phenomenon called atherosclerosis is a completely abstract concept. Information from the British Encyclopedia: “Proteins obtained from cereals, nuts, and even dairy products are considered quite pure unlike those contained in beef – they contain approximately 68% of the contaminated liquid component.” These “impurities” adversely affect the heart, as well as the body as a whole.
The human body is a complex machine. Naturally, as with any car, one fuel is more suitable for it than the other. Studies confirm that meat is a very inefficient “gasoline” for this machine, for the use of which you have to pay a heavy price. For example, Eskimos, who eat mainly fish and meat, age extremely quickly. Their average life expectancy barely exceeds 30 years. At one time, the Kyrgyz also ate mostly meat and also very rarely lived longer than 40 years. On the other hand, there are tribes, such as the Hunza, who live in the Himalayas, or religious groups – such as Seventh-day Adventists, whose average life expectancy varies between 80 and 100 years! Scientists are convinced that vegetarianism is the reason for their excellent health. The Yemeni tribes of the Semitic group and the Maya from Yutaka are also famous for their excellent health – thanks again to a vegetarian diet.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize one more thing. Eating meat, as a rule, a person hides it under gravy, sauces, and kinds of ketchup. He modifies and processes it in many different ways: cooks, fries, stews, etc. But why all this? Why not eat raw meat like predators? Many physiologists, biologists, and nutritionists have convincingly proven: man is naturally carnivorous. That is why people so carefully modify food uncharacteristic for themselves.
Herbivorous animals, such as elephants, cows, monkeys, physiologically stand much closer to people than carnivorous animals, such as tigers, dogs, leopards. For example, predators never sweat; their heat transfer occurs through the protruding tongue and respiratory rate regulators. And animal vegetarians for this purpose possess sweat glands through which various harmful substances leave the body. To keep and kill prey, predators have sharp and long teeth, and herbivores have short teeth and no claws. In predators, saliva does not contain amylase and therefore is incapable of preliminary degradation of starches. Predator glands produce a lot of hydrochloric acid to digest bones. In predators, the jaws are inactive and move only up and down, and in herbivores, for chewing food, they move in a horizontal plane. Predators lap up the liquid, take the same cat, and herbivores pull it through their teeth. There are a lot of such illustrations, and each of them demonstrates that the human body corresponds to the vegetarian model. People are not physiologically purely adapted to the meat diet.
This is probably one of the most compelling arguments in favor of vegetarianism. Naturally, everyone is free to independently decide which nutritional model to adhere to. But the choice in favor of vegetarianism is undoubtedly a very worthy choice!
We are what we eat.
How does society consistently react to the fact that you have changed your diet:
- Criticism. People attack, using criticism, sarcastic remarks, jokes, and trying to inspire fear.
- Indifference. Observing your persistence in nutrition, others stop making aggressive comments. Do not criticize you, and do not notice.
- Respect. Consider that your food is a healthy alternative. They have already seen a change for the better in your well-being and health.
- Interest. Now they admire your willpower and are interested in the reasons for the changes in your diet.
- Imitation. They saw positive changes in your health and also wish to receive them. Now they admire you and also try to give up meat.