Meat or No Meat? A discussion on vegetarianism
are people who argue that we should avoid eating the flesh of other animals
for a variety of reasons and there are modern medical scientists and
dietitians who prescribe eating meat. While diet should always be something of
a personal choice, it is impossible to avoid being exposed to other people’s
If we leave out the
‘should’ and look at how people come to an understanding and decide on the
diet, then perhaps you can come to a more balanced decision for your life.
We must accept that
we are mammals and that we have a capacity to eat almost anything that grows
on this earth be it plant, fish or animal. But when we delve into what we are
fundamentally, we know we are mammals and like all of life we are composed of
the five elements of earth, air, fire, water and ether.
Although we identify
ourselves as being our ‘body and mind’, in fact our body is composed of
approximately 70% water and 30% of the soil or the earth that we live on. If
you think of the food chain, plants absorb water and nutrients from the earth
which we then eat and there is a creative process within our body that turns
plant matter into body parts and energy for activity.
When you look at our
ability to convert plants into new body parts and energy, fruits which are
higher in natural sugars are undigested more rapidly and pass through our
digestive system typically within 3 to 6 hours. Next are the vegetables from
which we get the bulk of our essential nutrition. Vegetables are processed and
passed through a digestive tract typically within 4 to 12 hours.
When we eat meat,
the time for digestion takes a lot longer and it can take several days to
digest a heavy meat meal and for it pass through our system. Of the meats,
fish is the easiest to digest followed by white meat and red meat.
Typically we grow
into life habituated to the diet about family and community, and many people
do not even think about what they eat. However there are large numbers of
children who have a natural aversion to eating meat, but this is usually
overcome when parents remain insistent that the kids should eat their meat.
In modern medical
science, there is an insistence that meat should be a major part of our diet
for many reasons. It is claimed that meat helps to build strong muscles and
provide endurance for physical activity. This is partly true, but the other
side of this is that modern medical science is part of the corporate
establishment in which agribusiness is an important financial part, so there
are vested interests at play.
This remember here
that modern medical science cannot identify the nature of any illness or
disease, and it cannot cure any illness or disease. All it does is relieve the
symptoms. In contrast, natural medical systems that have been with us for
thousands of years focus more on strengthening the body so that it can fight
off illnesses and diseases.
This is a diet
devoid of any animal products which takes considerable effort to ensure that
one’s body gets sufficient nutrition. However people who have successfully
worked out a vegan diet do not suffer in any way. They can be as strong and as
fit as any Olympic athlete, but of all the dietary systems, vegans live longer
and suffer less disease than those on other diets.
The primary sources
of nutrition are fruits, vegetables, legumes and pulses, nuts and seeds.
There are variations
on this theme that may or may not include dairy products. But vegetarians
typically live longer than meat eaters and they suffer from less disease. The
vegetarian diet is more mixed than the vegan diet as it may include dairy
products and sometimes eggs.
But the primary
sources of nutrition are fruits, vegetables, legumes and pulses, nuts and
As with the
vegetarian diet described above, the principal components are the same however
they may also include eggs, fish and a very small amount of meat. This type of
diet is traditional over some parts of Southeast Asia where meat is actually a
rare luxury. So what meat is available is used as a flavouring to the main
dish and constitutes less than 10% of the diet.
The people who
follow the semi vegetarian diet live longer and suffer less disease than those
on the meat-based diet.
Western/British/American meat-based diet
Meat was often the
mainstay of the hunter gatherer diet and with the establishment of agriculture
some 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, it has remained central but only to the
modern diet, but also to the modern economy.
It is possible as we
know from the people who live above the Arctic Circle to live almost entirely
on meat. In such a cold climate much of the meat is eaten raw and the entire
animal is consumed apart from the bones, hair and skin. Typically those
Northerners had a relatively short life expectancy although this has improved
today as they had imported foods and medicines to supplement their diet.
When eating red
meats that include land, goat, deer, cattle, pigs, horses and other mammals,
it can take several days to process or digestive and eliminate meat as a food
product. As such there is a slow release of energy that does help people to
endure strenuous physical activity, but it comes at a cost.
The cost of having
meat digesting over several days in one’s digestive tract is that the
digestive process is one of controlled rotting. Not only is one prone to
letting out more smelly farts, but there was a general buildup of toxicity in
the body that supports or may even cause health problems.
If we think of the
idea of a meal being a large piece of meat with either potatoes or rice and a
small quantity of fresh vegetables either cooked or uncooked, this is referred
to in some communities as a recipe for colon cancer and other diseases. In
essence the digestive tract is overloaded with decomposing material.
We are very
adaptable species and we can learn to live with anything if we have to. But we
are also creatures of habit and once established in a routine of diet or other
activity, there is often little incentive to even question what one is doing.
So even when people are diagnosed with colon cancer, it is rare for them to
consider that their diet could be the cause of the disease.
Because animals have
an intelligence and a desire to live, like us when they are threatened their
bodies produce large amounts of adrenaline and other chemicals which act in
the same way within our bodies. Therefore like drinking an excess of caffeine,
eating meat causes a subtle imbalance in body chemistry that results in anger
and defensiveness. This irrationality in modern humans is one of the reasons
we just cannot live peacefully together.
As health systems
around the world are being privatised, the doctors who should know better are
likely untrained and nutrition and so they do not even advise patients that
they should modify their diet. As far as the for-profit medical system is
concerned, only sick people are profitable and around the world there are
vested interests at work ensuring that people remain sick.
Therefore people who
can adapt to a vegan or vegetarian diet will remain healthier and live longer
than meat eaters. Within spiritual traditions it is all so preferable to be
vegetarian because a vegetarian diet is said to be more conducive to the
expansion of perception or divine recognition. However the churches do not
want this because then they would be out of a job, so apart from the
Seventh-day Adventists’s, no religious organisation will advocate
Over the past few
centuries we have cut down most of the world’s forests to create grazing land
for farm animals. We seem to have forgotten that we need trees to produce
oxygen so that we can breathe and stay alive yet the oxygen level in the
atmosphere continues to fall as CO2 and methane increases.
Next to industry and
motor vehicles, farm animals are large producers of CO2 and methane that we
definitely do not need. If we continue to consume the amount of meat per
person as is used today, with our continuing increase in population we will
need another continental landmass the size of the USA to feed enough livestock
for everyone to maintain their meat-based diet.
Conversely, if meat
production was maintained at its current level, with more people becoming
vegetarians and improvements in agriculture, we can survive for another
hundred years without cutting any more forests for food production. However if
everyone was to become semi-vegetarian, we could reduce global livestock
numbers and replant some of the forests.
To take that even
further, if the human population was to become completely vegetarian then we
could reduce livestock numbers by 90% and replant vast areas of forest because
many experts believe that we could feed a population of 10 billion unless than
half of the land currently given to agriculture.
or agribusiness is one of the most damaging activities to the environment. The
livestock pollute waterways as does the use of agricultural chemicals and
pesticides. Antibiotics that are widely and often indiscriminately used the
world over which contributes to the rise of antibiotic resistant viruses and
bacteria that are claiming more and more human lives.
agrichemicals also impact our oceans causing algal blooms and mass die offs of
fish and other sea creatures. Many experts also believe that it is actually
the agricultural chemicals which are responsible for the worldwide increase in
allergies and food sensitivities such as the reaction to gluten.
Humanity has really
come to a crossroads. We had arrived to the point in our history where we have
luxury and convenience as never before, yet experts are warning that unless we
do something different, all life on earth may be extinct within the next 100
The probable causes
of our extinction are pollution and the resultant global warming, or our
inability to get along with each other resulting in world War. However from a
spiritual perspective we need to remember that we are part of life and
although eating plants is killing or taking life to transform it into a human
being, it is more beneficial than taking the lives of other mammals.
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