Why Vegetarianism is better for the Health than Omnivorism?
Vegetarianism is the practice whereby a person does not consume animal foods, restricting him or herself to eating vegetable foods only. Such a person is referred to as a vegetarian. Vegetarian diets vary widely, ranging from exclusive non-consumption of animal products at all to consumption of animal products such eggs, dairy products, poultry and fish. Vegetarian diets involve plant based foods like legumes, grains, vegetables, nuts fruits and seeds. Vegetarians vary depending on whether or what kinds of animals are eaten. Strict vegetarians are called vegan and their diets exclude all forms of animal products like fowl, meat, eggs and dairy. On the other hand, a lacto-ovo- vegetarian consumes dairy products such as eggs besides plants products. Whereas Lacto vegetarians consume dairy products in addition to plant products, an ovo vegetarian consumes eggs only, as animal products (Nordqvist).
Fruitarian vegetarians consume raw and dried fruit and vegetables only. Cooking is believed to harm the fruits’ nutritional ingredients. Such vegetarians eat all types of fruits, both sweet and non sweet. There are also the semi-vegetarians who consume plant based foods combined with slight amounts of poultry and fish. On the other hand, the macrobiotic vegetarians’ diet consists of cereals, whole grains and cooked vegetables. Omnivorism vegetarians on their part belief in the exclusive consumption of animal and plant based foods. They consume both in moderation. There is a growing concern that the different types of vegetarians like lacto vegetarians are ethical omnivores. An omnivorous diet contains plants and animal foods, but omnivorous persons put more emphasis on meat than on other foods (Nordqvist).
As vegetarianism has gained popularity in the 21st century, there are reasons as to this newly emergent dietetic trend. Some of these reasons include the following:
1. How did vegetarianism come about?
2. What are the health benefits of vegetarianism, as opposed to omnivorism?
3. What are the social values for being a vegetarian, as opposed to omnivorism?
4. What is the ethics behind vegetarianism?
5. What is the spirituality behind vegetarianism?
6. How do I become a vegetarian?
7. What might happen if plants cease to exist anymore?
History of vegetarianism dates back many centuries from the Asian subcontinent. However, vegetarianism is not historically constrained to the East. As early as the 16 century, Greek philosophers like Pythagoras and others abstained from meat consumption based primarily on their belief in the transmigration of souls. The 18th century vegetarian advocates included Voltaire of France and Franklin Benjamin of America. Although there have always been a followers of vegetarianism, the rapid growth of the movement in the United States occurred principally since the 1970s. Currently, there are millions of vegetarianism, as well as magazines, journals and books published to help them in pursuit of vegetarianism.
One key reason for vegetarianism is regards for health. There have been nauseous concerns about sanitation of slaughter methods and production houses. This raises a health concern on possible contamination of the meat itself during the transportation, storage and entire preparation process. In America, there are about one million farmers and ranchers who carry out livestock farming. In comparison there are about six thousand plants that are federally inspected to process. Additionally, only four major packers process about 70 percent of beef and other four packers of 60 percent of pork in the United States. Further, there are concerns that persons concerned with slaughtering do not observe humane slaughter act of 1960. The act necessitates that, before slaughtering, animals must be rendered wholly unconscious, with the least of excitement and discomfort by use of electrical, mechanical and chemical (carbon dioxide gas) methods. Some persons contend that these methods are not as accurately as they should be. Lack of observation of these principles results in contamination of the meat products considering that meat products are delicate and highly perishable products. In order to live healthy, persons should resort to vegetarianism (Keegan 136).
Over consumption of meat products is the leading cause of weight gain, whereas overconsumption of vegetables does not result in weight gain. Meat intake results in calories add up bit by bit compared to fiber rich veggies like green beans. Persons who consume large quantities of meat are obese, while persons consuming veggies are healthier. Since meat consumption has resulted in obesity among many people, fast foods around the world are embarking on selling vegetable meals, which is increasing ground, implying that vegetarianism is better for health than omnivorism (CindyL).
Omnivorism results in low life span as compared to vegetarianism conscious living. A survey sponsored by the United States national cancer institute revealed that persons who eat four bits or more daily are at 30percent risk of dying than vegetarians. The study further showed that processed meat also increases death risks. Meat does not contain fiber, which results in the digestive system complications. Further, lack of fiber in the body increases the risk of heart and cancer problems. According to National Cancer Institute, Rectal and colon cancer have resulted in more 51,690 deaths in United States in 2012. While lack of fiber in meats causes diseases, presence of fiber in vegetables protect the body against disease. As such, vegetarianism is better for health than omnivorism.
Meats contain saturated fats which are harmful to the body. The meat fats surround the arteries and vessels of the heart, interfering with the proper functioning of the heart. The interference affects free movement of blood in the body, posing the risk of heart attack. Meats contain a high concentration of salts and nitrates. Meats like hot dogs and bacon contain high salts and other preservatives which are not healthy for the body. Further, such foods contain animal fur, which means that they are not prepared in healthy ways. Other preservatives in processed meats are harmful to the body, since they contain chemicals that are carcinogenic. For instance, high concentration of salts and nitrates can cause high blood pressure and trigger other cardiovascular and chronic ailments. In order to live healthy, meat consumption should be balanced with vegetables. Proteins obtainable from animal products can also be obtained in plants, whereas nutrients available in plants cannot be substituted for anything else. This is a clear indication that vegetarianism is better for health than omnivorism (CindyL).
Vegetable foods are very healthy to the entire body, and especially the heart. Does the omnivorism affect the heart? This is a contentious topic that has been the subject matter of debate for several decades, but doctors and scientists came to agree that diets could cause or prevent heart disease. This view is also held by the seventh day Adventist religious group, who are massive flowers of vegetarian practices worldwide. The religious group holds the following precepts on the health benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. They assert that Adventist omnivore men who are fifty five years and above are twice more likely to die of a heart ailment than vegetarian Adventists. Men aged 40 to 54 who eat meat more than six times a week are 4 times, likely to suffer from a deadly heart attack than vegetarian men. Women over 55 years who eat meat are 1.5 times at risk of a lethal heart attack than do female vegetarians. As for Christians who are strictly vegetarians, their assertion comes from the book of psalms 104:14. The verse states “He causes grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetables for the service of man”. Another verse in Genesis 1:29 that supports this view reads as “I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food” (Contreras 85).
Even the conventional American dietetic association recognizes that a budding body of scientific knowledge holds an affirmative association, between the consumption of a plant based diet and prevention of certain ailments. The meat industry denies the health gains of vegetarian diets. However, research on cancer high blood pressure, obesity and heart diseases indicates otherwise. A recent research on the role of diet in prevention of certain conditions evidences that heart disease is related to excessive intake of fats. The foods that we take are the sole important factor in establishing whether or not we develop heart diseases. Fruits and vegetables are the backbone of a healthy heart. Several studies show that persons who consume a lot of fruits have reduced risk of heart disease. One such example is Finland, where people consume potentially more fruit and vegetables. This change is related directly with decrease in deaths from the heart ailment (Keegan 156).
In San Francisco, Dr. Ornish Dean of the California University found that individuals who consumed vegetarian foods that were low in fat had half the number of heart complications as people who ate meat on a typical American diet. Additionally, they shed off thirteen pounds and kept it off for a period of four years. Fruits and vegetables do not have cholesterol and are naturally low in fat concentration, calories and sodium. They are rich in fiber, folic acid, protein and vitamin C. In another study carried out in Italy, high levels of vegetable consumption led to 21 percent reduction in heart attacks and reduced chest pains by 11 percent. A high consumption of fruits also reduces blood pressure. Vegetables and fruits are rich is phytochemicals which help in prevention of heart ailment. Phytochemicals are biologically active minerals and vitamins that fall into plant sterols, flavanoids and plant sulfur compounds (Contreras 94).
Plant sterols help to obstruct cholesterol assimilation from the diet or increase excretion of cholesterol in the body. Flavanoids extend the activity of vitamin C by acting as free fundamental scavengers, prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation, inhibit aggregation of platelets and possess anti-inflammatory action. Intake of flavanoids has been shown to decrease the casualty of heart ailment and the incidence of heart attack. Mature males with high consumption of flavanoids were 60 percent less the risk of heart death than low consumers according to the Zutphen elderly study. The study also revealed that most- menopausal women consumers of fruits and vegetables are responsible for 38 percent reduction in heart complications. Broccoli was found essentially noteworthy on reducing heart disease (Contreras 96).
Plant sulfur compounds found in the allium family of vegetables has been shown to have preventive and protective properties against cardiovascular disease. Garlic leeks and onions are specifically shown to have these properties. Color pigments; anthocyamins in vegetables and fruits helps to shield consumers from heart disease. They protect heart disease by slowing cholesterol generation. Carotenoids pigments in yellow orange green and red vegetables are powerful anti oxidants that satiate free radicals, strengthen the immune system and protect the body against oxidative damage. Vegetables help to maintain the level of sugar in the blood which reduces the risk of adult onset diabetes (Contreras 91).
By logically comparing omnivores and carnivores, it is clear that man was not created to take meat. Meat eaters have claws to help them in their meat eating habits while humans do not have claws. Meat eating animals have sharp front teeth for tearing flesh with no flat molar for grinding. Humans have no pointed front teeth, and have flat molars for grinding, similar to that of herbivores. Meat eaters have a larger intestine capacity that is thrice their body length in order to aid rapidly decaying flesh to bypass through rapidly. Human on the other hand have an intestinal track that is ten times their body size. Another physiological difference that shows that vegetarianism is better for a man’s health is that, meat eaters have a powerful hydrochloric acid in the stomach to aid meat digestion while humans have a weaker stomach acid. This shows that humans overwork their digestive system by consuming meat. Humans have a properly developed salivary gland, which is vital for pre-digesting grains and vegetables. Meat eaters do not have salivary glands in the mouth. These distinctions clearly show why vegetarianism is the healthy way for human beings (The Vegetarian Resource Group).
A certain group of researchers investigated for the symbolic meaning of eating by contrasting the beliefs and values of omnivores and vegetarians. They contrasted a wide assortment of omnivores and vegetarians on the right wing totalitarianism, social domination orientation, eating values and human values. The participants tending towards omnivorism differed from those inclining towards veganism in two chief ways. The omnivores were more likely to sanction hierarchical ascendancy, and they placed less importance on sentimental states. Consequently, the approval or rejection of meat covaried with the approval or denunciation of the values related with meat; that discovery suggests that persons eat meat and embrace its representation in manners unswerving with their self definitions (Keegan 169).
The spirituality behind vegetarianism is traceable in old religions like the Jewish and Christianity. Jewish dietary laws follow the context of mosaic laws, and they prescribe a healthy living whether one is Buddhist, Chinese or Muslim. Religious reasons are the primary reasons as to why some people adopt vegetarianism. Some religions assert the belief of re-embodiment, a multilfe relationship between animals and humans, thus, eating flesh is forbidden. As such eating flesh is considered as a taboo in religion. Vegetarianism becomes the best solution for such persons as they observe their diets (Keegan 159).
Environment ethicists and advocates assert that a diet devoid of meat relates to environmental concern. Persons concerned on the planet ability to produce sufficient quantities of food to sustain a burgeoning population think that lessening meat consumption will aid. For illustration of this point, an acre of land will yield a greater quantity of edible plant than animal meat. One acre of land is capable of producing as much as 385 pounds of alfalfa seed from one pound of seed. If in turn the 384 pounds are sprouted for food, the yield will be around 3180 pounds of consumable sprouts. As such, consumption of plant can make a significant environmental difference. As part of ethics associated with omnivorism, taking the life of the poor animal is bad as it involves killing.
In order to live a conscious life, a person can use the gradual or rapid change. Gradual change into vegetarianism is preferable because the slow change tends to become more of a lifestyle and long term move. Additionally, rapid change may not go well with some people; their digestive systems may not accommodate such so fast. A gradual change entails increasing intake of legumes, fruits, vegetables and whole grains while lessening meat intake at the same time. For persons who want to become vegetarians, they can follow the following guidelines. First, choose one whole grain products like cereals and rice. Ensure that the diet is diverse. Consider low or non fat dairy foodstuffs. Reduce intake of eggs consumed per week to three or four in one week. It is necessary to plan well on what foodstuffs to purchase when shopping. Read through the food labels before purchasing. Finally, it is essential to identify a specialist store where one will be obtaining supplies. If plants cease to exist, there would be no life for both the omnivores and the vegetarians. Safeguard of plants should therefore be enhanced in order to drive healthy and conscious living.
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