Wednesday, June 16, 2004

LIKE HELL NO . . . .

There are many reasons why People adopt a vegetarian diet. With the growing awareness of the importance of healthy food, many people are becoming vegetarian because it matches the kind of low fat, high fibre diet recommended by dieticians and doctors. Concern about the environment is another factor as people become more aware of the effect raising animals for their meat is having on the environment. Or you may be concerned about wasting world food resources by using land to raise animals for meat instead of growing crops that can feed more people directly.

Health benefits for a vegetarian diet are numerous. According to a report from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) eating food containing substantial and varied amounts of vegetables and fruit will prevent 20 percent or more of all types of cancer. Recommended consumption is 5 to 10 servings daily, which means a substantial amount of fruit or vegetables for the day.

In numerous studies it has been shown that following a plant-based diet is associated with lower cholesterol levels, less heart disease, lower risk of many cancers, lower blood pressure, decreased weight and even stronger bones.

The greater consumption of fruit and vegetables usually associated with a vegetarian diet represents a major health benefit because of the vitamins, minerals, cancer-fighting phytochemicals and dietary fibre they supply.

A vegetarian diet can include dairy products, eggs, butter, margarine, nuts, seeds, salad oils, vegetable shortening and cooking oils for fat sources.

There are four levels of vegetarian diets: Vegan; only consume food of vegetable origin. Lacto-vegetarian; includes cheese and dairy products. Ovo-lactovegetarian; includes eggs. And Semi-vegetarian; no red meat, but open to chicken and fish.

Vegetarian diets are basically healthy and far superior to the low-carb revolution, but many would argue that perhaps a more balanced diet would be better. The real issue that lumps vegetarian diets in with all the others that fail so miserably in the long-term is sustainability. One must always ask themselves: can I follow this diet regimen for the rest of my life?

Most say that a non-vegetarian diet is harmful to health, anti-economic, dangerous for the environment, contrary to ethics, inauspicious and incomplete.

The meat diet makes one insensitive to the suffering of others and indifferent to the exploitation of weaker elements of human society. Once these unethical values are accepted, they can be applied to children, women, sick, economically or socially disadvantaged, handicapped people, minorities, etc. A society based on such negative values cannot attain peace and receive properly the message of God.

Health is everybody's business and over 90% of health problems are due to wrong diet and lifestyle. So, this is a good starting point.

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