Are you Eating Healthy ?
Recently James Cameron, the Canadian born film director, producer, and screenwriter better known for producing blockbuster movies such as Titanic, Avatar, and Terminator, is embarking on a project of an entirely different nature, establishing a new organic food store in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand.
At the National Geographic 125th gala Cameron spoke about his epiphany in going vegan:
“I want to challenge all of you as people of deep conscience, people who are environment stewards of the earth and oceans… By changing what you eat, you will change the entire contract between the human species and the natural world. I felt like I was waking up from a long sleepwalk. I believe we are all sleepwalking off a cliff if we don’t do this.”
Last year, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines, announced that he was giving up eating beef after studying its impact on the environment. This is not the first time an international thought leader has pronounced his love of a meat-free life.
In fact, important figures in history have eaten plant-based for thousands of years, we all know of Pythagoras, Leonardo da Vinci, George Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein and other famous personalities who were vegetarians.
The Russian athlete Alexey Voevoda, Olympic bobsled champion of the 2014 Sochi Games, follows a vegan and raw food diet. There is a sleuth of many top league athletes who claim increase in performance with a vegetarian based diet.
Many people think that vegetarianism means eating bland salad and vegetables. They surely haven’t visited the Hare Krishna’s! The Hare Krishna movement has been nicknamed “The Kitchen Religion”. Hare Krishna devotees are strict lacto-vegetarians and their culinary art has its roots in ancient Vedic culture. The subtle blend of ingredients and spices in the Hare Krishna cuisine has won over thousands of people who have subsequently adopted a vegetarian diet.
Milk plays a very important role in the Vedic culture. Hot milk is said to nourish the subtle and spiritual faculties of the brain. It is natural therefore that it is considered most cruel and inauspicious to kill the docile, vegetarian cow that provides mankind with milk from which so many delicious foods are made.
Some reasons why one could consider becoming vegetarian:
- Not only is the killing of animals extremely and unnecessarily violent but these animals are commercially bred in appalling conditions. Many people would no doubt take up vegetarianism if they visited commercial slaughterhouses. With a vegetarian diet violence and exploitation are minimized.
- The benefits of a vegetarian diet for health are becoming increasingly documented as research reveals that meat and eggs are at the root of high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer.
- For every sixteen pounds of grain used to feed cattle, only one pound of meat is produced. Over 90% of all grains in the United States goes to feed livestock and more than a third of all fossil fuels produced in the United States goes towards animal agriculture so vegetarianism is also a sound ecological alternative.
- For every action there is a reaction. This is the law of karma. Subsequently, if we cause pain and suffering to other living beings, we must endure pain and suffering in return.
Devotees of Krishna have another reason to be vegetarian and this supersedes all other reasons:
In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says, “patram, pushpam, phalam, toyam”: “If one offers me a leaf, flower, fruit or water – I will be satisfied”. Krishna’s devotees therefore please Krishna with offerings that He Himself enjoys.
Vegetarian diets offer disease protection benefits because of their lower saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein content and often higher concentration of folate (which reduces serum homocysteine levels, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and phytochemicals. Not only is mortality from coronary artery disease lower in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians, but vegetarian diets have also been successful in arresting coronary artery disease. Total serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels are usually lower in vegetarians, but high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels vary depending on the type of vegetarian diet followed. Vegetarians tend to have a lower incidence of hypertension than non-vegetarians. This effect appears to be independent of both body weight and sodium intake. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is much less likely to be a cause of death in vegetarians than non-vegetarians, perhaps because of their higher intake of complex carbohydrates and lower body mass index.
Incidence of lung and colorectal cancer is lower in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians. Reduced colorectal cancer risk is associated with increased consumption of fiber, vegetables, and fruit. The environment of the colon differs notably in vegetarians compared with non-vegetarians in ways that could favorably affect colon cancer risk. Cross-cultural data indicate that breast cancer rates are lower in populations that consume plant-based diets. The lower estrogen levels in vegetarian women may be protective.
A well-planned vegetarian diet may be useful in the prevention and treatment of renal disease. Studies using human being and animal models suggest that some plant proteins may increase survival rates and decrease proteinuria, glomerular filtration rate, renal blood flow, and histologic renal damage compared with a non-vegetarian diet. Plant sources of protein alone can provide adequate amounts of essential amino acids if a variety of plant foods are consumed and energy needs are met. Research suggests that complementary proteins do not need to be consumed at the same time and that consumption of various sources of amino acids over the course of the day should ensure adequate nitrogen retention and use in healthy persons.
Although vegetarian diets are lower in total protein and a vegetarian’s protein needs may be somewhat elevated because of the lower quality of some plant proteins, protein intake in both lacto-ovo-vegetarians and vegans appears to be adequate.
One of my favorite benefits of having a vegetarian diet is that there is no cholesterol in any vegetable source of food. Even peanuts are rich in fat but have zero cholesterol. Coconuts are very rich in fat but no cholesterol. Any animal product has tremendous amounts of cholesterol. But our body does not really need the intake of cholesterol (LDL). Our liver produces healthy cholesterol (HDL). High cholesterol deposits in the body cause gallstones, gall bladder problems, and rheumatoid arthritis, muscle, tendon and joint problems, not to mention heart-related diseases. When children are given cholesterol, when even proper growth has not taken place, they become hyperactive or lazy; they get cancer, obesity, nervous and irritable at a younger age. It has been researched that you don’t need anything more than complex carbohydrates to provide all the nutrients in a perfect diet. If you eat three different types or varieties of complex carbohydrates per day you can get all the amino acids.
There are many physical disadvantages to eating meat. Some of these disadvantages are:
A meat-eater not only takes in the animal cells and fats, etc. but also the waste products, e.g. chemical food stuff fed to the animals, drugs injected into the animal in the slaughter house, and the intoxicants, coloring and tenderizers sprayed on the dead animal by the market suppliers. By the way, hamburgers are made from Cow with the four D’s (Dead, Dying, Disabled, or Diseased). This is way so many children and young adults have died from eating hamburgers.
It is also suspected that meat-eaters are prime candidates for degenerative diseases, e.g. arthritis, gout, etc. Meat is one of the major sources of internal pollution. When an animal is slaughtered, waste products remain in the tissue of the animal, which often give the meat its stimulating flavor. Uric acid and adrenaline, these toxins are secreted into the bloodstream and muscles of animals and get deposited. The fear and struggle to escape death stimulates the secretion of hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine and steroids. No edible plant product has similar toxicity. The human body has to work 15 times more to get rid of that toxin, in spite of which some toxins remain and get accumulated in each and every cell.
A parasite, known for inducing miscarriage and causing blindness, jaundice and nervous disorders in newborn babies, was found in samples of animal meat from abattoirs and markets, particularly in third world countries. An article in the German Bunte magazine, entitled ‘Karnka von Tiere’ (Diseases from Animal) pointed out the diseases that arise from consumption of meat, apart from the reckless wastage of precious land and natural resources for livestock breeding. The article also emphasized on the benefits of meatless diet, and the current trend towards vegetarianism by an increasing number of Germans and in other European countries, notably amongst the younger generation. As a result of overall concern for a healthy diet, meat consumption in the west is declining.
To preserve fish and prawns and other crustaceans, boric acid is widely used by food manufacturers. It attacks the liver and the brain, causing fits and coma before the victim dies of liver damage. Fruits and vegetables, however heavily sprayed, don’t grow hormones, antibiotics and other drugs common in meat products.
Pigs carry trichinosis bacteria that cling to the walls of the stomach and intestines, which can be fatal. Beef and pork are highly acid forming and release into the blood-stream toxic poisons and microbes. But the WBC in blood may not be sufficient to destroy these microbes and so the toxic reactions set in.
When you try a fruit and vegetable diet, you will find yourself light, relaxed and spiritualized. Remember that what you eat and what you think is what you are. The food taken into your body is what gradually, but surely forms your thought-patterns. And your thoughts, both conscious and subconscious, are in total control of your body’s health or lack of it. So, you have a responsibility towards yourself.