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Vegetarianism

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Vegetarianism is the better way of life. In order to make sure this statement is truthful; all aspects of being a vegetarian have to be considered. It is very important to understand the meaning of the word “vegetarianism” and its origin.

The word “vegetarianism” comes from the Latin “vegetatilis” meaning “plant”, and “vegetare” meaning “grow, develop”. Vegetarianism is the way of life, abandoning the use of animal products in alimentation as well as in everyday life. Vegetarians do not eat poultry, fish, insects, and seafood of animal origin. They also exclude animal-origin products in everyday life, such as fur, leather, silk, and products that were tested on animals.

When it comes to the origin of vegetarianism, we should go back to the ancient times, when our ancestors ate plant food, because collecting was the guarantee for surviving from famine. According to the scientists’ theory, the reason why people began to eat meat was in order to reduce the great number of edible plants after the Ice Age. Then, hunting and cattle appeared, and people became omnivorous. It was also believed that vegetarianism was more common for northern nations, where the climate is much colder.

Vegetarianism has become a rare phenomenon, and was previously associated with magic rituals and different beliefs.

One of the first countries, where vegetarianism was spread was Egypt. It was also very common in Greece, especially among the philosophers and scientists.

As a special form of nutrition, vegetarianism came to Europe from Asia, from Buddhists, followers of Zoroastrianism, the yogis. Later, the vegetarianism has lost its positions in Europe (only monks refused to consume meat).

The development of modern vegetarianism occurred in England in the first half of the 19th century. This idea was borrowed from India, where it was widespread.

There were many cases when famous people promoted vegetarianism. For example, in Denmark, it was the philosopher Martinez, in Sweden - Dan, in Russia - Leo Tolstoy, and many others.

As to the modern history, the fast-moving spread of vegetarianism began in the late 40s of the 20th century, proving the benefit of this way of eating. Many modern celebrities now promote vegetarianism demonstrating its advantages using their personal example. Popular vegetarians are Paul McCartney, Madonna, Moby, Pink, Avril Lavigne, Jim Carrey, Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee, and Bob Marley among others.

Along with the history, it is also necessary to get deeper into types of vegetarianism. There are several kinds of vegetarianism.

For example, pescatarians refrain from eating any meat or animal flesh, except for fish.

Flexitarians (semi-vegetarians) occasionally do eat meat.

Vegetarians, in particular, lacto-ovo-vegetarians, are those people, who avoid eating pork, beef, poultry, shellfish, fish, or any kind of animal flesh, but do eat all dairy products and eggs.

Vegans eat only foods of plant origin. It excludes meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products.

Raw vegan’s diet allows consumption of all plants that have not been processed.

Macrobiotic diet also allows consumption of unprocessed food, avoiding sugar and refined oils. Occasionally, fish may be included in this type of diet.

There always have been lots of questions and disputes whether to be a vegetarian or not. There are many reasons why people become vegetarians. In the West, vegetarianism is a normal healing process. Some people object to eating meat, first of all, because they have motivations based on health care, some on cultural taboo (many nations refuse eating such animals as cats, dogs, horses), political, economic (it is cheaper to consume vegetarian food), the followers of several environmental movements, moral, aesthetic (guilt before animals and compassion for them), or various religious beliefs.

Environmental damage caused by grazing livestock has also been a weighty factor. Raising animals for food, causes air and water pollution. Producing meat products destroys rainforests (since they become pasture for cattle). It creates global greenhouse gases (because of animals’ fermentation and creating rooms for grazing animals and growing feed).

According to many views, the most important argument in favor of vegetarianism is the ethical consideration. They say that many people comfort themselves that animals are now killed in a “human way”. Nevertheless, unfortunately, that has nothing to do with the truth. All warm-blooded animals may experience pain, stress and fear.

It is outrageously that “some would as readily eat monkey meat if it were available in their markets or cat flesh if it became common” (Braunstein, 2010).

A great amount of humankind does not support the idea of consuming meat, because of religious aspects. They want to conquer the spirit of their body by rejection of sensual pleasures. Such fasting may proceed one day as well as the entire life, due to its strictness and religion itself. Generally, during the fast, it is forbidden to consume meat, milk products, fish and eggs over a certain period. It is the form of asceticism.

It is accepted in Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Anglicanism, Mormonism and many other religions. For example, in Islam, there is a month of a very strict fasting, called “Ramadan”.

Many believe in the effect on Sanskrit, which is called “karma”. It means that every action has implications. Although, the concept of karma is usually associated with eastern philosophy, many people understand that the law of karma (the law of cause and effect, the third law of Newton) is the same as the fundamental law of nature, like gravity or time. According to this law, if we cause harm or suffering to another living being, than we will suffer. In addition, as it is written in the famous song of Timberlake, “What goes around comes around”. Moreover, some people are sure that even if we do not kill anyone, we are buying meat and, thus, paying money for someone else to commit the murder.

Some people consider vegetarianism to be one of the main points in leading a healthy way of life. There were some cases when strict vegetarian diet helped to recover from such illness as malignant tumor. It is also widely known as assistant in keeping fit.

Vegetarianism heals our body. Plant food is rich in fiber, which passes through the intestines, and as a brush removes the waste products and remains of undigested food from its walls, purifying it.

There is a tribe of vegetarians in America, who do not practically get sick and their life longevity is approximately from 100 to 120 years. They can swim in the icy water; women have babies in the age of 65. In summer, their diet consists of raw fruits and vegetables. In winter, they eat dried apricots, cereals and sheep’s cheese.

When someone asked 70 year-old Bernard Show how he felt himself, he answered, “Perfectly, in spite of constant statements of doctors, who irritate me, saying that I will die refusing from meat”. When 90 year-old Show was asked the same question, he answered, “Perfectly! Nobody irritates me anymore. All those doctors, who convinced me I would not be able to live without meat, are already dead”.

Some scientists even consider human body’s structure to be modified to consume plant food. Human’s, as well as herbivores’, intestine is much longer (six times longer than the body) than the predator’s (only three times longer than their body); teeth are adapted for chewing plant fibers, we have blunt cutters not for tearing meat unlike the predators, who have sharp incisors. Human body also has many pores on the skin and our bodies are cooling with the help of sweating. Carnivores, vice versa, have no pores and their body is cooled with the help of the tongue. Predators have immature salivary glands. Human beings have salivary glands well developed; we also have back teeth for chewing, but predators do not. Our acid in the stomach is ten times weaker than that of carnivores. Then, a baby whose growing body needs protein gets it only from mother’s milk. Therefore, animal protein is not so irreplaceable.

Others insist on the assumption that meat is necessary for brain development. However, Leonardo da Vinci, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Plutarch, John Milton, Isaac Newton, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, George Bernard Show, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Leo Tolstoy, Albert Einstein and many other geniuses were vegetarians. Therefore, the hypothesis that vegetarians have undeveloped brain seems to be doubtful.

“Saint Thomas More […], condemned hunting in his Utopia (1516), Leonardo da Vinci […] and Henry More […] argued vigorously against Descartes that animals have not only consciousness but also immortal souls” (Fox, 1999).

Almost every doctor accepts the fact that properly chosen vegetarian diet is very likely to be not only harmful, but also even useful to the human body. It is noted by some specialists, that diet reducing saturated fat, cholesterol, animal protein, increases the content of carbohydrates, magnesium, fiber, foliate, and such antioxidants as vitamin C, E. It is also very helpful for those, who dream about their weight loss. Therefore, vegetarians are more likely to have lower body mass index, normal blood pressure, avoid cancer. The latest research has shown that most vegetables, fruit seeds, nuts and grains are sources of protein, and without toxic substances. In addition, a number of similar studies have found that well-chosen vegetarian foods contain more nutrients than meat. Others showed that vegetarians are able to work from two to three times longer than those, who eat meat; and they recover their strength three times faster.

All these factors prove that vegetarianism is the better way of life. 

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