Think Before You Eat

by Chaitanya Charan dasDecember 10, 2011

Every day, several times a day, every living being, in whichever part of the world he may be, enjoys a universal ritual – eating.

Most people decide what they eat based mainly on taste, cost, habit, nutrition and convenience. But for those who are a little more thoughtful, here are some other points worth considering.

A Few Facts …

Nutrition

Let us compare the nutrition values of some common vegetarian foods and some common flesh foods:

Vegetarian foods (100 gm)

Name of food stuff

Medical calories

Cashewnut

596

Coconut

444

Groundnut

549

Cheese

348

Ghee

900

 

Flesh foods (100 gm)

Name of food stuff

Medical calories

Egg

173

Fish

91

Mutton

194

Pork

114

Beef

114

 

Anatomy

Let us compare some of the physiological features of flesh eaters, plant eaters and human beings:

Features of flesh eaters

Features of plant eaters

Features of human beings

Intestinal tract only 3 times body length, so rapidly decaying meat can pass out of body quickly

Intestinal tract 10-12 times body length, fruits do not decay as rapidly, so can pass more slowly through body

Intestinal tract 12 times body length

Small salivary glands in the mouth (not needed to predigest grains and fruits )

Well developed salivary glands, needed to predigest grains and fruits

Well developed salivary glands needed to predigest grains and fruits

Acid saliva; no enzyme ptyalin to predigest grains

Alkaline saliva; much ptyalin to predigest grains

Alkaline saliva;

Much ptyalin to predigest grains.

No flat back molar teeth to grind good

Flat back molar teeth to grind food

Flat back molar teeth to grind food

Features of flesh eaters

Features of Plant eaters

Features of human beings

 

Clearly the human body is not made for a non-vegetarian diet.

Health

Due to their unnatural diet meat-eating human beings are far more susceptible to diseases and disorders as compared to their vegetarian counterparts. Comprehensive investigations by groups such as the National Academy of Sciences have linked meat eating to cancer, and the Journal of American Medicine reports: “90-97% of heart disease could be prevented by a vegetarian diet.”

Environment

Meat eating also has hazardous effects on the environment, such as forest destruction, agricultural inefficiency, soil erosion and desertification, air pollution, water depletion and water pollution.

World Hunger

Consider the following data. One thousand acres of Soyabeans yield 1124 pound of usable protein. One thousand acres of rice yield 938 pound of usable protein. One thousand acres of corn yield 1009 pound of usable protein. One thousand acres of wheat yield 1043 pound of usable protein. Now consider: this one thousand acres of Soyabeans, corn, rice or wheat, when fed to a steer, will yield only about 125 pounds of usable protein.

These and other findings point to a disturbing conclusion: meat eating is directly related to world hunger. Here are some more statistics establishing this:

  • If all the Soyabeans and grains fed yearly to U. S. livestock were set aside for human consumption, it would feed 1.3 billion people.
  • It takes 16 pounds of grains and Soyabeans to produce 1 pound of feedlot beef. Therefore about 20 vegetarians can be fed on the land that it takes to feed 1 meat eater.
  • Feeding the average meat eater requires about 4,200 gallons of water per day, versus 1,200 gallons per day for lacto-vegetarian diet.
  • While it takes only 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat, it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat.
  • Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer has estimated that reducing meat production by just 10 percent would release enough grain to feed 60 million people.

In summary, millions will continue to die of thirst or starvation, while a privileged few consume vast amounts of proteins wasting land and water in the process. Ironically, this same meat is their own bodys’ worst enemy.

A Few Quotes …

“Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places! I have since an early age abjured the use of meat.” <div align=right>

– Leonardo Da Vinci</div>

“When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him, he calls him ferocity.” <div align=right>

– George Bernard Shaw</div>

“It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.” <div align=right>

– Albert Einstein</div>

“I do feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants. ” <div align=right>

– M. K. Gandhi</div>

“The flesh eating is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to moral feeling- killing. By killing man suppresses in himself, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity- that of sympathy and pity towards living creatures like himself and by violating this his own feelings become cruel.” <div align=right>

– Leo Tolstoy</div>

“Flesh eating is unprovoked murder.” <div align=right>

– Benjamin Franklin</div>

“As long as man massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” <div align=right>

– Pythagoras</div>

“A dead cow or sheep lying in a pasture is recognized as carrion. The same sort of a carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher’s stall passes as food.” <div align=right>

– J. H. Kellogg.</div>

The Vedic Perspective

The Bhagavad Gita states that foods such as milk products, grains, fruits, and vegetables increase the duration of life and give strength, health, happiness, and satisfaction. Conversely, foods such as, meat, fish and fowl are putrid, decomposed and unclean. They cause numerous hazards to physical health.

The Srimad Bhagavatam, the summum bonum of all Vedic literature, states that meat-eating is one of the four pillars of sinful life. Apart from bringing severe sinful reactions, meat-eating also dulls the human intellect thus rendering it incapable of understanding the higher dimensions of life. Therefore real spiritual life, nay real human life, cannot begin unless a human being stops killing his younger brothers, innocent animals, just for the satisfaction of his tongue.

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan das

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