Last time we talked about Love and being a vegetarian. In that article we discussed that love is a negative reason to turn vegetarian.
This time I would like to talk about the second negative reason for being a vegetarian – Health.
Health benefits of being a vegetarian
I have done a fair amount of research on the internet and otherwise and summary of all comments that I have read or heard about vegetarian diet are:
- More and more people are dying from diseases that are directly tied to their eating habits. Studies have shown that a vegetarian diet is healthier than a non vegetarian diet.
- On an average, vegetarians live longer than non vegetarians.
- You will save yourself from cancer, cardiovascular diseases and other dreadful troubles if you live on vegetarian diet.
- You will be more fit and slim and fit into your old jeans.
- Your body will be cleaner and have lesser toxins.
- The bones live and last longer.
- Net, net – You will be generally healthier if you are a vegetarian.
The above are simple vegetarian facts that you can get from any source on the internet.
All of the above may be true. Or it may not be true at all. Scientists and researchers have this uncanny habit of coming up with contradictory findings every now and then. For a long time fat was all bad, then it became good and now only certain kind of fat is good and all else is trash. Similarly, sometimes proteins are good and some other times they are bad. There was also a time when all carb diet was supposed to be good and now it is not so.
Every second day I read about the ill effects of caffeine. Every second day, because in the intervening days I read about the benefits of caffeine!
The point that I am driving at is such research needs to be taken with a bagful of salt. You never know, just when you become a vegetarian, the same researchers may come up and talk about the benefits of meat in your diet.
A Vegetarian too suffers from dreadful diseases
The first questions that we need to ask is – why do vegetarians also get cancer? My grandparents from both sides were hard core vegetarians – they did not sit with you if they got to know that you ate meat. Yet all four of them died of cancer!
Does a vegetarian person not get afflicted by diabetes? Are they immune to heart diseases? The answer is a clear no. A vegetarian is equally likely to suffer from some disease or the other – if a person is born then he will die one day and that death if not accidental will be most likely due to a disease.
Ah! I can hear some protests. I can hear someone saying, “Next you will tell that smoking too is not bad”. Well, my answer to that will be evident a little later.
In my opinion, it is not the meat diet that makes you unhealthy. It is excess of MEAT DIET that makes you unhealthy and susceptible to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and what have you.
Sometime back I read that most people die of overeating than under eating (excluding cases of starvation, and we will come to the causes of famine and starvation in later articles).
We all know that every person has a basic energy requirement to take care of their daily tasks and this in calorie terms works out to anything between 2000 to 3000 calories for an average man depending on his age, weight, height and activity level. The food that we eat and the beverages that we drink provide this energy. The amount of energy that we get from our diet is a function of how much and what we eat. And if you overeat or overdrink, then you will end up with calories that are far “over” than what you need. Result will be health problems of the kind listed earlier.
Your body will not condone you the overeating just because you do not eat meat. And likewise, you body will not punish you if you do not overeat just because your diet consists of meat.
The trick to a healthy life according to me is in eating the right quantity – no overeating. Unfortunately we humans are hungry and greedy – we are the only animal in the world that overeats.
In case of a non-vegetarian diet the overeating can cause higher damage because of the higher fat content – especially if you eat red meat. Therefore, overeating will be more harmful for a meat eater than to a vegetarian. And because a majority of populace overeats, the meat eater pays a higher price.
So, the question that needs to be asked in the end is – If a meat eater eats in a restrained manner, that is, he does not overeat, then is meat eating justified?
My answer to that is NO.
I’ll take that up in my future posts under what I call the positive reasons for being a vegetarian.
Your turn now:
Do you think that health is a good reason to be a vegetarian? Do veggies indeed live a healthier life? If so, why?