Dr. Jai Maharaj posted:
The Meat-Free Life: Five Reasons to be a Vegetarian and
Ten Reasons Against Eating Meat
Hinduism Today Magazine
There are more than a few Hindus today who guiltily
abandoned the vegetarian ways of their own parents and
grandparents when they decided to be “secular” and
“modern.” But our ancient seers had it right when they
advocated living without killing animals for food. Today
vegetarianism is a worldwide movement with adherents
among all religions, daily gaining converts through one
or more of the five basic reasons to adhere to a meatless
diet: dharm, karm, consciousness, health and
environment. Each is explored in the following pages,
which conclude with an examination of the harmful effects
of eating meat.
The Beef Diet: Prescription for Disaster
By Neal D. Barnard
President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Imagine if two jumbo jets collided over a major city and,
in the resulting fireball, 4,000 people died -- it would
be a national tragedy -- one of the worst accidents ever.
People would demand that airlines and the government made
sure nothing like that could ever happen again.
A tragedy of this proportion happened the day before
yesterday. It happened yesterday, too. It will happen
again today and tomorrow. Every single day in the United
States, 4,000 lives are taken by heart attacks and almost
nothing is being done about it.
For years now, we have known of the role diet plays in
health, yet unhealthy diets are still promoted by the
government, livestock industries, advertisers, and even
doctors. Healthy diets must be presented and encouraged
by these groups if America's health care crisis is going
to be solved.
Dietary changes are worth making. Two of the three
leading killers of Americans are heart disease and
stroke. Both are linked to "hardening of the arteries" --
arteriosclerosis -- which, in turn, is largely caused by
high-fat, cholesterol-laden diets. As we all know, animal
flesh, and beef in particular, is a major source of
cholesterol and saturated fat.
The enormous toll of these diseases is taken one patient
at a time, as doctors finally give up trying to
resuscitate yet another heart that is damaged beyond
hope. The toll is also felt in the national pocketbook.
Coronary bypasses and expensive diagnostic tests are now
the budget-breaking routine in every city in America.
Many other diseases also have their roots in our daily
meals. Breast cancer, which has reached epidemic
proportions, killing one woman every twelve minutes, is
clearly related to diet. The same connections have been
drawn between diet and cancers of the colon and prostate.
In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, some
80 percent of cancer deaths are attributable to smoking,
diet, and other identifiable and controllable factors.
Foods rich in fat and oils increase our cancer risk.
About 40 percent of all the calories we eat comes from
the fat in meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, fried
foods and vegetable oils. These fats stimulate the over-
production of hormones which encourage cancer and promote
the development of carcinogens in the digestive tract.
Not only are beef and other meats high in cholesterol and
saturated fats, but they are also low in some vital
vitamins and minerals, and they contain zero fiber.
Recently there has been enormous scientific attention
given to the role beta-carotene and other vitamins and
minerals play in blocking cancer growth. Whole grains,
fruits, legumes, and vegetables are full of vitamins and
minerals. And plant foods have fiber -- a substance
completely lacking in beef and other meats. We have long
known that fiber helps eliminate many common
gastrointestinal problems such as constipation; however,
evidence shows that it also is protective against a wide
variety of diseases ranging from colon cancer to
diabetes, and from gallstones to appendicitis. It also
binds with carcinogenic substances, bile, and excess
hormones which would otherwise rest in the digestive
tract, and moves them out of the body.
As one studies the diets of people around the world, one
thing becomes clear: as people give up traditional diets
that are low in fats, high in fiber, and predominantly
plant-based in favor of beef and other meats, the
incidence of diseases such as cancer, heart disease,
diabetes, and kidney disease rises. At the same time,
life expectancy and quality of life decline. In recent
years, Japan has been the target of American beef and
tobacco promotional campaigns that seem to be some sort
of Pearl Harbor revenge program. Members of the higher
socioeconomic strata, who are adopting Westernized diets,
have much higher rates of breast, colon, and prostate
cancer and heart disease than their counterparts who eat
less (or no) meat.
The Beyond Beef campaign is encouraging people to make
this simple change -- to step away from beef. It is a
move that is good for you, for others, for animals, and
for the environment. So live a little; try some new
cuisine; experiment with traditional and ethnic foods. It
could well help you live a lot healthier longer.
- Dr. Neal Barnard is President of The Physicians
Committee For Responsible Medicine, a nationwide group of
physicians that promotes preventive medicine and
addresses controversies in modern medicine. In April
1991, he and three other doctors unveiled a proposal to
replace the old Four Food Groups concept initiated in
In his book, "The Power of Your Plate," Dr. Barnard
documents the scientific evidence supporting a low-fat,
vegetarian diet as the most potent regimen to reduce risk
of heart disease, cancer, weight problems and food-borne
illness. Aside from serving as a practicing physician on
the faculty of the George Washington School of Medicine,
he is also an Associate Director for Behavioral Studies
at the Institute for Disease Prevention.
Dr. Barnard is a director of Behavioral Studies at the
Institute for Disease Prevention at George Washington
The Beef-Colon Cancer Link
Now a spate of new studies are connecting red meat
consumption to colon cancer, the number two cause of
cancer in the United States. Over 100,000 cases of colon
cancer are diagnosed each year, and over 50,000 died of
the disease in 1990 alone.
In a six-year study of 88,751 women from the ages of 30
to 59 years old, the largest study ever conducted on
colon cancer and diet, researchers found that women who
ate red meat every day are "two and a half times more
likely to have colon cancer than women who ate meat
sparingly or not at all."
Dr Walter Willett, of the Brigham and Women's Hospital of
Boston, the director of the study, said of the findings:
"If you step back and look at the data, the optimum
amount of red meat you eat should be zero."
In the beef-eating cultures of the Western world, the
incidence of colon cancer is up to ten times the rate of
non-beef-eating cultures of Asia and the developing
- Kolata, Gina, "Animal Fat is Tied to Colon Cancer" New
York Times, December 13, 1990
- Willet, Walter C., et al, "Relationship of Meat, Fat
and Fiber Intake to the Risk of Colon Cancer in
Prospective Study Among Women" New England Journal of
Medicine, 333:24 (1990), pg. 1664
- Rifkin, Jeremy, "Beyond Beef," Dutton, 1992, pg. 172
'A vegetarian diet can prevent 97% of our coronary
- 'Diet and Stress in Vascular Disease,' Journal Of The
American Medical Association, Vol. 176, No. 9, June 3,
1961, pg 806.
High IQ link to being vegetarian
[Caption] Vegetarianism has been linked to better heart
Friday, December 15, 2006
Intelligent children are more likely to become vegetarians
later in life, a study says.
A Southampton University team found those who were
vegetarian by 30 had recorded five IQ points more on
average at the age of 10.
Researchers said it could explain why people with higher IQ
were healthier as a vegetarian diet was linked to lower
heart disease and obesity rates.
The study of 8,179 was reported in the British Medical
Twenty years after the IQ tests were carried out in 1970,
366 of the participants said they were vegetarian -
although more than 100 reported eating either fish or
Men who were vegetarian had an IQ score of 106, compared
with 101 for non-vegetarians; while female vegetarians
averaged 104, compared with 99 for non-vegetarians.
"We've always known that vegetarianism is an
intelligent, compassionate choice benefiting animals,
people and the environment"
- Liz O'Neill, of The Vegetarian Society
There was no difference in IQ score between strict
vegetarians and those who said they were vegetarian but who
reported eating fish or chicken.
Researchers said the findings were partly related to better
education and higher occupational social class, but it
remained statistically significant after adjusting for
Vegetarians were more likely to be female, to be of higher
occupational social class and to have higher academic or
vocational qualifications than non-vegetarians.
However, these differences were not reflected in their
annual income, which was similar to that of non-
Lead researcher Catharine Gale said: "The finding that
children with greater intelligence are more likely to
report being vegetarian as adults, together with the
evidence on the potential benefits of a vegetarian diet on
heart health, may help to explain why higher IQ in
childhood or adolescence is linked with a reduced risk of
coronary heart disease in adult life."
However, she added the link may be merely an example of
many other lifestyle preferences that might be expected to
vary with intelligence, such as choice of newspaper, but
which may or may not have implications for health.
Liz O'Neill, of the Vegetarian Society, said: "We've always
known that vegetarianism is an intelligent, compassionate
choice benefiting animals, people and the environment.
"Now we've got the scientific evidence to prove it. Maybe
that explains why many meat-reducers are keen to call
themselves vegetarians when even they must know that
vegetarians don't eat chicken, turkey or fish."
But Dr Frankie Phillips, of the British Dietetic
Association, said: "It is like the chicken and the egg. Do
people become vegetarian because they have a very high IQ
or is it just that they tend to be more aware of health
Eating Meat Wastes Our Resources
When it comes to resource and energy wastage, meat
products are a class by themselves.
Scientists compute the energy costs of foods by the value
of the raw materials consumed in the production of that
food. Frances Moore Lappe reports:
A detailed 1978 study sponsored by the Department of
Interior and Commerce produced startling figures showing
that the value of raw materials consumed to produce food
from livestock is greater than the value of all oil, gas,
and coal consumed in this country.
The same study revealed the equally startling fact that
the production of meats, dairy products and eggs accounts
for one-third of the total amount of all raw materials
used for all purposes in the United States.
In contrast, growing grains, vegetables and fruits for
direct human consumprion is a model of efficiency, using
less than 5% the raw material consumption as does the
production of meat.
Another way scientists compute the energy costs of
various foods is to assess the amount of fossil fuel
needed to produce them. An American scientist, David
Pimental, calculates that if the whole world were to eat
according to wasteful U.S. agricultural practices, the
planet's entire petroleum reserves would be exhausted in
- "Raw Materials in the United States Economy 1900-1977"
Technical paper 47, Vivian Spencer, U.S. Department of
Commerce, Bureau of Mines, pg 3
- Lappe, F.M., "Diet For A Small Planet" Ballantine
Books, New York, 1982, Tenth Anniversary Edition
- Robbins, John, "Diet For A New America" Stillpoint
Publishing, Walpole, N.H., 1987
- Reid, J.T., "Comparative Efficiency of Animals in the
Conversion of Feedstuffs to Human Foods" Confinement,
April 1976, pg. 23
- Hur, Robin and Fields, David; "How Meat Robs America
of its Energy," Vegetarian Times, April 1985
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi