There are literally hundreds of great reasons to switch to a plant-based diet; here are 22 of the best. The American Vegetarian Society was founded in by Sylvester Graham , an early advocate of dietary reform in United States and the inventor of Graham bread, made from chemical-free unsifted flour. Highly influential, Graham promoted vegetarianism and a high-fiber diet as a cure for alcoholism and lust.
Graham preached that an unhealthy diet one containing the confounding variables of meat and white flour stimulated excessive sexual desire, which irritated the body and caused disease.
But the diet proposed to accomplish their goal of character building and social piety is still with us, enshrined, in fact, in the government-sanctioned food pyramid based on grains, vegetables and fruits with the addition of small amounts of lowfat animal foods.
Lop off the top of the pyramid and you have the vegan diet, still promoted with religious fervor even though its original dogmatic basis has been forgotten. The language of moral rectitude still lurks in the vegetarian arguments of sexually liberated New Age youth.
These findings are backed up by the China Health Project the largest population study on diet and health to date , which found that Chinese people who eat the least amount of fat and animal products have the lowest risks of cancer, heart attack and other chronic degenerative diseases. Russell Smith, a statistician, analyzed the existing studies on vegetariansim1 and discovered that while a number of studies show that vegetarian diets significantly decrease blood cholesterol levels, very few have evaluated the effects of vegetarian diets on overall mortality.
His careful analysis see sidebar below revealed no benefit from vegetarianism in terms of overall mortality or longevity. In fact, Smith speculated on the possibility that the available data from the many existing prospective studies were left unpublished because they failed to reveal any benefits of the vegetarian diet.
He notes, for example, mortality statistics are strangely absent from the Tromso Heart Study in Norway, which showed that vegetarians had slightly lower blood cholesterol levels than nonvegetarians. One was a German paper that compared mortality in German vegetarians and health-conscious persons in a year followup.
Vegetarians tend not to smoke, drink alcohol or indulge in sugar and highly processed foods. To compare these individuals to meat-eaters on the typical western diet will naturally yield results that favor vegetarianism.
But in the German study, both vegetarians and nonvegetarian health-conscious persons had reduced mortality compared with the general population, and it was other factors—low prevalence of smoking and moderate or high levels of physical activity—that were associated with reduced overall mortality, not the vegetarian diet. Within the studies, mortality for major causes of death was not significantly different between vegetarians and nonvegetarians, although there was a non-significant reduction in mortality from ischemic heart disease among vegetarians.
What the researchers discovered was that meat eaters had lower triglycerides and less cirrhosis of the liver, but otherwise they found no strong correlation, either negative or positive, with meat eating and any disease. Dietary fiber intake seemed to protect against esophageal cancer, but was positively correlated with higher levels of TB, neurological disorders and nasal cancer. Fiber intake did not confer any significant protection against heart disease or most cancers, including cancer of the bowel.
Plus, produce contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. The International Atherosclerosis Project found that vegetarians had just as much atherosclerosis as meat eaters. And any analysis of your food budget must necessarily include medical and dental expenses, and also account for reduced income due to missed days at work, lack of energy and the behavioral difficulties that result from B12 deficiency. A lowcost vegetarian diet that renders you incapable of performing a well-paid, high-stress job—the kind that allows you to put money into a mutual fund—is a poor bargain in the long-term.
SDA females had more Hodgkins disease percent , more brain cancer percent , more malignant melanoma percent , more uterine cancer percent , more cervical cancer percent and more ovarian cancer percent on average. Disease fighting phytochemicals are responsible for giving produce their rich, varied hues. Nothing prevents meat-eaters from adding color to their plate by using a variety of vegetables and fruits. The nutrients from these plant foods will be more easily absorbed if you serve them with butter or cream.
Some people do gain weight—lots of weight—on a vegetarian diet and many vegetarians are far too thin. When people begin formal detoxification programs, their first step is to replace meats and dairy products with fruits and vegetables and juices. No doubt about it, however, toxins are everywhere, in plant foods and animal foods. Health conscious consumers need to do their best to reduce the toxic load by choosing organic plant foods and pasture-raised animal foods.
Commentators proposed either high levels of pesticides or natural nerve toxins called isoquinolones that occur in fruit as the cause. Salicylates are another component of fruit that can lead to problems. By some estimates, at least animals per acre—including mice, rats, moles, groundhogs and birds—are killed for the production of vegetable and grain foods, often in gruesome ways.
Only one animal per acre is killed for the production of grass-fed beef and no animal is killed for the production of grass-fed milk until the end of the life of the dairy cow. And what about the human beings, especially growing human beings, who are suffering from nutrient deficiencies and their concomitant health problems as a consequence of a vegetarian diet?
Or does only animal suffering count? Of course, we should all work for the elimination of confinement animal facilities, which do cause a great deal of suffering in our animals, not to mention desecration of the environment.
This will be more readily accomplished by the millions of meat eaters opting for grass-fed animal foods than by the smaller numbers of vegetarians boycotting meat. Vegetarians wishing to make a political statement should strive for consistency. Cows are slaughtered not only to put steak on the table, but to obtain components used in soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, plastics, pharmaceuticals, waxes as in candles and crayons , modern building materials and hydraulic brake fluid for airplanes.
The membrane that vibrates in your telephone contains beef gelatin. So to avoid hypocrisy, vegetarians need to also refrain from using anything made of plastic, talking on the telephone, flying in airplanes, letting their kids use crayons, and living or working in modern buildings. The ancestors of modern vegetarians would not have survived without using animal products like fur to keep warm, leather to make footwear, belts, straps and shelter, and bones for tools.
In fact, the entire interactive network of life on earth, from the jellyfish to the judge, is based on the sacrifice of animals and the use of animal foods. If you are cooking from scratch, it is difficult to satisfy all the taste buds with dishes lacking animal foods. The umami taste is designed to be satisfied with animal foods.
In practice, very few people are satisfied with the flavors and tastes of a diet based exclusively on plant foods, even when these foods are loaded up with artificial flavors, which is why it is so difficult for most people to remain on a vegan diet.
Vegetables are a lot more interesting and bring us a lot more joy when dressed with egg yolks and cream or cooked in butter or lard. Only strong, committed, persistent and focused human effort will accomplish the goal of eliminating these abominations—the kind of strength, commitment, persistence and focus that only animal foods rich in cholesterol, zinc, good fats and vitamin B12 can sustain.
In nature and on old-fashioned farms, the urine and manure from animals is not a pollutant but a critical input that nourishes plant life. Without urine and manure to nourish the soil, plant farmers need more pesticides, more chemicals.
Researchers attribute this to the consumption of excess protein. Excess protein interferes with the absorption and retention of calcium and actually prompts the body to excrete calcium, laying the ground for the brittle bone disease osteoporosis. Animal proteins, including milk, make the blood acidic, and to balance that condition, the body pulls calcium from bones. The theory that excess protein causes bone loss was first presented in and followed up in with a study comparing bone density of vegetarians and meat eaters.
Bone density, determined by reading X-rays of the third finger metacarpal, was found to be significantly higher in the vegetarians—these are lacto-ovo vegetarians, not vegans, so they will have good calcium intake.
Herta Spencer, of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Hines, Illinois, explains that the animal and human studies that correlated calcium loss with high protein diets used isolated, fractionated amino acids from milk or eggs. But meat plus dairy is an excellent combination. The chart below illustrates the difficulty of obtaining adequate calcium from green leafy vegetables or legumes and contradicts the claim made above that leafy green vegetables and legumes supply more calcium on a per-calorie basis.
The opposite is the case. The RDA for calcium can be met for under calories using cheese or milk, but requires calories for spinach and calories for lentils. And not even the most dedicated vegetarians could choke down 13 cups of spinach or 32 cups of lentils that would be almost doubled once the lentils were cooked per day see sidebar, below. Leafy greens present additional problems because they contain calcium-binding oxalic acid.
Calcium assimilation requires not only adequate protein but also fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2, found only in animal fats. The lactoovo vegetarian consuming butter and full fat milk will take in the types of nutrients needed to maintain healthy bone mass, but not the vegan.
In addition, using land for animal agriculture is inefficient in terms of maximizing food production. According to the journal Soil and Water, one acre of land could produce 50, pounds of tomatoes, 40, pounds of potatoes, 30, pounds of carrots or just pounds of beef. Such land rotated with animal grazing will be fertilized naturally; without the manure and urine of animals, synthetics must be applied—synthetics that require large amounts of energy to produce and leave problematic pollutants, such as fluoride compounds, as a by-product.
But this land will support animal life very well. Eliminating the animals on this land in order to produce vegetable crops will indeed create famine for the people who live there. Fish, in particular, contain carcinogens PCBs, DDT and heavy metals mercury, arsenic; lead, cadmium that cannot be removed through cooking or freezing. Meat and dairy products are also laced with steroids and hormones. Pasture-based livestock production and wild caught fish do not contribute to pesticide residue.
Conventionally raised vegetables and grains are loaded with chemicals. Good gut flora prevents their absorption. Humans have always had to deal with environmental carcinogens—smoke is loaded with them—and heavy metals like mercury, which occur naturally in fish. We can deal with these challenges when we have adequate amounts of the nutrients supplied by animal foods. H7 which causes virulent diseases and death , and 30 percent of pigs slaughtered each year for food are infected with toxoplasmosis caused by parasites.
Milk, meat and eggs raised naturally do not present problems of food-borne illness. The degeneration of discs, for instance, which leads to nerves being pinched, starts with the arteries leading to the back. Eating a plant-based diet keeps these arteries clear of cholesterol-causing blockages to help maintain a healthy back.
One of the most common side effects of cholesterol-lowering is crippling back pain. The muscles that support our spine require animal foods to maintain their integrity. And the bones in our spine need a good source of calcium, namely dairy products or bone broth, to remain strong. Meat contains no fiber. People who eat lower on the food chain also tend to have fewer incidences of constipation, hemorrhoids and spastic colon. He notes that because fiber indeed slows down the digestive process, it interferes with the digestion in the stomach and, later, clogs the intestines.
Hemorrhoids and diverticulitis are other likely results—scientific studies do not support the theory that fiber prevents these conditions. Where is the research showing that vegetarian women go through menopause with fewer complaints? Numerous studies have shown that the phytoestrogens in soy foods have an inconsistent effect on hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. A vegetarian diet devoid of these nutrients is a recipe for menopausal problems, fatigue and diminished sex drive—the dietary proscriptions of the puritanical Graham and Kellogg work very well for their intended purpose, which is to wipe out libido in both men and women.
Lack of cholesterol, vitamin D and vitamin B12 is a recipe for mood swings and depression. The main change in the American diet paralleling the huge increase in health problems is the substitution of vegetable oils for animal fats. A secondary change is the industrialization of agriculture.
The solution to our health crisis is to return to pasture-based farming methods and the animal food-rich diets of our ancestors. Not only is this wasteful, but it contributes to rampant water pollution. If a sheep drinks one gallon of water per day— which is a lot—the animal would only need about gallons of water to yield almost eighty pounds of meat.