About Vegetarianism

20 Feb. 2006 (Latest Update)


What is Vegetarianism?
Q & A
Vegetarianism Topics
Vegetarian Month
Reading about Being Vegetarian
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What is Vegetarianism?

Etymology of the Word
The word vegetarian was first used at the inauguration of the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom. It comes from the Latin vegetus, which means "whole", "sound," "fresh," and "lively."
The Start of the Modern Vegetarian Movement
Approximately at the time when Manchester, England became associated with the Industrial Revolution, members of British bible college's began a new diet that didn't require meat or fish, and left the consumption of eggs and milk up to the individual. The diet focused on eating things such as grains, vegetables, and beans as a primary stable. This was the beginning of modern vegetarianism.
Classes of Vegetarians
Vegans also "Pure-Vegetarians": Veganism is defined as a way of life that does not exploit or harm animals by avoiding foods from animals, clothing made from animals, and other animal by-products. Vegans' hatred for animal suffering encourages them to live without all types of animal meats (including poultry, fish, and other ocean lifeforms) and animal products (such as leathers, silk, wool, and gelatins.) Dietary vegans follow the same dietary guidelines as vegans, but do not necessarily avoid the use of products made from animals. Fruitarians differs from vegans in that they only eat from plants that do not have to be killed for consumption. (For example, an apple may be eaten because it does not require the sacrifice of the apple tree, but a carrot is avoid because eating it would kill the plant itself. Lacto-Vegetarians: This diet includes the diet of vegetarians, as well as milk and dairy products.
Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians: This diet includes the consumption of vegetables, eggs, milk, and cheese and other dairy products. This class represents more than half of vegetarians in the West.
Pescetarians: A Pescetarian diet includes vegetables, milk, eggs, and fish. Often, pescetarians avoid animal products made in factory-like conditions. This class is often called fish vegetarians, as well. Some eat poultry in addition to fish, and these are called demi-vegetarians, semi-vegetarians, and almost-vegetarians.
From the IVU web site's FAQ

Q & A

Vegetarianism Q & A
Q & A about Vegetarianism by Timothy Walsh

Vegetarianism Q & A

Q1: Do vegetarians only eat vegetables?
There are many types of vegetarians. In the West, the most common class is vegetarians who eat milk, cheese, and dairy products in addition to vegetables. There are also the vegans, who only eat vegetables, but they are less common.
Q2: Is getting protein from only vegetarian sources sufficient?
According to Professor Fredrick Stare of Harvard University (USA), if vegetarians acquire 80 grams of protein per day, they will have enough protein in their diet. Proteins are made from 20 amino acids, regardless of whether the protein is from a plant or an animal. Only 9 amino acids are not produced by the human body. Beans such as soy, lack the necessary amino acid methonine, and grains such as rice and wheat lack lysine. However, if one consumes beans and grains together, all 20 amino acids can be consumed, and, furthermore, extra protein that cannot be obtained by animal products alone can be acquired. Of course, vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy products do not have concern themselves with this.

Q3: Can a vegetarian diet prevent adult disease?
According to the results of a 21-year study conducted at Loma Linda University on 25,000 human subjects, vegetarians are less than half as likely to die from lung cancer, brain-stem strokes, heart diseas, and diabetes as meat-eaters. What's more, other studies have found that vegetarianism prevents high blood pressure and osteoporosis. This is believed to be so due to the high of vitamins A and C, calcium, calium, and fiber of a vegetarian diet.

Q4: Is it true that eating meat speeds up the loss of rainforests?
Compared to the early 1960's, rainforests in central and south American have been depleted by as much as 40%. Multi-national corporations that destroy rainforests for replacement by cattle ranches in such countries as Costa Rica and Nicaragua are one of the most significant reasons for this decrease.

Q5: How is it that vegetarianism can reduce world hunger?
Our world has a population of approximately 5.7 billion. By 2025, it is said that this number will increase to 8.5 billion. When this happens, we will obviously have greated problems with world hunger than we do now. The reason is protein. A meat-eater consumes approximately the protein sufficient to feed 20 people by consuming massive amounts of protein from animals in place of sufficient amounts of protein from plants. In order to share our world's protein supply and thus encourage world peace by preventing world starvation, the vegetarian diet is a natural answer.

Q6: Who are some famous vegetarians in the world?
Historically, Pitagoras, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Mahatma Gandhi, Bernard, Bernard Shaw, and Miyazawa Kenji were vegetarians. In the world of music and theatre, Richard Gear, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston. In sports: Carl Lewis and Edwin Moses. Throughout time and geographical distance, we find many vegetarians. By the way, three-time olympic medal track and field champion Carl Lewis is also vegan.
(source: JVS-News No.11 P2 (1997)

Q & A about Vegetarianism by Timothy Walsh

Q1: What would you say if someone asked you why you don't eat meat?
It's bad for my health, bad for the environment, and counter-productive in regards to world hunger.

Q2: Would you like to share your opinion with the world?
It's not just my opinion, but the opinion of Buddha and Ghandi. It's the opinion of those starving because of ranches in South American rainforests. It's the opinion of Da Vinci and Darwin. From personal well-being to environmental problems, I hope vegetarian will be adopted on a large scale.

Q3: Why do you think vegetarianism is not yet popular in Japan?
Generally speaking, Japanese people tend to conform to be like those around them. If "those around them" are not vegetarians, it is likely that they will not become one. If each person would change their traditions and habits, then each could make a positive, personal decision about environmental problems in their own kitchens.

Q4: By the way, there are many who think that a vegetarian diet does not include enough protein, aren't there?
I don't think people know enough about how much they actually need.

Q5: You mean to say how much protein they need?
Absolutely. In fact, in developed countries its more a question of getting too much protein than not getting enough.

Q6: Is getting too much protein a problem?
Getting too much protein can cause several health problems. In particular, kidney disease, cancer, and osteoporosis are big problems.

Q7: How are cancer and protein related?
According to research, studies of cancer in meat-eaters show that protein is very related. The reason why is, first, the connection between high intake of animal proteins and cancerous growth. Another reason is that often not enough non-animal protein is consumed.

Q8: So, this means that cancer is less common in vegetarians?
That's right. The likelihood of a vegetarian dying of cancer is half as likely as a non-vegetarian dying of cancer.

Q9: Adult diseases are on the rise. Does this mean that we should change our diet?
Eating meat isn't just bad for your health, but it is very bad for the environment.

Q10: Are you speaking of wildlife destruction?
Absolutely. From dirty rivers to forest removal, our age of meat-eaters have a terrible impact on the world.

Q11: Do you mean on rainforests?
Yes. It's the number one source of forest destruction in South and Central America. To make just one hamburger, approximately 16 square meters of forest are destroyed. Due to meat consumption, many different animals are disappearing.

Q12: And there are other problems besides forest destruction, aren't there?
A: Yes. Vast amounts of forest are plowed and burned to let cattle graze. It's destroying our ecosystem. In our rainforests, about 1,000 species of life are destroyed every year.

Q13 And it must be a waste of grain, right?
Absolutely. Modern cattle raising requires 16 kilograms of grain and soy to make 1 kilogram of beef. 16 kilograms! When we consider that, it seems a contradiction that children in the world are suffering from starvation while cattle keep getting fatter. No matter how admirable or affluent the breeding technique, the poor efficiency of producing meat in place of grain wastes good protein, in my opinion. When grain is changed into meat product, 90% of the protein is wasted.

Q14: The food crisis will create an enormous lack of protein in the future, so they say.
Even now, approximately 14% of the world's 5.7 billion people are malnourished.

Q15: If more people become vegetarians, will conditions improve?
If our earth's protein is used more efficiently (by eating grains in place of meats), one meat-eater's meal will become 20 vegetarian meals.

Q16: If vegetarianism becomes the norm, will we have that much more food?
Of course. We will have more space and natural resources, and the our ecosystem will dynamically improve.

Q17: Natural resources? Do you mean gasoline?
A: A vegetarian diet requires 1/3 as much fossil fuels as a meat-centered diet. Naturally, such a diet positively effects the problem of carbon dioxide.

Q18; So, does that mean it will help with global warming?
Global warming isn't only caused by cars and factories. Truly, there are domestic causes. If we compare getting protein from soybeans versus getting protein from beef, beef production requires 40% as much fossil fuel. With our climate in mind, we must change teh way we eat.
by Timothy Walsh (e-mail: timothing@yahoo.com)
(source: Vegetarian Journal No.11 P3 (1998))

Vegetarianism Topics

Mad Cow Disease and 0-157
A Vegetarian Menu as Viewed from a Nutrionist's Point of View
Vegetarianism and Yoga
Eating Too Much Meat is Destroying the Envrionment
Primeval Evolution - On a Vegetarian Diet!

Mad Cow Disease and 0-157

by JPVS President Prof. Mitsuru Kakimoto

The 1996 British outbreak and resulting panic of mad cow disease and the Japanese coli bacteria 0-157 food poison incident that occured the same year shared a common characteristic: meat contamination.
The British Minister of State for Health and agriculture experts agreed that the March 20, 1996 mad cow disease panic developed into an enormous incident that spread throughout the European Union. Minister of State for Health Stephen Torrell announced that ten particular cases of Creutzfeldt-Jacob syndrom (characterized by an infection of the central nervous system, a sponge-like brain condition, state of dementia, and subsequent painful death greatly resembled mad cow disease and may have been caused by infection by it.

There is a strong case that the mad cow disease outbreak may have originated in scrapy, a disease that infects sheep. Scrapy enteres the internal organs and brain of dead sheep, and changes them into a powder, which may then be consumed by cows grazing in thick forage.
Prion pathogens (self-sustained and -multipled) are smaller than virii and they probably infected British cows. Great Britain's meat industry, which often breads cattle in the way that produces the most meat output efficiency instead of the natural way is doubted for its production methods.

Now, the May - July 1996 outbreak of cali bacteria 0-157 food poisoning began in Okayama and Osaka and spread to infect 9,000 people and kill 12 others. This large-scale food poisoning incident surpassed the 1993 0-157 Hamburger 0-157 incident in western England, which was responsible for 700 infections and 4 fatalities. 0-157 is stored in the large intestines of cows, and investigation has proven that it gets mixed into minced meat. Even in Japan, beef infected by 0-157 has been discovered, and the source of said food poisoning could not been specified as minced meat or polluted sewer water.

According to the United Nations, in the past twenty years there have been 30 types of unprecedented outbreaks, including mad cow disease, O-157, AIDS, and ebola. However, we must not rush to the conclusion that they the fruition of microscopic bacteria and virii that have entered our bodies after we have been irresponsible with our own environment.

(source: Nov. 1999 Tokyo Training Lecture)

A Vegetarian Menu as Viewed from a Nutrionist's Point of View

by Yumi Watabe of Osaka Shin-Ai College

In terms of the vegetarian diet, how much of what food is enough? Since you won't be eating meat or fish anymore, you'll have to meet certain nutritional requirements by eating different foods; fortunately, this won't be a problem. Include a good amount of soy products in your diet and you will get plenty of protein. 100 grams of protein from meat or fish is approximately equivalent to half of one block of kinu tofu, one block of bount tofu, about one ganmodoki, or about two 1/2 cup servings of boiled tofu. Any one of these will be more than enough.
Since vegetarians intake many vegetables, vitamins and minerals will not be in short supply. The composition of vegetables in beans will also help to prevent cancer. On the other side of the spectrum, a meat-based diet that involves too many animal products increases the chance of dying from arteriosclerosis and cancer. In particular, breast cancer and cancer of the large intestine are deeply-connected to the consumption of fat.

The grease consumption of Japanese people increases every year, and was averaged at 58 grams/day in 1996. It is recommend to intake no more than 20-50% of your energy from fat and to consume 2000 kilocalories per day, which means that you should consume 45-55 grams of fat per day, maximum. Therefore, many people intake too much fat. It is also important to keep a good balance of fatty acids obtained from fat. Saturated fat (common in animal products) contains ingredients that raise blood cholestorol levels. In contrast, linoleic acid and linolen acid are common in vegetable products and have the power to decrease amounts of blood chlorestorol.
It is now clear that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are both fats found in fish that decrease cardiac infarction and a hardening of the arteries. DHA enhances one's ability to remember things and reason. However, it is important to balance your intake of linoleic acid, linolen acid, EPA, and DHA. If you get too much linoleic acid, you will compromise your immune system and possibly help cancerous cells to propagate. And so, linoleic acid may help lower chlorestoral, but it may aid in advancing cancer. Now, what about vegetarians who do not eat fish? According to our research there is a tendency to intake too much linoleic acid, and so for those who intake vegetable oils and fats regularly, a precaution must be made: it is best to avoid oils that have a high linoleic acid composition.

Food products are not made combinations of one ingredient; however, when we hear that a particular ingredient has a disease-preventing effect, we are quick to slant our diet. The point is to not choose a diet with variety instead of a slanted diet. Do not let excess into your diet. Reflect on your diet in order to check if you are getting a good balance. Let's have a better consciousness of eating habits with our health in mind.

(source: Vegetarian Journal No.9 P2 (1997))

Vegetarianism and Yoga

by Chiharu Kimura of B.K. Raja Yoga Center

According to Yoga, vegetarianism does not only enhance a person's physical and mental health but also evidences a personal, affirmative dedication to world peace. In fact, great philosophers and thinkers of many ages have been strict vegetarians. Plato, Aristotle, Mahatma Gandhi, and Einstein were all vegetarians.
Vegetarinaism calms the soul and puts one in a state of mind that allows clear concentration. This is very important for meditation. A vegetarian diet gives peace of mind and enhances mental health. Human beings who are in this natural state do not desire to kill other animals, cause their suffering, or consume them. The makeup of the human body is unlike that of natural meat-eaters. From dissection of the human body and knowledge of its anatomy, we know that it is meant to serve a life supported by fruits, seeds, and vegetables. Our teeth are not distinctly-pointed like predators who chew and consume meat. The human cranium contains 32 teeth, 20 of which were especially designed for consuming grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Furthermore, human intestines are approximately six times the length of the body, which is not a composition that supports rapid eating and discharging of meat. Meat spoils in the stomach, and creates harmful poisons of urea, uric acid, and ammonia. This poison can enter the bloodstream, inflame sensitive areas, and cause rhumatism, arthritis, liver and kidney disfunction. The kidneys, the lungs, and the skin should be in the best shape possible in order to help excrete unneeded materials from the body. If the extrectory system is burdened by disfunctions, then unwanted materials may accumulate within the body.
Furthermore, these days, meat contains preservatives, cosmetics, and growth hormones in the human body negatively effect the nervous system and the body's metabolism. These chemicals are injected into animals that are used for meat. When these materials are deposited in narrow parts of the body, tolerant bacteria levels increase in number and size in these animals. Does not breeding animals in such a way reveal a degression in our society? When we consider how our world functions now, it is apparent than in the future all people should become vegetarians, or so say numerous modern-day scientists.
"You are what you eat." Alcohol- and drug-intake effect mental health and inhibit judgement. In the same way, everything that you eat effects you more or less. It is imperative to check what type of diet is best for your body.

All food can be categorized into the following three categories:
The most important thing to remember is to be careful of how you cook and eat. If you prepare your food kindly and gently, this quality will effect the person who eats it. To create a high mental state, prepare your food in a decidedly gentle, kind, and happy manner. This is our recommendation. If you test the vegetarian diet, your mind and body will feel more relaxed than they have before. In reality, what you eat and think about is your decision. What you put in your body will slowly and steadly change the way that you think. As you consider your body's health, keep your mental health in mind.

B.K.W.S.U. (Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University was opened in Rajasthan, India in 1937. Presently, it has 4,500 centers (B.K. Raja Yoga Center) in 80 countries, and is a United Nations-registered NGO. At their Yoga Centers, anyone who is interested can learn how to integrate meditation and an affirmative sense of their own nature into their lifestyle.

(source: Vegetarian Journal No. 12 P3 (1999))

Eating Too Much Meat is Destroying the Envrionment

Robert Lawrence of Johns Hopkins University was the leading sponsor of the "International Conference for Consideration of Health, Nutrition, and the Environment," and "Eating Too Much Meating is Destroying the Envrionment."
Eating too much meating raises one's cholestorol level, body-fat percentage, and chance of developing cancer of the large intestines and heart disease. Generally, doctors prescribe diet counselling, but they end it at that. There is a clear need to investigate the root of the problem.
The average American may eat 123 kilograms of meat per year, yet it is the meat industry that supports this grave lifestyle. America raises its cattle on a large-scale, quite like a factory. They raise enormous number of animals, decrease the diversity of these animals, use massive amounts of water, and pollute our soil with their use of agricultural chemicals and manures. They inject their animals with a great amount of antiobiotics, and thus create a scene of animals tolerant to medication.
The problems of meat-eating also include resource availabilty problems. To obtain one-calorie worth of meat, more than three kilocalories of fossil fuels are used. My suggestion is to investigate a way to reduce meat consumption and return said cattle ranching to a smaller scale.
No one doctor could prescribe a solution to all environmental issues. This international conference is a place for doctors, nutritionists, economists, and environmentals to exchange information. At the Kyoto conference for global warming two years ago, the United States was critized for it's drive to industrialize. This is our chance to reestablish our reputation, and this conference is the chance to brainstorm of possible solutions.

(source: Asahi Shimbun 3 Sept. 1999)

Primeval Evolution - On a Vegetarian Diet!

Professor Reiden of Minnesota University presented that the ancestor of the modern human being invented vegetarian cooking over a fire 190 million years ago and thus entered an age of better nutrition. This was when he evolved from being the ape-man to being the primeval man.
According to this history, ape-men such as the australopithecus were characterized by large teeth and a sturdy jaw. These features are now viewed as being used for eating unprepared roots and the fruit of trees. As a matter of fact, the pithecanthrope (upright primeval man) who appeared 190 million years ago had developed smaller teeth and a larger body and brain. This is explained as being due to his inventing the use of fire for cooking and softening plant roots and large amounts of vegetables.
Note: It is now believed that the transitionary step in the evolution of man of eating meat must have occurred at some point.

(source: Asahi Shimbun 6 Sept. 1999)