Monday, April 23, 2007

Spirituality and Vegetarianism

How do you feel spiritually when you eat a meal that contains meat? You’ve probably never given it any thought, but that may because spiritually you feel nothing after eating a meal of meat except tired and sluggish. A diet of meat makes our bodies less functional, and we think of nourishing our bodies in terms of our organs and blood, but we don’t often think about how what we eat can impact the most important organ in our body, the brain.

When you eat a vegetarian diet, you begin to feel physically lighter and fit. When your body is fit, your mind is also lightened. Most cultures that focus more on spirituality and enlightenment are also vegetarian cultures. From the beginning of recorded history we can see that vegetables have been the natural food of human beings. Early Greek and Hebrew myths all spoke of people originally eating fruit. Ancient Egyptian priests never ate meat. Many great Greek philosophers such as Plato, Diogenes, and Socrates all advocated vegetarianism.

In India, Shakyamuni Buddha emphasized the importance of Ahimsa, the principle of not harming any living things. He warned His disciples not to eat meat, or else other living beings would become frightened of them. Buddha made the following observations: "Meat eating is just an acquired habit. In the beginning we were not born with a desire for it." "Flesh eating people cut off their inner seed of Great Mercy." "Flesh eating people kill each other and eat each other ... this life I eat you, and next life you eat me ... and it always continues in this way. How can they ever get out of the Three Realms (of illusion)?"

These are cultures that are considered more enlightened and focused more on spirituality than is Western culture. If we are to evolve into more spiritual beings, then we must begin to manage our physical lives in a way that will enhance our spirituality, and this means taking the path of vegetarianism as a path to enlightenment.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Reasons for not eating Pork

Many people reject eating pork and other meats derived from pigs for religious reasons or health reasons. When people start eating a more vegetarian diet, red meat is usually the first thing they eliminate from their diets. When they do, various health indicators generally start to improve, such as their cholesterol levels and blood pressure readings. Health is one of the most compelling reasons to eat vegetarian, but the inhumane treatment of the animals mass-produced for human consumption is another reason many people are rejecting a carnivorous diet.

Pig farming follows the same processes that chicken farming and other animal farming employ. The pigs are kept in small crates with limited movement. They’re overfed so they can be slaughtered more quickly. Their living conditions can be dirty and they’re fed growth hormones to stimulate weight gain and antibiotics to ward off diseases that are the results of their living conditions.

They’re forced to live in unnatural conditions and they exhibit signs of chronic stress that other animals produced for human food do. They chew on the bars of their cages or worry with their water bottles excessively. Their limited range of movement prevents the rooting behavior that’s natural for a pig.

The pigs pay an extremely high price to feed us. And we pay a high price for eating pork and other red meat. We’re basically not made to eat meat. Our teeth weren’t developed to rip and tear meat. We evolved from herbivores and it’s still the better way for us to eat. When we eliminate red meat and other meats and animal products from our diet, we get healthier – more lean and fit, less tired and sluggish. And there’s the added psychological benefit of knowing that we’re not contributing to the suffering of innocent animals.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Does being Vegetarian help to Prevent Cancer?

Does being Vegetarian help to Prevent Cancer? The answer to this question is a definite "Yes".

Vegetarian diets—naturally low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and replete with cancer-protective phytochemicals—help to prevent cancer. Large studies in England and Germany have shown that vegetarians are about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat-eaters. In the U.S., studies of Seventh-Day Adventists, who are largely lacto-ovo vegetarians, have shown significant reductions in cancer risk among those who avoided meat.

Similarly, breast cancer rates are dramatically lower in nations, such as China, that follow plant-based diets.

Interestingly, Japanese women who follow Western-style, meat-based diets are eight times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who follow a more traditional plant-based diet.

Meat and dairy products contribute to many forms of cancer, including cancer of the colon, breast, ovaries, and prostate.

Harvard studies that included tens of thousands of women and men have shown that regular meat consumption increases colon cancer risk by roughly 300 percent. High-fat diets also encourage the body’s production of estrogens. Increased levels of this sex hormone have been linked to breast cancer.

One study linked dairy products to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The process of breaking down the lactose (milk sugar) evidently damages the ovaries. Daily meat consumption triples the risk of prostate enlargement. Regular milk consumption doubles the risk and failure to consume vegetables regularly nearly quadruples the risk.

A recent report noted that the rate of breast cancer among premenopausal women who ate the most animal (but not vegetable) fat was one-third higher than that of women who ate the least animal fat. A separate study from Cambridge University also linked diets high in saturated fat to breast cancer.

Vegetarians avoid the animal fat linked to cancer and get abundant fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals that help to prevent cancer. In addition, blood analysis of vegetarians reveals a higher level of “natural killer cells,” specialized white blood cells that attack cancer cells.