I am not like other people.
I am burning in hell.
The hell of myself.
Vegetarianism by yours truly
In 2012, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) estimated that Americans ate an average of 52.3 pounds of beef, 57.4 pounds of chicken, and 43.5 pounds of pork per person” (ProCon). Of the United States population, a 2012 Gallup poll found that 5% are vegetarians (those who choose not to consume meat, all red meat, poultry, and seafood) and 2% considered themselves to be vegans (those who choose to avoid using and eating any and all animal products). The USDA includes meat as part of a well-balanced diet and also states that a vegetarian diet can not only meet the protein requirements of an all inclusive diet, but also provide many health benefits, lower our environmental footprint, and potentially alleviate world hunger.
The inclusion of meat in the ancestral diet provided a dense form of nutrients and protein that, when combined with high-calorie low-nutrient carbohydrates, allowed us to develop our large brains and intelligence. Since then, meat has been the most convenient protein source available. With a vegetarian-based diet, people seem to lack key vitamins. Many have to take nutrition supplements of Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, iron, and protein. When switching to vegetarianism, there could easily be an increase in potassium/manganese (leading to high cholesterol), zinc (which may result in raised total triglyceride levels), and the consumption of simple carbohydrates (Acu-Cell). With a small handful of vegetarian-friendly meals available to the public, it’s hard to gain enough nutrients when there are no sources of them in a vegetarian diet. Opponents believe that it is not necessary to become vegetarian to lower our environmental footprint. Some vegetarians drive SUVS and consume products produced at factory farms while some meat eaters use solar panels and ride bikes. Production methods for meat substitutes can be energy intensive and the final products tend to be highly processed, the report, which was commissioned by the environmental group WWF (World Wildlife Fund), found. Others say that becoming vegetarian will not help alleviate world hunger. The 925 million people in chronic hunger worldwide are not hungry because people in wealthy countries eat too much meat; the problem is one of economics and distribution. The increased price of fertilizers has resulted “from infrastructure and trade networks that aren’t developed enough to create a low-cost and competitive market” (Tyler Cowen). The majority of food is produced in economically more developed countries such as the United States, but those countries that are really in need of their share of the food to solve their hunger problems cannot afford the high prices that these farmers charge. All of a person’s actions make a difference – not just a single act such as eating meat.
So why go vegetarian? People convert to vegetarianism because they want to live longer, healthier lives and do their part to reduce pollution. Thanks to an abundance of scientific research that demonstrates the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, even the federal government recommends that we consume most of our calories from grain products, vegetables and fruits. No wonder an estimated 70% of all diseases, including one-third of all cancers, are related to diet. A vegetarian diet reduces the risk for chronic degenerative diseases such as obesity, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer including colon, breast, prostate, stomach, lung and esophageal cancer (Vegetarian Times). Though meat can be a healthful part of a balanced diet, charring meat during cooking can create over twenty chemicals linked to cancer. Vegetarians are up to 40% less likely to develop cancer than meat-eaters. Studies have even shown that humans were meant to be herbivores. Carnivores are born with long, sharp front teeth for tearing, with no flat molar teeth while humans and herbivores, alike, have short, front teeth that aren’t as sharp, but flat rear molars for grinding. Humans and herbivores have a long intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length while meat-eaters only have one that’s three times their body length. A short digestive tract allows the carnivore’s rapidly decaying meat to pass through quickly (Celestial Healing). When humans cook their meat to help disguise the taste of flesh, the consumption of cooked meat tends to lag inside the digestive tract for 3-4 days. The meat literally has to rot/decay before completely digesting; that’s why it’s easier and quicker for carnivores to digest their meat because it’s already raw when consumed. Clearly if humans were meant to eat meat, we wouldn’t have so many crucial ingestive/digestive similarities with animals that are herbivores. As for the lack of proteins, legumes (soybeans, peanuts, peas, etc.) are a great substitute. Legumes are notable for having symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria called root nodules, which make them relatively rich in plant proteins. Becoming a vegetarian is a very effective way of relieving our environmental footprint. Raising animals for food creates 18% of global greenhouse gases - more than the transportation sector. These greenhouse gases are produced from the animals’ enteric fermentation (releasing of methane gas out of the body), manure decomposition, and deforestation to make room for grazing animals and growing feed. Overgrazing livestock has also hurt the environment through soil compaction, erosion, and harm to native plants and animals. About 70% of the eleven western states are grazed by livestock and within these states, 80% of streams and riparian areas have been severely damaged. A vegetarian diet is known to conserve water as well as alleviate world hunger. “It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, and about 660 gallons to make a pound of chicken. It only takes about 220 gallons to make a pound of tofu and 180 to make a pound of wheat flour… Over ten pounds of plant protein are used to produce one pound of beef protein. If these grains were fed to humans instead of animals, more food would be available for the 925 million people in chronic hunger worldwide. Research from Cornell University found that the grain used to feed US livestock alone could feed 800 million people” (ProCon). It’s reported that vegetarians don’t feel as bloated or weighed down after eating a meal and it’s also a great way to lose weight!
Becoming a vegetarian isn’t a struggle when it comes to feeding your body the nutrients it needs. Vegetarianism has been around since the 7th century and has been practiced by devout Buddhists through cultural influence from India and China. People assume that vegetarians convert because they want to spare animals, but being a vegetarian allows people to control themselves, better the environment, and transform into a healthier, more active, and overall happier lifestyle.