Why Are You a Vegetarian?
By Lynn Max
I am often asked this question that I’ve come to answer it by turning the question around. For me it makes more sense to ask, “Why do you eat meat?” As a child I ate without question what my parents fed me. When I hit my teens, I started to make the connection between the lamb chops, pork chops and chicken I was eating to those adorable lambs, pigs & chickens at the petting zoo (okay, chickens are in no way cute, but you get my point). We have become so distanced from the food we eat that we don’t think about its source and how the source is being treated. What we put into our bodies is so personal and important. The following is filled with many reasons for being a vegetarian.
You love all animals (even the ugly ones) and wouldn’t have the nerve to kill them for food if you had to do it for yourself. Besides, studies have shown that many animals are highly intelligent with the ability to feel emotions. Male ostriches, for example, build their nests, incubate the eggs and care for their young. They may have small brains, but look how good the female ostriches have it.
You love the earth. It takes 23 gallons of water to produce a pound of tomatoes. It takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef (a waste of water). One acre of land can produce 20,000 pounds of potatoes or 165 pounds of beef (a waste of land). 22 million acres of land have become unusable due to desertification. Rainforests are destroyed to create grazing land for cattle.
You love your children. 90% of all food borne pesticides are found in meat & dairy products. 10% of nursing mothers who were vegetarians had DDT (a pesticide now banned in the U.S.) in their breast milk. 90% of nursing mothers who were meat eaters had DDT in their breast milk. Antibiotics and hormones are pumped into the meat our children eat. They pump the animals full of antibiotics because the conditions the animals live in are causing them to die before they can be used for meat. They are pumped full of hormones so they will grow quickly & in the case of cows, produce more milk. These antibiotics and hormones are being ingested into our children’s bodies, causing resistance to medicine when they are sick and causing early maturation.
You love yourself. The countries with the diets highest in animal products are also the countries with the highest rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes & osteoporosis. And if you think you are safe eating chicken, think again. I have read that 80% of USDA chicken inspectors no longer eat chicken (that says a lot). Chicken has the same cholesterol content as beef. Plant foods are 100% cholesterol-free.
Here are just a few of the people you might know that are vegetarians:
Christie Brinkley Chelsea Clinton
Charles Darwin Bob Dylan Peter Gabriel Jack LaLanne
David Duchovny Drew Barrymore Brooke Shields Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) Jerry Seinfeld Dustin Hoffman
Mark Twain Meatloaf (ironic, huh?)
Brad Pitt Richard Gere Dave Scott (5 time IronmanTriathlon winner)
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” Albert Einstein
“I have no doubt that it is part of the destiny of the human race in its gradual improvement to leave off eating animals.” Henry David Thoreau
In his later years, Dr. Benjamin Spock (author of the famous Baby and Child Care book) after having his own health problems and then going meat free, updated the 7th edition to recommend avoiding meat and dairy for babies.
Becoming a vegetarian was a gradual process for me. It works for my family and me. I had two healthy pregnancies, producing two healthy girls without eating meat although it made many people I know very nervous. I believe that when we educate ourselves about anything, it makes a world of difference. Now the only ham hocks I’ll be eating are my daughter’s thighs.
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