“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 What is Vegetarianism Essay? Vegetarianism is the practice of not eating meat
or some animal products, depending on the degree of vegetarianism. There are
various types of vegetarianism, each with its own benefits, but also its own
difficulties. The first of the three main types, and most common, is Ovo-lacto.
Ovo-lacto vegetarians eat no meat (red meat, poultry, or seafood), but do eat
eggs and dairy products.
The second type is Lacto. Lacto vegetarians do not eat
meat or eggs, but do eat dairy products. The last, and strictest, of the types
is vegans. Vegans do not eat meat, eggs, dairy products, foods containing animal
by-products, or even honey. Vegans oftentimes do not even use products such as
leather, angora, wool, silk, or any product tested on animals. Besides the three
main types, there are also people who choose not to eat red meat, but do eat
poultry and seafood.
There are also a few offshoots of vegetarianism, such as
raw/living foodists and fruitatarians. Why Vegetarianism? There are several
reasons why people choose to become vegetarians. A few of the more common
reasons are the health benefits, the terrible treatment of livestock animals,
and harm to the environment. Health benefits of vegetarianism are tremendous. A
vegetarian diet will help prevent cancer, prevent heart disease, lower blood
pressure, and prevent or even reverse diabetes. Eating less meat reduces your
risk of a heart attack by 50%, and a vegan diet reduces the risk by 90%.
vegetarian diet also reduces the risk of E-coli. Diseases and bacteria often
slip through meat inspection. Nine thousand US citizens become ill each year
from contaminated meat. Livestock are forced to live in terrible conditions, are
treated horribly, and are brutally killed. They are often branded with hot
irons, tails cut off, teeth removed, and castrated, all without anesthesia. The
animals are malnourished so their meat will be the “right” color and
They are injected with harmful antibiotics, forcing the animal to grow
up too fast. The rapid growth doesnt allow enough time for their vital organs
to catch up with their body. They are usually kept in a tight wire cage, unable
to move. Only more painelectrocution or a dull blade, ends their pain.
Raising livestock causes much damage to the environment. Half of the water in
the United States goes to some agricultural production.
However, while producing
each pound of wheat uses twenty-five gallons, producing each pound of beef uses
2,500 gallons of water. Sixty four percent of US farmland is used to produce
feed for livestock. Twelve million children go hungry each night. If we used the
farmland to produce food for humans, not cattle, we could feed 1.3 million of
those children, maybe more. Two billion tons of wastes from livestock are
produced each year.
The waste (which is full of toxic chemicals, such as
ammonia, nitrates, herbicides, and pesticides) eventually ends up in our lakes,
streams, and groundwater. Also, many plants and animals become extinct due to
the destruction of forests to raise livestock. History of Vegetarianism Our
hominid ancestors evolved over a period of 24 million years, and for all but 1.5
million years, lived on an almost completely vegetarian diet (except for the
occasional insect and grub). Since then, however, humans have changed their
ways. However, a recent upward trend suggests that many of us may be returning
to our natural diet.
Pythagoras was the prominent modern vegetarian. His
Pythagorean diet discouraged the consumption of meat. Then his diet died out
until the Manicheans in the early century AD. They were heretics with
vegetarianism as one of their main ideas. Thomas Tyron was a prominent
vegetarian of the 17th century. In the 18th century, a writer and dietician, Dr.
William Lambe recommended a vegetarian diet as a cure for cancer. In the early
1800s, membership in the Vegetarian Society reached over 2,000. Now, it is a
more acceptable lifestyle than decades ago. In 1994, more than 12.4 million
Americans said they were vegetarians. The number is predicted to rise.
Vegetarian Nutrition A vegetarian is not just limited to salad everyday. There
are a huge variety of foods that can ensure a vegetarian gets proper nutrition.
It is even possible for expecting mothers, young children, teenagers, and pets
to be healthy on a vegetarian diet. Below is the vegetarian food pyramid, an
important guide for vegetarians to follow. In fact, vegetarians can get .