"You are what you eat", goes a famous saying. And if thatis truly the case, then a lot of Americans would appear tobe unhealthy, chemically treated, commercially raised slabsof animal flesh. And while that is not a particularly pleasantthought, it is nonetheless an description of the typicalAmerican omnivore who survives on the consumption ofBig Macs and steak fajitas.
But there are individuals whodo not follow this American norm and have altered theirdiets so that they do not consume any meat. These peopleare vegetarians and they are the new breed of healthyAmericans who refuse to poison themselves with fats,cholesterol, and the other harmful additives that come frommeat. And while once thought to be a movement thatwould never gain much momentum, it has nonethelessmoved itself to the forefront of Americans healthy diets. The word vegetarian, used to describe the diets of peoplewho do not consume animal flesh, was not used untilaround the mid-1800s.Order now
The concept of Vegetarianism Essay,however, dates back much further. The Greek philosopherPythagoras, considered by many to be the father ofvegetarianism, encouraged a non-meat diet among hisfollowers as a diet that was the most natural and healthful. A vegetarian diet excludes the consumption of meat andcan be exercised by people for a number of reasons. Thelargest majority of individuals choosing vegetarianismrelated to heath reasons.
For example, someone with anulcer might be prescribed a strict diet of vegetables in orderto promote the healing process, or someone with adangerously high level of cholesterol might be advised tofollow a vegetarian diet to lower his or her fat andcholesterol intake. The immorality of consuming animal flesh is anotherargument touted by a smaller group of vegetarians. Thismoral argument for vegetarianism and the effect of whatmeat eating might have on the character of humans; somepeople have come to believe and fear that in the sufferingand killing which occurs in commercial farming, we demeanourselves, coarsen our sensitivities and dull our feelings ofsympathy with our fellow creatures. Almost to a pointwhere it becomes easier for us to contemplate and carryout the torture and killing of human beings. Whatever the reasons behind a persons choice to be avegetarian, it is important to understand the different dietsthat individual vegetarians can choose. In the widest senseof the word, a vegetarian diet is a diet that is made up ofgrains, vegetables and fruit, but does not include any animalmeat, such as fish, pork, poultry, or beef.
Beyond thesestandards, there are many variations of diets that occurwithin the world of vegetarianism. The first, and mostcommon category of vegetarianism is a lacto-ovovegetarian. This a person who includes dairy products andeggs but no animal meat. This means that there isconsumption of animal byproducts, such as milk, eggs, andcheese. Another variation is the lacto-vegetarian diet that allows theconsumption of milk and other milk products, but does notinclude the consumption of eggs.
Like all vegetarians, thesetwo groups do not consume fish, poultry, or meat. The third category that vegetarians can fall into are vegans. The vegan diet is by far the most strict of all the vegetariandiets. Vegans shun all animal products. Foods that involveanimal processing to any degree are often avoided. Thismeans that vegans can consume no foods containing anyanimal byproducts, such as milk, eggs, or cheese.
Being avegan often dictates an "animal friendly" lifestyle that, asidefrom not eating anything that came from an animal, alsoabstains from buying or using products that were tested onanimals or are made from animal hairs or skin, such asleather shoes or belts. A common misconception of vegetarians is that they are alla bunch of skinny, malnourished idealists who live on plantsand soy milk. Another common misconception is that a dietof protein is a diet that builds strength and muscle. Professor Irving Fisher of Yale designed a series of tests inwhich he compared the strength and stamina of meat-eatersagainst vegetarians, with three groups of individualsrepresented: meat-eating athletes, vegetarian athletes, andsedentary vegetarians. His studies showed that the averagescore of the two vegetarian groups was over double theaverage score of the carnivores, even though half of thevegetarians were sedentary people and all of the carnivoreswere athletes.
Fisher concluded that, ". . . . the difference inendurance between the flesh-eaters and the abstainers (wasdue) entirely to the difference in their diet. .
. There is strongevidence that a . . .
non-flesh . . . diet is conducive toendurance." A .