“You are what you eat”, goes a famous saying. And if that is trulythe case, then a lot of Americans would appear to be unhealthy, chemicallyslabs of animal flesh. And while that is not a particularly pleasantthought, it is nonetheless an description of the typical American omnivorewho survives on the consumption of Big Macs and steak fajitas. But there are individuals who do not follow this American norm andhave altered their diets so that they do not consume any meat.
These peopleare vegetarians, and they are the new breed of healthy Americans who refuseto poison themselves with fats, cholesterol, and the other harmfuladditives that come from meat. And while once thought to be a movement thatwould never gain much momentum, it has nonetheless moved itself to theforefront of Americans’ healthy diets. The word vegetarian, used to describe the diets of people who donot consume animal flesh, was not used until around the mid-1800s. Thehowever, dates back much further.Order now
The Greek philosopher Pythagoras,considered by many to be the father of Vegetarianism Essay, encouraged a non-meatfollowers as a diet that was the most natural and healthful (Messina 3). A vegetarian diet excludes the consumption of meat, and can beexercised by people for a number of reasons. The largest majority ofindividuals chose vegetarianism for health related reasons. For example,someone with anulcer might be prescribed a strict diet of vegetables inorder to promote the healing process. Or someone with a dangerously highlevel of cholesterol might be advised to follow a vegetarian diet to lowerhis or her fat and cholesterol intake.
The immorality of consuming animal flesh is another argument toutedby a smaller group of vegetarians. R. G. Frey describes this moral argumentfor vegetarianism and the effect that meat eating might have on the Some people have come to believe and fear that, in thesuffering and killing which occurs in commercial farming, wedemean ourselves, coarsen our sensitivities, dull ourfeelings of sympathy with our fellow creatures, and sobegin the descent down the slippery slope of torture and death, to a point where it becomes easier for us to contemplate andcarry out the torture and killing of human beings. (20) This moral argument for vegetarianism is also noted by John Robbinswho states that “the suffering these animals undergo has become so extremefrom these creatures is to partake unknowingly of the abject misery that But whatever the reasons behind a person’s choice to be avegetarian, it is important to understand the different diets thatindividual vegetarians can choose.
In thewidest sense of the word, avegetarian diet is a diet that is madeup of grains, vegetables and fruit,but does not include any animal flesh, such as fish, pork, poultry, orbeef. But beyond these standards, there are many variations of diet thatoccur within the world of vegetarianism. The first, and most prominent, category of vegetarianism is alacto-ovo vegetarian. Mark Messina describes a lact-ovo diet as “. . .
avegetarian diet (that)includes dairy products and eggs but no animalconsumption of animal byproducts, such as milk, eggs, or honey, but thereis no consumption of animal flesh. Another variation is thelacto-vegetarian diet that allows theconsumption of milk and other milk products, but does not include theeggs. And like all vegetarians, these two groups do not consume fish, Another category that vegetarians can fall into are vegans. Thevegan diet is by far the most strict of all the vegetarian diets. Accordingmeat, fish, poultry, dairy, and eggs”(11).
There are many other foods thatmay not be acceptable to many vegans, however. Foods that involve animalany degree are often avoided. This means that vegans can consume no foodscontaining animal byproducts, such as milk, eggs, or honey. Being a veganoften dictates an “animal friendly” lifestyle that, aside from not eatinganything that came from an animal, also abstains from buying or usingproducts that were tested on animals or are made from animal hairs or skin,such as leather shoes or belts (Messina 11).
A common misconception of vegetarians is that they are all a bunchof skinny, malnourished idealists who live on plants and soy milk. Andanother, related common misconception is that a diet of meat is a diet thatbuilds strength. Professor Irving Fisher of Yale designed a series oftests in which he compared the strength and stamina of meat-eaters againstvegetarians, with three groups of individuals represented: .