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Category : Vegetarianism

Vegetarian ProCon.org

Many proponents of vegetarianism say that eating meat harms health, wastes resources, causes deforestation, and creates pollution. They often argue that killing animals for food is cruel and unethical since non-animal food sources are plentiful.

Many opponents of a vegetarian diet say that meat consumption is healthful and humane, and that producing vegetables causes many of the same environmental problems as producing meat. They also argue that humans have been eating and enjoying meat for 2.3 million years. Read more background...

For the purposes of this site a "vegetarian diet" is one that does not contain any meat (including poultry and seafood), but can contain eggs (ovo) and dairy (lacto) products, which is why the diet is sometimes called the ovo-lacto vegetarian diet. Vegans do not eat any animal products including meat, eggs, and dairy products.

It is cruel and unethical to kill animals for food when vegetarian options are available. Animals are sentient beings that have emotions and...

Human anatomy has evolved to support a primarily vegetarian diet.Humans do not have the large mouth or long, pointed teeth of carnivores...

A vegetarian diet delivers complete nutrition and can provide health benefits. According to the American Dietetic Association, a vegetarian...

A vegetarian diet can help alleviate world hunger. Over 10 pounds of plant protein are used to produce one pound of beef protein. If these grains...

A vegetarian diet reduces the chances of developing kidney stones and gallstones. Diets high in animal protein cause the body to excrete calcium...

A vegetarian diet provides a more healthful form of iron than a meat-based diet. Studies have linked heme iron found in red meat with an increased...

A vegetarian diet helps build healthy bones because vegetarians absorb more calcium than meat eaters. Meat has high renal acid levels which...

A vegetarian diet lowers the risk of heart disease. According to a peer-reviewed 1999 study of 76,000 people, vegetarians had 24% lower...

Eating meat increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. A peer-reviewed 2004 study from Harvard researchers found that eating meat increases...

Vegetarians live longer. A Mar. 12, 2012 peer-reviewed study of 121,342 people found that eating red meat was associated with an increased risk...

A vegetarian diet promotes a healthy weight. According to a peer-reviewed 2003 Oxford University study of 37,875 healthy men and women aged...

Studies show that vegetarians are up to 40% less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters. In 2015 the World Health Organization classified red meat as...

Overgrazing livestock hurts the environment through soil compaction, erosion, and harm to native plants and animals. About 70% of the 11...

A vegetarian diet conserves water. It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, and about 660 gallons to make a pound...

A vegetarian diet leads to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases are created by enteric fermentation (aka animal farts and burps)...

Producing one hamburger destroys 55 square feet of rainforest. Between 1996-2006, 25 million acres of Amazon rainforest were cleared80% of...

Raising animals for food contributes to air and water pollution. Manure produces toxic hydrogen sulfide and ammonia which pollute the air and...

Many animals raised for food in the United States are not slaughtered humanely. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA) mandates that livestock...

Raising animals in confinement is cruel. About 50% of meat produced in the United States comes from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs)...

A vegetarian diet reduces overuse of antibiotics. 70% of antibiotics sold in the United States go to livestock like cows, pigs, and chickens...

Eating fish is not more ethical, environmentally sound, or healthful than eating other animal protein sources. The US EPA states that...

Eating meat is not cruel or unethical; it is a natural part of the cycle of life. Vegetarians mistakenly elevate the value of animal life over plant...

Eating meat has been an essential part of human evolution for 2.3 million years. The inclusion of meat in the ancestral diet provided a dense...

Meat is the most convenient protein source available. In one serving, meat provides all the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein)...

Eating meat provides healthy saturated fats, which enhance the function of the immune and nervous systems. Saturated fats contain the...

Meat is the best source of vitamin B12, a vitamin necessary to nervous and digestive system health. Although it is also found in eggs and dairy...

Eating meat provides a better source of iron than a vegetarian diet. The body absorbs 15% to 35% of the heme iron in meat, but only absorbs 2% to...

A meat-centered diet can help with weight loss. It takes fewer calories to get protein from lean meat than it does from vegetarian options. One...

Raising beef is often the most efficient way to produce food for humans. About 85% of US grazing land is not suitable for raising crops humans...

Vegetarian diets are not necessarily better for the environment. About 90% of US cropland suffers from top soil loss at 13 times the sustainable...

Vegetarians do not live longer. This myth stems from the fact that vegetarians tend to be more health conscious overall, eating a more balanced...

US meat consumption does not significantly contribute to global deforestation, or loss of US forest land. In 2001 about 95% of animal products...

Processed vegetarian protein options such as tofu can cause more greenhouse gas pollution than farming meat. . A 2010 report from the World...

Becoming vegetarian will not help alleviate world hunger. The 925 million people in chronic hunger worldwide are not hungry because people in...

A diet that includes fish provides the body with essential omega-3 fatty acids. Fish are a powerful source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and...

Saturated fats from meat are not to blame for modern diseases like heart disease, cancer, and obesity. Chemically processed and hydrogenated vegetable oils...

Lean red meat, eaten in moderation, can be a healthful part of a balanced diet. According to researchers at the British Nutrition Foundation...

Modern slaughter techniques minimize the suffering of animals. US slaughterhouses must conform to the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA)...

There is nothing inherently cruel about raising animals for food. There is a growing movement to raise "cruelty free" organic meat...

The right to eat what we want, including meat, is a fundamental liberty that we must defend. Animal-rights and health groups are attempting to...

It is not necessary to become vegetarian to lower our environmental footprint. Some vegetarians eat an unhealthy diet, drive SUVs, and consume...

Vegetarian diets can cause the death of animals too. According to a 2003 study by Steven Davis at Oregon State University, about six animals...

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Becoming a vegetarian – Harvard Health

People become vegetarians for many reasons, including health, religious convictions, concerns about animal welfare or the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, or a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources. Some people follow a largely vegetarian diet because they can't afford to eat meat. Becoming a vegetarian has become more appealing and accessible, thanks to the year-round availability of fresh produce, more vegetarian dining options, and the growing culinary influence of cultures with largely plant-based diets.

Approximately six to eight million adults in the United States eat no meat, fish, or poultry, according to a Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit organization that disseminates information about vegetarianism. Several million more have eliminated red meat but still eat chicken or fish. About two million have become vegans, forgoing not only animal flesh but also animal-based products such as milk, cheese, eggs, and gelatin.

Traditionally, research into vegetarianism focused mainly on potential nutritional deficiencies, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way, and studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses. According to the American Dietetic Association, "appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."

"Appropriately planned" is the operative term. Unless you follow recommended guidelines on nutrition, fat consumption, and weight control, becoming a vegetarian won't necessarily be good for you. A diet of soda, cheese pizza, and candy, after all, is technically "vegetarian." For health, it's important to make sure that you eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It's also vital to replace saturated and trans fats with good fats, such as those found in nuts, olive oil, and canola oil. And always keep in mind that if you eat too many calories, even from nutritious, low-fat, plant-based foods, you'll gain weight. So it's also important to practice portion control, read food labels, and engage in regular physical activity.

You can get many of the health benefits of being vegetarian without going all the way. For example, a Mediterranean eating pattern known to be associated with longer life and reduced risk of several chronic illnesses features an emphasis on plant foods with a sparing use of meat. Even if you don't want to become a complete vegetarian, you can steer your diet in that direction with a few simple substitutions, such as plant-based sources of protein beans or tofu, for example or fish instead of meat a couple of times a week.

Only you can decide whether a vegetarian diet is right for you. If better health is your goal, here are some things to consider.

Strictly speaking, vegetarians are people who don't eat meat, poultry, or seafood. But people with many different dietary patterns call themselves vegetarians, including the following:

Vegans (total vegetarians): Do not eat meat, poultry, fish, or any products derived from animals, including eggs, dairy products, and gelatin.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Do not eat meat, poultry, or fish, but do eat eggs and dairy products.

Lacto vegetarians: Eat no meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, but do consume dairy products.

Ovo vegetarians: Eat no meat, poultry, fish, or dairy products, but do eat eggs.

Partial vegetarians: Avoid meat but may eat fish (pesco-vegetarian, pescatarian) or poultry (pollo-vegetarian).

Maybe. Compared with meat eaters, vegetarians tend to consume less saturated fat and cholesterol and more vitamins C and E, dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals), such as carotenoids and flavonoids. As a result, they're likely to have lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower body mass index (BMI), all of which are associated with longevity and a reduced risk for many chronic diseases.

But there still aren't enough data to say exactly how a vegetarian diet influences long-term health. It's difficult to tease out the influence of vegetarianism from other practices that vegetarians are more likely to follow, such as not smoking, not drinking excessively, and getting adequate exercise. But here's what some of the research has shown so far:

Heart disease. There's some evidence that vegetarians have a lower risk for cardiac events (such as a heart attack) and death from cardiac causes. In one of the largest studies a combined analysis of data from five prospective studies involving more than 76,000 participants published several years ago vegetarians were, on average, 25% less likely to die of heart disease. This result confirmed earlier findings from studies comparing vegetarian and nonvegetarian Seventh-day Adventists (members of this religious group avoid caffeine and don't drink or smoke; about 40% are vegetarians). In another study involving 65,000 people in the Oxford cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford), researchers found a 19% lower risk of death from heart disease among vegetarians. However, there were few deaths in either group, so the observed differences may have been due to chance.

For heart protection, it's best to choose high-fiber whole grains and legumes, which are digested slowly and have a low glycemic index that is, they help keep blood sugar levels steady. Soluble fiber also helps reduce cholesterol levels. Refined carbohydrates and starches like potatoes, white rice, and white-flour products cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, which increases the risk of heart attack and diabetes (a risk factor for heart disease).

Nuts are also heart-protective. They have a low glycemic index and contain many antioxidants, vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, and healthy fatty acids. The downside: nuts pack a lot of calories, so restrict your daily intake to a small handful (about an ounce). The upside: because of their fat content, even a small amount of nuts can satisfy the appetite.

Walnuts, in particular, are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits. Even so, fish are the best source of omega-3s, and it's not clear whether plant-derived omega-3s are an adequate substitute for fish in the diet. One study suggests that omega-3s from walnuts and fish both work to lower heart disease risk, but by different routes. Walnut omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA) help reduce total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, while omega-3s from fish (eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA) lower triglycerides and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Cancer. Hundreds of studies suggest that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, and there's evidence that vegetarians have a lower incidence of cancer than nonvegetarians do. But the differences aren't large. A vegetarian diet can make it easier to get the recommended minimum of five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, but a purely vegetarian diet is not necessarily better than a plant-based diet that also includes fish or poultry. For example, in a pooled analysis of data from the Oxford Vegetarian Study and EPIC-Oxford, fish-eaters had a lower risk of certain cancers than vegetarians.

If you stop eating red meat (whether or not you become a vegetarian), you'll eliminate a risk factor for colon cancer. It's not clear whether avoiding all animal products reduces the risk further. Vegetarians usually have lower levels of potentially carcinogenic substances in their colons, but studies comparing cancer rates in vegetarians and nonvegetarians have shown inconsistent results.

Type 2 diabetes. Research suggests that a predominantly plant-based diet can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. In studies of Seventh-day Adventists, vegetarians' risk of developing diabetes was half that of nonvegetarians, even after taking BMI into account. The Harvard-based Women's Health Study found a similar correlation between eating red meat (especially processed meats, such as bacon and hot dogs) and diabetes risk, after adjusting for BMI, total calorie intake, and exercise.

Some women are reluctant to try a vegetarian diet especially one that doesn't include calcium-rich dairy products because they're concerned about osteoporosis. Lacto-ovo vegetarians (see "Varieties of vegetarians") consume at least as much calcium as meat-eaters, but vegans typically consume less. In the EPIC-Oxford study, 75% of vegans got less than the recommended daily amount of calcium, and vegans in general had a relatively high rate of fractures. But vegans who consumed at least 525 milligrams of calcium per day were not especially vulnerable to fractures.

Certain vegetables can supply calcium, including bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, collards, and kale. (Spinach and Swiss chard, which also contain calcium, are not such good choices, because along with the calcium they have oxalates, which make it harder for the body to absorb calcium.) Moreover, the high potassium and magnesium content of fruits and vegetables reduces blood acidity, lowering the urinary excretion of calcium.

People who follow a vegetarian diet and especially a vegan diet may be at risk of getting insufficient vitamin D and vitamin K, both needed for bone health. Although green leafy vegetables contain some vitamin K, vegans may also need to rely on fortified foods, including some types of soy milk, rice milk, organic orange juice, and breakfast cereals. They may also want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement.

Becoming a vegetarian requires planning and knowledge of plant-based nutrition. Here are some resources that can help:

American Dietetic Associationwww.eatright.org

The Vegetarian Resource Groupwww.vrg.org

Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdomwww.vegsoc.org

Concerns about vegetarian diets have focused mainly on the following nutrients:

Protein. Research shows that lacto-ovo vegetarians generally get the recommended daily amount of protein, which is easily obtained from dairy products and eggs. (Women need about 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. Because the protein in vegetables is somewhat different from animal protein, vegans may need 0.45 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.) There are many plant sources that can help vegans meet their protein needs, including peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, soy products, and whole grains (for example, wheat, oats, barley, and brown rice). Vegetarians used to be told that they had to combine "complementary" plant proteins (rice with beans, for example) at every meal to get all the amino acids contained in meat protein. Now, health experts say that such rigid planning is unnecessary. According to the American Dietetic Association, eating a wide variety of protein sources every day is sufficient.

Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is found only in animal products, but those products include dairy foods and eggs, so most vegetarians get all they need. If you avoid animal products altogether, you should eat foods fortified with vitamin B12 (certain soy and rice beverages and breakfast cereals) or take a vitamin B12 supplement to avoid a deficiency, which can cause neurological problems and pernicious anemia.

Iron. Studies show that in Western countries, vegetarians tend to get the same amount of iron as meat eaters. But the iron in meat (especially red meat) is more readily absorbed than the kind found in plant foods, known as non-heme iron. The absorption of non-heme iron is enhanced by vitamin C and other acids found in fruits and vegetables, but it may be inhibited by the phytic acid in whole grains, beans, lentils, seeds, and nuts.

Zinc. Phytic acid in whole grains, seeds, beans, and legumes also reduces zinc absorption, but vegetarians in Western countries do not appear to be zinc-deficient.

Omega-3 fatty acids. Diets that include no fish or eggs are low in EPA and DHA. Our bodies can convert ALA in plant foods to EPA and DHA, but not very efficiently. Vegans can get DHA from algae supplements, which increase blood levels of DHA as well as EPA (by a process called retroversion). DHA-fortified breakfast bars and soy milk are also available. Official dietary guidelines recommend 1.10 grams per day of ALA for women, but vegetarians who consume little or no EPA and DHA should probably get more than that. Good ALA sources include flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil, and soy.

For more on eating for optimum health, buy the Harvard Special Health Report Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition.

Disclaimer:As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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Becoming a vegetarian - Harvard Health

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Vegetarianism (for Parents) – KidsHealth

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Vegetarianism is a popular choice for many individuals and families. But parents may wonder if kids can safely follow a vegetarian diet and still get all necessary nutrients. Most dietary and medical experts agree that a well-planned vegetarian diet can actually be a very healthy way to eat.

But special care must be taken when serving kids and teens a vegetarian diet, especially if it doesn't include dairy and egg products. And as with any diet, you'll need to understand that the nutritional needs of kids change as they grow.

Before your child or family switches to a vegetarian diet, it's important to note that all vegetarian diets are not alike. Major vegetarian categories include:

And many other people are semi-vegetarians who have eliminated red meat, but may eat poultry or fish.

Kids or families may follow a vegetarian diet for a variety of reasons. Younger vegetarians are usually part of a family that eats vegetarian meals for health, cultural, or other reasons. Older kids may decide to become vegetarians because of concern for animals, the environment, or their own health.

In most cases, you shouldn't be alarmed if your child chooses vegetarianism. Discuss what it means and how to implement it, ensuring your child makes healthy and nutritious food choices.

Your doctor or a registered dietitian can help you plan and monitor a healthy vegetarian diet. Parents should give their kids a variety of foods that provide enough calories and nutrients to enable them to grow normally.

A well-planned vegetarian diet can meet kids' nutritional needs and has some health benefits. For example, a diet rich in fruits and veggies will be high in fiber and low in fat, factors known to improve cardiovascular health by reducing blood cholesterol and maintaining a healthy weight. However, kids and teens on a vegetarian diet may need to be careful that they get an adequate amount of certain vitamins and minerals.

Here are nutrients that vegetarians should get and some of their best food sources:

Depending on the type of vegetarian diet chosen, kids may miss out on some of these important nutrients if the diet isn't monitored by the parents. The less restrictive the vegetarian diet, the easier it will be for your child to get enough of the necessary nutrients. In some cases, fortified foods or supplements can help meet nutritional needs.

The main sources of protein and nutrients for infants are breast milk and formula (soy formula for vegan infants), especially in the first 6 months of life. Breastfed infant vegans should receive a source of vitamin B12 if the mother's diet isn't supplemented, and breastfed infants and infants drinking less than 32 ounces (1 liter) formula should get vitamin D supplements.

Guidelines for the introduction of solid foods are the same for vegetarian and nonvegetarian infants. Breastfed infants 6 months and older should receive iron from complementary foods, such as iron-fortified infant cereal.

Once an infant is introduced to solids, protein-rich vegetarian foods can include pureed tofu, cottage cheese, yogurt or soy yogurt, and pureed and strained legumes (legumes include beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils).

Toddlers are already a challenge when it comes to eating. As they come off of breast milk or formula, kids are at risk for nutritional deficiencies. After the age of 1, strict vegan diets may not offer growing toddlers enough essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and zinc.

So it's important to serve fortified cereals and nutrient-dense foods. Vitamin supplementation is recommended for young children whose diets may not provide adequate nutrients.

Toddlers are typically picky about which foods they'll eat and, as a result, some may not get enough calories from a vegetarian diet to thrive. For vegan toddlers, the amount of vegetables needed for proper nutrition and calories may be too bulky for their tiny stomachs.

During the picky toddler stage, it's important for vegetarian parents to make sure their young child eats enough calories. You can get enough fat and calories in a vegan child's diet, but you have to plan carefully.

Preteens and teens often voice their independence through the foods they choose to eat. One strong statement is the decision to stop eating meat. This is common among teens, who may decide to embrace vegetarianism in support of animal rights, for health reasons, or because friends are doing it.

If it's done right, a meat-free diet can actually be a good choice for adolescents, especially considering that vegetarians often eat more of the foods that most teens don't get enough of fruits and vegetables.

A vegetarian diet that includes dairy products and eggs (lacto-ovo) is the best choice for growing teens. A more strict vegetarian diet may fail to meet a teen's need for certain nutrients, such as iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamins D and B12. If you're concerned that your child is not getting enough of these important nutrients, talk to your doctor, who may recommend a vitamin and mineral supplement.

The good news for young vegetarians and their parents is that many schools are offering vegetarian fare, including salad bars and other healthy vegetarian choices. Schools publish lists of upcoming lunch menus; be sure to scan them to see if your child will have a vegetarian choice. If not, you can pack lunch.

If your vegetarian preteen or teen would rather make his or her own school lunch or opts to buy lunch, keep in mind that your child's idea of a healthy vegetarian meal may be much different from yours (e.g., french fries and a soda). Talk to your child about the importance of eating right, especially when following a vegetarian diet.

Also be wary if your child has self-imposed a very restrictive diet. A teen with an eating disorder may drastically reduce calories or cut out all fat or carbohydrates and call it "vegetarianism" because it's considered socially acceptable and healthy.

Even if preteens or teens are approaching vegetarianism in a healthy way, it's still important for them to understand which nutrients might be missing in their diet. To support your child's dietary decision and promote awareness of the kinds of foods your preteen or teen should be eating, consider having the whole family eat a vegetarian meal at least one night a week.

A vegetarian diet can be a healthy choice for all kids, as long as it's properly planned.

The principles of planning a vegetarian diet are the same as planning any healthy diet provide a variety of foods and include foods from all of the food groups. A balanced diet will provide the right combinations to meet nutritional needs. But be aware of potential nutrient deficiencies in your child's diet and figure out how you'll account for them. With a little exploration, you may find more vegetarian options than you realized.

If you aren't sure your child is getting all necessary nutrients or if you have any questions about vegetarian diets, check in with your family doctor, pediatrician, or a registered dietitian.

Date reviewed: October 2014

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vegetarianism | History, Types, & Facts | Britannica.com

Vegetarianism, the theory or practice of living solely upon vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and nutswith or without the addition of milk products and eggsgenerally for ethical, ascetic, environmental, or nutritional reasons. All forms of flesh (meat, fowl, and seafood) are excluded from all vegetarian diets, but many vegetarians use milk and milk products; those in the West usually eat eggs also, but most vegetarians in India exclude them, as did those in the Mediterranean lands in Classical times. Vegetarians who exclude animal products altogether (and likewise avoid animal-derived products such as leather, silk, honey, and wool) are known as vegans. Those who use milk products are sometimes called lacto-vegetarians, and those who use eggs as well are called lacto-ovo vegetarians. Among some agricultural peoples, flesh eating has been infrequent except among the privileged classes; such people have rather misleadingly been called vegetarians.

Deliberate avoidance of flesh eating probably first appeared sporadically in ritual connections, either as a temporary purification or as qualification for a priestly function. Advocacy of a regular fleshless diet began about the middle of the 1st millennium bce in India and the eastern Mediterranean as part of the philosophical awakening of the time. In the Mediterranean, avoidance of flesh eating is first recorded as a teaching of the philosopher Pythagoras of Samos (c. 530 bce), who alleged the kinship of all animals as one basis for human benevolence toward other creatures. From Plato onward many pagan philosophers (e.g., Epicurus and Plutarch), especially the Neoplatonists, recommended a fleshless diet; the idea carried with it condemnation of bloody sacrifices in worship and was often associated with belief in the reincarnation of souls and, more generally, with a search for principles of cosmic harmony in accord with which human beings could live. In India, followers of Buddhism and Jainism refused on ethical and ascetic grounds to kill animals for food. Human beings, they believed, should not inflict harm on any sentient creature. This principle was soon taken up in Brahmanism and, later, Hinduism and was applied especially to the cow. As in Mediterranean thought, the idea carried with it condemnation of bloody sacrifices and was often associated with principles of cosmic harmony.

In later centuries the history of vegetarianism in the Indic and Mediterranean regions diverged significantly. In India itself, though Buddhism gradually declined, the ideal of harmlessness (ahimsa), with its corollary of a fleshless diet, spread steadily in the 1st millennium ce until many of the upper castes, and even some of the lower, had adopted it. Beyond India it was carried, with Buddhism, northward and eastward as far as China and Japan. In some countries, fish were included in an otherwise fleshless diet.

West of the Indus the great monotheistic traditions were less favourable to vegetarianism. The Hebrew Bible, however, records the belief that in paradise the earliest human beings had not eaten flesh. Ascetic Jewish groups and some early Christian leaders disapproved of flesh eating as gluttonous, cruel, and expensive. Some Christian monastic orders ruled out flesh eating, and its avoidance has been a penance and a spiritual exercise even for laypersons. A number of saints, such as St. Anthony of Egypt, were noted vegetarians. Many Muslims have been hostile to vegetarianism, yet some Muslim Sufi mystics recommended a meatless diet for spiritual seekers.

The 17th and 18th centuries in Europe were characterized by a greater interest in humanitarianism and the idea of moral progress, and sensitivity to animal suffering was accordingly revived. Certain Protestant groups came to adopt a fleshless diet as part of the goal of leading a perfectly sinless life. Persons of diverse philosophical views advocated vegetarianism; for example, Voltaire praised it, and Percy Bysshe Shelley and Henry David Thoreau practiced the diet. In the late 18th century the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham asserted that the suffering of animals, like the suffering of humans, was worthy of moral consideration, and he regarded cruelty to animals as analogous to racism.

Vegetarians of the early 19th century usually condemned the use of alcohol as well as flesh and appealed as much to nutritional advantages as to ethical sensibilities. As before, vegetarianism tended to be combined with other efforts toward a humane and cosmically harmonious way of life. Although the vegetarian movement as a whole was always carried forward by ethically inclined individuals, special institutions grew up to express vegetarian concerns as such. The first vegetarian society was formed in England in 1847 by the Bible Christian sect, and the International Vegetarian Union was founded tentatively in 1889 and more enduringly in 1908.

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Happy Cows & Vegetarians – Video


Happy Cows Vegetarians
My rationale (rationalization?) for eating meat. I address the nutrition argument as well as give my point of view on ethical vegetarianism veganism. it is a complex subject so I couldn #39;t be...

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