Wolf eating grass - ( Image compiled by Dr. Blog )

Chrysostom Saint John, 345-407 A.D. Greek patriarch, archbishop of Constantinople

The saints are exceedingly loving and gentle to mankind, and even to brute beasts ... Surely we ought to show them great kindness and gentleness for many reasons, but, above all, because they are of the same origin as ourselves.

Vegetarianism is the practice of adopting a diet that includes only or primarily foods produced from plants. Aside from the fact that vegetarians eat no red meat, they differ in other components of the diets they select.

Some vegetarians include fish or poultry along with plant products. Others, called lacto-ovo- vegetarians, eat no fish or poultry, but do eat dairy products and eggs. Lacto-vegetarians include dairy products in their diets, but not eggs. Strict vegetarians, called vegans, eat no meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products.

Many people today choose a meatless diet because they believe it is healthier. And they are right. In countries like United States, professional nutritionists encourage diets filled with grains, fruits and vegetables, with minimal intake of meat, fish, poultry, dairy products and eggs.

St.Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow men.

Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them wherever they require it.

What is a Vegetarian Diet?

The vegetarian diet eliminates the saturated fats that come from animal sources. It contains necessary fiber content, and it provides virtually all of the necessary minerals and vitamins for good health , except for vitamin B12. Therefore, it is preferred by many over the more traditional American diet, which includes large amounts of meat, poultry, dairy products and, in today’s busy world, fast foods high in fat and calories.

The unsaturated fat found in vegetables and grains is a good replacement for the saturated fats found in meats. Fat derived from vegetarian sources is an adequate and healthier substitute because it does not contain cholesterol. Cholesterol, of course, is the villain thought to be a major cause of heart disease. Unsaturated fat actually reduces cholesterol.

People on vegetarian diets also must be sure to include adequate amounts of protein. Whole- grain products and beans are good sources of non-animal protein, and soy products, especially rich in protein, are a good substitute for the protein found in meats.

Benefits

Scientific data show that vegetarian diets reduce not only obesity and constipation, but alcoholism and the risk of lung cancer as well. There is also evidence that diets excluding animal fats reduce the incidence of coronary artery disease, hypertension, type II diabetes and gallstones. One must make certain that the vegetarian diet includes all the essential requirements for good health.

Switching to a vegetarian diet probably will rapidly increase the amount of dietary fiber consumed, and this could cause intestinal problems. Dietitians suggest a gradual change if you are considering the switch to a vegetarian diet. A completely vegetarian diet is not necessary to realize the many benefits of focusing on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains as your major source of nutrients.

Heart Disease
Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of mortality in Britain, being responsible for around 50% of all deaths. The majority of these deaths are from coronary heart disease.
Vegetarians suffer markedly lower mortality from coronary heart disease compared to non-vegetarians (Key et al (1999). This reduced risk may be related to the lower blood cholesterol levels of vegetarians.
Findings from the Oxford Vegetarian Study, a 12 year study of 6000 vegetarians and 5000 meat-eater found that the incidence of coronary heart disease mortality was 28% lower in vegetarians compared with matched omnivores, after all non dietary factors had been taken into consideration (Thorogood, 1994).

Burr & Butland (1988) found vegetarians to suffer significantly lower mortality from heart disease than health conscious non-vegetarians. Mortality from ischaemic heart disease was 57% lower in vegetarians than the general population, and 18% lower than in non-vegetarians following a healthy lifestyle. Deaths due to cerebrovascular disease was 43% lower in the vegetarians compared with the general population.

A study of nearly 28,000 Seventh Day Adventists in California noted a clear trend of increasing incidence of heart disease with rising frequency of meat consumption (Snowdon, 1988).

Hypertension
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can contribute to heart disease, strokes and kidney failure. A number of studies have shown vegetarians to have lower blood pressures than non-vegetarians (Sacks, 1974, Armstrong, 1977). A vegetarian diet has also been shown to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients (Margetts, 1986).

The reason for the low blood pressure associated with vegetarian diets is unclear. The relative leanness of vegetarians is one suggestion, as is the effect of reduced sodium or increased potassium or calcium in the diets of vegetarians.

Obesity
Vegetarians are leaner than non-vegetarians and their weights are generally closer to desirable levels. The British Medical Association (1986) has stated that vegetarians have lower rates of obesity. Appleby et al (1998) as part of the Oxford Vegetarian Study concluded that non meat eaters are thinner than meat eaters. This may be partly due to a higher intake of dietary fibre, a lower intake of animal fat, and only in men a lower intake of alcohol.

Diabetes
Snowdon (1985) found type II diabetes to be only half as common as a cause of death amongst the largely vegetarian Seventh Day Adventist population as in the general population.
An average vegetarian diet closely matches the British Diabetic Association’s recommendations for diabetic patients. Vegetarian diets tend to be high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre, which has a beneficial effect on carbohydrate metabolism, lowering blood sugar levels. The leanness of vegetarians also contributes to reduced incidence of diabetes. Diabetes is often associated with raised blood cholesterol levels and a vegetarian diet confers protection against this.

Cancer
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Britain, accounting for 25% of all deaths. It has been estimated that diet may be linked to 30-70% of cancers (Doll, 1990). Certain cancers, such as colon, breast and prostate are clearly diet related (Cummings & Bingham, 1998).
Sir Kenneth Calman, Chief Medical Officer, has stated (1997) that “there is a relationship between eating red meat and cancer”.

The Oxford Vegetarian Study found cancer mortality to be 39% lower among vegetarians compared with meat-eaters (Thorogood, 1994). A study of 23,000 largely vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists found cancer mortality rates to be 50-70% of those of the general population for several cancer sites unrelated to smoking or alcohol (Phillips, 1975).

Professor Nick Day of the University of Cambridge and the European Prospective Study into Cancer has stated that vegetarians may suffer 40% fewer cancers than the general population.
The World Cancer Research Fund’s dietary advice to minimise cancer risk involve reducing the intake of dietary fat and increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains.

Colon Cancer
Vegetarians have lower rates of colon cancer than non-vegetarians (Phillips, 1980). Incidence of colon cancer has been strongly linked to the consumption of meat (Armstrong, 1975, Singh & fraser, 1998). Willett (1990) carried out a study of over 88 000 women aged 34 to 59 years. Women eating red meat daily ran over twice the risk of developing colon cancer than women eating red meat less than once a month.

Reduced incidence of colon cancer in vegetarians may be attributed to dietary differences which include increased fibre intake, increased consumption of fruit and vegetables, and decreased intake of total fat and saturated fat. The mechanism by which a vegetarian diet is protective against colon cancer is unclear and a great deal of research is being carried out in this area.
It has been suggested that secondary bile acids are carcinogens which may play an important role in colon cancer. These are derived by bacterial metabolism from primary bile acids made in the liver and secreted into the intestine. Vegetarians have lower levels of secondary bile acids than non-vegetarians (Turjiman, 1984). The differences in bacterial populations between the intestines of vegetarians and non-vegetarians may also be important. Bacterial flora in vegetarians has been shown to possess reduced ability to transform bile acids into potential carcinogens (Johansson, 1990).
The role of dietary fibre in prevention of colon cancer may also be important. This was first noted in 1971 when it was suggested the high incidence of colon cancer in Western countries was linked to low fibre diets. Other dietary components associated with high fibre foods, such as folate, have also been implicated as having protective effects.

Breast Cancer
Evidence also suggests a vegetarian diet is protective against breast cancer (Phillips, 1975). This may be due to the increased fibre and reduced fat intake of vegetarian diets. Vegetarian diets can alter the levels of circulating sex hormones which may have a beneficial effect. Fibre is thought to be protective by modifying circulating oestrogen levels.

Studies of adolescent girls have shown age of menarche to be delayed in vegetarians (Sabate, 1992). Later age of menarche is believed to lower the risk of breast cancer in adult life.

Other Cancers
Studies have shown vegetarians to suffer less from various other cancers.

Mills (1989) studied the incidence of prostate cancer amongst 14,000 Seventh Day Adventists and found a relationship between increased risk and increasing animal product consumption.

Mills (1988) also found pancreatic cancer to be associated with consumption of animal products. Increasing consumption of fruit, vegetables and pulses was shown to have a protective effect.

Rao (1989) found a vegetarian diet to be protective against oesophageal cancer. Studies have also shown vegetarians to have lower incidence of lung cancer. This can be largely attributed to vegetarians tending to be non-smokers. High consumption of fruit has also shown to be protective against lung cancer (Fraser, 1991).

Diverticular Disease
Diverticular disease affects the colon and symptoms include lower abdominal pain and disturbed bowel habit. It occurs frequently in western countries where intake of dietary fibre is low. Gear (1979) found diverticular disease to be less frequent in vegetarians, 12% of vegetarians studied having diverticular disease compared with 33% of non-vegetarians. This is thought to be due to the increased fibre of vegetarian diets.

Gall Stones
Gall stones are composed of cholesterol, bile pigments and calcium salts. They form in the gall bladder and can cause severe pain. A study of over 750 women found the incidence of gall stones to be less frequent in vegetarians. 25% of non-vegetarians compared with 12% of vegetarians had gall stones. After controlling for age and body weight, non-vegetarians were found to have a relative risk of gall stones almost twice that of the vegetarians (Pixley, 1985).

Vegetarians are leaner, and consume more dietary fibre and less dietary cholesterol, all of which is believed to protect against gall stone formation.

Kidney Stones
Kidney stones form in the kidney and can cause considerable pain when passing down the urinary tract. Prevalence of kidney stones is lower in vegetarians (Peacock, 1969).

A high intake of animal protein increases the urinary loss of calcium and oxalate, known risk factors in kidney stone formation. Meat is also high in purines which leads to increased uric acid in the urine. Urinary uric acid is also a risk factor for kidney stones.

Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is the loss of calcium from bone tissue, leading to bones that are brittle and liable to fracture. It is most commonly seen in postmenopausal women.

Some studies have suggested that vegetarians may be at lower risk of osteoporosis than non-vegetarians. Marsh (1988) found bone loss to be considerably less in postmenopausal women who were vegetarian than those who were non-vegetarian. The non-vegetarian diet contained higher amounts of sulphur, which derived from animal protein. Dietary sulphur increases the acidity of urine, which results in increased urinary calcium loss. Increased urinary calcium loss is related to increased calcium loss from bone tissue.

Hip fractures associated with osteoporosis has been shown to be higher in countries consuming a diet high in animal protein (Abelow, 1992).

Appendicitus
The Oxford Vegetarian Study found that people who do not eat meat have a 50% lower risk of requiring an emergency appendicectomy that those who do (Appleby, 1995).

Other Diseases
A vegetarian diet has been claimed to reduce the risk of gout, hiatus hernia, constipation, haemorrhoids, and varicose veins. These diseases are linked to diets low in fibre and high in saturated fat.

Food Poisoning & Pesticide Residues

Over 58,000 cases of food poisoning were reported in 1990 and the actual incidence of food poisoning is estimated to be ten times this figure. Meat, eggs and dairy products are the primary sources of food poisoning. Professor Richard Lacey of the University of Leeds has stated that “More than 95% of food poisoning is derived from meat and poultry products”.

Pesticide residues in foods include PCB’s and dioxins. These are found in highest concentrations in meat, fish and dairy products. Studies have shown these toxic chemicals can be passed on from pregnant women to infants during both pregnancy and lactation and may damage the developing nervous systems. Hall (1992) has stated a vegetarian diet minimises the risk of contamination.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Studies have shown that vegetarian diets can be successfully used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. Kjeldsen-Kragh (1991) found that rheumatoid arthritis patients following a vegetarian diet suffered considerably fewer swollen and tender joints and less stiffness or pain.

Nephrotic Syndrome
Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney condition involving high levels of protein in the urine which may lead to progressive kidney damage as well as promoting atherosclerosis and heart disease. Studies have shown a low protein vegan diet can be used to reduce the symptoms of nephrotic syndrome (D’Amico, 1992).

Fan-wang-jing

A son of the Buddha shall not eat the flesh of any sentient beings. If he eats their flesh, he shall cut off great compassion, as well as the seed of Buddhahood within him.

“I require mercy, not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13 & 12:7)

You need more proofs? I don’t