3 main reasons:
1. Eating meat is contrary to our anatomical design.
A. The human anatomy is designed to consume plant matter. This fact is demonstrated by:
- The length of our digestive system- Humans have a very long digestive system, which allows for the absorption of vitamins, minerals and water. True carnivores have a very short intestinal tract. Animal protein quickly putrefies after it is ingested so it needs to be passed as soon as possible. As you can imagine, animal protein rots in our intestines because we are not built to efficiently ingest and digest it. Rotting flesh creates a hazardous environment full of harmful bacteria and acidity.
-The shape, structure and position of our teeth. Our teeth are nothing like a tiger’s teeth.
Humans have teeth for biting into fruit, chewing leaves of lettuce and grinding seeds and nuts. Many people die each year from chocking on steak because our teeth are not designed to efficiently chew meat. We have the dentition formula of the Ape. Our teeth have been structured in the same pattern for over 35 million years.
-We possess color vision, which means we are supposed to gather colorful foods in the daylight. Carnivores hunt at night and see in black and white.
- Our hands have opposable agile fingers with nails. Our dexterous hands are made to grab with the precision needed to pick berries or nuts. Our hand is the perfect size to grab and hold fruit. Carnivores have paws with long sharp claws, designed to stick and slash into their prey.
B. Its consumption causes all types of diseases and distress inside the body.
- Meat is about 80%, any way you ingest it. No getting around that fact, it is the structure of flesh.Toxins the animals is exposed to will be stored in its fat. When you eat their flesh you are ingesting the kind of life they had. In this day, it is not sanitary to eat meat. Pesticide and antibiotic residue, genetically engineered growth hormone injections, over crowded conditions, poor sanitation and cruel treatment is a toxic load to ingest for a one-minute hamburger.
-The American Dietetic Association notes, “A vegetarian diet reduces the risk of many chronic degenerative diseases and conditions including heart disease, cancer, obesity, hypertension and diabetes.” Looking at that list notice that according to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the #1 killer in America today, cancer is #2 and diabetes is #6(for men) and #7 (for women)! The Journal of American Medical Association states “A vegetarian diet can prevent 97% of our coronary occlusions.” Heart disease is the number 1 KILLER of Americans and is linked to cholesterol levels. High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Large amounts of bad cholesterol are found ONLY in animal byproducts like meat, dairy and eggs. Those food items also carry large amounts of saturated fat, which is unhealthy to ingest. The more saturated fat and cholesterol in a diet, the more cholesterol in the blood. This produces atherosclerosis (cause of almost all heart attacks), which leads directly to heart disease and strokes. Atherosclerosis is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. It is the process by which arteries gradually accumulate fatty waxy deposits in the inner walls. This reduces the size of openings through which blood can flow. The more saturated fat and cholesterol we eat the more we develop atherosclerosis and the more likely we are to die of heart disease. Just as atherosclerotic deposits in the arteries of the heart set the stage for a heart attack, atherosclerotic deposits in the arteries feeding the brain set the stage for strokes. When the heart is not able to get sufficient blood through its arteries, that part of the heart dies and you have a heart attack. When the brain is not able to get sufficient blood because of an arterial blockage, that part of the brain dies as well and you have a stroke. Arterial blockages only happen when arteries are hardened, narrowed and encrusted with atherosclerosis. Scientists know how to produce atherosclerosis in animals -feed them a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and we know how to unclog arteries- lower saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet! We know how to prevent almost all heart attacks and strokes- become a vegetarian! Vegetables have no cholesterol and have our required healthy unsaturated fats (essential fatty acids, like linoleic acid which functions as parts of cellular membranes and nerve cells). The good news is that the evolution to a vegetarian diet can reverse the damage that has already been done. The high fiber content of a plant food diet will “clear away” the cholesterol in your digestive system. (Thank you John Robbins and his book Diet for a New America for the information on atherosclerosis.)
Cancer is the #2 killer of Americans today. The number one recommendation in the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Guidelines on Nutrition for Cancer Prevention is to eat a diet “with an emphasis on plant sources.” The list goes on and on. Bottom line: A vegetarian diet facilitates an overall healthier life and body when compared to non-vegetarians.
“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”~ Gandhi
2. The filth and inhumane cruelty inflicted daily upon the animals living in factory farms is beyond comprehension. Each “farmed” animal has its own sad journey of life. For chickens factory farms are large windowless sheds where animals are crammed into cages (not large enough for them to turn around) living in their own waste and deprived of exercise (and sunlight) in order for all their energy to be reserved for growth. Cows are kept in massive feedlots living in filthy over crowded conditions. Pigs are kept in pens too small to turn around. All these animals are fed an extremely unnatural diet of processed grain with “fillers” like expired dog food, chicken poop, leftover restaurant food and scraps from previous slaughtered animals (cannibalism). They are given growth hormones to fatten them up and antibiotics to keep them alive in the wretched, filthy conditions. I decided to remove myself from that whole matrix. I wanted no responsibility over causing those animals to suffer. Today, meat is procured from tortured, malnourished, diseased animals who live in their own excrement in over crowded conditions.
3. The devastation factory farms inflict on our earth. Most people don't fully understand the devastating effects animal agriculture has on our environment.
-Places where commercial livestock are raised and maintained are literally destroying the planet by:
-Contributing to global warming. It is predominately caused by carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Producing a little more than 2 pounds of beef causes more greenhouse-gas emissions than driving a car for three hours and uses up more energy than leaving your house lights on for the same period of time. A 2006 report by the United Nations (U.N.) revealed that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.
-Wasting valuable land. Available open, free space on this planet is diminishing at an alarming rate. The human population is increasing and the amount of room available is a fixed constant. Open space is needed to meet the requirement of a growing animal agriculture industry due to the population's increased demand for meat. Precious land such as the rain forest in Brazil is being cleared to make room for animal graze land. According to scientists at the Smithsonian Institution, seven football fields' worth of land is bulldozed every minute to create more room for farmed animals and the crops that feed them. Of all the agricultural land in the U.S., 80 percent is used to raise animals for food and grow grain to feed them-that's almost half the total land mass of the lower 48 states. This is an extremely inefficient use of our precious resources. The land we use to raise these animals can be used for countless other, more productive things. It takes 20 times more land to feed a meat eater (3 ¼ acres) than a vegetarian (1/16th of an acre).
-Wasting valuable food and water resources. Factory farms use a considerable amount of valuable water and food resources. In the “finishing” phase alone, in which pigs grow from 100 pounds to 240 pounds, each hog consumes more than 500 pounds of grain, corn, and soybeans; this means that across the U.S., pigs eat tens of millions of tons of feed every year. Couldn't that food have been put to a more productive use? Like feeding the hungry, sick and impoverished? Chickens, pigs, cattle, and other animals raised for food are the primary consumers of water in the U.S.: a single pig consumes 21 gallons of drinking water per day, while a cow on a dairy farm drinks as much as 50 gallons daily. It takes more than 1,250 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of cow flesh, whereas it takes about 235 gallons of water to grow 1 pound of wheat.” Raising animals for food consumes ½ of all the water used in the US! The use of our food and water to sustain animals that are just being slaughtered one after another is SO RIDICOLOUS AND INEFFICENT!
- Polluting our air, water and land. Factory farmed animals produce so much urine and feces it becomes a problem to get rid of it. When the cesspools holding tons of urine and feces get full, factory farms may circumvent water pollution limits by spraying liquid manure into the air, creating mists that are carried away by the wind and inhaled by nearby residents. According to a report by the California State Senate, “Studies have shown that [animal waste] lagoons emit toxic airborne chemicals that can cause ‘inflammatory, immune, … and neurochemical problems in humans’. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that roughly 80 percent of ammonia emissions in the U.S. come from animal waste.Our land and water are not safe from the effects of these “farms”. Everyday factory farms produce BILLIONS of pounds of manure, which ends up in lakes, rivers, and drinking water. Farmed animals produce about 130 times as much excrement compared to the entire human population of the United States-87,000 pounds of waste per second! The 3 trillion pounds of waste produced by factory-farmed animals each year are usually used to fertilize crops, and they subsequently end up running off into waterways—along with the drugs and bacteria that they contain. Many tons of waste ends up in giant pits in the ground or on crops, polluting the air and groundwater. According to the EPA, agricultural runoff is the number one source of pollution in our waterways. The damage doesn't stop there. Streams and rivers carry excrement from factory farms to the Mississippi River, which then deposits the waste in the Gulf of Mexico. The nitrogen from animal feces—and from fertilizer, which is primarily used to grow crops for farmed animals—causes algae populations to skyrocket, leaving little oxygen for other life forms. A 2006 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone”—an area in which virtually all the sea animals and plants have died—is now half the size of Maryland.
Where do I get my protein?
Spinach, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, kale, olives, avocados, parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, almonds, any nut and most fruits have protein including strawberries, cantaloupe, apricots, coconut, berries, oranges, peaches, pears, dates, grapes, or cherries. (fruit has the ratio of protein that breast milk has for a growing infant) Eat a variety of fruits and veggies and you will for sure meet the required protein intake. Anyway, today most American's eat double the recommended amount of protein and it usually comes from meat. Flesh (especially cooked) is not the optimal source of protein- it is difficult to digest and it comes with many impurities and other nasty components like cholesterol, saturated fat, trace amounts of antibiotics, growth hormones and pesticide residues. Protein from fruits and veggies is easily broken down and used by our bodies efficiently. By eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables there is no way to have a protein deficient diet!
Where do I get my essential amino acids?
Food products that contain all essential amino acids are: leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds, sunflower sprouts, soy foods, garbanzo beans, buckwheat, quinoa, goji berries and most fruits.
Being a vegetarian do you worry about B12?
I am conscious of it and take supplementation, as most people should in this day and age. A large percent of the general population is B-12 deficient, meat eater or not.
How to get started as a vegetarian?
Don't think that by giving up meat you are condemned to a life of boring salads. There are so many veggie and soy-based meat substitutes available at all grocery stores around the country, I have even found them at Wal-Mart. There is a wonderful list on Peta’s website that lists all the name brands of animal free products you can find at the grocery store. Go to http://www.vegcooking.com/guide-favs.asp. There is a variety of meat substitutes, from veggie or soy burgers to fake chicken nuggets to pizza, fake meat balls, faux breakfast sausage to ribs covered in bar-b-que sauce. They even have soy crumbles that you can use just as you would ground beef. I guarantee that if you were to add soy crumbles to your spaghetti sauce or lasagna you would never know it wasn't real meat. Then you have an ethically sound, eco-friendly, healthy meal instead of the exact opposite. These soy products are a wonderful transition to help you get un-addicted to meat, they taste the same because most of meat’s flavor is from sauce or added flavorings. Quitting “cold turkey” is difficult for most people so, use these soy/veggie products to facilitate the gradual shift to a vegetarian lifestyle. It’s the route I took and it worked wonderfully!
“But I do say to you Kill: neither men nor beasts nor yet the food that goes into your mouth. For if you eat living food, the same will quicken you, but if you kill your food the dead food will kill you also. For life only comes from life, and from death comes always death.” Jesus Christ