I am quite happy to say that I am a vegetarian.
Now I’m not here to push my beliefs on you or try and send
you a guilt trip (well that last part is if-y) but I feel its just more important to educate you and leave that final decision
up to you.
So why be come a vegetarian? There are thousands of reasons. I
suggest you go to peta.org (link at the bottom of the page) and as for they’re free vegetarian starter kit. In it they
include a lot of information as well as a CD-rom that helps illustrate the horrors of the meat industry. And on the brighter
side, you get some cute little free stickers you can share ^^
But in the mean time I’ll list a few reasons to go veg.
1. Avoiding meat is one of the best and simplest ways to cut down your fat consumption. Modern farm animals
are deliberately fattened up to increase profits. Eating fatty meat increases your chances of having a heart attack or developing
2. Every minute of every working day, thousands of animals are killed in slaughter-houses. Pain and misery are
common. In the US alone, 500,000 animals are killed for meat every hour.
3. There are millions of cases of food poisoning recorded every year. The vast majority are caused by eating
4. Meat contains absolutely nothing - no proteins, vitamins or
minerals - that the human body cannot obtain perfectly happily from a vegetarian diet. (so why take a life when you don’t
even need to)
5. African countries - where millions are starving to death - export grain to the developed world so that animals
can be fattened for our dining tables.
6. 'Meat' can include the tail, head, feet, rectum and spinal cord of an animal.
7. A sausage can contain ground up intestines. How can anyone be sure that the intestines are empty when they
are ground up? Do you really want to eat the content of a pig's intestines?
8. If we eat the plants we grow instead of feeding them to animals, the world's food shortage will disappear
virtually overnight. Remember that 100 acres of land will produce enough beef for 20 people but enough wheat to feed 240 people.
9. Every day, tens of millions of one-day-old male chicks are killed because they will not be able to lay eggs.
There are no rules about how this mass slaughter takes place. Some are crushed or suffocated to death. Many are used for fertilizer
or fed to other animals.
10. Animals who die for your dinner table die alone, in terror, in sadness and in pain. The killing is merciless
11. It's must easier to become (and stay) slim if you are a vegetarian. (By 'slim', I do not mean 'abnormally
slender' or 'underweight' but rather, an absences of excess weight!)
12. Half the rainforests in the world have been destroyed to clear
ground to graze cattle to make beef burgers. The burning of the forests contributes 20% of all green-house gases. Roughly
1,000 species a year become extinct because of the destruction of the rainforests. Approximately 60 million people a year
die of starvation. All those lives could be saved because those people could eat grain used to fatten cattle and other farm
animals - if Americans ate 10% less meat.
13. The world's fresh water shortage is being made worse by animal farming. And meat producers are the biggest
polluters of water. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat. If the US meat industry wasn't supported by the taxpayer paying a large proportion of
its water costs, then hamburger meat would cost $35 a pound.
14. If you eat meat, you are consuming hormones that were fed to the animals. No one knows what effect those
hormones will have on your health. In some parts of the world, as many as one on four hamburgers contain growth hormones that
were originally given to cattle.
15. The following diseases are commoner among meat eaters: anemia, appendicitis, arthritis, breast cancer, cancer
of the colon, cancer of the prostrate, constipation, diabetes, gallstones, gout, high blood pressure, indigestion, obesity,
piles, strokes and varicose veins. Lifelong vegetarians visit hospital 22% less often than meat eaters and for shorter stays.
Vegetarians have a 20% lower blood cholesterol level than meat eaters and this reduces heart attack and cancer risks considerably.
16. Some farmers use tranquillizers to keep animals calm. Other routinely use antibiotics to starve off infection.
When you eat meat you are eating those drugs. In America,
55% of all antibiotics are fed to animals and the percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin went up from
14% in 1960 to 91% in 1988.
17. In a lifetime, the average meat eater will consumer 36 pigs, 36 sheep and 750 chickens and turkeys. Do you
want that much carnage on your conscience?
18. Animals suffer from pain and fear just as much as you do. How would you like to spend your last hours locked
in a truck, packed into a cage with hundreds of other terrified animal and then cruelly pushed into a blood soaked death chamber.
Anyone who eats meat condones and supports the way animals are treated.
19. Animals which are a year old are often far more rational - and capable of logical thought - than six week
old babies. Pigs and sheep are far more intelligent than small children. Eating dead animals is barbaric.
20. Vegetarians are fitter than meat eaters. many of the world's most successful athletes are vegetarian.
If you want to help yourself, the planet and millions of animals in one
simple step read on!
It's Healthier ... It's Humane ... It's Economical ... It's Environmentally Friendly ...
Think about it. The human population of the earth will increase by 90,000,000
in the coming year. The stress this will place on food resources is enormous. Do you feel powerless? Don't. There's something
you can do that will ease the burden on the earth's resources, help to feed millions of people, dramatically improve your
health and save literally millions of animals from pain, terror and death. It's simple GO VEGETARIAN!
Vegetarians are healthier than people who eat meat. It's a fact. Scientific studies show that
vegetarians suffer much less from illnesses like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and other common health problems.
A major study reported in the British Medical Journal in 1994 found that, of 5000 meat-eaters and 6000 non-meat eaters, vegetarians
had 40% less risk of cancer and 30% less risk of heart disease than the meat-eaters and were 20% less likely to die of any
cause (Oxford Vegetarian Study). A US
study of 50,000 vegetarians showed a very low rate of cancer (Seventh Day Adventist Study, Massachussets). It has been estimated
that by following a low-fat vegetarian diet, the risk of food poisoning is decreased by 80%. More evidence of the benefits
of a vegetarian diet is being found each year.
Millions of animals are killed in slaughterhouses around the world. In the US, some half a million are killed each hour, while in the UK over 600 million are killed each year. A proportional number are killed in Australia. It is nothing more than an undercover
massacre. Animals suffer enormously in the process. Quite apart from the terror of being killed, they undergo pain and fear
through routine stock mutilations and during transportation to saleyards and abattoirs.
Most animals eaten in Australia today are intensively raised in dark, sunless
sheds where they are fed a diet of processed foods. In most cases antibiotics, growth-promotants and hormones are routinely
administered. As biological entities, these animals are treated as little more than meat machines. We would be horrified if
our pet cat or dog was treated in this way, so why should we subject other animals to such cruelty? The fact that the killing
is done by someone else makes it easy to eat meat but, by eating it, we are really condemning the next animal in line. Have
you ever really stopped to think about the cruelty we systematically inflict on other species simply by eating them?
Meat is expensive, both economically and agriculturally. With so many starving people in the
world today it is a criminal waste of food to produce it. Meat-animals are fed perfectly good plant food which could have
been fed directly to starving people. For instance, it takes 17 kilos of corn, beans, grain, etc, to produce one kilo of beef
in feedlot cattle. This is like investing $17.00 in a bank term deposit and withdrawing $1.00 at maturity! It requires massive
reserves of land to grow the crops which are used as animal feed. About 70% of crops grown in the US are fed to animals and not to humans. Meanwhile, a child dies of starvation
somewhere in the world every two seconds. As the world human population grows, so too does the need for the dwindling reserves
of arable land on which to grow crops to feed it.
It's Environmentally Friendly
In Central America, entire forests are felled or burnt to
provide land for grazing cattle. Most of these cattle end up as second-quality hamburger meat for the North American junk
food market. Being hard-hooved, cattle erode the vulnerable topsoil, while each animal produces over 300 litres of methane
(a "greenhouse" gas) per day. Also, the trees which are felled to clear land for cattle ranching are left to rot. The termites
which then feed on them produce even more methane than the cattle. Weight for weight, cattle alone outweigh the entire human
population of our planet. A recent Greenpeace report told how the dairy industry of California
uses enough water to supply a city of 22 million people. The effluent produced from intensive piggeries, cattle feedlots and
broiler units is polluting our river systems. A NSW government newsletter pointed out that the late Homebush abattoirs was
the single greatest industrial polluter of Sydney's coastal
Exploding Some Myths
Understandably, people are a bit apprehensive about changing their diet. Everyone seems to
know "someone" who looks as pale as a bleached potato since giving up meat! The truth is that a well-balanced vegetarian diet
provides all the protein and nutrients needed for a vigorous and healthy life (American Dietary Association Study). What is
seldom pointed out are the millions of conventional eaters who suffer from constipation, malnutrition, gout and a host of
other problems and diseases brought on by a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet, combined with the adverse effects
A study carried out the by University of Surrey in Britain found that vegetarians were better nourished than
meat eaters, and much closer to the "ideal" diet recommended by the government's own health advisers.
Aren't We Designed to Eat Meat?
Not at all. Many people say that we are meat-eaters because we have sharp teeth. This is like
judging a book by its cover. Look inside and you will find out what is really going on. Our digestive system resembles that
of the herbivores and the frugivores (fruit-eaters). It consists of a very long intestine allowing slow digestion of nutrients.
By contrast, carnivores have a short digestive tract designed so that meat can quickly pass through the body before it putrefies
and becomes toxic. To compensate for this rapid transition, carnivores have a stomach acid concentration 10 times greater
than that of vegetarian mammals (including humans) to enable them to quickly digest the meat. When humans eat meat it begins
to putrefy before leaving the body, often resulting in disorders as diverse as constipation and bowel cancer if eaten persistently
over a period of time. Sure, the more fibre eaten with meat, the quicker it passes through the intestines, but why eat meat
at all? Only vegetable matter contains fibre and a good vegetarian diet provides all the fibre the body needs without having
to add extra"artificially". If you are serious about lowering your cholesterol intake, a vegetarian diet is the best way to
go since only animal products contain cholesterol.
Look at some graphs showing the link
between meat eating and illness.
What Do I Eat?
Most people imagine vegetarian eating to be meat and two "veg" minus the meat. To a conventional
meat-eater this sounds like someone being sold a car with the engine missing! Nothing could be further from the truth. Vegetarian
eating is about eating a wide variety of foods prepared in an abundance of different ways.
Being a good vegetarian
means being adventurous and open-minded about food. It is not simply about eating a predictable menu day-in, day-out. Many
vegetarian staples had their origin in different countries hundreds of years ago pasta from China
(and later Italy), tofu from China,
and tempeh from Indonesia. Tofu is bean
curd made from soya beans. Tempeh is a sort of nut-flavoured cheese made from fermented soy beans. It is rich in enzymes and
easily digested. Both can be bought at health food stores and larger supermarkets. These are not merely substitutes for meat,
but nutritious food in themselves which have proved to be an excellent source of protein for centuries.
Where Do I Get My Protein?
Protein is naturally very plentiful. It occurs in every living thing, plant and animal. Apart
from fruit and vegetables, good sources of protein include pasta, lentils, rice, potatoes, soy beans, chick peas, nuts, seeds
and grains, with or without moderate use of eggs and dairy products.The amount you need depends on different personal attributes
(weight, height, etc) and the daily requirement varies considerably from 20 to 90 grams per day. By eating a variety of foods
each day you should easily meet your individual requirements. In fact, the nutritional attitude to protein has changed dramatically
in recent years. The old-fashioned notion that "you can never get too much protein" has been proved wrong. Excess protein
not used by the body has to be broken down and excreted as waste. In fact, a major culprit in many human degenerative diseases
is a protein overdose. For example, calcium loss in osteoporosis has been linked largely to an excess of high-protein foods.
What about Minerals like Iron
A sound vegetarian diet should provide all needed nutrients. The presence of vitamin C with
iron in the diet will help iron absorption by up to 30%. It is a myth that you have to eat meat to get sufficient iron. It
is readily available in breakfast cereals, whole grain products, soy products, legumes and leafy green vegetables. Tiredness
is not necessarily caused by iron deficiency. It may also be caused by lack of sleep, depression, stress and poor (usually
junk food) eating habits.
Calcium is found in all unprocessed vegetable foods in amounts that are sufficient to meet the
needs of both adults and growing children. Whatever the calcium intake, the intestine absorbs sufficient calcium to meet the
body's needs. Good sources of calcium are sesame seeds, tofu, almonds, soy beans, parsley, green vegetables and fortified
soy milk. A recent dietary study on 6,500 Chinese found that even those who ate no animal products actually consumed twice
the amount of iron as the average North American. In spite of the fact that dairy products were not eaten, osteoporosis was
How Do I Start?
The best place to start going vegetarian is in the kitchen! Buy a cookbook and start preparing.
You will soon get used to the types of food that are used and how they are prepared. Also, your taste for vegetarian food
will adapt. If you are doubtful about your abilities as a cook you can enrol in cooking classes. Information about these is
often available in health food shops and some courses are run at TAFE colleges. The Vegetarian Society has a list of recommended
Giving up meat might seem strange at first, but so does giving up tobacco to the cigarette addict! If you feel
that you can't drop meat straight away, try cutting it down bit by bit. Just increase your use of foods like beans, grains,
nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, gluten and some of the many low cholesterol convenience foods (like burgers and sausages) now available
at health food stores and supermarkets.
Some Recommended Cookbooks
- Eat More, Weigh Less - Dean Ornish
- Food for Life - Neal Barnard
- Squirrel's Cookbook - No.1 & No.2
- PassionATE p; Pure Vegetarian
Cuisine - Christine Lehmann
- The Cookbook for People Who Love
Animals - Gentle World
- The Vegan Health Plan - Amanda Sweet
- The Moosewood Cookbook - Mollie Katzen
- The Vegan Kitchen Mate - David Horton
- Vegetarian Cookery - Rose Elliot
- Sarah Brown's Vegetarian Cookbook
- Sarah Brown
- The Very Best of Vegetarian Cooking
- Janet Hunt
- Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking - Rose Elliot
- First Steps in Vegetarian Cooking
- Kathy Silk
- The Vegetarian Baby - Sharon Yntema
- Vegetarian Children - Sharon Yntema
- Rose Elliot's Vegetarian Mother
and Baby Book - Rose Elliot
Do You Want to Know More?
The following books are highly recommended for their revealing analysis of all aspects of
vegetarianism and how it relates to health, the environment and animal rights.
Without Cruelty Mark Gold (Green Print)
for a Future Jon Wynne-Tyson (Centaur Press)
You Don't Need Meat Peter Cox (Bloomsbury)
For a New America
Robbins (Stillpoint Publishing)
Mason and Peter Singer (Crown Publishers)
Beef Jeremy Rifkin (Viking)
Heart, Your Planet
Diamond (Pythagorean Press)
Why Do So Many People Eat Meat?
Meat-eating in the quantity our society eats today really began with the industrial revolution.
Better machines led to more efficient agriculture. When a surplus of crops was produced, this was fed to animals and the animals
eaten by those who could afford meat. Thus meat became something of a status symbol. Unfortunately the status symbol developed
into a habit so that most of us in the wealthier countries think that it is a normal part of our diet. As we approach a new
century, it is high time we turned back to the healthier, less wasteful diet of our forebears.
Today the meat and dairy
industries promote the myth of their products being necessary through heavy advertising (you only have to count the times
they appear on television to see that!). Close behind them are the pharmaceutical companies which provide the hormones, antibiotics
and growth promotants to the animal producers. Altogether there are many vested interests in keeping us eating animal products!
Unfortunately the only interests that are lost in this expensive advertising jungle are yours. Individual health and a healthy
environment begins with good eating habits, and a vegetarian lifestyle is the simplest and most effective way to achieve them.
Making the Change
To make any change is not easy, particularly when it involves explanations to friends and
family. However, making a change that you know will take an enormous burden off the environmental stresses of the planet,
that will improve your health and ultimately save millions of animals from cruelty makes it easy.
Already in the US and Britain
there is a massive change towards a meat-free diet. Some half a million people are adopting a vegetarian lifestyle each year
in the US while the number of British
vegetarians is now 4 million. The trend is catching in Australia and New Zealand where many, mainly young people, are
realising that they want a healthy and humane future.
Whether you go vegetarian overnight or over a period of time
does not matter. The important thing is to get on the track. Even cutting down on meat consumption will make an enormous difference.
the year 2000 rapidly approaching it is high time to make the change. Let's make it a goal for the whole planet.
You're in good company!
Some Famous Vegetarians
Pythagoras, Plutarch, Leonardo
Da Vinci, Tolstoy, Shelley, George Bernard Shaw, Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau, Albert Einstein, Dr Albert Schweizer, Bob Dylan,
Joanna Lumley, George Harrison, Paul and Linda McCartney, Martina Navratilova, Yehudi Menuhin, Michael Jackson, Isaac Bashevis
Singer, Hayley Mills, Dirk Benedict, William Shatner, Sir Mark Oliphant, Cliff Young, Peter Singer, Bob Barker, Spike Milligan,
Nigel Hawthorne, Annie Besant, Anthony Robbins, Peter Sumner, Chrissie Hynde, Tim McCartney-Snape, Carol Royle, Lynda Stoner,
Johnny Weissmuller (the first Tarzan), Julie Christie, Brigid Brophy, Morissey (The Smiths), Daniel Johns (silverchair), Natalie
Portman (Queen Amidala in Star Wars Phantom Menace), Alicia Silverstone, Peter Brock (Australian Car Racing champ), Greg Chappell
(Australian cricket legend), Marty Feldman, Murray Rose, Paavo Nurmi (9 Olympic medals), Andreas Cahling (body building champion),
Dave Scott (6-time Ironman Triathlon winner), k.d.lang, Belinda Carlisle, Gary Glitter, Edwin Moses, Sean Hughes, Dennis Weaver,
Killer Kowalski (champion wrestler), Lonnie Lee. How about you?
As vegetarianism becomes more
prevalent and popular, many parents may wonder if kids can safely follow a vegetarian diet and still get all the nutrients
necessary for growing up healthy and strong. Avoiding meat may sound like a bad idea, but most dietary and medical experts
agree that a well-planned vegetarian diet can actually be a very healthy way to eat.
Of course, special care must
be taken when feeding 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 not only ensure that your child is getting enough of all the necessary nutrients, but understand
that the nutritional needs of children change as they grow.
Types of Vegetarian Diets
Before your child or family
switches to a vegetarian diet, it's important to note that all vegetarian diets are not alike. Some of the major vegetarian
- ovo-vegetarian - eats eggs; no meat
- lacto-ovo vegetarian - eats dairy and egg products;
- lacto-vegetarian - eats dairy products; no eggs or
- vegan - eats only food from plant sources
Many people who call themselves
vegetarians are actually semi-vegetarians. They may have eliminated red meat, but may eat poultry or fish.
The Choice of Vegetarianism
There are many reasons why
children or families may follow a vegetarian diet. Younger vegetarians are usually part of a family that eats vegetarian meals
for health or other reasons. Older children 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. The best way to handle your child's choice is to discuss what it means to
him or her and how he or she wants to implement it - making sure your child makes healthy and nutritious food choices.
Making Sure It's Nutritious
Vegetarian parents should
give their children a variety of foods that provide enough calories and nutrients to enable them to grow normally. The majority
of pediatric experts say a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (eating dairy products and eggs, but no meat) is a healthy choice for
most children (although allergists suggest not introducing eggs until after 1 year of age).
Offering young children a diet
filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps them to learn healthy eating habits that may last for
a lifetime. And 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 make sure they get, and some of the food sources in which they can be found:
- vitamin B12: dairy products, eggs, and vitamin-fortified
products, such as cereals, breads, and soy and rice drinks
- vitamin D: dairy products, calcium-fortified orange
juice, and vitamin-fortified products
- calcium: dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables,
broccoli, chickpeas, and calcium-fortified products, including orange juice, soy and rice drinks, and cereals
- protein: dairy products, eggs, tofu, dried beans,
- iron: eggs, dried beans, dried fruits, whole grains,
leafy green vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals and bread
- zinc: wheat germ, nuts, fortified cereal, and legumes
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 protein and necessary nutrients.
The Vegetarian Infant
The main sources of protein and
nutrients for infants are breast milk and formula, especially in the first 6 months of life. Fruits and veggies should be
introduced around 6 months. For parents who want to raise their infants as "semi-vegetarians" and serve poultry,
meats don't come into the picture until around 9 months.
The American Dietetic Association
recommends that once an infant is introduced to solids, protein-rich vegetarian foods can include pureed tofu, cottage cheese,
and pureed and strained legumes (legumes include beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils). Breastfed infant vegans should receive
a source of vitamin B12, if the mother's diet isn't supplemented, and a source of vitamin D if sun exposure (which provides
vitamin D) isn't adequate.
The Vegetarian Toddler
Toddlers are already a bit of
a challenge when it comes to eating. As they come off of breast milk or formula around 1 year (although vegans often breastfeed
longer), children 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, as well as watch your child's fiber intake. 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 when excluding food groups.
The Older Vegetarian Kid or Teen
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, protein, zinc, calcium, and vitamins D and B12.
The good news for young vegetarians
- and their parents - is that many schools are becoming more conscious of 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, simply pack your child's lunch. That old standby - a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- is a great fast vegetarian 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 than yours (i.e., 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 vegetarian diet so that they can replace them and avoid nutritional deficiencies.
To support your child's dietary
decision and promote awareness of the kinds of foods your preteen or teen should be eating, you might want to have the whole
family eat a vegetarian meal at least one night a week.
A Healthy Lifestyle
A vegetarian diet can be a healthy
choice for all children, as long as it's properly planned and adequate nutrients are eaten. With a little exploration, you
may find more vegetarian options than you realized.
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 your child's nutritional needs. But be aware of potential
nutrient deficiencies in your child's diet and figure out how you'll account for them.
If you aren't sure your child
is getting all the nutrients he or she needs, or if you have any questions about vegetarian diets, don't hesitate to use some
of the excellent resources available to help you plan your child's diet, including your family doctor, pediatrician, or a