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Why Vegetarianism?

Definition

Vegetarianism is a popular dietary practice, philosophy and way of living that excludes all animal flesh and organ meats (such as liver, brain, and thymus), fish (including shellfish and other creatures of the sea), poultry and fowl. There are several variants of the diet, but the most common is lacto-ovo vegetarianism, which includes dairy and eggs.

History

Vegetarianism has its historical roots in antiquity, dating as far back in Ancient India and Greece as 6 century BC. Vegetarianism has long been the cornerstone of Hinduism with the concept of ahimsa or “non-violence” at its center. Vegetarianism was also an accepted practice amongst the ancient Greek philosophers. It is widely believed that Pythagoras demanded that all his potential students adopt a vegetarian diet before beginning their lesson to ensure a clean mind and body.

Vegetarianism was introduced to Europe sporadically up through the Renaissance by different orders of monks and priests for ascetic purposes but mostly for certain religious rites and observances of holy days and then usually did not exclude the consumption of fish.

In 1847, the first Vegetarian Society was formed in England. Those congregated there actually coined the term “vegetarian” and gave the movement legitimacy. Similar societies spread throughout Europe thereafter.

Vegetarianism became popular here in the United States in the early 1960’s as part of the overall counter-culture movement which went hand-in-hand with peaceful living, non-violence and concern for the environment. Today it is estimated that somewhere between 1 and 3 percent of the US population follows a vegetarian diet.


Health Benefits

After much vigorous debate over the years, the American Dietetic Association has now concluded that a balanced, properly-planned and conscientiously executed vegetarian diet will satisfy the nutritional needs for all stages of life, from birth to old age. Many well-documented and reputable medical studies have shown that adopting a vegetarian diet can significantly lower risks of cancer, heart, bowel, and liver disease, osteoporosis and other fatal diseases. All of life’s necessary nutrients: amino acids, protein, vitamins, minerals, bioflavonoids and micronutrients can be found in abundance in vegetables, grains, nuts, soymilk, eggs and dairy.


Famous Vegetarians

  • Buddha
  • Gandhi
  • Socrates
  • Charles Darwin
  • Albert Einstein
  • Nicola Tesla
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Dustin Hoffman
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • George Harrison
  • Bill Maher
  • Milton Berle
  • David Bowie
  • Bridgette Bardot
  • John Cleese
  • Jerry Garcia

Famous Quotes

“My opinion is well known. I do not regard flesh food as necessary for us at any stage and under any climate in which it is possible for humane beings ordinarily to live. I hold flesh food to be unsuited to our species.
Mahatma Gandhi 1869-1948

“The question is not, Can they reason? Nor can they talk? But can they suffer?”

Jeremy Bentham 1748-1832

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Albert Einstein 1879-1955

“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”
Charles Darwin 1809-1882

"Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so."
Genesis 1:29-30 New International Version