Within the era of globalization the today’s world is full of different cultures, subcultures, special social groups that support plenty of ideas and movements. More and more popular becomes ‘vegetarianism’ as a unique flow not only in European countries but also throughout the world. The reasons are various. The main role in choosing vegetarian way of life is caused by religious beliefs. For example, many Eastern religions such as Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism dictate the philosophical view that the murder and infliction of pain must not be committed by human nature. Secondly, it can be ethical reasons, because lots of people try to avoid causing harm to animals by reducing or refusing from meat consumption. Thirdly, there are people who must follow the medical rules in order to stay healthy. Moreover, some say that meat can cause the risk of cancer, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases and the diseases of gastrointestinal tract. Also, there are economic reasons for vegetarianism as the price of meat products is too high. Finally, many people decide to be vegetarians to lose weight. According to the American Dietetic Association properly organized system of vegetarian food is really helpful to reduce weight naturally.
Another interesting study was conducted by scientists from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom. Polls proved an interesting pattern that the higher the IQ of a person was in the childhood the more likely is he as an adult to become a vegetarian. As for the great men who have left a significant mark in history a lot of them were vegetarians: da Vinci, Van Gogh, Einstein, Newton, Socrates and so on.
Vegetarianism can be severe, and it is called Veganism. The supporters of the principles of nutrition are strict vegetarians. Followers of this area believe that only plant foods are a natural food for humans. Moreover, all the achievements of great minds of the past they try to explain what the titans of world culture eat mostly plant foods. Proponents of this trend are convinced that a vegetarian diet influences brain activity, increases intelligence and increases life expectancy.In strict vegetarianism, three different areas: laktovegetarianism – eating dairy-vegetarian diet, vegetables-vegetarianism – eating egg-plant food and lakto-vegetables vegetarianism – eating egg-milk and plant products.
Semi vegetarians, eating a vegetarian diet every day, during the holidays can afford to eat fish (sometimes lean meat). This does not make their life shorter: a person who holds such a diet and not with bad habits (drinking alcohol, smoking), with daily use of fruits and vegetables can count on healthy longevity. An example of this is Paul Bragg, who lived to 95 years and remained thus in good shape.
The proponents of vegetarianism say that it is possible to strengthen or improve the health becoming a vegetarian. But during the last years the official science is becoming skeptical of their claims. However, some medical researchers have discovered that there is a direct correlation between meat-eating and such dangerous diseases as cancer and cardiovascular disease, and this has forced them to change their views of vegetarianism.
In 1983, based on the results of such studies, the American Academy of Sciences reported that ‘people can avoid many cancers, reducing the consumption of fatty meat and eating more vegetables and grains’. Also, the studies conducted that times have shown conclusively that meat consumption is one of the main causes of mortality in Western Europe, USA, Australia and other developed countries.
In addition, the researchers of the University of Milan and clinics Maggiore proved that vegetable protein normalizes blood cholesterol. Some scientists say that people with high level of cholesterol in the blood and who are suffering from heart disease, ‘can improve their health by going on a vegetarian diet, which contains only vegetable protein.’
Vegetarian diets contain high amounts of fiber that stimulates intestinal motility and promotes regular emptying in chronic atonic constipation. Vegetable food positively affects the intestinal micro flora. Fruits and vegetables withdrawn from the body toxins and stimulates the body's defenses, normalizes metabolism. Also, vegetables and fruits contain many vitamins and minerals, including potassium and magnesium, which the body of modern man desperately needs.
On the other hand, vegetable protein is digested much worse than an animal. Thus, the protein of bread is digested in 48-70%, potatoes – by 60-68%, buckwheat porridge – 60-70%, millet – 50%, while the proteins of meat, fish, eggs and milk assimilated within 98%. According to the observations of physicians, 5-7 years of strict vegetarianism can reduce the immunity rate. Also, vegetarianism is forbidden for children: the child’s body needs meat and fish for normal growth and development.
If meat intake should be strictly rationed over the years, fish doesn’t include anything harmful that vegetarians could see the reason to refuse from. Fish is a good source of digestible protein, vitamins, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, which human health is really in need of. Contained therein polyunsaturated fatty acids protect the body from heart disease, and according to some, prevent rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, asthma and various other diseases. Vegetarianism is one of the oldest areas of non-traditional food, and vegetarians have much to teach, but a healthy person with normal body weight should assess the diet from the standpoint of common sense.
Thus, the scientists think that the most important argument in favor of vegetarianism is ethical consideration. Those who become a vegetarian for ethical reasons, based on the belief that other creatures also have feelings and emotions similar to human ones. This belief causes the people to be more circumspect in their actions and try not to cause suffering to other living beings. Those who consciously chose for himself a vegetarian diet should observe special guidelines, such as living a healthy lifestyle, giving up smoking, alcohol and so on.
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Dudley. (1979) Vegetarianism: A Way of life. New York: Harper and Row.
Parham, B. (1979) What`s Wrong With Eating Meat? Denver: Ananda Marga Publications.
Rudd, G. L. (1956) Why Kill for Food.? Madras, India: Indian Vegetarian Congress.