Don’t worry, I come in peace with this article (and not in a Dolph Lundgren kind of way) and hold no negative feelings toward my omnivorous friends out there. But I thought this would make for an interesting article because when I first started looking into the possibility of going veg one interesting tidbit I came across, which had previously escaped my inner geek, was that Vulcans are vegetarians.I only dimly remember references to it, and of all places it was in an Enterprise episode or two where I believe T’Pol mentions it.
While I’m sure the Vulcans have several reasons for having given up the omnivorous days of their past, such as dropping the aggression that can come while hunting, or having to find a way to more easily replenish the food supply, us humans usually have various reasons as well. I have never come across a fellow vegetarian who only had one reason for giving up the tasty meats. I have stated some of these in passing in my Enter the Meatrix article, mainly consisting of the effects on the environment, cleanliness of factory farmed animal products, and treatment of the animals. But some of the other reasons I have come across from others, and what I have come to realize about myself, can be quite interesting as well.
Environment. Yep, who would have thought growing up eating meat that it would be bad for the environment. It takes a lot of energy to raise, slaughter, and ship meat products. Much less than it does to produce fruits and vegetables. I have even read of the actual calories that a cow consumes in regards to how many calories it produces for us to ingest as being greatly swayed.
Animal Rights. This is where it gets touchy, and philosophical. Plain and simple, animals are killed. For some, they are meant to be our food. For others, they are living creatures that we should have a balance with and not consume. The arguments will go on and on, both sides being very passionate about their views.
Cleanliness. Factory farming is done to make sure we can all have meat quickly and cheaply. But in order to get the products to us hormones are injected to make the animals grow quicker and larger than they would naturally. And antibiotics are pumped into the livestock in order to keep them alive since it is cheaper to feed them food that, although giving them their calories, is not in their natural diet and many get sick from it. There are many health concerns about consuming meat produced this way, which is why “Free Range and Organic” seems to be all the craze these days.
The Human Body. We adapt, well. We are very versatile creatures. But some research is showing that we have been changing our eating habits faster than our bodies can adapt. We consume several times the daily average of meat that we did just 100 years ago, and some attribute this to change in diet to our declining health (high rates of cancer, depression, obesity, you name it and there is a link). Our teeth aren’t designed to chew meat (take a look at a monkey sometime, even our distant cousins, who rarely consume any flesh, have sharper teeth than we do) and our colons are designed for a longer digestion process more akin to an herbivore.
Tests have been performed and research carried out on diet and nutrition from so many angles that it is hard to know what to believe. Information to prove and disprove conceptions of consuming…anything really.
Meat is the absolute worst thing for you, meat is okay in moderation, meat is an absolute necessity… One minute eggs are bad, next only the whites are good. Every few years the “eight 8oz glasses of water per day” thing comes up only to be changed into more complex formulas on how to determine how much water you need (I would opt for a Stillsuit myself). It’s enough to make one’s head spin, throw logic aside, and not even explore the possibility of giving up, or even just cutting down on, one’s intake of meat.
Personally it has helped me tons. Stomach issues gone, OCD tendencies waning so much I hardly am affected, cholesterol is immaculate, skin looks better, and I have learned about all sorts of surprisingly tasty new meal options (and I don’t even eat milk/cheese or egg any more) which is why I am so passionate about vegetarianism and promote it so much as an option to try.
If any readers out there would like to try giving up meat, the biggest suggestions I can make are to replace your meat. Cutting it out, depending on how much you normally eat, can drastically cut calories making you feel weak. I replace mine with grains and legumes. Lots of pasta and beans, occasional rice, etc. Also, read up on the pros and cons of giving up meat. Personally I found the book The China Study to be surprisingly readable and have found good information from vegetarian message boards as well.
Of course vegetarianism can be refined even more, to veganism which is more of a lifestyle rather than just diet. No animal products consumed at all, not even honey (and in some cases refined sugar either). Still looking to refine? Try raw vegan! That is a real interesting one that even has it’s own superhero, but I found hard for me to have tried for more than a week or two. And believe it or not Klingons and Tenctonese are raw foodies…although it is raw meat. Not sure if I would try that one outside of sushi.
“Why do you humans insist on burning your meat?!”
“Want some of this beaver? It’s delicious!”