Your support can turn a life
It was always assumed that a balanced diet had to contain meat. However, research shows that the vegetarian way ensures a healthy body and a calm mind. Few people realise a vegetarian diet is not just about weight loss, spirituality, cruelty to animals, or religion. It is also about health management. Vegetarianism helps you fight infection and ward off diseases, lose weight and stay trim, cope better with stress, and remain healthy and active.
Non-vegetarian food is still considered by a vast majority as the most important source of protein, iron and vitamin D in the daily diet. They believe the vegetarian diet lacks important nutrients. This is false. The only point in which non-veg food scores is the presence of high levels of protein. However, there are vegetarian alternatives like soybean and hemp seeds, known to be better sources of protein than meat. Combining legumes (pulses, dried peas, beans, peanuts etc.) with grains (specially rice) or with nuts and seeds will ensure you get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein.
With the increase in health management research, very interesting facts have come up in the past few years regarding our food choices. We have all been told the best diet is a balanced diet. However, modern research reveals that meats and eggs, once thought to be the foundations of good eating habits, are responsible for the epidemics of heart ailments, cancer, osteoporosis and many other degenerative diseases of today.
Benefits of Vegetarianism
- Phytochemicals found in various plant-colour pigments are known to aid the organs of the body in their work, making them function better. They also stimulate the immune system.
- Serve as protective factors to various systems and processes.
- As antioxidants that prevent cell damage caused by free radicals.
- Assist in the formation of enzymes which process and remove carcinogenic substances from cells.
- Block or interfere with processes that lead to diseases. For eg, isoflavones found in legumes de-activate cancer enzymes.
- Block carcinogenic substances from entering the cells and inhibit the growth of malignant cells.
- Help in relaxing the nervous system.
- Reduce blood pressure through regulation of hormones.
- Reduce cholesterol.
- Help control diabetes.
- Prevent constipation.
Dave Scott has won Hawaii's legendary ‘Iron Man' Triathelon for a record three years in a row when no one has won more than once. He has broken world records for three events in succession, a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 2112-mile cycling event, and then a 26.2-mile run. Many consider Scott to be the fittest man ever lived. He is a vegetarian. There are many examples that prove there is enough healthy and nutritious food on earth for us without having to kill animals under the presumption it gives us added strength.
Is a non-veg diet necessary? The answer is ‘no’. Although we are by nature omnivorous (capable of eating both vegetarian and non-vegetarian), our anatomical structure -- teeth, jaws, length of digestive system etc favours a diet of plant-food sources.
The death rate among non-vegetarians by coronary-heart disease is higher compared to that of vegetarians, because of higher levels of cholesterol and fat imbibed into the system through their diet. The animal tissue contains poisonous wastes, which raise the toxic level in our system through such a diet. Such food also decomposes rapidly. Since a non-veg diet is relatively low in fibre content, the movement of food in the bowels slows down, resulting in exposure of the large intestines to toxins present in the food, which can lead to colon cancer.
According to Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Abraham Lincoln, even thought processes are greatly affected by what you eat. For clarity of thought and a calm mind, vegeratarianism is the way to go. A vegetarian diet helps keep your body free from elevated cholesterol, saturated fat, artificial hormones, antibiotic resistant bacteria and countless other disease-producing agents found all too often in many of today’s foods.
Few of us are aware that the act of eating can be a powerful statement of commitment to our own well-being, and at the same time, to the creation of a healthier world.
Adi F Merchant