7 Most Important Benefits of Being a Vegetarian
1. Being a Vegetarian is a Lifestyle Choice. It is a Conscious Choice
Being a vegetarian is a lifestyle. If someone tells me that s/he is a vegetarian, I immediately know that the person made a conscious choice to work on him/herself.
Choosing the vegetarian diet we work with millions of others to protect the rainforests, to prevent the huge suffering of farmed animals, and to reduce our-own energy consumption.
When we say vegetarian we mean that:
- We carefully thought about the food and weI made a conscious decision about our food choices
- We care about health and we will do our best to avoid all the items that harm our body, mind and soul.
- We carefully thought about environment and the eco foot-print that we leave on our blue planet and we believe that the most effective way to ‘go green’ is to become a vegetarian.
2. Vegetarian Benefits and Health
The Okinawa Centenarian Study (OCS) is an ongoing population based study of centenarians in Okinawa, in Japan, that began in 1975 and has some fascinating findings. Now 30 years long study of 900 100+ years old residents of Okinawa, indicates that they have the longest life expectancy of anyone else in the world. The 100+ years old people of Okinawa have extraordinarily good health.
They are lean, youthful looking, and energetic people that had significantly low rates of heart disease, and cancer and have managed to escape many chronic diseases of aging. This remarkable aging phenomenon is contributed to a number of factors:
- their average weight and body mass is low. They traditionally practice food intake control known as hara hachi bu (eat only until you are 80% full),
- they keep physically active and have regular exercise,
- they have a moderate alcohol intake, and they avoid smoking,
- they have what we call: ‘semi-vegetarian’ or ‘vegetarian inclined diet’ with lots of organic veggies, papaya and sweet potato, with whole grains – mostly brown rice, seaweed, soy, and green tea.
So, the diet of the healthiest and longest living population on Earth is full of unrefined carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and soy.
3. Vegetarian Benefits and Environment
‘Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.’
Albert Einstein About Benefits of Being Vegetarian
The meat industry has disastrous effects on the environment. By growing grain to feed the animals that are fed to humans, you end up with much less food than you would have by feeding grain directly to humans.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chemical and animal waste is the major factor of all the pollution. The EPA also estimates that nearly 95 percent of the pesticide residue comes from meat, fish and dairy products. The factory animals are crammed into cages and fed a diet full of pesticides and antibiotics.
4. Vegetarian Benefits and Animal Suffering
The average meat-eater consumes around 100 animals every year.
'Flesh eating is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act, which is contrary to moral feeling: killing. This is dreadful! Not the suffering and death of the animals, but that a man suppresses in himself, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity -- that of sympathy and pity towards living creatures like himself -- and by violating his own feelings becomes cruel. And how deeply seated in the human heart is the injunction not to take life! So strong is humanity's aversion to all killing. But by example, by encouraging greediness, by the assertion that God has allowed it, and above all by habit, people entirely lose this natural feeling.’
Vegetarian Quotes, Tolstoy on Benefits of Being Vegetarian
5. Vegetarian Benefits and Spirituality, Vegetarianism in Various Religions
Vegetarianism in Taoism
In China and Japan Taoism holds that nature is sacred, and it favours vegetarianism. Taoism teaches that yin and yang are the two fundamental energies in the world and the vegetarianism is based on a perception of purity. Whether a Daoist decides to be purely vegetarian or not, the Daoist concept of simplicity encourages eating vegetables, grains, and fruits instead of meat.
Macrobiotics, for example, encourages eating organic, wholesome, nutritious food that balances its yin and yang elements. They avoid: extremely yang food - most types of meat, salty food, strong spices, and extremely yin food - potatoes, tomatoes, sugars, coffee, and alcohol.
Vegetarianism in Buddhism and Hinduism
Buddhist and Hindu vegetarianism is based on refraining from killing animals. There are 900 million Hindus in the world and 360 million Buddhists. Hinduism encourages a vegetarian diet. A cow is a sacred animal in India. Vegetarianism is an explicit practice amongst Jains, who hold that it is wrong to kill or harm any living being. There are around 25 millions Jains in the world.
Buddha clearly taught vegetarianism as part of his instruction to be mindful and compassionate. In a Mahayana sutra Buddha says that ‘the eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion’.
Vegetarianism in Old and New Testament
The Torah (Hebrew Scriptures) describes vegetarianism as an ideal. In the Garden of Eden, Adam, Eve, and all creatures were instructed to eat plant foods. (Genesis 1:29-30)
Orthodox Christians all throughout the year fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. Fasting for an Orthodox Christian means the avoidance of meat, meat products, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil. The longest and strictest fasting season of the year is Great Lent, and it is 40 days long.
The fasting rule kept by many monasteries is called: Apostles' Fast, it is observed during non-fasting seasons and it is very similar to so called: ‘vegetarian inclined’ diet:
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Strict fast.
- Tuesday, Thursday: Oil and wine permitted, no meat, meat products, fish or dairy.
- Saturday, Sunday: Fish, oil and wine permitted.
Christian Sayings on Fasting
St Symeon the New Theologian, Benefits of Being a Vegetarian
‘Let each one of us keep in mind the benefit of fasting... For this healer of our souls is effective, in the case of one to quieten the fevers and impulses of the flesh, in another to assuage bad temper, in yet another to drive away sleep, in another to stir up zeal, and in yet another to restore purity of mind and to set him free from evil thoughts...’
St Symeon the New Theologian: ‘Fasting gradually disperses and drives away spiritual darkness and the veil of sin that lies on the soul, just as the sun dispels the mist... Fasting, aided by vigil, penetrates and softens hardness of heart... it causes fountains of compassion to spring forth.
St Symeon the New Theologian: ‘But without fasting no one was ever able to achieve any of these virtues or any others, for fasting is the beginning and foundation of every spiritual activity'.
The letters of Father Lazarus to Mother Gavrilia ‘Go anywhere you like, do whatever you like, as long as you observe Fasting... Because not a single arrow of the Evil One can reach you when you fast. Never.'
6. Join the Vegetarian Family in the World
The 2008, ‘Vegetarianism in America’ study states that the number of US adults who follow a ‘vegetarian inclined diet’ is 22.8 million.
In England, according to a 2006 Mintel survey, 6 percent of the population, or 3.6 million people, are strict vegetarians. The rest of Europe holds the average of around 3 percent.
According to statistics 1% of Chinese population is vegetarian and that amounts to 13,000,000 people.
Brasil has 9,500,000 people that are vegetarians.
Australia has 1,150,000 vegetarians.
India has around 400,000,000 vegetarians.
Africa also has many semi-vegetarians simply because population still lives in a rural environment where eating meat is considered luxury.
7. Train Mindfulness through Vegetarianism
Once you are a vegetarian, chosing your food becomes a mindful activity. You become more careful about your relationship to food. The vegetarian diet becomes an integtal part of your mindfulness journey.
You can start your journey with us simply downloading the Alchemy of Love course materials and working with spiritual exercises that we have created for you.