There is plenty of misinformation and myths that cause needless confusion about vegetarian diets, as people try to justify their meat-eating habits. For some people it’s only myths that keep them from the health benefits, environmental advantages and the compassion of a vegetarian diet. So, let’s do some myth busting!
Myth 1 – It’s unnatural to follow a plant-based diet.
We evolved as plant-eating beings. Meat eating is comparatively recent in human history. Our bodies have inherited 35 million years of plant-eating primate evolution. We only started eating meat out of desperation when living in colder climates, where there was insufficient plant-based food to get through the winter.
While the way we get our food has changed in recent years, our bodies remain the same. These days, the grocery stores are full of plenty of options and we no longer need to choose between eating meat and starvation. While we can get away with eating small quantities of meat, when we eat large quantities of meat over many years, our health suffers.
Do animals feel pain? Of course they do! Just ask yourself this question: if animals can’t feel pain, then why do researchers test pain medication on them? Then ask yourself another question: if animals don’t feel pain, then why do they scream or wince when they are hurt? Of course they feel pain and are capable of suffering.
Famous Anthropologist Jane Goodall says that “…farm animals are treated as mere things, yet they are living beings capable of suffering pain and fear.” The Veterinary Merck Manual, perhaps the most standard reference in animal science and veterinary practice, states, “Based on what is known to date, all vertebrates, and some invertebrates, experience pain in response to actual or potential tissue damage.” Read more
There’s still slavery in the fishing and seafood industry. We had hoped that the problem of slavery in the fishing industry, once recognized, would be solved but it hasn’t. A new report by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) details cases of slavery, debt bondage, insufficient food and water, filthy living conditions, physical and sexual assault and murder aboard fishing vessels from 13 countries operating across three oceans.
A new report, Blood and Water, details numerous cases of abuse, on vessels flying the flags of both developing and developed nations, from the E.U. and U.S. to Asia and South America. It includes recent investigations revealing serious abuses on vessels ranging from Taiwanese long liners fishing far out at sea for high value tuna, to desperate Vietnamese trawlers illegally entering Thai coastal waters because of the collapse of their own fisheries.
As in other industries where the use of forced labor has been uncovered, forced labor in fisheries is, to some extent, driven by the motivation to reduce costs. Fishermen can be lured into situations of modern slavery by seemingly legitimate employment opportunities, but once recruited find themselves unable to leave because of the threat of violence towards themselves or family members, physical confinement on and off shore, the withholding of wages, and the debts they incur through the recruitment process. Violence is all too common.
But now for the good news. While governments, industry and retailers have not solved this problem, there is something you can do: go veg. The seafood industry not only hurts the fish themselves, and the ocean’s ecology, it also hurts those in the fishing industry. We don’t need to eat fish, and in fact, it’s better for our health if we don’t. When people stop eating fish they’ll stop selling it. It’s time to stop eating fish!
It’s often been said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls we’d all be vegetarians. But, that gives rise to another question: what about actually slaughtering the animal yourself? Would you eat meat if you had to kill the animal yourself?
The disconnect between enjoying meat and loving animals is one that gives many pause for thought. Read more
Are you confused about nutrition and health? If you are, you’re not alone. We’re flooded nutritional information these days. Websites, articles in the newspapers, new books being published, scientific studies on the benefits or harm caused by one ingredient or another – it’s hard to keep up with it all, and so much of it seems contradictory or just doesn’t make sense. Many of us wonder just what to believe! So we’d like to share with you some pointers to help you sift through the minefield. Read more
Scientists have recently discovered settlements of vegetarian Neanderthals in Europe. It seems that they lived on a plant-based diet and ate no meat at all. This should come as no surprise since everyone from Charles Darwin to Clifford Roberts, the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Cardiology, to the famous anthropologist Jane Goodall, tells us that we are designed by anatomy and physiology to be vegetarians.
“The human species does not have the physical attributes of a carnivore. If everyone knew and faced up to all the facts, most would either opt for drastically cutting their meat consumption or giving up meat altogether.“
– Jane Goodall, Author of Harvest for Hope
Paleo man didn’t eat as much meat as has been hyped and some ate none at all. Since the mistaken notions and thinking behind the Paleo Diet have continued since our last posting debunking it, we thought we would add a little more refutation to it.
At this time of year, many turn their thoughts to the various faith-based communities. Here are just a few new developments of veg-interest that have caught our notice. This adds to the already rich veg-offerings of many faith communities, both East and West, which are already well established.
Israeli PM Joins Meatless Mondays
Miki Haimovich, launched Meatless Monday campaign in Israel
Vegetarian food choices were already becoming popular in Israel, but they have recently received a big boost from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, who have decided to join the Meatless Monday initiative. As far as we know, he is the first head of state to endorse and follow the program. “With my responsibility as prime minister to protect the lives of people here, I feel committed to increase awareness to fight cruelty toward animals,” Netanyahu said. Read more
Tell us something about yourself. How did you first become interested in animals in general and farm animals in particular?
My fascination with animals seems to have been hardwired from birth, but it took many years and many nuggets of exposure for me to finally get that ‘aha’ moment.
I grew up in the suburbs of Southern California, but spent a few weeks each summer during my early teenage years at a camp which centered around a working farm. The cows spent their days wandering around in one of the many pastures; the chickens were free to roam and munch on bugs in the manure and dirt, the pigs dined on the plants and the camp’s food waste; vegetable were grown on the farm and picked by the campers – this system was balanced and thus, it worked. Read more
Recently, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) made a recommendation in its regular newsletter to its employees, to consider participating in the Meatless Mondays initiative, which advocates going vegetarian one day a week, citing the health and environmental benefits. The advisory explained that the USDA cafeterias now contain plenty of meatless options to enjoy. The recommendation concluded, “So you can really help yourself and the environment while having a good vegetarian meal!”
But within just a couple of days, the USDA had caved into pressure from the cattle and meat industry, and had retracted the message, claiming that it had been made without proper clearance. It was promptly removed from both the newsletter and their website. Read more
The answer is plenty when it comes to vegetarian food choices.
The most important part of the yoga practice is eating a vegetarian diet. -Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
Yoga has hit the mainstream. With yoga studios popping up all over, offering everything from traditional forms of yoga to new forms aimed at special groups ranging from prenatal moms to airline pilots (there are even new and innovative forms of yoga such as laughter yoga and Christian yoga), more and more people are giving it a try. However, in their drive to become more popular, or perhaps because of a shortage of fully trained instructors, many, if not most, yoga studios have dropped the vegetarian portion of yoga theory and practice. Read more