average age (longevity) of a meat eater is 63. I am on the verge
of 85 and still work as hard as ever. I have lived quite long enough
and am trying to die; but I simply cannot do it. A single beef-steak
would finish me; but I cannot bring myself to swallow it. I am oppressed
with a dread of living forever. That is the only disadvantage of
vegetarianism." George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950
Many studies in the major medical journals have demonstrated
the health benefits of vegetarian diets. For example, a study done by the conservative American Dietetic Association in
1988 concluded that people who do not eat meat are at lower
risk for colon cancer, heart disease, obesity, adult-onset diabetes,
high blood pressure, osteoporosis, kidney stones, gallstones, diverticulosis,
breast cancer and lung cancer.
In 1991 William C. Roberts, M.D., the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of
Cardiology, wrote in an editorial, "When
we kill animals to eat them they end up killing us because their
flesh...was never intended for human beings, who are naturally herbivores."
Regarding Dairy Foods, consider this quote from Dr. Frank A.
Oski, former Director of Pediatrics, John Hopkins University:
"There's no reason to drink cow's milk at any time in your
life. It was designed for calves, not humans, and we should all
stop drinking it today."
Many leading athletes are vegan, including 9 time
Olympic Gold Medallist Carl Lewis, and and six time Iron Man
Triathlon winner Dave Scott.
Here is nice paragraph from the Calgary Herald (April 18, 2002)
about marathon runner, Don Repta:
"He's an ultra-marathon racer,
running 160 kilometres in 19 hours and 50 minutes in his last race.
In 2003, he plans to run across the Sahara Desert in six days. This
in addition to studying for a master's degree in environmental science
and working at a Forerunners running store in Kitsilano. Oh, and
did we mention he's not just a vegetarian? He's been vegan for the
past seven years and bans all animal products from his diet. Repta,
28, is one of the growing number of vegetarians who are proving
a meatless diet doesn't sap energy."
GOOD FOR CHILDREN?
The chapter on nutrition in
the last edition, published by the icon Dr Benjamin Spock, of "Dr Spock's Baby and Child Care" (see
Recommended Reading) clearly
advocates a vegan diet:
"A vegetable-based diet for children is generally more healthful
than a diet containing the cholesterol, animal fat, and excessive
protein found in meat and dairy products....Children and adolescents
will get plenty of protein as long as they eat a variety of whole-grains,
legumes, vegetables, fruits and nuts. If you are a strict vegetarian
(vegan) you can still get plenty of calcium. Non-dairy calcium sources
include green leafy vegetables, beans, and calcium fortified soymilk
and orange juice. " p342.
He examines the emerging links between meat,
dairy, and numerous health issues. He recommends a change to
soy-milk and soy products to families who are still using cow's
WHAT ABOUT PROTEIN AND CALCIUM?
We ask the question above because the material on nutrition we read
in school taught us to; and it taught us that meat and dairy products
were the answer. Those materials were, and still are, distributed
by the USDA and the Dairy Council, whose job it is to promote their
products. In "May All Be Fed
- Diet For a New World" John Robbins (see Recommended
Reading for his latest book) cites countless studies that all
lead to the same conclusion, "Osteoporosis is a condition caused
by a number of factors, the most important of which is excess dietary
Plenty of calcium can be consumed without
the counterproductive consumption of excess protein one receives
when eating dairy products. Other foods, such as leafy green vegetables,
are high in calcium; A cup of broccoli contains 178 milligrams;
a cup of tofu contains a whopping 500, about half of the recommended
Results from a study released in early 2005 showed that raw food
vegans had lighter bones than people eating a conventional diet --
that was attributed to the vegans being generally of lower weight.
According to the April 4, 2005, LA Times report, raw food vegans
"show normal levels of two markers for bone turnover."
IS LACTOSE INTOLERANCE AN ISSUE?
A significant percentage of white Anglo-Saxon Americans
are lactose intolerant --about 8%. Lactose intolerance amongst African
Americans is the norm (78%) as it is for American Jews.
WHAT ABOUT B12?
Vitamin B12 comes from bacteria. We humans
are the only animals not capable of producing our own. Before the
the advent of modern farming methods, which have effected both the
bacteria in the soil, and the amount left on vegetables by the time
we consume them, we received the tiny amount of B12 we needed from
the skins of vegetables. With modern vegan diets B12 supplementation is
necessary. You will find that most soy milks and many cereals are
fortified with B12 (check cartons.) However many nutritionist
recommend taking a B12 vitamin tablet or multivitamin
with B12. You'll find plenty of information about B12 needs at http://veganoutreach.org/health/b12letter.html
particularly its oil, is often lauded for its abundance of Omega-3
acids. However flaxseed oil is also rich in these acids. Unlike
fish consumption, flaxseed poses no danger from mercury
and other pollutants to which fish are exposed. On Apr. 24, 2000,
the CT Council on Environmental Quality issued its annual report,
stating that fish in all the state's rivers and lakes are contaminated
Besides the inherent dangers posed by a high protein, high saturated
fat diet, animal consumption also poses a huge threat to our health
in the form of food-borne disease. Campylobacter is the leading
cause of food borne illness in the USA (Los Angeles Times 9/20/99).
A U.S. Department of Agriculture Study recently showed 88% of poultry
sampled from supermarkets tested positive for campylobacter. Additionally,
half of all chickens sold in the United States are infected with
salmonella, according to the New York Times. Up to 4 million Americans
are believed to contract Salmonella poisoning every year.
Approximately 30% of all pork
products are contaminated with toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by
parasites that can be passed on to consumers.
We get the occasional "alfalfa scare" (from animal contamination)
but overall, the incidence and severity of food-borne illness due
to the consumption of plant foods is minute when compared to that
caused by consuming animal products.
A great source of information on all of the issues
broached above is the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,
a group founded by health professionals, who are concerned for
animal welfare but base their recommendations on sound science.
Check out the website www.PCRM.org
from "Vegan Outreach" is also terrific.
*(Diet for a New World, p87.)