Growing up in a primarily vegetarian country like India, mealtimes right from my childhood days were a diverse affair – sometimes a grandparent would not eat processed rice, sometimes a friend would not eat any meat, sometimes my mother would only eat fruits, sometimes an aunt would not eat garlic or onion and sometimes an uncle would be skipping the meal altogether. Suffice it to say that I grew up in a very democratic environment as far as cuisine and nourishment was concerned. Each one had their beliefs, likes and dislikes – some fasted on certain days (either for spirituality or detoxification), some were vegetarian and some fervently believed in eating everything.
Yet, I recall always regarding the vegetarians with a certain sympathy – I was convinced that they were missing out on the real joys of food. I also disliked their ‘holier than thou’ airs and general fussiness around the table. Never had I imagined that I would ever be the vegetarian I am now. In fact as a young child, I would literally cry at the sight of only fruits and vegetables on the table. So what happened?
It started with a moral smote to my conscience thinking about mammals like pigs and lambs being slaughtered (I always refrained from beef anyway). Slowly my sensitivity expanded to the plight of birds like chicken and turkey. Why, when there is other choice, I asked myself, should I take the life of a living thing that feels the same human emotion of fear when its life is threatened?
I then came to understand the more scientific elements behind human nourishment (mainly by listening to the talks of spiritual masters like Sadhguru, but this information is also verfied by modern scientists). Like the fact that our intestines are rather long as observed in herbivores and not short as observed in carnivores. Carnivores have short intestines so that the meat can pass through quickly from the system. If herbivores eat meat, it takes very long to pass through the disgestive system, during which time, it decays within the body. And this decaying meat produces toxins that cause disease. In fact, the more complex the life form that we consume (the more human-like the emotion they possess, the more complex the life form), the more information and memory it carries and therefore the less good it is for us to eat because our bodies are not able to process it so easily (See more on this). It’s no wonder meat eaters suffer higher incidences of cancer, heart disease, etc.
So whether you are motivated by the moral or the scientific arguments, it would be a healthier choice to be vegetarian. If you practice spritituality, like yoga or meditation, you will start to realise that your body does not even need the kind of concentrated nourishment that meat provides. In fact, the lighter your system, the better it will function. In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of food and healing, meat is referred to as ‘tamasic’ food which is the lowest form (of the three types) of food characterised by the fact that it produces inertia and laziness in the body. While Ayurveda goes into much finer detail about different types of food avoiding meat can be a simple and easy start for those looking for health and well-being.
India has a dizzying variety of vegetarian food (as below) as and the Living-Wise Project promises to reveal some simple, tasty vegetarian recipes that won’t let you miss the meat!
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