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DietIn short the ideal diet which should be aimed for is vegetarian/vegan with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
From the extensive research which I have looked into I would particularly recommend that you avoid or reduce:
hydrogenated vegetable oil
Remember not to overcook food as this can destroy essential nutrients thus degrading the food's value. Where ever possible, use conventional cooking methods rather than microwave, as microwaves degrade the food to a far greater degree.
The Virtues of VegetarianismThe principle energy of our food chain comes from the Sun. At every link in the chain energy is lost. If we have 2 fields of equal size and use one to rear animals and the other for growing crops we will get far more usable energy and nutrients from the crop field.
This fact, recognized by mainstream scientists, indicates that if a significant percentage of the world population became vegetarian then there would be far more food available for everyone + lots of spare land for wild life/ bio diversity.
At some point along the path of self improvement the refraining from eating animal flesh becomes inevitable. The reason for this is that every reason for eating meat is based in the vices.
Before I go into that I want to make it absolutely clear that a vegetarian diet is perfectly sufficient for human health. Firstly it is a fact that many, many people have lived a long and healthy life without the need to consume the dead flesh of animals.
Actually it is eating meat which is unhealthy. For example it putrifies in the human intestine which was designed primarily for a herbivorous diet(although it can deal with some meat in dire emergencies). It raises blood acidity which is responsible amongst other things for conditions such as arthritis. The toxic bi-products of meat eating are responsible for many cases of bad body odor. The growth hormones added in modern farming practices can interfere with our own hormonal systems. Stress/fear toxins released into the animal's blood stream just prior to slaughter may affect us even after cooking.
Now I want you to think about a definition of cruelty: Causing suffering for no reason. By eating meat we partake in cruelty as we are, directly or indirectly, causing suffering to innocent creatures for no good reason.
If there is no good reason for eating meat then why, one may ask, is the practice still widespread? The answer is because the vices are also widespread.
In discussing this subject with meat eaters a pattern in there "reasoning" emerged:
They eat meat because they believed it too much effort to change: ie LAZINESS.
They eat meat because they want to fit in: ie COWARDICE.
They eat meat because they havent really thought about the suffering of the animals: ie THOUGHTLESSNESS.
They eat meat because they have been told by the multi-million dollar meat industry that it is necessary for health: ie GULLIBLITY and IGNORANCE.
I could go on but you get the general idea.
I am not saying that to become a vegetarian is to become a saint. What I am saying is that any one who becomes a saint must also be vegetarian. This is not dogma, it is just that if we really love and respect our own life , we naturally love and respect all life.
For the point of argument let us divide up all people into 3 groups: those who are compassionate and are vegetarian, those who wouldn't deliberately be cruel to an animal and yet eat meat anyway and those who work in the industry-some of whom mistreat animals more than others.
Now if you are in the group who wouldn't deliberately be cruel to an animal but eat meat anyway, consider this:
You are paying the wages of strangers, some of who savagely mistreat animals behind closed doors. Apart from illegal cruelty which certainly goes on behind the scenes, many so called legal practices are very cruel indeed such as castration without anesthetic etc. No right minded person would contribute to such suffering- I know that I don't want any of my money to support it.
SummaryBy becoming vegetarian we do our part in reducing the size of this industry thus weakening it and making it easier to regulate.
We help the environment because vegetarian food is far more efficient to produce.
We improve our own well being, emotionally and physically.
We reduce the unnecessary suffering of innocent animals.
We help, by example, everyone realize the value of Life and thus help reduce violent crime and war atrocities etc.
...We may even reduce our weekly food bill.
+Plus many other real benefits.
Apart from the above reasons for adopting a vegetarian diet there are also many esoteric reasons too. If you are so inclined then check out my Esoteric Vegetarian Essay.
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