Eating meat is bad for you
There is no longer any doubt
about the fact that eating meat is bad for your health.
The list of
diseases known to be associated with meat, which are commoner among meat eaters,
looks like the index of a medical textbook.
arthritis, breast cancer, cancer of the colon, cancer of the prostate,
constipation, diabetes, gall stones, gout, high blood pressure, indigestion,
obesity, piles, strokes and varicose veins are just some of the well known
disorders which are more likely to affect meat eaters than
Avoiding meat is one of the best and simplest ways to cut
down your fat consumption.
Those who still eat beef are, in my view,
foolishly exposing themselves to the risk of contracting the horrifying human
version of Mad Cow Disease.
Add to those hazards the fact that if you eat
meat you may be consuming hormones, drugs and other chemicals that have been fed
to the animals before they were killed and you can see the extent of the danger.
No one knows precisely what effect eating the hormones in meat is likely to have
on your health. But the risk is there and I think it's a big one. Some farmers
use tranquillisers to keep animals calm. Others routinely use antibiotics so
that their animals do not develop infections. When you eat meat you are,
inevitably, eating those drugs. In America, over half of all antibiotics are fed
to animals and I don't think it is any coincidence that the percentage of
staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin went up from 13% in 1960 to 91%
The healthiness of a vegetarian diet is perhaps shown most
dramatically by the fact that lifelong vegetarians visit hospitals 22% less
often than meat eaters - and for shorter stays! Vegetarians tend to be fitter
than meat eaters - as well as healthier - and many of the world's most
successful athletes (particularly those who specialise in endurance events)
follow a strictly vegetarian diet.
It is the fat in meat that does most
harm - and which makes meat eating an even bigger health hazard than smoking -
but don't think you can avoid the dangers simply by avoiding red meat because
you cannot. If you want to eat a truly healthy diet then you must give up eating
There are, of course, all sorts of old-fashioned myths
about eating meat.
It used to be claimed that people who didn't eat meat
would be short of protein.
But that is now known to be absolute
And it is equally untrue that if you don't eat meat your diet
will be deficient in essential vitamins or minerals.
absolutely nothing - no protein, vitamins or minerals - that your body cannot
obtain perfectly happily from a vegetarian diet.
Becoming healthier isn't
the only reason for turning green.
Many of those who stop eating meat do
so for moral and ethical reasons as much as for personal gain.
minute of every working day thousands of animals are killed in slaughterhouses.
Many animals are bled to death. Pain and misery are commonplace - for animals
suffer from pain and fear just as much as you do.
In an average lifetime
the average meat eater will consume 36 pigs, 36 sheep and 750 chickens and
turkeys. More and more people are deciding that they just don't want that much
carnage on their consciences. It is never too late to stop eating
In addition, more and more people are becoming aware of the fact
that hunger around the world could be eradicated if rich westerners stopped
Every year over 400 million tons of grain are fed to
livestock - so that the world's rich can eat meat.
At the same time, 500
million people in poor countries are starving to death.
Many of those who toy with the idea of turning vegetarian
(because they want to be healthier, because they want to stop world starvation
or because they can no longer bear the thought of encouraging such a barbaric
trade as the breeding and killing of animals for food) worry about what they are
going to eat.
Such worries are quite unnecessary.
There are not
only many different fruits and vegetables available these days but, if you miss
the texture of meat, you can buy vegetarian sausages, hamburgers and pies. Stews
and curries can be made with soya and you can buy tofu cheese too.
keep healthy eat raw foods whenever you can (because vitamins are easily
destroyed by cooking) and use as little water as possible when boiling
vegetables in order to avoid losing water soluble vitamins B and C. Steam or
stir fry vegetables if you can instead of boiling them.
keeping food hot - or reheating it - can destroy vitamins, try to eat fruit and
vegetables in their skins (because vitamins are often stored just below the
skin) and be imaginative when shopping! You can get the iron, calcium, zinc and
other essential minerals that your body needs by eating dark green, leafy
vegetables, nuts, pulses, sunflower seeds and dried fruits.
heaps of books available about food. My own book Food for Thought should
tell you everything you need to know and is available through the shop on this
website. Also, there are recipes for vegetarian and vegan meals on this website.
Copyright Vernon Coleman 2003