Let’s imagine that tomorrow any meat will disappear from the whole world around us – it will not be either in the form of a raw product or in a processed form – no sausages, no ham, no sausages … What will we eat then? Only plant foods? And we all become vegetarians? Ah, how happy Albert Einstein would have been, who believed that “a vegetarian diet, if only because of its purely physical effect on human temperament, should have a very beneficial effect on the fate of mankind.” Of course, Einstein’s dream has a long way to go, but it is clear that even today vegetarianism is becoming almost mainstream, and a fashion for rejecting meat food is steadily forming.
In world history, including Russian history, the most advanced people have become vegetarians. Famous vegetarians in the historical past are Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Plato, Pythagoras, Thomas Edison, Leo Tolstoy and many, many others. Each of them came to vegetarianism in his own way – either by virtue of philosophical and religious beliefs, or because of health, or even because of economic circumstances. Many became convinced vegetarians as a result of a long journey, sometimes at the end of their lives, like Leo Tolstoy. And almost all, without exception, came to the conclusion that vegetarianism is not only a type of nutrition, but also a lifestyle in general.
So what is the essence and main advantages of a vegetarian lifestyle? Why did Einstein argue – “nothing will bring such benefits to human health and increase the chances of saving life on Earth like the spread of vegetarianism”?
A vegetarian way of life involves not only eating plant foods and refusing animal products as a specific diet. This lifestyle is based primarily on a careful attitude to the surrounding living world, and as a result leads to the improvement and spiritual development of man, and also contributes to the preservation of the environment.
The main question in this topic is whether a person can do without meat at all. Will his absence negatively affect health? Opponents of vegetarianism argue that the transition from a higher herbivorous mammal with a well-developed brain to Homo sapiens would have been impossible without switching to meat food, but this is not so. Remaining a herbivore, a primitive man, depending on natural conditions, was first engaged in the collection of plant foods, and only as he settled in adverse climatic zones, experiencing a lack of food, began hunting. According to the structure of the teeth (incisors and molars are more developed, rather than fangs), the presence in the saliva of the enzyme amylase, and not hydrochloric acid (for preliminary breakdown of starch, and not bones in the oral cavity) and the high length of the intestine, divided into departments, the person is clearly refers to herbivorous mammals, not predators. In addition, the centuries-old experience of the inhabitants of India (namely, from the most ancient times the foundations of vegetarian cuisine were born there) suggests that eating grain, legumes, been impossible without, as well as dairy products is complete, because it contains all the substances necessary for life.
Features of vegetarian nutrition are available in every national cuisine, a huge number of cookbooks is devoted to them, but everyone interested in this topic needs to understand the main thing – plant foods in the necessary variety and in combination with additional sources of B and D vitamins can provide an absolutely complete diet. Sources of vitamins B and D can be dairy products and eggs for ovo-lacto-vegetarians, and in the diet of vegans – just brewer’s yeast or other sources. At the same time, vegetarian nutrition has a surprisingly beneficial effect on human health, proven in numerous medical studies:
* Vegetarians are much less likely to experience hypertension, cancer, diabetes, cataracts – the main diseases of modern society.
* Vegetarians are practically not obese.
* Vegetarians live longer, look better, and age more slowly.
Thus, despite the ongoing endless debate of scientists, doctors and just consumers, vegetarian food has a huge potential for health benefits.
Another, no less important aspect of the vegetarian lifestyle is the idea of compassion for all living things, which leads to the rejection of killer food. This idea took possession of bright minds in different eras, but it was always persecuted, since humanity sought to live in wars and violence. Many philosophers, scientists and science fiction writers, reflecting on the philosophical and spiritual meaning of human life, inevitably came to the conclusion that it is impossible to achieve the true height of culture by killing animals for food. The ideals of goodness, love and harmony – it is on them that the idea of vegetarianism is based. And of course, for many religious denominations, full or periodic vegetarianism is the most just and reasonable practical embodiment of the love of life.