Benefit vs. Fear

Thursday was the first day of what will be at least a week during which I will not be eating meat. For the past six months I’ve been eating less and less meat as other foods have become more accessable with a more flexible food budget. I tend to enjoy non-meat foods more and I’ve come to understand the dietary, environmental and societal benefits of low-on-the-chain food sources.

A vegetarian diet is known to confer a wide range of health benefits. Research has shown vegetarians to suffer less heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, various cancers, diverticular disease, bowel disorders, gall stones, kidney stones, and osteoporosis (Dwyer, 1988). Vegetarian diets have also been used in the treatment of various illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis and nephrotic syndrome.
Dickerson & Davies (1986) studied matched pairs of vegetarians and non-vegetarians with regard to their general health. It was found that the vegetarians made 22% of the visits to hospital out-patients of non-vegetarians, and spent a similarly reduced proportion of time in hospital. (Health and Vegetarians)

Meat production is incredibly inefficient. By growing grain which is fed to livestock which is fed to humans, you end up with much less food than you would have by feeding grain and other plant products directly to humans. Annually, an acre of land can produce 40,000 pounds of potatoes, 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, or a paltry 250 pounds of beef. (Why Vegetarian?)

Many of the world’s massive environmental problems could be solved by the reduction or elimination of meat-eating, including global warming, loss of topsoil, loss of rain forests and species extinction.
The temperature of the earth is rising. This global warming, known as “the greenhouse effect,” results primarily from carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, such as oil and natural gas. Three times more fossil fuels must be burned to produce a meat-centered diet than for a meat-free diet. If people stopped eating meat, the threat of higher world temperatures would be vastly diminished. (The Environmental Argument)

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” – Albert Einstein

I share this information not to say I think eating meat is wrong. I favour mindfulness over strict ideological boundaries, but it’s clear to me that reducing meat consumption has a tremendous benefit.
If any of you have any suggestions or recipes I may find useful during this experiment I’d be happy to read them. Wikipes has a some good ideas (though it is in need of contributors, it’s a mighty fine project) and VegWeb has a nice assortment of recipes.

RAPstuff, the blog of Elfquest creators Wendy and Richard Pini, has quickly become one of my favourite reads. When a new posting shows up in my Firefox RSS bookmarks I’m sure it will be interesting and settle in for a good read before clicking. Tonight Richard once again hit on a topic I’ve been jointly facinated and disgusted with, the horrid combination of fear and religion. The phrase “Fear of God is the start of wisdom” on a church sign prompted the post, which rightly points out that there is no wisdom in living in fear.

Now, it seems to me that if you’re a good, Godfearing person, and your particular deity is both all-present and all-knowing, {…} since you define yourself as “Godfearing” then by definition you live every moment in an unending state of fear.
Albert Einstein said “One cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.” To that I add, “One cannot simultaneously be fearful and be happy.” The two emotions are simply at odds with each other. Whatever energy you invest into being fearful, is taken from being happy.

Fear is the greatest tool of those who wish to control us. Whether it’s the governments (especially the Bush administration and Israel come to mind), fundamentalist religious groups (the “Christian” right or al-Qaeda), corporations or groups like the NRA, fear is the easiest way for them to bring people into thralldom.
Want to see a good example of fear in action? In response to recent school shootings in the U.S., the NRA decided to declare that it would be best to give teachers guns.

“I’m not saying that that means every teacher should have a gun or not, but what I am saying is we need to look at all the options at what will truly protect the students,” the NRA’s first vice president, Sandra S. Froman, told The Associated Press.

Yes, it seems we should be preventing gun violence by spreading around more guns, if we are to believe the NRA’s capitalization on fear. You can find out more in “Arm teachers, NRA official suggests” The fear mongering is stark when the NRA spokesperson describes a student with a gun as “someone who has evil in their heart.” Instead of arming teachers, couldn’t we help people who are toubled and keep guns out of their hands as best we are able?

Einstein was brilliant, you know.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: