Vegetarians: Why?

This essay has a total of 849 words and 11 pages.

Vegetarians: Why?

Being a strict vegetarian means
making the choice to eat absolutely
no meat, poultry, or fish. The
health risks of being a vegetarian
was a major concern, but it has
been proven that non-meat foods can
provide all the nutrients necessary
for a healthy, complete diet.
Jeanne Peters, R.D., the former
nutrition specialist to Pritikin
Systems, argues that Ascience has
proved that a plant-based diet is
the healthiest@ (Finn 1). Many
scientific studies have also proven
that meat dramatically raises blood
pressure and increases health risks
such as heart attacks and cancers.
Also, growing concerns over
environmental protection, personal
health, and moral and ethical
beliefs often lead to
vegetarianism. According to
national polls, in the U.S. alone
Athere are 12.5 million
vegetariansB 7 percent of the
population@ (Finn 1).

Concerns are rising about the
relationship between meat
production and our environment.
Beef production is a very
inefficient way to produce protein.
The amount of grain which is needed
to Aprovide four people with one
serving of hamburgers could feed
one person for over a week@
(R.F.B.V. 1). In Alberta

Amore than 50% of the grain grown
is fed to livestock@ (R.F.B.V. 3).
This 50% of grain could definitely
be put to much better uses in a
world where people starve to death
every day. In fact, Aproduction of
the least energy-efficient plant
foods are nearly ten times more
efficient as the production of the
most energy-efficient animal foods@
(Finn 2). For example, one acre of
land planted with legumes yields
ten times more available protein
than if that same acre was used for
meat production.

Furthermore, the production of meat
wastes massive amounts of water:
AIt takes an average of 10 tons of
waterBthe amount a small town uses
for all purposes in a month. An
average chicken processing plant
uses 100 million gallons of water
in just one day; enough to provide
a community of 25,000 people for
one day@ (R.F.B.V. 3). Not only is
meat production wasting valuable
production means, but it is also
polluting our air. Cattle are a
main source of methane gas, which
is rapidly destroying our ozone
layer.

Vegetarians often replace meat and
dairy foods with soy products.
These foods are highly nutritional
and contain

disease-fighting properties. The
National Cancer Institute has
Aidentified specific substances in
soy products called phytochemical
that have anticancer properties@
(Finn 7). In 1994, the British
Medical Journal announced that:
researchers have examined 12-year
mortality rates of non-meat eaters
and meat-eating control groups and
found that cancer deaths were 40
percent less common among
vegetarians then meat
eaters...Also, a 1990 study in the
New England Journal of Medicine
found that daily meat consumption
doubles an individual=s risk of
colon cancer. (Finn 3)

Plant based foods have more fiber
and less fat than meat products,
and also contain Ahigh amounts of
vitamins E, C and beta-carotene@
(Finn 3). These natural ingredients
help to keep the human body healthy
and protect it from cancer and
other diseases.

Contrary to what most people think,
essential nutrients such as calcium
and protein are easy for
vegetarians to obtain. Calcium is
found in broccoli, collards, and
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