Vegetarianism

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The human digestive system is omnivorous , capable of consuming a wide variety of plant and animal material. The American Dietetic Association has presented evidence that vegetarian diets may be more common among adolescents with eating disorders. At the same time the association cautions however, that the adoption of a vegetarian diet may not necessarily lead to eating disorders, rather that "vegetarian diets may be selected to camouflage an existing eating disorder".

Vegetarianism is associated with increased risk of depression, anxiety, and somatoform disorder, although causality cannot be established. Various ethical reasons have been suggested for choosing vegetarianism, usually predicated on the interests of non-human animals. In many societies, controversy and debate have arisen over the ethics of eating animals. Some people, while not vegetarians, refuse to eat the flesh of certain animals due to cultural taboo , such as cats, dogs, horses or rabbits.

Others support meat eating for scientific, nutritional and cultural reasons, including religious ones. Some meat eaters abstain from the meat of animals reared in particular ways, such as factory farms , or avoid certain meats, such as veal or foie gras. Some people follow vegetarian or vegan diets not because of moral concerns involving the raising or consumption of animals in general, but because of concerns about the specific treatment and practises involved in the raising and slaughter of animals, i.

Others still avoid meat because meat production is claimed to place a greater burden on the environment than production of an equivalent amount of plant protein. Ethical objections based on consideration for animals are generally divided into opposition to the act of killing in general, and opposition to certain agricultural practices surrounding the production of meat.

Princeton University professor and animal rights activist Peter Singer believes that if alternative means of survival exist, one ought to choose the option that does not cause unnecessary harm to animals. Most ethical vegetarians argue that the same reasons exist against killing animals in the flesh to eat as against killing humans to eat, especially humans with cognitive abilities equal or lesser than the animals in question.

Singer, in his book Animal Liberation , listed possible qualities of sentience in non-human creatures that gave such creatures the scope to be considered under utilitarian ethics , and this has been widely referenced by animal rights campaigners and vegetarians. Ethical vegetarians also believe that killing an animal, like killing a human, especially one who has equal or lesser cognitive abilities than the animals in question, can only be justified in extreme circumstances and that consuming a living creature for its enjoyable taste, convenience, or nutrition value is not a sufficient cause.

Another common view is that humans are morally conscious of their behaviour in a way other animals are not, and therefore subject to higher standards. McMahan stated that cognitively disabled human do not possess the same rights as non-disabled humans. While mentally disabled people were in the past often treated with extreme brutality, with the progression of morality most people understand that the rights of the cognitively disabled still include a right to life and kind treatment.

Increasingly, as moral philosophy progresses further, people understand that, outside of survival situations, denying the right to life to animals with equal or greater cognitive abilities than mentally disabled humans is an arbitrary, discriminatory practice based on habit and desire as opposed to logic.

Opponents of ethical vegetarianism argue that animals are not moral equals to humans and so consider the comparison of eating livestock with killing people to be fallacious. This view does not excuse cruelty, but maintains that animals do not possess the rights a human has. One of the main differences between a vegan and a typical vegetarian diet is the avoidance of both eggs and dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter and yogurt.

Ethical vegans do not consume dairy or eggs because they state that their production causes the animal suffering or a premature death. To produce milk from dairy cattle , calves are separated from their mothers soon after birth and slaughtered or fed milk replacer in order to retain the cows milk for human consumption.

A dairy cow's natural life expectancy is about twenty years. In battery cage and free-range egg production, unwanted male chicks are culled or discarded at birth during the process of securing a further generation of egg-laying hens. Ethical vegetarianism has become popular in developed countries particularly because of the spread of factory farming , faster communications, and environmental consciousness.

Some believe that the current mass demand for meat cannot be satisfied without a mass-production system that disregards the welfare of animals, while others believe that practices like well-managed free-ranging and consumption of game, particularly from species whose natural predators have been significantly eliminated, could substantially alleviate the demand for mass-produced meat. Ancient Greek philosophy has a long tradition of vegetarianism.

Pythagoras was reportedly vegetarian and studied at Mt. Carmel, where some historians say there was a vegetarian community , as his followers were expected to be. Roman writer Ovid concluded his magnum opus Metamorphoses , in part, with the impassioned argument uttered by the character of Pythagoras that in order for humanity to change, or metamorphose , into a better, more harmonious species, it must strive towards more humane tendencies.

He cited vegetarianism as the crucial decision in this metamorphosis, explaining his belief that human life and animal life are so entwined that to kill an animal is virtually the same as killing a fellow human.

Everything changes; nothing dies; the soul roams to and fro, now here, now there, and takes what frame it will, passing from beast to man, from our own form to beast and never dies Therefore lest appetite and greed destroy the bonds of love and duty, heed my message! Never by slaughter dispossess souls that are kin and nourish blood with blood!

Jainism teaches vegetarianism as moral conduct as do some major [] sects of Hinduism. Buddhism in general does not prohibit meat eating, while Mahayana Buddhism encourages vegetarianism as beneficial for developing compassion. Sikhism [] [] [] does not equate spirituality with diet and does not specify a vegetarian or meat diet. Theravadins in general eat meat.

In the Theravada canon, Buddha did not make any comment discouraging them from eating meat except specific types, such as human, elephant meat , horse, dog, snake, lion, tiger, leopard, bear, and hyena flesh [] but he specifically refused to institute vegetarianism in his monastic code when a suggestion had been made.

In several Sanskrit texts of Mahayana Buddhism , Buddha instructs his followers to avoid meat. Christians have always been free to make their own decisions about what to eat; however, there are groups within Christianity that practice specific dietary restrictions for various reasons.

Surviving fragments from their Gospel indicate their belief that — as Christ is the Passover sacrifice and eating the Passover lamb is no longer required — a vegetarian diet may or should be observed.

However, orthodox Christianity does not accept their teaching as authentic. Indeed, their specific injunction to strict vegetarianism was cited as one of the Ebionites' "errors". At a much later time, the Bible Christian Church founded by Reverend William Cowherd in followed a vegetarian diet. They have also sponsored and participated in many scientific studies exploring the impact of dietary decisions upon health outcomes.

Additionally, some monastic orders follow a vegetarian diet, and members of the Orthodox Church follow a vegan diet during fasts. The association grew in prominence during the 19th century, coupled with growing Quaker concerns in connection with alcohol consumption, anti-vivisection and social purity. The association between the Quaker tradition and vegetarianism, however, becomes most significant with the founding of the Friends' Vegetarian Society in "to spread a kindlier way of living amongst the Society of Friends.

According to Canon Law , Roman Catholics are required to abstain from meat defined as all animal flesh excluding water animals on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent including Good Friday. Canon Law also obliges Catholics to abstain from meat on the Fridays of the year outside of Lent excluding certain holy days unless, with the permission of the local conference of bishops, another penitential act is substituted.

The restrictions on eating meat on these days is solely as an act of penance and not because of a religious objection to eating meat. Since the formation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the s when the church began, wholeness and health have been an emphasis of the Adventist church, and has been known as the "health message" belief of the church.

Obedience to these laws means abstinence from pork, shellfish, and other animals proscribed as " unclean ". The church discourages its members from consuming alcoholic beverages , tobacco or illegal drugs compare Christianity and alcohol.

In addition, some Adventists avoid coffee , tea , cola , and other beverages containing caffeine. The pioneers of the Adventist Church had much to do with the common acceptance of breakfast cereals into the Western diet, and the "modern commercial concept of cereal food" originated among Adventists.

His development of breakfast cereals as a health food led to the founding of Kellogg's by his brother William. In both Australia and New Zealand , the church-owned Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company is a leading manufacturer of health and vegetarian-related products, most prominently Weet-Bix. Research funded by the U. National Institutes of Health has shown that the average Adventist in California lives 4 to 10 years longer than the average Californian.

The research , as cited by the cover story of the November issue of National Geographic , asserts that Adventists live longer because they do not smoke or drink alcohol, have a day of rest every week, and maintain a healthy, low-fat vegetarian diet that is rich in nuts and beans.

He cites the Adventist emphasis on health, diet, and Sabbath-keeping as primary factors for Adventist longevity. Though there is no strict rule on what to consume and what not to, paths of Hinduism hold vegetarianism as an ideal. However, the food habits of Hindus vary according to their community, location, custom and varying traditions.

Historically and currently, those Hindus who eat meat prescribe Jhatka meat, [] while some Hindus believe that the cow is a holy animal whose slaughter for meat is forbidden.

Some followers of Islam, or Muslims, chose to be vegetarian for health, ethical, or personal reasons. However, the choice to become vegetarian for non-medical reasons can sometimes be controversial due to conflicting fatwas and differing interpretations of the Quran. Though some more traditional Muslims may keep quiet about their vegetarian diet, the number of vegetarian Muslims is increasing. The former Indian president Dr.

Abdul Kalam was also famously a vegetarian. Many non-vegetarian Muslims will select vegetarian or seafood options when dining in non- halal restaurants. However, this is a matter of not having the right kind of meat rather than preferring not to eat meat on the whole. Followers of Jainism believe that all living organisms whether they are micro-organism are living and have a soul, and have one or more senses out of five senses and they go to great lengths to minimise any harm to any living organism.

Most Jains are lacto-vegetarians but more devout Jains do not eat root vegetables because they believe that root vegetables contain a lot more micro-organisms as compared to other vegetables, and that, by eating them, violence of these micro-organisms is inevitable.

So they focus on eating beans and fruits, whose cultivation do not involve killing of a lot of micro-organisms. No products obtained from dead animals are allowed, because when a living beings dies, a lot of micro-organisms called as decomposers will reproduce in the body which decomposes the body, and in eating the dead bodies, violence of decomposers is inevitable.

Jain monks usually do a lot of fasting, and when they knew through spiritual powers that their life is very little, they start fasting until death.

Some Jains do not consume plant parts that grow underground such as roots and bulbs, because the plants themselves and tiny animals may be killed when the plants are pulled up. You can observe how your body and mind feels after you eat certain sattvic foods to determine if you will include them in your sattvic diet or eliminate them.

Although fresh, organic dairy products such as milk, butter and fresh, homemade cheeses are allowed sattvic diet foods, meat is not advised. Ancient East Indian sages, called rishis, believe that when you eat an animal, you ingest all the stress hormones that animal felt when it was killed. Therefore, at the cellular level, your body is receiving messages that it is dying, a process which goes against the sattvic diet principle to achieve internal harmony.

Your protein sources should come from vegetables such as soy products and legumes. Do not overeat sattvic foods. When sattvic foods are overeaten, they become tamasic foods and invite disease into the body. You should also not over-spice sattvic foods, which turns them into rajasic foods that fuel unwarranted desires and bodily restlessness. Video of the Day. Set limits, then go nuts! It's almost impossible to overeat. Floss for dessert "Brushing my teeth after dinner makes me less likely to eat again before I go to bed.

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