Discuss the arguments for and against vegetarianism.
Vegetarianism may be defined as a dietary style which completely excludes meat.
Eating vegetable sans meat may be the result of personal preference or religious injunction. Jainism and Buddhism, religions which contain the belief in reincarnation, argue that since each human is reborn (often as a lower animal) eating any animal or insect would be tantamount to cannibalism. However, most vegetarians have no such profound theory besides their individual liking of vegetables.
Scientific studies have shown that vegetable fats do not contain ingredients which promote heart disease. Nutritionists and dieticians advise people with heart problems to steer clear of meat, especially red meat. However, is it not necessary to supplement the diet with some meat?
Proteins are made up of several essential units called "amino acids" – lysine, valine, cystine, etc – several of which are missing from vegetable protein. Most vegetables do not contain lysine and valine. However, with increased research, beans have been found to contain almost all the necessary amino acids.
Vegetarians respect other animals′ right to live. If there were a species larger and more advanced than us, would it justify our being consumed by them? "Edible" animals such as cows, goats and hens are decreasing daily, as large numbers are consumed. This has resulted in "battery farming" and with the advent of advanced technology, cloning. Whether the animals resulting from these unnatural methods are as safe to eat as the ones "naturally" born, is left to be seen.
Eating vegetables (and fruits) ensures that all the necessary vitamins required by the body are supplied in sufficient quantities. Only three or four servings of fruit per day are enough to satisfy the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamins essential to the body.
Slaughtering animals is aesthetically repugnant. Even with advances in machine-run slaughterhouses, the gore and pollution so caused remains undimmed. Vegetarianism is a safe and healthy alternative.
However, the proponents of vegetarianism often do not pause to consider the cons. Vegetables today are not grown in purely natural conditions. Chemical pesticides and fertilizers may seep through the vegetable, making it unfit for human consumption.
Genetic engineering has worked to create "hybrid" (i.e. high yielding) varieties of vegetables and fruits, often creating enormously inflated yields, which look succulent and fresh, but are almost tasteless. Gene crossovers over several years have also resulted in strange mutations and less vitamins in the vegetables.
Vegetable protein needs to be restructured in the human body so that it can be employed to be of some use and in that too, several essential amino acids are found lacking.
Certain vegetables contain oxalic acid, which creates deposits in the kidneys or gall-bladder, usually called "stones", which are dangerous and very painful.
Also, if everyone were to turn vegetarian, where would all the excess farm animals go?
Man tends to think in terms of two opposite extremes, "Either-ors", neither of which may be acceptable. A good alternative to vegetarianism may be a diet containing a healthy mix of meat and vegetables. Meat may be used to provide the necessary proteins and vegetables the vitamin. Vegetables do not need to be cooked as much as meat, so the oil intake reduction may well lead to the reduction or even the prevention of the incidence of heart disease. Regular exercise would of course be an added security. Meat and vegetables both have their merits and demerits, excepting religious considerations and if given a choice, neither should be excluded from the diet in order to promote healthy living.