In practical terms food can be of two categories: food of violence — himsa — that includes fish, flesh and fowl; and food of ahimsa or non-violence — in other words, a vegetarian diet.
During the last 50 years or more, medical experts and nutritionists have largely inclined to the opinion that a vegetarian diet is the best option for good health. There are some people who claim that milk is an animal product and therefore should not be included in a strictly vegetarian diet. But the fact remains, that we do not kill a cow to obtain its milk.
The arguments in favour of a vegetarian diet fall under four categories:
1. Physiological: Flesh diet is held to be responsible for serious diseases such as cancer.
2. Moral and ethical: There is much to be said against the wanton cruelty inflicted upon dumb and defenseless animals.
3. Economic: It has been proved that equal or better nutrition can be obtained from vegetable food more efficiently and economically than from flesh foods.
4. Aesthetic: No one is ever put off by the sight of a salad or other vegetarian preparations!
Research has proved that animal fats raise the cholesterol level of the blood, while certain vegetables actually lower it.
A number of people are under the impression that they and their children cannot be strong unless they eat food of violence. It is only meat, chicken and eggs which can give strength to the body. Without this type of food, will not the body become weak, and a prey to many diseases?
As an answer to this query, we can cite the example of the elephant, which is one of the biggest and strongest animals in the world. As we all know, it is a pure vegetarian! Yet another vegetarian animal is the camel, which carries heavy loads across endless, burning desert sands!
In quality too, the protein in vegetarian food is superior to that obtained from flesh food. Dr Christopher Gian Cuisio, a nutritionist of repute, tells us that, “vegetables are primary sources nourished by the sun and soil, while meat is a secondary source nourished and sustained by vegetables.” Most of the animals killed for food, live on a vegetarian diet. Why then, should we not go to the source of all nutrition— vegetarian food?
*November 25 is the birth anniversary of Sadhu Vaswani, and is observed as International Meatless Day.
To remain veg on November 25, kindly pledge on https://forms.gle/a8WwAFtpB97wCR8G7
(Dada J P Vaswani is a humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader)