You can no longer cook and eat pet dogs in some parts of the country. Within the past year, a state (Texas) legislature passed a law which prohibits the sale of dogs for food. It seems that some people in this state were raising and selling special breeds of dogs to certain immigrants who were used to eating them as part of their national diet.
The pet lovers of this state raised such an outcry that a law was enacted to protect dogs from being used as food. Of course in some parts of the world, household pets are still part of the evening meal. In these countries, leftovers are not fed to the family dog—the leftovers are likely to be the dog!
Almost no American would consider having Fido or Rover on the dinner plate, yet millions line up each day for a serving of old “Bossie” at the local hamburger joint.
And they think vegetarians are strange!
Vegetarianism is one of the most popular approaches to good health through better nutrition. It has been proven that ancient man was a vegetarian first, and came to eat meat only much later in his development. The vegetarians were first, but the carnivores have gotten the upper hand in the past thousand years.
Because vegetarianism is such a proven method for improved health, and since it has a firm basis in historical fact and precedent, everyone who wishes to teach and practice healthful living should be eminently knowledgeable about the types of vegetarianism, its past, and its relationship to the Life Science diet. This lesson discusses vegetarianism in this light.
1.1 History of Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism is not new. It has been around as long as recorded history, and before. In the Far East, vegetarianism was devotedly practiced by the Hindus thousands of years before America was discovered. In the west, the ancient Greeks glorified and praised the virtues of vegetarianism. Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Ovid, and Hippocrates were only a few of the great classical thinkers who strictly avoided meat and flesh.
The Romans gave us the word “vegetarian” from the Latin word vegetare. This word has nothing whatsoever to do with “vegetables.” Instead, the word “vegetare” means “to enliven” or to fill with good spirits. When the Romans called someone a “vegetarian,” they were not calling him a “vegetable eater,” but instead were referring to him as a vigorous person, sound in mind and body.
1.2 Vegetarianism Defined
The original definition of vegetarian, then, is not someone who eats vegetables, but a person who possesses radiant health, a lively mind, and a sound spirit.
The common definition of a vegetarian is “someone who doesn’t eat any meat.” Meat includes chicken, fish, insects, and any living creature above the rudimentary cellular level. In other words, you can still consume small living microorganisms, or microscopic “animals,” and still be considered a vegetarian. You cannot, however, eat tunafish once a week or turkey at Thanksgiving and still be a vegetarian.
This is the loose definition of vegetarianism—the avoidance of animal flesh as part of the diet. The correct definition of a vegetarian, however, is this: A vegetarian is a person who practices living solely on plant products.
This means that not only is a vegetarian diet strictly from the plant kingdom (no eggs, no honey, no dairy products), but someone who practices true vegetarianism will not use or wear any products made from animals. This means no leather shoes, no fur coats, no purses or billfolds made from cowhide, and so on. It also means that household products, such as soaps, glues, etc., made in part or whole from the remains of animals are not used.
Obviously, few people are total vegetarians. In our society, it is very difficult to avoid all products made from animals. It is, however, quite simple to avoid all foods derived from animals. Dietary vegetarianism is not only a practical reality, but an imperative one. We can no longer afford to exploit our resources to produce expensive meat for the select few.