Articles on Vegetarianism, compiled from several issues of the Jain Study Circular













VEGETARIANISM: Some Questions And Answers










A Dialogue On Vegetarianism

Egg, Fertilized or Unfertilized: A Living Entity

Vegetarianism Is Good For All: A Story

Vegetarian Diet: The Healthier Choice

Vegetarianism: Good For The Self And Good For The Environment



by Mrs. Preeti Yogendra Jain

"Man must live and let animals live in freedom" is the strong message of the ingeniously produced Indian film entitled "AAZAADI KI ORE" (Towards Freedom). This film contains some thought-provoking arguments in favor of vegetarianism.

The word "vegetarian" is derived from the Latin word "vegetare" which means "to enliven". In general, vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, poultry and eggs. Some people who call themselves partial vegetarians eat fish and chicken but no red meat such as beef, pork and lamb. Others who call themselves lacto-ovo-vegetarians, include eggs along with milk and milk products in their diet, lacto-vegetarians include milk and milk products but no eggs in their diet while fruitarians live on fruits, seeds, grains and vegetables only. According to Jainism, only lacto-vegetarians and fruitarians are vegetarians.

History of Human Diet:

Many modern anthropologists believe that the diet of prehistoric man consisted of nuts, fruits, plants and probably some insects. Scientists have established that early man originated in a warm climate where growing plants was easier than hunting. In the Stone Age, man started eating meat, but he ate far less of it than many of today's non-vegetarians do. It was during the last ice age when fruits, nuts and vegetables were unavailable that early humans had to start eating animal flesh in order to survive.

Throughout history, many individuals and groups of people realized the importance of the vegetarian diet for spiritual development and also for health reasons. Thus they became vegetarians. Many great Greek scholars including Plato, Socrates and Pythagorus supported a vegetarian diet. In India, all sages and saints preached the importance of vegetarianism . It is clear that meat has not been a component of the food of all human beings since prehistoric times.

In modern times, many people are adopting a vegetarian diet for moral, health and economic reasons. This paper discusses the various aspects of vegetarianism.

Human Aspects:

Jainism and some other religions say that soul is the entity that distinguishes living beings from nonliving objects. They also emphasize that the souls of animals are basically of the same kind as those of human beings and that all animals including the tiniest of insects are seen to avoid dangerous situations, painful experiences and death. No one can deny that an animal feels pain like a human being. Thus, like humans, all animals have the right to live. Therefore , avoidance of the killing of animals is the most important reason for a vegetarian diet. We should not kill any living being for food. It is a violent and selfish act which is totally unnecessary. Later, in this article, it has been shown that a balanced vegetarian diet is better for health than a non-vegetarian one.

Most men and women, vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians, find it hard to injure or kill animals. However, many people eat meat because of their lack of awareness of the process of production of meat. In spite of all efforts to minimize the suffering of animals involved and all the government regulations, cattle and poultry undergo considerable pain and suffering. For example, the owners cut the horns of steers and tails of pigs so that they may not hurt each other in the crowded indoor pens. The animals are overfed to build up their flesh. In cattle farms, cows spend their entire lives pregnant, giving birth, having their babies taken away from them and starting the whole cycle again. Animals must be kept conscious at the time of slaughter. U. S. sanitary law requires that animals must be off the floor when killed. Hence animals are hung by their hind legs at the time of slaughter. Many time, their leg bones or pelvic bones break or the legs are torn from the socket as they twist in an effort to get free. If people become aware of these facts, they may give up eating non-vegetarian food.

Some people argue that the weaker and smaller animals are always the food of the stronger and bigger animals and that this is in accord with nature's law. This, however,is the law of animals, not the law of man. Aristotle defined man as not merely an animal but as a social and rational animal because man is conscious of other's rights while other animals are not. some meat-eaters have the irrational argument that many animals would not even be alive if they were not being raised for producing non-vegetarian food, and thus by eating meat, they are taking part in the natural order of things. However, they overlook two important facts: first, if they stopped eating meat, the meat-producers would not kill animals to produce meat, and second, as discussed below, non-vegetarian diet is not the natural diet of humans. It should be noted that animals such as cows, pigs, and lambs, which are killed for producing meat, do not eat other animals. It is a pity that such docile and helpless animals are killed for food.

Vegetarianism And Religion:

All the religions and spiritual groups preach nonviolence. This teaching can be extended to cover vegetarianism. One of the Ten Commandments is, "Thou shalt not kill". In Islam, it is said, "God will not be affectionate to that man who is not affectionate to God's creatures". Some western religious and spiritual leaders and thinkers, such as John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church, were vegetarians.

In Indian religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, nonviolence (AHINSA) is the cardinal principle. This principle entails reverence for all life and precludes deliberate killing or injuring any living organism. Thus Indian religions place great importance on vegetarianism

The teaching of Bhagwaan Mavaveer is:

One should not hurt a living being intentionally or by negligence in the strictest sense. We are not to injure any living organism however small it may be, directly with our hands, by causing some one to do so on our behalf or by consent to the act of injury.

According to Jainism, meat is a breeding ground for innumerable living organisms - a fact supported by modern biology. Acharya Amritchandra Suri who lived in the tenth century has written: "The same is true of the eggs whether fertile or not". It is a fact that vegetarian foods also contain some living organisms. Suri who lived in the tenth century has written: "In the raw meat and in the cooked meat, innumerable living organism are generated incessantly. Thus he who consumes meat in any form commits violence against a large number of living beings."

Jainism tells us that we can only limit violence and avoid unnecessary violence. Non- vegetarianism involves violence which is unnecessary and which can be easily avoided.

Bhagwaan Buddha placed immense importance on kindness and compassion towards all living beings. His teachings include the following:

Not superstitious rites but kindness to servants and underlings, respect to those deserving of respect, self control coupled with kindness in dealing with living creatures, these and virtuous deeds of like nature are verity the rites that are everywhere to be performed.

In what consists true religion?

In causing as little suffering as possible, in doing as much good as possible and in showing love, compassion, truthfulness and purity as often as possible.

Man Is Vegetarian By Nature:

Scientists believe that the diet of any animal corresponds to its anatomical and physiological system. Animals can be divided into three categories according to their natural diet. Carnivores such as lions, dogs, cats, live mostly on meat; herbivores such as cows, sheep, and elephants eat grass and leaves; and frugivores such as anthropoid apes live on fruits, nuts, and grains. Men, herbivores and frugivores, have intestinal tracts which are about twelve times their body length and their teeth are small and dull. The intestinal tract of carnivores is only three times their body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass out quickly and they have claws and sharp front teeth for tearing while no flat molars for grinding. Carnivores have strong hydrochloric acid in their stomach to digest meat while men, herbivores and frugivores, have stomach acid twenty times less strong than meat-eaters. In addition to these differences, carnivores have no pores and they perspire through the tongue to cool their bodies, while humans, herbivores and frugivores perspire through millions of pores on the skin. Flesh-eating carnivores have small salivary glands in their mouth because they do not need to pre-digest flesh. On the other hand, men like other vegetarian animals have well developed salivary glands which are needed to pre-digest grains and fruits. From the above comparison, it is evident that man is vegetarian by nature. It seems that because of circumstances over the past several thousand years of man's history, some men deviated from their natural diet and be came omnivores who eat both meat and plants. However, our anatomical and physiological features have remained similar to those of other vegetarian animals. It should be remarked that man can not eat raw meat like carnivores do. He has to cook it, bake it, broil it or fry it and, then decorate it with sauces and spices to suppress its raw taste.

In addition to anatomical and physiological features, man's natural instincts are very different from those of meat-eating animals. Barbara Parham writes:

A cat will salivate with hungry desire at the smell of a piece of raw flesh but not at all at the smell of fruit. If man could delight in pouncing upon a bird, tear its still living limbs apart with his teeth, and suck the warm blood, one might conclude that nature provided him with meat-eating instinct. On the other hand, a bunch of luscious grapes makes his mouth water, and even in the absence of hunger, he will eat fruit because it tastes so good.

Vegetarianism And Health:

The natural diet of man consists of fruits, nuts and grains, not meat. Then the question arises: When a human beings natural diet is a vegetarian diet, why do large numbers of people eat animal flesh? There is a variety of reasons for people having a non-vegetarian diet. Most people are concerned about their health and many people have the misconception that non-vegetarian foods are the only source of getting all the nutrients that can make them strong, healthy and active. A careful study, however, reveals not only that a vegetarian diet is good for health but also that a non-vegetarian diet is unnecessary and to some extent detrimental to health.

The myths that meat has a monopoly on protein and that large amounts of protein are needed for energy and strength, has led to the inclusion of excessive amount of flesh and eggs in the Western diet. People are unaware of the fact that their bodies need smaller amounts of protein than the amount supplied by non-vegetarian sources. Most flesh -eating people eat about two times as much protein as their bodies can use. Although inadequate amounts of protein cause loss of energy, the body can not utilize excessive amount of protein, rather, excess protein is converted into nitrogenous wastes that burden the kidneys. The primary source of energy for the body is carbohydrates. It is only as a last resort that proteins are used for energy production in the body. While being digested most protein breaks down into amino acids which are used by the body for growth and tissue replacement. There are twenty-two essential amino acids. All but eight of the essential amino acids can be synthesized by the body itself. The eight essential amino acids exist in abundance in vegetarian foods such as dairy products, grains, beans and nuts. Ounce for ounce, cheese, nuts,lentils, for instance, have more protein than hamburger, pork or steak. People who eat meat, do get all amino acids but they also gain a lot of fat. Lapp has suggested the following common complementary natural protein combinations of vegetarian foods:

1. Grain (rice, corn, wheat, barley,etc.) + legumes (peas, beans, and lentils)

2. Grains + milk products

3. Seeds (sesame or sunflower) + legumes

When foods are combined in proper proportions, as much as 50 percent more of the protein is absorbed by the body, compared to same foods eaten separately.

In addition to protein, vegetarian food is a good source of other essential nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Many studies have revealed that a high-fat diet is not good for health, whether the fat is derived from animals or from vegetable sources.

Meat has a high concentration of saturated fat. Eggs are rich in cholesterol. These cause heart disease and brain stroke. During World War II, when many Europeans were forced to eat less fat and cholesterol and fewer calories, the rate of heart disease fell dramatically. High-fat, low-fiber content of non-vegetarian diet causes many diseases including cancer of colon and rectum, brain, lungs, liver, etc.

A large number of potentially harmful chemicals are present in meat. The animals are fed tranquilizers, hormones, antibiotics and 2700 other drugs. Some of these are present in meat as well. Certain preservatives are also potentially harmful. In spite of all possible precautions and government regulations and inspections, some diseased animals are also slaughtered. In spite of these facts, in Western countries, especially in America, people consider eating meat, in general, and beef in particular, a status symbol. The problems in producing and preserving non-vegetarian food are much more serious than those in producing and preserving grains, vegetables and fruits.

From the above discussion, it is evident that a vegetarian diet is in harmony with natural laws. A balanced vegetarian diet is good for health. A recent study performed in England has shown that on an average, it is less expensive to maintain the health of a vegetarian person than that of a non-vegetarian person. This shows that vegetarians get fewer and milder health problems than non-vegetarians.

It is seen that the food we eat affects not only our bodies but also our minds- our attitude and thinking. Mahatma Gandhi said,"There is a great deal of truth in the saying that man becomes what he eats." In general, vegetarians are less aggressive than their non-vegetarian counterparts, although vices like greed, false pride and prejudice, also play an important role in making the character of man. In sum, vegetarianism, in conjunction with other virtues, does lead to our physical and mental well-being.

Economics of vegetarianism:

Vegetarian diet is less expensive than non-vegetarian diet. The fact is that for every 16 pounds of grain and soy fed to meat animals, only one pound of meat is obtained. Comparatively, 16 pounds of grain and soy contain 21 times more calories and eight times more protein but only three times more fat than a pound of meat. This implies that vegetarianism is the answer to the colossal problems of population growth and world hunger. People have the misconception that hunger and malnutrition are caused by lack of meat. In fact, hunger and malnutrition are caused by lack of food, and,the insufficiency and high price of meat only aggravate these problems. The world produces enough grain, milk and milk products for all the poor and malnourished people. The tragic truth is that 80-90% of all grain produced in America goes for feeding meat animals. Presently, millions of acres of land is used for raising livestock for meat. This same land can be used more productively for growing vegetables, beans and legumes.

Studies have shown that a living cow yields more food than a dead one, in the form of milk and milk products, and, in most places on earth, it eats only grass and inedible remains of harvested crops such as rice hulls, tops of sugarcane, etc. Thus the statement that people in India are starving because they do not kill their cows is misleading. Proper care and feeding of cows can greatly alleviate the problem of malnutrition in India.


Many great men like Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Leo Tolstoy, George Bernard Shaw and Mahatma Gandhi, were originally vegetarians or adopted a vegetarian diet. Many famous personalities of today, Richard Wagner, the swimmers Morray and Johnny Weismuller, Australian weight lifter A. Anderson, basketball player Bill Walton, etc., are vegetarian. Ethics, religion, health and economics, all strongly support vegetarianism.



(Excerpts from an article based on a report by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences published in Medical World News of August 16, 1982)



"In far away places with strange- sounding names, people tended to die of different forms of cancer than North Americans and our European brethren." This was usually associated with environmental factors- including diet...

"What changed the picture, however, was epidemiological evidence that high-fat diets are associated with an increased incidence of breast, prostrate, and colon cancer. At the same time, persuasive epidemiological studies indicate that fruit, vegetables, and whole-grain cereals seem to protect against some forms of cancer.

"the evidence is increasingly impressive that what we eat has an effect on cancer incidence....

"The anti cancer diet is fat on fruit, vegetables, and whole grain cereals.

"(It is estimated) that diet is responsible for 30% to 40% of cancer in men and 60% of cancer in women...."

Among others , one of the guidelines is:

"Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products daily, especially those high in vitamin C and beta-carotene (which converts to vitamin A) for a possible protection against cancer of bladder, bowl, skin, lungs, stomach, and esophagus. The panel pushes citrus fruits, dark-green leafy vegetables, carrots, winter squash, turnips, tomatoes, and, in particular cabbage and its cousins-broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. The committee stressed that vitamins and other nutrients should come from foods, not pills, and warned against taking high-does supplements of individual nutrients."


Some problems faced by Jain Youngsters---Vegetarianism

Manoj Jain

In this series of articles, I will deal with the questions which Jain children and youth face in America. The first common question is about our vegetarian diet.

Nonviolence is the fundamental principle of the Jain religion. Thus Jain religion tells us to be vegetarian, meaning not eating meat, fish and eggs. It says that animals, just like us, have souls. So they should not be harmed or killed. Beef, chicken, lamb, etc. are made by slaughtering animals. We can avoid this violence by being vegetarian. It should be remarked that a balance vegetarian diet is good for health.

Young Jain children like ourselves, in school, face a very important test in the cafeteria. We see our friends buying hot lunches and eating meat while we eat a cold lunch. Bringing a bag lunch some of the time is no problem, but we have to bring it every single day. Pretty soon a friend may ask,"Why don't you eat the hot lunch?"We should answer this question in a straight forward manner and indicate that we are vegetarian because we follow Jain religion and practice nonviolence. Hot lunches contain meat which is obtained by killing animals. An answer like, "Well, I don't like the school lunch", can create problems later on. The topic is likely to come up again and again and we may have to tell another lie. Therefore being honest is essential. If we answer clearly and confidently, our American friends will be satisfied.

The first impression made by us important; therefore, we should be prepared for it. Our American friends might want to know more about Jain religion. In such situations, if we know the correct answer, then we should answer the question with confidence. If we have any doubt, we should say, "I don't know about that, but I will discuss it with my parents and tell you tomorrow." It is important to be straightforward and confident.



Mr. F. J. Dalal

All human beings need to be healthy in body and mind. Health is wealth. The basic tenets of Jainism, nonviolence and truth are very essential for the physical and mental well-being of all man.

Speaking the truth keeps one's conscience clear. It improves human personality. It keeps our mind free from guilt and worries. However, truth should be told pleasantly. It preserves friendship and commands the respect of others. This lessens strains and stresses and thus has a beneficial effect on the body too.

Nonviolence is the basis for vegetarianism. All life is precious. All living beings have their place and role in the scheme of things. Thus we should protect and preserve life. "Survival of the fittest" might be nature's way but we should not interfere with nature. We should respect life.

Man seems to be vegetarian by nature. Vegetarian diet appears to be more suitable to human anatomy and physiology. Recently, more and more people are realizing that vegetarianism is better for maintaining good health. We should eat fruits, vegetables, grain, milk, and milk products. We should drink pure water and fruit juices. We should breathe fresh air. We should enjoy the outdoors, the sun, the moon, and the stars. We are leading a mechanical life in a materialistic society. To make the most of our life, we should try to strike a balance between nature and machines.

Our body needs food, rest and exercise. Let us eat natural vegetarian food, avoiding meat, fish, eggs,etc. Restraint in eating by way of fasting gives rest to our physical system and it is helpful. Let us learn to relax and get sound sleep. Stress and haste may lead to sickness. Walking, running. swimming, playing games and sports are essential for maintaining physical health. Moreover, we should remember "sound mind in a sound body". This is the practice of Yoga. Drinking, smoking and drugs take us away from nature - it is escaping from reality. Facing reality squarely brings heaven on earth. One need not look too far in the future or the next life. First, we should make the best of the present life.

If we want to be healthy, young-looking and energetic, then we should follow the Jain path outlined above. It is the path of being as close to nature as possible. It is the path of moderation and restraint. We should not follow anybody blindly. We should not succumb to peer pressure. We should also not be a stereotype. We should be ourselves. We should keep our identity. We should practice our religion. "An ounce of practice is worth tons of preaching." Dogmas will not help if we do not see them in the proper perspective. Temples, gurus, rituals and celebrations will help only if we practice the teaching of our religion.

Let us be proud of our religious heritage. Let us be determined to practice what we preach. We will set a good example for our children.



From Plain Truth, Feb. 1982

Did You Know...

That in the United States, some one is killed every 23 minutes in an accident involving a drunk driver?

That in the United States, drunk drivers kill more individuals each year than die from all crimes involving murder, rape, robbery and assault?

That accidents in the developed world are the fourth most important cause of death, exceeded only by heart disease, cancer and stroke?

That accidents in the developed world are the leading cause of death among all persons age 1 to about 40?

That far more accidents occur in home than in place of employment?


Driving under the influence of marijuana can cause the driver to think that he's only doing 40 miles an hour when in fact he is doing 80 or 90.

Marijuana intoxication may cause important time reaction delays; inability to brake quickly; impairment of night driving abilities; a marked increase in the time needed to recover from glare; difficulty in backing, turning around, passing, getting on or off roads.

Impairments caused by pot plus alcohol are more than additive. One drug serves to fire up the other. Thus one plus one equals three or four on the impairment scale.




Ahamindra Jain

Our body needs the following nutrients: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Fats and carbohydrates serve as direct sources of energy. Also, fats help the body absorb and use vitamins a, d, e, and k. Carbohydrates are broken into simpler substances which are stored as glycogen. These also provide energy for body cells, particularly brain cells. Proteins are essential for growth and maintenance. For the most part, blood, bone, brain tissue, muscles, etc., are made from proteins. The amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc., needed by a person depend on the age, height, build of the body, type of work, etc. However, in general, a balanced diet should have about 12% protein, 48% carbohydrate, 10% sugar and 30% fat.

A compliment of eight amino acids-nine for kids- enables our body to build body proteins from the proteins in our food. No single plant protein has a compliment of all essential amino acids. Thus we should consume complimentary proteins, where one food supplies the amino acid deficient in the other.

Some of the combinations are:

Milk with peanut butter sandwich.
Yogurt, grated cheese and cooked rice.
Eggplant, mushrooms and tomato.
Zucchini, broccoli and carrot.
Spinach, cauliflower and red bell pepper.

Vegetarian Sources of Nutrients:

Protein: milk, cheese, beans, bean curd (tofu).

Fat: whole milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, vegetable oils.

Carbohydrates: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, milk.


Calcium - milk and milk products, dark green and leafy vegetables, asparagus, soybeans, and tofu.

Chloride - salt, milk.

Copper - cherries, mushrooms, whole grains, nuts.

Iodine - Iodized salt.

Magnesium - whole grains, peanuts, parsley, beet greens, yeast.

Phosphorus - milk, cheddar and cottage cheese, peas, lima beans.

Sulfur - fruits, vegetables.

Zinc - whole wheat cereal, maple syrup, peas.


A - while milk, butter, yellow and dark green leafy vegetables, cantaloupe, apricots.

B1,B2, B3, B6 - proteins listed above, grains,nuts, legumes, green and leafy vegetarians.

B12 - milk and milk products.

C - citrus fruits,green peppers.

D - fortified milk.

E - vegetable oils.

K - dark green and leafy vegetables, cabbage.




A Quotation From The Science Section of the New York Times of August 18, 1981

Meat eating societies, such as the United States, tend to have higher levels of cholesterol in their blood, and higher rates of coronary heart disease, than societies where people depend more heavily on plant foods.

American vegetarians have been shown to have lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure than their meat- eating counterparts. And Italian researchers have shown that substituting soy protein for animal protein in the diets of people with high cholesterol levels can lower these levels even more than is possible with a prudent low-fat, low cholesterol diet.

But until recently the direct health effects of eating meat had not been studied. Now a team of medical researchers from Boston has shown that the addition of meat to the diet of vegetarians who rarely consumed other animal foods produced a rapid and significant increase in blood cholesterol levels. A similar, but also significant, increase in blood pressure was seen also when meat was included in the vegetarian diet. .

The meat used in the experiment, which is described in the August 7th issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, was about nine ounces of lean beef. It added saturated fats and about 170 milligrams of cholesterol to the vegetarian diet, which contained only 30 milligrams of cholesterol on average. To keep caloric intake the same, the vegetarians ate less of their usual low-fat, cholesterol-free grains, beans,and rice while consuming meat.

In four weeks on the meat regimen, the cholesterol level increased 19% and blood pressure rose 3%. While such other factors as distress over eating meat could account in part for these effects, the researchers, headed by Dr. Frank M. Sachs of Harvard Medical School's Channing Laboratory, concluded that "the study suggests an adverse effect of consumption of beef" on cholesterol and blood pressure.



Rajul & Prakash Shah

Lot of people believe that eggs are a superior food to milk. Parents are eager to get their children to eat a 'proper' breakfast that would include preparations of eggs in preference to milk. Advertisements tout the virtue of the 'incredible edible egg'.

There is a lot of confusion and misconceptions when it comes to nutrition and good eating habits. Nutrition is not just a matter of taking in the right amounts of basic building blocks or nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, etc. How you combine and consume these foods is perhaps more important than what you take. For it is not just the matter of taking the foods into your system but digesting them successfully to a point where your body is able to assimilate and absorb these vital nutrients.

Nature always meant eggs to be 'life creating' and milk to be life sustaining. Just as a cow gives milk to the calf, the mother hen who lays eggs does not feed her eggs to her infants. And, who has heard of a calf being born from milk?

Milk being liquid is easier to digest than eggs. Besides certain parts of eggs are never digested and therefore the body has to work harder to handle the eggs. Moreover, eggs have cholesterol.

It is true that eggs have pound for pound more protein than milk but since eggs have no carbohydrates, this protein is difficult to digest. Remember dal is easy to digest if you eat it with whole wheat chapati or rice which has high amount of carbohydrates.

Some Facts On Production Of Eggs:

Dr. Nimmo has written, "The hormone injections, artificial lights, life of a prisoner until death is what hens go through in order to have more production of eggs. These torturous experiments inflicted on the hens by the greedy merchants are not only horrible and inhumane but also deadly. Those who have sympathy at heart and those who do not want to destroy their health never eat eggs. Egg is baby hen and to eat it is to destroy the fetus and is a homicide of a baby hen."

Milk is complete food, tasty by itself and ready and easy to consume. It is a food not just for young babies but for people of all ages. Needless to say that milk and milk byproducts such as yogurt, ice cream and cheeses are a linchpin of a healthy vegetarian diet. Contrary to popular belief, a well balanced and complete vegetarian diet with milk products as its centerpiece, is not only possible, readily available and convenient, but indeed is more healthy and in harmony with Nature's own design for us humans.

Further, a discussion of eggs versus milk is not complete without how eggs are mass produced today in a factory. A recent TV program (ABC's 20/20) showed the abhorrent conditions under which these mass producing chickens are kept and used (or more appropriately 'abused') to produce eggs.

Mahatma Gandhi was quoted on that program as having pointed out that the true morality of a society can be judged by the way it treats its animals. If that standard is applied to our generation, surely posterity will judge us totally degenerate and morally bankrupt to the utmost degree. Consumption of any product produced under conditions that inflict such unbelievable amount of pain and suffering on other creatures, must be regarded as a sign of benign morality of our times that can be roughly summed up as the 'who cares' generation.



Adopted from a brochure distributed by the Seventh-Day Adventist Community Services, New Hyde Park, N. Y. 22040

Dr. Mervyn Hardinge of Loma Linda University suggests plant foods are rich in minerals and vitamins, and help build strong bones and flesh. Cereal, grains, beans, peas, seeds and nuts contain considerable protein . The president's Science Advisory Committee reports that 70% of the world's supply of protein is derived from vegetable sources, mainly.

Plant foods also contribute unsaturated fats and a variety of carbohydrates. The cholesterol intake is reduced in proportion to the reduction of animal foods, and fat is less saturated.

Plant foods provide an abundance of complex carbohydrates which animal foods do not contain.

The starch in plant foods is converted to glucose for energy, and the indigestible fiber furnishes bulk for the bowels. Bulky foods have fewer calories and reduce the risk of overweight.

Both the protein and the fat of a vegetarian diet are moderate in amount and in better balance with the carbohydrate intake than is the case with a meat diet.

Steps to Healthful Eating:

* Use fewer processed foods. This will result in reduced intake of sodium and salt as well as fewer calories each day. If you are over weight, try to reduce your weight by making gradual, livable changes in your diet that results in eating less. Plan meals containing foods that are cooked "from scratch" at home as often possible.

* Sugar is also used in abundance in processing food, making such foods even less desirable in maintaining proper weight levels. Processed and fast food items also contain a very high percentage amount of saturated fats, artificial colors and preservatives which can contribute to weight and health problems.

* Remember that legumes (dried beans, peas, lentils), vegetables, nuts and grains can supply your protein needs adequately.

* Choose breads that contain whole grains such as wheat, rye, oatmeal.

* Use natural herb seasonings to flavor your foods.



Biology- A Human Approach by I. W. Sherman and V. G. Sherman, Second Edition, page 367:

Alcohol reduces the ability of the nerve cell to conduct messages by its action on the function of the nerve cell membrane. In general, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that produces a marked decrease in motor performance and mental abilities. Its initial stimulatory effects are probably caused by suppression of the nervous system's inhibitory controls. Alcohol causes increased aggressiveness in many heavy users and may have adverse effects on the liver, stomach, intestines, and even the brain, producing delirium tremens or DTs if the supply is withdrawn. Alcohol is addictive, and treatment of alcoholism is extremely difficult.

From Cause of Cancer by Arnold E. Reif, an article in American Scientist, July-August, 1981:

Alcohol is a good example of the many dietary substances that can promote the development of cancer. For smokers who also drink, alcohol generally amplifies the risk of cancer at the sites where both smoke and alcohol impinge: the mouth, the larynx, and the esophagus. However, even for nonsmokers, the risk of cancer at these sites is two to three times greater for moderately heavy drinkers than for those do not drink. Thus alcohol may act both as a co-carcinogen and as a primary carcinogen.

About Marijuana, from a letter to New York Times of Wednesday, August 5, 1981:

The result of recent studies reported by the American Medical Association show that concentration of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, have been steadily increasing ------------where?-----------------and pose a threat to vital organs. The new A. M. A. 'Physician's Drug Abuse Handbook' points out that acute marijuana intoxication impairs learning, memory, thinking, comprehension, and general intellectual performance; the book also notes that even at moderate levels of social use, driving skills are impaired



* David Cassidy, Singer/actor

"When I was doing "The partridge Family", I was rushed to the hospital for an emergency gall bladder operation. At that time, the doctors told me to cut out all animal fats from my diet.

I did this, and as I started feeling better, I started taking a closer look at what my diet really consisted of. I found that I didn't really approve of what I was eating, and I decided to make a responsible inquiry into various diets and their effect on health. I have now been a vegetarian for 12 years, and I've never felt better."

* Andrew Jacobs Jr., D-Ind., U. S. Representative

"I have followed a strict vegetarian diet for years, and my physical strength and endurance have increased measurably. Before beginning the vegetarian diet, I suffered a somewhat serious sinus condition, 95 % of which disappeared within a year after beginning the new diet.

Vegetarianism is clearly a case where you can do well by doing good."

*Katherine Helmond, Actress

"I am a vegetarian because I saw people who were my age, and who were taking responsibility for what they put in their bodies- and they looked great, had tremendous energy. They weren't sick.

I was a very sickly child, but since I became a vegetarian I don't think I've been sick one day in my life. I'm in my forties, yet I have a body that seems much younger.

What prompted me to become a vegetarian was that the quality of our food is so poor. It's so over processed, over packaged and chemicalized that we are opening the door to cancer and heart disease every time we open the door to the refrigerator.

I also added a lot of fiber to my diet, which had practically disappeared. I made an all out effort to include brans, grains and seeds in my diet, and I try not to eat any processed foods.

One should just try to be sensible."

* Susan Richardson, Actress

"I am a vegetarian simply because I love all animals and respect their right to life as much as I do my own. Most people feel that just because they don't personally kill the animals used for food, they are not responsible and therefore free of guilt. This is as wrong as thinking that someone is not responsible for a murder just because he hired someone else to do the actual killing for him.

How people could think that killing their own dog or cat to eat would be barbaric, and yet not even think twice about eating a lamb or cow, is beyond my understanding. What right does anyone have to decide that one life is more precious than another?"

* Amby Burfoot, East Coast Editor, Runner's world

"Originally, I became a vegetarian because of moral/ethical objections to the killing of animals for human food. After making the switch over, I discovered a closer and more personal reason: I felt better every day in almost every way.

Almost immediately I was training and racing much harder and much more successfully than ever before. I found that I could run 100 miles per week and more without "breaking down" as I had before on such training regimens.

Two years after becoming a vegetarian I won the 1968 Boston Marathon.

Also important to me are the economic and social arguments relating to world hunger. The more meat and highly processed foods we eat, the more huge corporations will move into agribusiness and take land away from local farmers.

And I believe vegetarianism is the healthiest and most interesting way to eat."

* Carlos Santana, Rock Musician

"I don't eat meat because meat brings out negative qualities such as fear, anger, anxiety, aggressiveness, etc. Vegetables peacefully offer themselves to the earth when ripe, thus allowing a sublime and peaceful thought-consciousness."

* Hans Holzer, Writer/ Producer

"I am a vegetarian for three good and valid reasons:

One, eating "secondary foods" like meat and meat products, means acquiring the problems of the animals, including the adrenaline of their last moment, and the chemicals pumped into them. Two, it is wrong to kill our fellow creatures. Three, when you eat meat you acquire the aggressiveness of animals, because the etheric of your body is fed alien etheric matter clinging to the meat."



Raj Mehta

I am a 9 years and six months old Indian boy, born in U. S. A. I am vegetarian since birth. I am proud of my religion and thankful to my parents who are helping me understand the principles of Jainism. There are many things I do not understand yet, but the main thing I know is nonviolence which leads to being a vegetarian.

Being vegetarian is fun. The thing I like best is that one does not have to kill for food. There are many things besides meat that one can eat and enjoy. If I could have three wishes, one of them would be for everyone to be a vegetarian like us. My family knows one other family who is vegetarian. Are you a vegetarian? I hope you are.

I do not remember much before I started school. When I was six I started going to school. First week of school I had problems with lunch. My parents wanted me to continue being a vegetarian. My Principal interviewed me alone and asked if I was forced to be a vegetarian or not. I said I was not being forced. I just wanted to follow my parent's religion. I still had the problem for a few weeks, because I had to have all the items of food on my plate including meat, but after a while my mom talked to them and I did not have to. Now I enjoy my food at school. It is no problem. My younger brother starts school this year. I am sure he will have no problem.

In summer I go to overnight camping trips without my family. Now I do not have to be told about food. Some people think I would not like it because I could not have cookout fun. While other kids make their hot dogs, I enjoy roasting my marshmallows.

I also go to birthday parties, team parties of my baseball team and do not feel that because I am a vegetarian, I am different. I can have cheese, pizza, etc. I never come home hungry.

Sometimes we have to eat what we do not like, that is , different kinds of vegetables and some lentils, but at home when we see that everybody is eating them, we learn to like them. When our family goes for a long trip, we have to pack food, maybe more than other people so we can have enough variety.

When we go to India, our grandparents are so proud of us, that although we are away from home, we are still vegetarian. Their pride and joy in our being vegetarian gives me more of a push to continue being vegetarian.

Many American people we know are vegetarians. They are not Jains but they feel that vegetarian food is good for them. I do not know what religion they follow but it is good that they are vegetarians.

All my friends eat everything. Right now, I do not know how to tell them not to eat nonvegetarian food, but when I grow up I will try to tell them. Whatever they eat, they still are my friends. We have everything in common. They do not call me an Indian or a vegetarian kid, they call me Raj. In the end, I only want to say that being vegetarian in U. S, A. is not difficult but it is different.


VEGETARIANISM: Some Questions And Answers

Prabodh U. Shah

Q: It seems that Jains have some sort of preoccupation with the vegetarian way of life. Is it a fad or fetish?

A: This is not a fed or fetish. It is based on the primary edict of Jainism. The very first principle of Jainism is AHINSA or non injury to living beings. Mahaveer Bhagwan said "All living beings love their lives, desire pleasure, and are averse to pain". Shrimad Rajachandraji called it compassion and stated in his book 'MOKSHAMALA', "The highest among the Jinas has prohibited any activity that is likely to cause harm even to a single petal in a flower. This is the only thing which (in Jainism) has absolutely no exception."

Q: What are the reasons for not killing animals for food?

A: 1) It is immoral to cause unnecessary pain to any living being.

2) Killing any living being causes him/her emotional pain, physical pain or both. It also involves violence of feelings and emotions of the person who is directly or indirectly engaged in the act of killing.

3) It is not necessary for man to kill to survive in good health. Millions of Indians (and others) have proven over centuries that one can be a vegetarian (by choice), be healthy in mind and body, and live a long and productive life.

Q: I am aware of the principle of nonviolence. I do want to avoid physical and emotional pain to living beings. However, it is difficult to be a vegetarian in the American society. Isn't this a fact?

A: This is not true. One can make it as easy or as difficult for oneself as one wishes. There is a long list of vegetarian American, Chinese, Italian, etc., meals one can have.

Q: I am a non-vegetarian because I do not want to make my American colleagues feel guilty. They inevitably ask me why I am a vegetarian. What should I do?

A: Jainism, in a sense, is a personal religion in that the emphasis is on self-realization and self-improvement before we try to improve others. The points given above should be made with extreme caution because to cause guilt is to cause pain. However, we can say that we are vegetarians for health reasons which is very true.

Q: Some people may say: What is wrong in being a non-vegetarian if someone else does the killing?

A: This is fallacious since purchasing creates demand and encourages others to kill. Thus it is similar to oneself committing the deed. The 'neat' packing of meat hides the pain that occurred before. It is unfortunate that packaging keeps scenes of slaughterhouses off the minds of the consumers.

Mahaveer Bhagwaan said, "Whether a man kills living beings himself, or causes others to kill them, or gives consent to others, by all these three types of violence (HIMSA), he shows his disregard for life.

Q: Everybody knows that we are also killing when we eat vegetables, because vegetables are also a form of life. Then what difference does non-vegetarian food make?

A: This is an important observation. A little thought reveals that nobody can live without killing some living beings. The ideal situation for a Jain would be to stand beneath a tree bearing ripe fruit, and wait for the fruit to fall of its own accord and then to eat. Since this is rarely possible, it stands to reason that we should commit the least possible violence. How do we do this? Jainism defines ten qualities (attributes) that different forms of life may have. Five of them are the five senses (touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing). The other five are attributes like ability to move, the ability to make sound, size, etc. The greater the number of attributes in the life being destroyed, the greater the violence. Thus being a vegetarian is better than being a non-vegetarian . Regarding these ten attributes of life, Heinrich Zimer, the great German Indologist, in the chapter on Jainism, has written, "The systematization is . . . extremely subtle, and represents a fundamentally scientific conception of the world. In fact one is awed by the glimpse that it gives of the long history of human thought.

Q: There are many fallacious arguments made in favor of non-vegetarianism. Some of these are:

It is the natural order of things that higher species survive by consuming lower species. Tigers consume deer, wolves consume lambs, big fish consume smaller fish, etc. In the context, is not vegetarianism inconsistent with the natural order of things?

Some faiths subscribe to the idea that God made the world and everything in it to be used by man. Some people justify the killing of animals on ecological 'population control' grounds. Many non-vegetarians simply say "But I enjoy it." Do these arguments have any substance?

A: In Jane Brody's Nutrition Book, the question "Weren't humans designed to be meat-eaters?"has been answered with "a resounding 'No' . . . our anatomical equipment -teeth, jaws, digestive system - favors a diet that emphasizes plant foods." Thus vegetarianism is natural for man. It is the key to good physical and mental health. "Enjoying it" is just a matter of taste and habit. These do not provide any justification for the violence involved in non-vegetarianism. Vegetarianism is a precious legacy of the Jain way of life. Children learn what they see. The parents of Jain youngsters are urged to set a good example and make a concerted effort to preserve the practice of vegetarianism.


George Bernard Shaw & Vegetarianism

Hemlata Mamaya

George Bernard Shaw (the well-known writer) ate meat for a quarter century of his life. It was not until he was twenty-five that he became a vegetarian. He wrote that it was the poet Shelly "who opened my eyes to the savagery of my diet." He quoted two lines from Shelly's book, The Revolt of Islam, "Never again may blood of bird or beast stain with its venomous stream a human feast!"

Shaw maintained his vegetarianism on both ethical and health grounds till he died at the age of 95 years. He said, "Meat is poison to the system. . . . Animals are fellow creatures. I feel a strong sense of kinship with them. It is beneficial to one's health not to be carnivorous."

Shaw was very healthy and energetic both mentally and physically till the last day of his life. Shaw was not only a vegetarian but never used alcohol in his diet, though he was married to a non-vegetarian.



Dr. Duli Chandra Jain

Jainism is an ancient religion of India. There are about 2.5 million followers of Jainism. Writing about certain special features of Jainism, Dr. Ratan Kumar Jain says, "Moral and religious values must be brought out of dogmatic slavery: scriptural testimony, law of eternal bondage, loyalty to emancipation and sorrowfulness of life here on the earth". The Jain religion teaches us to be open-minded and accept only what is rational in our own judgement. There is no room for dogma or blind faith in the Jain religion. There are ancient Jain scriptures, the scriptures of other religions and the vast treasure of present-day knowledge about the various fields of human endeavor. A true Jain is expected to form his or her own concept of religion after a careful scrutiny of this ocean of knowledge without any prejudices or preconceived notions. The sanskrit word for this process is SAMYAKTVA-rationalism or propriety. It has three aspects: proper perspective (SAMYAK DARSHAN), proper knowledge (SAMYAK JNANA) and proper conduct (SAMYAK CHARITRA). This is a continuous process. Our concept of propriety evolves with our understanding of self and with changes in our environment. However, this does not imply that the basic principles of religion can be compromised. Ofcourse, I am describing my present concept of the Jain religion.

Being a student of science, my concept of religion has evolved from the knowledge of Physics, of Chemistry, and of the other sciences. Modern science deals with three entities of the universe: matter (including energy), space and time. In science, I learned that all the events of the universe occur on account of natural forces, and result from the interactions between matter and energy. All chemical reactions and transformations take place because of the intrinsic attributes of matter and energy. There are living beings and inanimate objects. Certain physiological processes occur in living beings. These processes cease upon death. Furthermore, human beings and other animals have feelings and emotions. We try to avoid pain and suffering. Other living beings exhibit similar tendencies. Man desires good physical health. To some extent, our physical well-being depends on our mental state. When we hurt others, when we lie and cheat, when we are upset and angry, we lose our peace of mind. This can affect our physical health.

The above observations provide us with some perspective of life on earth. How does this relate to religion and to the sanctity of life? Jainism and other religions say that in addition to matter, space and time, there is a fourth entity in this universe. It is soul. There are innumerable individual souls. As long as a soul resides in the body of a living being, it lives. The soul leaves the body when the being dies. It is because of the soul that the living beings have conscience, knowledge, feelings, thoughts and emotions. These result from a combination of the intrinsic attributes of the soul and the interactions between the living being and its environment. One may accept this as an extrapolation of the physical and chemical processes observed in nature and in the laboratory. The higher the form of life, the greater is the sophistication and complexity of knowledge, feelings, thoughts, etc. Each individual soul is independent. However, we (the worldly souls) depend on each other and on matter for our survival. In many instances, such dependence causes physical and mental suffering.

Now one may ask, "What is the evidence of the existence of soul?" One answer to this question is, "As modern science cannot establish that soul exists , it also cannot rule out its existence." However, the question of the existence of soul doesn't have to be settled for us to accept the sanctity of life. We may not know everything about life but life does exist. As we have physical sensations, other animals and plants also experience pain and pleasure albeit to a greater or lesser extent. They also indulge in some form of thought process although it may not be highly developed or sophisticated. Thus all living beings deserve our consideration and kindness. Just as we try to avoid pain and suffering, and wish to maintain our independence, so do other living beings. Hence we should not interfere with the life of other beings. This is the concept of sanctity of life.



Ranjana Jain

There are two important reasons for adopting vegetarianism. Many people are vegetarians because of their religious beliefs. Others are vegetarians because a vegetarian diet is good for health.

Jains are vegetarians because they believe in nonviolence. Violence means to kill or injure, to be angry or be greedy, to engage in self-torture, to be intolerant, not listening to what other people are saying, etc. If we do not take proper care of our body and mind, we are committing violence of self. A vegetarian diet is natural and better for our health as described below. Thus vegetarianism helps us avoid violence of self.

Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry or fish. There are three kinds of vegetarians, based on their attitude to milk and eggs. Vegans do not take eggs or milk. Lacto's do not eat eggs but they do drink milk. Lacto-ovo's eat eggs and drink milk. Jains are lacto's.

Here are some health reasons why some people don't eat meat:

1. To protect their heart.

Animal fat and high cholesterol diet may set a stage for heart disease. In some places where very little fat is eaten, the death rate from heart disease is lower than in other places.

2. To reduce the risk of cancer.

Animal fat and cholesterol have been linked to some forms of cancer such as the cancer of colon, breast and uterus. The National Academy of Sciences reported in 1983 that "people may be able to prevent many common cancers by eating less fatty meats and more vegetables and grains." A vegetarian diet also reduces the risk of kidney trouble.

3. To control their weight.

Vegetarian diet is bulky and filling. The caloric value of a six-ounce steak (with its fat) equals that of a whole pound of cooked noodles. Thus most people lose weight when they go on a vegetarian diet. This also reduces the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and back troubles.

Man is vegetarian by nature. Vegetarian food is more suited to the human body. We do not require animal proteins for strength and energy. A physiological comparison of meat-eater, herbivore and man proves this statement. A meat-eater has claws, has no skin pores and perspires through the tongue. A meat-eater has sharp front teeth for tearing and no flat molars for grinding. The intestinal tract of a meat eater is only three times his body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass out quickly. A meat-eater has strong hydrochloric acid in stomach to digest meat. A herbivore has no claws and perspires through skin pores. He does not have sharp front teeth and has flat rear molars. His intestinal tract is about ten times the body length, and stomach acid, twenty times less strong than meat-eaters. A man has no claws, perspires through skin pores, has no sharp front teeth and has flat rear molars. The intestinal tract of a man is twelve times his body length, and stomach acid, twenty times less strong than meat-eaters. Once within the stomach, meat requires digestive juices high in hydrochloric acid. A man's stomach does not have it. Another important fact is that our intestinal tract is too long where food is further digested and nutrients are passed into the blood. The putrefaction of meat in our long intestinal tract produces poisonous wastes . That is why meat must be eliminated from our diet.

The basic foods in a vegetarian diet are: cereals, grains, bread, nuts, beans, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Most vegetable proteins are incomplete and most animal proteins are complete. Our bodies require complete proteins to function properly. So vegetarians combine vegetable proteins in a way that makes them complete. Two or more vegetables and grains, nuts,etc., having incomplete proteins, can be combined in a meal to form complete proteins. Here are three simple ways to do it:

1. Combine legumes (dried peas, beans, lentils) with grains (barley, wheat, rice, rye).

2. Combine legumes with nuts and seeds.

3. Combine milk products with any vegetable protein.

If we practice vegetarianism, we will be able to satisfy our religious beliefs and also maintain our health



"At work and at parties, Americans are drinking less and enjoying it more ", is the subheading of the cover story of the Time Magazine of May 20, 1985. The article points towards the growing trend towards temperance in the U. S. A. The author writes:

The temperate mood is transforming the ways in which the nation works, plays and socializes. New attitudes towards careers, fitness and the very image of what we are and wish to become are being altered. Americans are tackling the entrenched social problems of abusive drinking with new rigor. The neo-temperance has already inspired tough drunk-driving laws to combat highway bloodshed. Basic to it all: people are drinking lighter. Only 67% of the nation's 170 million adults over 18 said that they drink at all."

We Jains can easily remain with the 33% who don't drink at all.

The writer has further remarked:

For the fitness-conscious, alcohol has joined sodium and cholesterol as a substance devoutly to be avoided. The active ingredient in alcohol is ethanol, a depressant closely akin to ether. It dulls perception, slows reaction and contains "empty" carbohydrate calories, that is, with no nutritional value.

Jainism says that the dulling of perception and slowing of reaction is violence toward the self because it is, in fact, partially obstructing one's life processes unnecessarily. It can also lead to other kinds of violence. Therefore consumption of alcohol and of other such drugs is prohibited in Jainism.

Some people may say that alcohol relieves stress by releasing endorphins, chemicals that calm the nervous system. However, studies have shown that endorphins are released by physical exercise just as well. Righteous meditation can also cause the release of endorphins. Thus it is not necessary to take alcohol for the purpose of relieving tension. Moreover, in the case of alcohol and other habit forming drugs, there is the potential risk of going overboard. Alcohol is the most widely abused drug.

Rationalism entails that we do not succumb to peer pressure and that we avoid situations that may lead to ill-health dependence on unnecessary substances, conflicts and violence. Thus we should stay away from alcohol and drugs.



Ashish Punatar

I am a Jain growing up in the USA. My parents are also Jains. I am going to show some experiences I had.

I pray to Bhagwaan Mahaveer daily in the morning, night and anytime I feel the need like before tests at school. This helps me by making me confident and very proud of myself.

I am a vegetarian, I believe in not eating meat. At home my mom cooks vegetarian meals that contain all the essential nutrients. When we go out to eat, we have to make sure there is no meat in the food. When my parents go out to buy food at the market, they read the ingredients first to make sure there is no meat in the food.

In school, I sometimes have hardship in front of non-Jains during lunch. My mother packs me vegetarian food everyday since there is always meat in the main meal of the school lunch. The non-Jains sometimes make fun of me, but all I do is to stare back and keep eating. I also tell them it's not good to kill other animals for food, and that vegetarianism is healthier for all.

Since I am a Jain, instead of going to church on Sunday like most people, my family and I go to the Jain Center programs. There we pray, and talk to other Jains. The center also has a children's program where an adult comes in and teaches us things about our religion. The teacher reads stories and plays, makes us recite prayers and much more.

I am a Jain, so I practice the five principles of Jainism. One of the principle s is AHIMSA (nonviolence). This means that I do not kill. I do not cause, or tend to cause, pain through speech, mind or body to any living being. The second principle is SATYA. I am supposed to speak the truth in speech and thought. The other principles are non-stealing, celibacy and limiting one's worldly possessions.

Every two or three years, my family and I go to India. There we go to grand, beautiful Jain temples to pray to God. In the temples we see beautiful carvings and beautiful sculptures of various TEERTHANKARS. In India, we can go beautiful restaurants and they usually serve vegetarian foods.

I have just showed some of my experiences of being a Jain in the USA.



Vinit M. Doshi

There are millions of vegetarians in the world. We Jains should be vegetarians because our religion preaches nonviolence. However, apart from religious considerations, a vegetarian diet is healthier, more economical and better than a non-vegetarian diet.

The high-fat, low-fiber content of meat cause cancer of brain, lungs, liver, stomach, intestines, pancreas and breast. Pork, beef, eggs, liver, shrimp, lobster, etc., have very high levels of cholesterol while in a vegetarians diet the cholesterol levels are very low. Farm animals are kept alive with hormones, tranquilizers, antibiotics and thousands of other drugs and chemicals. Some of these are carcinogens (cancer causing substances) and are present in the meat.

In the following table, the anatomies of herbivores, carnivores and human are compared which shows that man is vegetarian by nature:

Carnivores (meat-eating)
Herbivores (plant-eating)

Have claws for killing

Have no claws

Have no claws

Sharp front teeth for tearing meat

No sharp front teeth

No sharp teeth

Stomach acid is twenty times strong

Weak acid in stomach

Weak acid in stomach

Perspire through tongue

Perspire through skin

Perspire through skin

In general, vegetarians recuperate from fatigue faster, are more efficient, and have better health, than non-vegetarians. Billions of animals are killed for non-vegetarian food every year while in most cases, plants don't have to be killed for obtaining vegetarian food. Some people think that they cannot get enough protein from vegetarian food. This is not true. Vegetarian food can provide all necessary nutrients.



Neha Dedhia

Jain religion has nonviolence as its basic principle. Jain religion teaches us not to hurt or kill any living being. We Jains believe that we have no right to kill anyone. All beings have an equal right to live and enjoy their lives. Thus it makes sense not to eat meat because eating meat entails killing animals for food. Also it takes sixteen pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. A vegetarian diet is better. Vegetarianism is a better way of life.

The Jain religion says that we should not eat any vegetables growing underground. Vegetables such as onions, potatoes. carrots, etc., may contain more microscopic germs than vegetables which grow above ground. Thus by eating vegetables which grow underground, we may consume bacteria in larger numbers, which could be harmful to our bodies. Another reason for not eating onions, carrots, potatoes, etc., is that we have to destroy entire plants to obtain these foods while no such damage is done in picking an apple or a zucchini.

Jains are encouraged to filter water. The Jain religion also tells us not to eat at night. These things make sense. Water may contain some foreign substances and living beings which may be harmful to us. There are many more microorganisms in the atmosphere at night than at daylight. Some bugs or small insects may fall into the food at night and we may not be able to detect them. Eating such food may make us sick. The bugs may be poisonous. Also it is good for one's health not to eat after sunset as we should have a minimum of four hours between dinner and sleep. This way the food can be digested easily. Thus by eating early, we can minimize falling sick.

Eating large amounts of food is not good for health. Thus to control eating, Jainism instructs us to fast or to eat only a limited number of times in a day. Apart from health reasons, the main idea behind fasting or restricting eating is to minimize the activities which involve hurting or killing living beings.

From the above examples, we can see that thousands of years ago, Jains knew about the benefits of not drinking unfiltered water, not eating at night and not eating underground vegetables. We see that the Jain religion is scientifically based and conveys its principles in an effective way.

Another aspect of nonviolence is morning and evening prayers (SAAMAAYIK). We minimize our physical and mental activities during these prayers. This helps us to avoid violence. It helps us to avoid anger, pride, greed,etc. It gives us peace of mind.

We see that nonviolence is the basis of the Jain religion and that our activities are based around this principle. Mahatma Gandhi was a follower of this principle of nonviolence. World peace can be achieved by using nonviolence as our basic tool.



Sandeep Punatar

Vegetarians are people who do not eat meat or fish. Some vegetarians do not eat meat because they think that eating meat is not good for their health. Others do not eat meat because of their religious beliefs. They do not believe in killing animals for food. Jains are vegetarians because they believe in nonviolence, which involves not hurting or killing any living being. Many Hindus, Buddhists and Seventh Day Adventists are also vegetarians for religious reasons.

Some vegetarians do not consume milk or milk products, and do not eat eggs because these foods come from animals. These people are called vegans. Some vegetarians take milk and milk products but no eggs. They are called lacto-vegetarians. People who take milk products and eggs but no fish or meat are called lacto-ovo-vegetarians. Jains are lacto-vegetarians because eggs and products containing eggs serve as a better culture medium for the growth of living organisms than milk and most vegetarian foods.

Vegetarianism is good for one's health. In 1961, the American Medical Association published that 90-97% of heart disease cases could be prevented by a vegetarian diet. Many famous people were/are vegetarians- Benjamin Franklin, George Bernard Shaw, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, to name a few.

Man is vegetarian by nature, vegetarian food is better suited to the human body. In Jane Brody's Nutrition Book, the question "Weren't humans designed to be meat-eaters?"has been answered with a resounding "No". She says, "Our anatomical equipment-teeth, jaws, digestive system-favors a diet that emphasizes plant food."

Because of our religious beliefs and for health reasons, all Jains should practice vegetarianism.





Even a vegetarian diet is healthy.

It is not impossible. A vegan or vegetarian diet can be just as healthy as more traditional diets that contain meat. Research has shown that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower incidence of many chronic, degenerative diseases and conditions, such as coronary artery disease, some types of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, kidney stones, gallstones, and many others. The greater the ratio of plant products to animal products in the diet, the lesser the risk for these illnesses. If you're concerned about how you'll get enough of certain nutrients on a vegetarian diet, read the following for good sources of protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12.

Protein: Vegetables, grains, and legumes, all contain protein and can provide you with all that you need. If you eat a reasonable variety of these foods, you get enough protein. Good protein sources are lentils, tofu, dairy products, nuts, seeds, peas, whole grain bread, potatoes, pasta, and corn.

Calcium: Good calcium sources are broccoli, dried beans and peas, sesame seeds, low fat dairy products, turnip greens and calcium-fortified soy milk, rice milk, and orange juice.

Iron: Good iron sources are dried beans, spinach, beet greens, watermelon, and dried fruit.

Vitamin B12: The adult recommended intake for vitamin B12 is very low. A diet containing dairy products provides adequate vitamin B12.


A Dialogue On Vegetarianism

By Santosh C. Shah, Harvey, LA

[Shalin (5 years) shows a box of cookies to Sweta (8 years) in a grocery store.]

Shalin: Sweta, do you want to buy this box of cookies? Daddy said that we could buy some cookies.

Sweta: Yes Shalin, but we have to see the ingredients on the box because we do not eat anything containing lard, eggs or animal shortening. There are some cookies without them that we can buy.

Shalin: But, many people eat meat! So why can't we?

Sweta: People who eat meat will stop eating meat when they think about and understand why no one should eat meat. We will discuss this in our Jain school (PATHSHAALA). We will buy cookies next time because we are getting late for our Jain school.

[Set up a school scene with chairs on 3 sides and Hem (13 years) as the monitor.]

Hem: What is the topic for today, Sweta?

Sweta: Today's topic is: Why should we be vegetarians? Shalin wants to understand this.

Hem: Why don't you eat meat, Shalin?

Shalin: Because we are Indians! And my mommy tells me not to eat meat.

Hem: It is good to follow our parents' instructions. Our Jain religion also teaches us that as we grow older, we will understand why we should follow these rules. Sweta, can you tell us why we do not eat meat?

Sweta: One reason is that animals are killed to make meat.

Manish (7 years): But, we don't have to kill animals and can still get meat by buying it at a restaurant.

Priya (10 years): Manish, someone else is killing them for the restaurant. That is the same as if we ourselves killed the animals. All animals want to live just as we do. They do not want to be killed just as we do not want to be killed.

Shalin: Oh yes, when we go near animals, they run away because they fear that we might hurt them.

Sejal (9 years): Right Shalin. They have the same feelings that we have. You know that in slaughter houses, animals are lined up and killed one after another.

Priya: Sejal, I can not imagine the pain of those poor animals waiting to be killed. Manish, how would we feel if a huge creature comes down from space and says, 'all people line up, I am going to kill you' ? (to be said in robot's voice)

Manish: What does the space creature say, Priya?


Manish & Shalin: It would feel horrible!!!

Priya: Those animals feel the same way.

Manish & Shalin: Now we understand.

Sweta: Besides getting bad karma by hurting the feelings of animals and killing them, there are other considerations for being a vegetarian. Man is vegetarian by nature and a vegetarian diet is better for our health.

Manish: It is also less expensive to be a vegetarian.

Anjali (11 years): You are all confusing me. Why don't we talk about one reason at a time?

Hem: Let us first take up the the point raised by Manish about meat being expensive. Even if meat, eggs and fish were less expensive than vegetarian foods, we Jains would not eat them because we believe in avoiding mental and physical violence as much as possible. However, producing meat requires a considerable amount of natural resources. It takes 16 pounds of grain and about 2500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of meat.

Manish: What are the health reasons of being a vegetarian? Don't the non-vegetarian people get lots of protein and energy from meat?

Anjali: They also get lots of fat that they do not need.

Sweta: We get the same amount of energy from vegetarian food, and less fat, which is better for our health.

Sejal: The meat industry continuously talks about protein. What about it?

Hem: Recently, researchers have found that we need only about 6 to 8 percent of our daily calories to be derived from protein. Consuming high-protein (non-vegetarian) food that is rich in calories and fat is more difficult for our kidneys. It is more difficult for our kidneys to process animal proteins.

Nidhi (9 years): We get less cholesterol from our vegetarian diet, so we are less prone to suffer heart attacks.

Sejal: I heard that meat is easy to digest.

Anjali: Well, in fact, as Hem said, for humans, meat is hard to digest. The meat-eating animals have strong hydrochloric acid in their stomachs to digest meat. The acid in our stomachs is 20 times weaker than that in the stomach of a meat-eating animal. The length of our intestines is about twelve times our body length while the length of the intestines of meat-eating animals is only about three times their body length. Our teeth are different from those of meat-eating animals. Thus, man is vegetarian by nature.

Priya: I wish to add that meat eaters are also likely to get organisms that cause diseases in animals. They also get residues of thousands of drugs that are fed to the animals which are later killed for food.

Nidhi: You are right Priya. Meat eaters are more likely to get diseases like cancer.

Manish: It is clear that meat eating does a lot more harm to us and that it is not at all good to our bodies.

Hem: Let us have Manish (15 years) and Anjali explain the religious reasons for vegetarianism.

Manish: According to Jainism, all living beings have souls. Interfering with the rights of other souls is violence. We have bad thoughts and feelings when we commit violence and thus we get bad karma.

Nidhi: How does eating meat involve violence?

Anjali: Two ways. First, eating meat involves direct or indirect physical and mental violence to animals which are killed to get meat. Second, it also results in violence of self because it is not good for our health. Also we have feelings of disregard for life when we eat non-vegetarian food, which is mental violence. Meat eating is not good for our spiritual progress.

Sejal: Is this true in the Jain religion only?

Manish: Well, all religions preach nonviolence to different extents. Jainism goes the farthest in this respect. Hinduism and Buddhism have similar concepts.

Sejal: Isn't eating plants also violence?

Manish: Some violence is involved in agriculture. However, it is much less violent to obtain grains from dried up plants and to pick fruits and vegetables without destroying the entire plants. Also the sense organs in plants are developed to a much lesser extent than in animals.

Anjali: It should be pointed out that non-vegetarian food provides a better medium for the growth of living organism than vegetarian food. Thus vegetarianism helps us minimize violence.

Hem: Let us finish for today. We had an interesting and illuminating discussion.


1.Vegetarianism In All Aspects by Preeti Yogendra Jain, Jain Study Circular, volume 8, January 1987, page 5.

2. Eating For The Eighties by Shakuntala Kothari, Jain Study Circular, volume 10, January 1989, page 19.

3. Exchange Of Ideas, Jain Study Circular, volume 10, April 1989, page 18.


Egg, Fertilized or Unfertilized: A Living Entity

by Dr. Trilok Chandra Jain Shastri, Flushing, NY

Former Professor, Senior Physician and Dean, Institute of Post-Graduate Training and Research, Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar

Dr. Trilok Chandra Jain is a scholar of Jainism and a medical scientist. In the present article, the learned scholar has presented some convincing scientific facts to show that even an unfertilized egg is a living entity. - D. C. J.

Some people have the notion that unfertilized eggs, especially of hens, are inanimate and thus they can be part of a vegetarian diet. The only argument that they have is that no chicken may be born from an unfertilized egg. They ignore the signs and characteristics of life which are present in an unfertilized egg. They are also unaware of the fact that there is a potential capability in the unfertilized ovum (the mature female germ cell which develops into a new member of the same species) to bring out offspring through a process known as artificial parthenogenesis (development of an ovum stimulated by chemical or mechanical means).

Development of an egg:

Biologists have found more than a million different kinds of life on earth. Despite the great diversity of life, there is also a great unity of life. All living beings are alike in many ways. Though biologists have not been able to agree on a simple definition of life that fits all cases, they do agree on what the 'signs of life' are. Before tracing these signs of life in an unfertilized chicken egg, it is necessary to know the genesis (process of formation) of an egg.

Webster's dictionary defines an egg as 'the oval or round body laid by a female bird, fish, reptile, insect, etc., containing the germ of a new individual along with the food for its development, and having an enclosing shell or membrane'. It is also called an ovum, a female gamete or female reproductive cell or reproductive organism. In sexual reproduction, the ovum unites with its male counterpart which is called sperm cell. This fusion in which the first cell of the new organism is formed is called fertilization. The ovum contains half the chromosomes (microscopic bodies which carry the genes that convey hereditary characteristics) required by the new organism while the sperm supplies the other half.

An ovum is produced in the female reproductive gland, the ovary. "When liberated from the ovary, an ovum begins to undergo certain changes that can be characterized as aging or deterioration. Among other things, there is a tendency for its protoplasm (the essential living matter) to become progressively more coarse."(1) This causes the ovum to lose its vigor. "These changes progress rapidly to a point where the ovum, although technically still alive, can no longer be fertilized. If, however, the ovum is fertilized reasonably promptly, these deteriorative changes are checked and the protoplasm increases its activity in a way that is often described as 'being rejuvenated'."(2) One aspect of the rejuvenation is an increase in the rate of oxidation and in the excretion of ammonia. These changes signify an increase in purine metabolism (chemical and physical processes which go on in living organisms). This marks the beginning of rapid growth ending in the production of a new individual.

Interestingly enough, fertilization in the usual manner by the male sperm cell is not the only way an ovum may have its deterioration checked and be started on its growth phase. A variety of other stimuli may be substituted for the male sex cell. Changes in the ionic concentration (number of charged particles) of sea water is effective in initiating development in the eggs of some marine invertebrates. The development of insect eggs can be started by stroking them with a camel's hair brush. Pricking the eggs with a needle has been found to be effective in inducing growth of frog's eggs. Such initiation of development in an egg by means other than its union with male sex cell is known as artificial parthenogenesis. The fact that artificial parthenogenesis is possible indicates that all the necessary morphogenetic (3) factors for the development are present in the ovum and that the process of fertilization is essentially, as Barth puts it, a sort of 'release mechanism'.(4) In other words, it seems that the union with the sperm cell or the chemical or mechanical factors employed in artificial parthenogenesis release the potential energy already present in the egg. It should, however, be pointed out that the sperm brings with it the quota of hereditary potentialities (chromosomes).

An egg (ovum) begins its development in the ovary of a female. An ovum is a reproductive cell of the germinal epithelium (cellular tissue). It is contained in a very thin envelope called the follicle which is attached to the ovary by a slender stalk. Many ova are present in an ovary and grow in size as the bird (hen) comes into laying condition.

Yolk granules accumulate in layers within the ovum until the yolk of the egg becomes as large as that of a freshly-laid egg. At that stage of development, the follicle bursts and the yolk is freed from the ovary. The yolk is picked up by the mouth of the oviduct (a tube through which ova pass from the ovary to the uterus) where development of the inside of the egg is completed. First, the yolk becomes surrounded by the thick albumin. As the yolk travels through the oviduct, shell membranes are added. The rest of the formation of the egg occurs in the uterus where additional albumin is added and the shell is formed.

Hens managed for commercial egg production are kept in a specially controlled environment that provides 14 to 16 hours of artificial or natural light. The birds respond to a gradual increase in the amount of daylight. A tiny gland, the pituitary, located at the base of the brain, secrets hormones which speed up the development of the ova. When the exposure to light is increased, the activity of the pituitary gland goes up, more hormones are secreted. Thus the birds are stimulated to lay more eggs.

A bird's egg has five principal parts: the shell, the shell membrane, the white, the yolk and the 'germ' (nucleus). The most important part of an egg is the nucleus which develops into the new animal. The other parts of the egg provide food and proteins for the young animal. The shell has tiny holes so water and gases can pass through it. The shell membrane is located just inside the shell. Water and gases can pass through the membrane. The white of an egg surrounds the yolk which in turn is contained in a membrane commonly known as yolk sack. When a fertile egg is kept under suitable conditions, the germ develops into an embryo. The contents of an egg make up a well-balanced diet for the developing embryo. For example, the egg shell, which is composed mostly of calcium carbonate, provides the embryo with calcium for the formation of bones and other body-building materials. A clear understanding of these facts indicates that even an unfertilized egg has the eight signs of life discussed in the following paragraphs.

Characteristics of life:

Each living thing is called an organism. All organisms have the following general characteristics:(5)

1. Living things are highly organized and contain many complex substances.

An egg is a highly organized organism (cell) and contains the following chemical substances: water (65%), proteins (12%), fat (11%), carbohydrates (1%) and ash (11%). Most of these substances are complex in nature.

2. Living things contain one or more cells which are the smallest units that can be said to be alive.

All cells carry on their own life activities.

New cells can be produced from existing living cells by the process of cell division or reproduction.

The ovum and later on the completed egg both constitute one large cell. The development of the ovum into the completed egg constitutes its life activity. The unfertilized egg cell (just like the fertilized one) is derived from the living cells of the ovary by the process of meiosis (reduction division). As a result of this reduction division, the number of chromosomes which is about 38 in a normal somatic cell, becomes half (that is 19) in the ovum (the unfertilized egg). When this ovum is fertilized by spermatozoa (male germ cells), the number of chromosomes become 38 again.

An egg, fertilized or unfertilized, contains all cell parts, that is cell wall, cell membrane, nucleus and cytoplasm. Each part has its specific function. Like any other normal cell, an egg also contains organelles such as centriole, which are characterized by having specialized functions. The process of development of an unfertilized egg is similar to that of a fertilized egg.

3. Living things use energy.

It is obvious that an egg uses a significant amount of energy in its development from a very minute ovum to a complete egg having a surface area of approximately 68 square centimeters and a weight of about 58 grams.

4. Living things have a definite form and a limited size.

Egg has a definite shape. In addition to the weight and surface area given above, an egg has approximately a volume of 63 cubic centimeter, long circumference of 16 centimeter, short circumference of 14 centimeters, shape index of 74 and specific gravity of 1.09.

5. Living things have a limited life-span.

As soon as the egg is released from the ovary, its aging process begins. As mentioned above, there is a tendency for an ovum to lose its vigor and for its the protoplasm (the essential living matter) to become progressively more coarse. If these changes are not checked by fertilization, then the ovum dies. An egg also perishes on account of unsuitable changes in the temperature of its environment.

6. Living things grow.

As mentioned above, an egg grows from a tiny ovum to a size of 63 cubic centimeters.

7. Living things respond to changes in the environment.

An egg responds to variations in the temperature and other factors.

8. Living things reproduce.

Scientists have been successful in producing identical offspring by making use of the chromosomes of a somatic (bodily) cell without taking recourse to the other partner in any manner. The cells involved in this case could not have produced a living offspring unless they were themselves alive. This indicates that an unfertilized egg is alive although it has chromosomes derived only from a female.

Besides the above general characteristics, the living things, in order to stay alive, carry on certain activities or functions that are also characteristics of life. These life processes are nutrition, transport, respiration, synthesis and assimilation, growth, excretion, regulation and reproduction.(6) Growth and reproduction have been discussed above. Let us examine whether an unfertilized egg performs the rest of the functions.


An egg takes material from its environment and changes it into usable forms. This activity is called nutrition. Substances that an organism can use for energy or for growth and repair are called 'nutrients'. The primary ovum derives its nutrition through the blood vessels while it is attached and growing in the ovary. Further nutrition for energy and growth is derived from the oviduct and uterus. Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are manufactured.

Transport and Excretion

Transport is the process by which usable materials are taken into the organism (absorption) and distributed throughout the organism (circulation). Wastes and other products of life processes are also transported from one place to another within the organism. In the smallest organism, there is no real transport system. Usable materials are absorbed directly into the organism from the environment. Wastes pass from the organism directly into the environment. In most animals there is a highly specialized circulatory system for carrying needed materials to all parts of the organism and carrying waste products away.

In an egg the gases, for example, carbon dioxide, and other waste materials directly pass through the shell membranes and shell into the environment and air from the environment is taken inside through the shell and shell membranes.


All life processes require a constant supply of energy. Organisms obtain the needed energy by releasing chemical energy stored in the nutrients. The process by which this is accomplished is called 'respiration'. Respiration involves a complex series of chemical reactions. In one type of respiration, sugar is broken down to produce water and carbon dioxide. This is called 'aerobic' respiration because it requires oxygen from air. Breathing is the process by which air is drawn into the body and waste gases are eliminated. As mentioned under 'transport', an unfertilized egg performs this function.

Synthesis and Elimination

Organisms are able to combine simple substances chemically to form more complex substances. This process is called synthesis. The substances used in synthesis are generally products of the digestion of complex food materials. One of the results of synthesis is to produce materials that can become part of the structure of an organism. In this way, the organism can grow and repair or replace worn out parts. The incorporation of materials into the body of the organism is called assimilation.

The egg performs the synthesis of proteins, fats and carbohydrates and eliminates carbon dioxide, ammonia and other waste products.

Unicellular organisms (those having a single cell) are able to carry on all life processes. They synthesize and obtain nutrients, break them down for energy and synthesize new materials. An egg, unfertilized or fertilized, performs these functions during growth.


Regulation is the process by which an organism maintains a stable internal environment in a constantly changing external environment. This process is called 'homeostasis' which checks deterioration and ultimately death of the living organism. Obviously, an egg performs this function and that is why it survives.

Many biologists consider metabolic activity to be the single most important characteristic of life. The chemical reactions involved in the life processes of an organism are called its 'metabolism'. Metabolism includes processes that break down complex substances into simple ones and processes that build complex substances from simple ones. Metabolism also involves the continuous release and use of energy. It is evident from the above discussion that metabolic activity is present even in an unfertilized egg.

In sum, all scientific evidence establishes the fact that an unfertilized egg is a living entity.


1. Biology - The Study of Life by William D. Schraer and Herbert J. Stoltze, published by CEBCO - A Division of Allyn and Bacon, Inc., Newton MA 1983.

2. Commercial Chicken Production Manual by Mack D. North, published by Avi Publishing Company, Inc., Westport CT, III edition.

3. Academic American Encyclopedia. volume 7, 1988.

4. The World Book Encyclopedia, volume 6, 1989.

5. Basic Physiology and Anatomy by Ellen E. Chaffee and Ivan M. Lytle, published by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1980.

6. Early Embryology of the Chick by Bradley M. Patten, published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, fifth edition, 1957


1. Early Embryology Of The Chick by Bradley M. Patten, published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, fifth edition, 1957, page 33.

2. Early Embryology Of The Chick, page 33.

3. Morphogenesis are the structural changes comprising the development of an organism.

4. Early Embryology Of The Chick, page 34.

5. Biology?The Study of Life by William D. Schraer and Herbert J. Stoltze, published by CEBCO, A Division of Allyn and Bacon, Newton MA, 1983, page 4.

6. Biology?The Study of Life, pages 5-7.


Vegetarianism Is Good For All: A Story

by Duli Chandra Jain

Eight year old Samir was having lunch in the school cafeteria. His teacher Miss Bright came by and noticed that Samir was eating a cheese sandwich. She said, "Why don't you have any meat, fish or eggs for lunch?"

Samir replied, "I am a Jain. We Jains are vegetarians."

The teacher asked, "Why are Jains vegetarians?"

Samir said, "We do not kill animals for food or for anything else. We do not want other persons to kill animals for our food either."

Miss Bright said, "There is violence in producing grains, fruits and vegetables too. So what is the difference between a vegetarian diet and non-vegetarian diet?"

Samir had no answer. He said, "I am sure there are good reasons for our being vegetarians. Right now I do not have the answer to your question but I will talk with my father about it."

In the evening, after finishing his homework, Samir related the entire story to his father and asked, "I understand that animals have to be killed for obtaining non-vegetarian food. However, considerable violence is involved in growing wheat, corn, rice, vegetables and fruits. How can we avoid such violence?"

Samir's father replied, "Jainism says that violence can not be avoided completely. But we can do as little violence as possible. There is gross violence in killing animals like cows, fish and chicken. Such violence can be easily avoided."

Samir said, "Is there any less violence in growing grains, vegetables and fruits?"

His father replied, "Definitely, yes. Most grains are harvested when the plants dry up after having lived their lifetime. Further, in most cases, plants do not have to be summarily killed (destroyed) in picking fruits and vegetables."

*Samir asked, "How does the violence in farming compare with the violence in slaughtering animals?"

Samir's father explained, "The animals are subjected to considerable pain and suffering in slaughter houses. We should also understand that a large amount of water and grains are used in raising cattle and poultry. It takes about sixteen pounds of grain and 1200 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat. We can not disregard the violence involved in producing the amount of grain needed to raise cattle."

Samir remarked, "Daddy, it is clear that production of meat involves much more violence than farming of grains and vegetables. Further, if more people of the world adopt a vegetarian diet, the land and water that are used to produce cattle feed can be used for producing food grains. Thus a large number of poor and hungry people of the world will be able to get food. Clearly, vegetarianism is not only good for decreasing violence but also for helping the poor and hungry."

Samir's father felt very proud and happy. He said, "Son, you are right. Sixteen pounds of grain contains 21 times more calories and 8 times more protein than one pound of meat. However, sixteen pounds of grain has only 3 times more fat than a pound of meat. Thus a vegetarian diet can provide good nourishment to a vast population and reduce the strain on the natural resources of our planet."

Samir asked, "Are there any other benefits of a vegetarian diet?"

His father said, "Here are a few more points: One, many more living organisms grow in non-vegetarian foods than in vegetarian foods. Thus meat, poultry and fish spoil easily. Two, medical researchers have found that a well-balanced vegetarian diet is better for our health than a non-vegetarian diet. Lastly, as is clear from the above discussion, vegetarianism is good for the environment and ecology of our planet."

Samir said, "Today I have learned why it is good for all to be vegetarians. Good night, daddy."

* In this context, the following quote from the feature 'What Humans Owe To Animals' published in The Economist of August 19, 1996, is relevant:

"This view, which holds that torturing a chimpanzee is morally equivalent to chopping wood, may seem bravely 'logical'. In fact it is simply shallow . . ."

* * * * * * *

Some Facts

Jeremy Rifkin, author of the book "Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture", writes, on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times of March 23, 1992, "The beef addiction of the U.S. and other industrialized nations has also contributed to the global food crisis. Cattle and other livestock consume more than 70 percent of the grain produced in the U.S. and about a third of the world's total grain harvest ? while nearly a billion people suffer from chronic under-nutrition. If the U.S. land now used to grow livestock feed were converted to grow grain for human consumption, we could feed an additional 400 million people."

The New International Coalition: Beyond Beef, in The New York Times of April 23, 1992, has propagated, "The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that 70% of deaths in the United States are related to diet, especially the overconsumption of beef and other saturated fats. Americans now eat 25% of all the beef consumed in the world, a habit that all reputable research has linked to heart disease, colon and breast cancers and strokes."


Vegetarian Diet: The Healthier Choice

by Sweta Shah

Sweta is the 16-year old daughter of Santosh & Bhavna Shah, Harvey, LA

As people become more conscious of their health problems, they are looking for newer, less pharmaceutical means of preserving and maintaining their health. A vegetarian diet which contains foods such as grains, beans, nuts, vegetables and fruit, is an important means to maintain one's health. Vegetarians, people whose diet does not include any meat products, eggs, poultry, or fish, are living proofs of the fact that vegetarian diet is healthier than non-vegetarian diet. Further, scientific research shows that meat is not essential for healthy living. So many people are switching to vegetarianism.

Everyone knows that proteins are necessary for good health. Proteins are needed daily to grow and repair tissues to maintain bodily functions. However, many people think that vegetarian diet is protein deficient. It may make people weak, sick and anemic. They do not know that there is a multitude of vegetable protein sources. The National Research Council recommended that the average male should consume nine percent of calories in the form of protein. It should be noted that nine percent is more than double the minimum requirements established by the World Health Organization.(1) Inspection of published food tables reveals that grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and vegetables provide more than nine percent calories in the form of proteins. Although vegetarians eat less protein than do meat eaters, they readily get as much as they need from non-flesh sources. Even vegans, who eat only plant foods, get more protein than the recommended level. This is true in view of the fact that non-vegetarian diet contains more non-essential proteins than vegetarian diet.

Some people have the wrong belief that a lot of protein in diet can make them strong so they can do hard work. However, sports records show that vegetarian athletes surpass or at least do as well as other athletes in events that require strength and endurance, such as running, swimming and tennis. For instance, Pierreo Verot, a vegetarian, holds the world record for downhill endurance skiing. The world record for distance butterfly swimming is held by vegetarians James and Jonathan deDonato.(2) Furthermore, vegetarians are more readily able to attain physical balance, mental clarity, and spiritual harmony ? factors that are critical in maintaining optimal health.

Formerly, vegetable proteins were classified as second-class, and regarded as inferior to first-class proteins of animal origin, but this distinction has now been generally discarded.(3) Now it has been found that excessive amount of protein found in meat products is not only nonessential but it is actually hazardous to our health. For example, osteoporosis and kidney stones have been linked to over-consumption of proteins. Researchers at University of Michigan and other universities have shown that the more protein a person consumes, the more calcium his or her body loses, resulting in osteoporosis. The high-protein (meat-based) diets result in gradual decrease in bone density and cause osteoporosis. The results of the study indicate that vegetarian men have an average bone loss of three percent while non-vegetarian men, seven percent. Vegetarian women have an average bone loss of eighteen percent and non-vegetarian women, thirty-five percent. The study also shows that by the time a non-vegetarian woman reaches the age of sixty-five, she has lost over one-third of her skeletal structure. On the contrary, vegetarian women tend to remain active, maintain their skeletal structure, and are less likely to fracture or break their bones.(4)

Another problem caused by excessive protein is the formation of kidney stones. Kidney stones are caused by crystallization of calcium that is lost from the bones in digesting excessive amounts of protein. There is some evidence that excessive protein consumption can result in destruction of kidney tissue and the deterioration of kidneys. This is because kidneys have to work harder to de-aminize and excrete the excess protein out of the body.(5)

Besides proteins, saturated fats, such as animal fats, and cholesterol play an important role in a person's health. Although some fats are necessary in a balanced diet for body maintenance, saturated fats can be hazardous to one's health if they are taken in excess amounts. Animal fats are heavier and stickier than vegetable fats. The heavier the fat, the more it agglutinates blood cells, thus increasing the viscosity of blood, restricting blood flow and raising blood pressure. If the blood stops moving freely, it can cause a clot in the artery. These clots can lead to heart disease. Similarly, cholesterol, which is found in large amounts in non-vegetarian food, deposits in artery walls and causes the arteries to clog, resulting in angina and other problems.

Approximately thirty-eight percent of all deaths are caused by heart attacks, making them the most common cause of death in the United States. Heart attacks occur at a rate of one per every twenty-five seconds. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the three major risk factors in heart disease are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking. Recent medical research indicates that a high fat, low fiber diet centered on meat is a contributing factor in cardiovascular disease. In 1985, AHA took into account recent medical findings and said, "We have good evidence that most people . . . can reduce a major risk of having a heart attack by following a cholesterol lowering plan. . . . Foods of plant origin, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds contain no cholesterol. These foods are highly recommended."

"Although absent in plant foods, cholesterol is present in meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, and eggs. Cholesterol is the main component of the plaque that builds up in arteries, causing atherosclerosis (disease of arteries)." All of these foods, with the exception of seafood, are also high in saturated fat. Diets high in saturated fats and cholesterol increase cholesterol level in blood and produce atherosclerosis, which leads to heart disease and stroke. Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol keep cholesterol level low and thus lower the probability of heart disease and stroke. Nutritional studies show that vegetarians consumes less cholesterol and saturated fats and have lower levels of cholesterol. Studies also show that meat eaters have higher rates of atherosclerosis and fatal heart disease. In a study, the risk of fatal coronary heart disease among the non-vegetarian members of a group was found to be three tines greater than that for the vegetarian members of the group.(6) Thus AHA advises avoiding foods that have a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol, which are found mainly in animal products and recommends that people should use beans, lentils, tofu, and other plant foods instead of meat in their meals.

A vegetarian diet with lower saturated fat content helps to reverse heart disease. Dr. Dean Ornish has been prescribing vegetarian diet to people with heart disease. It is found that a significantly low fat content in diet is the key ingredient in restoring health. Dr. Ornish, the head of heart disease reversal studies, says, "If everyone in the country was eating a low fat vegetarian diet, heart disease could be as rare as malaria."

Recently, Harvard University and Michio Kushi completed a study to discern the effects of macrobiotic on blood and cardiovascular strength and overall condition. People who normally maintained vegetarian diet were asked to change to a more standard American diet, containing meat, heavy sauces, sweets, and processed foods. After a few weeks, the results showed that their cardiovascular systems were affected adversely by the American diet.(7)

In addition to heart disease, colon and breast cancers are also linked to consumption of excessive saturated fat and cholesterol. The Association for the Advancement of Science states that "populations on high meat, high fat diet are more likely to develop colon cancer than people on vegetarian diet."(8) Evidence from a study conducted in Stockholm, Sweden, reports that the greater the fat intake of a person, the higher the risk he or she has of contracting colon cancer.

Similarly, the more fat a woman consumes in her lifetime, the more likely she is to get breast cancer. In a study conducted at the National Cancer Research Institute in Tokyo by Dr. Hirayama and his coworkers, the results show that women who consume meat daily face an almost four times greater risk of getting breast cancer than those who eat no meat.(9)

Avoiding meats and substituting plant proteins can have amazing effects on general health and well-being. Not only that, but a vegetarian diet can, in many cases, actually reverses diseases. Many miraculous cancer remissions effected by adopting a vegetarian diet have been reported.

One instance is the case of Dr. Anthony Sattilaro who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1978. He underwent traditional medical therapy but the cancer spread to his lungs. When he had only six months to live, he discovered the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Eighteen months after Dr. Satlilaro had switched to a vegetarian diet, a CAT scan performed on him showed that he was completely rid of both cancers.(10)

As mentioned above, some non-vegetarians believe that vegetarians are weak, skinny, and anemic. However, it is seen that most vegetarians experience better than average health and typically live physically active and demanding lives. People who have adopted a vegetarian diet experience many benefits. They sleep better, though for fewer hours. But they wake up feeling more refreshed and energetic than they did before. Many new vegetarians feel "they are now able to participate in life more than they thought possible."(11)

In addition to these physical benefits, a vegetarian can enjoy his or her meals without guilt and without considering the meals to be a form of punishment. Vegetarian meals can be prepared in may different ways to suit different tastes. Some vegetarians feel that they can eat more foods with fewer calories, fat and cholesterol.

A vegetarian diet can have some shortcomings if it is not prepared properly. For example, some foods may have too much salt. They cause water to be drawn out of blood cells, creating dehydration of tissues and result in the problem of water retention in the body. Excessive sodium overburdens the kidneys and forces the heart to work twice as hard. This leads to hypertension ? increased blood pressure. Another problem with a vegetarian diet is that some people may not consume dark green and leafy vegetables, which are a major source of essential vitamins A and E. A proper combination of grains, beans and vegetables is essential to develop an ideal amino acid pattern for the body. For example, combination of corn tortilla and beans, wheat bread and lentils, or beans and rice are good sources of protein.

The foods that were once believed to be the foundation of good health in some parts of the world are actually detrimental to one's health and cause diseases like cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and kidney stones. On the other hand, those foods that were once looked upon by some people as nutritionally deficient have now been proven to be healthy and helpful in maintaining our health and reversing diseases.

Now it has been established that a balanced vegetarian diet is the healthier choice for the well-being of people all over the world.


1. Amato, Paul R. and Sonia Partridge. The New Vegetarians: Promoting Health And Protecting Life, Plenum, New York 1989.

2. Iacobbo, Karen. "Diet Clearly Linked To Leading Killer." Vegetarian Voice: Perspectives on Healthy, Ecological And Compassionate Living, October 1993.

3. Null, Gary. The Vegetarian Handbook: Eating Right For Total Health, St. Martin Press, New York, 1987.

4. Ornish, Dean. Dr. Dean Ornish's Program For Reversing Heart Disease, Random House, New York, 1990.

5. Robbins, John. Diet For A New America, Stillpoint Publishing, New Hampshire, 1987.

6. Vegetarianism: Answers To The Most Commonly Asked Questions. Pamphlet, National American Vegetarian Society, New York, 1993.


1. Robbins (please see bibliography given at the end of the article), page 172.

2. Robbins page 161.

3. Robbins page 183.

4. Robbins page 195.

5. Robbins page 200.

6. Phillips, R. L., et al., The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 31 (October 1978) S191-S198.

7. Null, page 130.

8. Robbins, page 253.

9. Robbins, page 264.

10. In fact, Dr. Sattilaro followed a macrobiotic diet. Some scientists believe that cancer is caused chiefly by our poor dietary habits which routinely include heavy, greasy meats, relined oils, chemical additives, high-sugar treats, overprocessed and chemically altered simple carbohydrates, and dairy products high in cholesterol and saturated fats. The macrobiotic diet replaces these disease-causing foods with ones that are organic, wholesome, and readily assimilated by the body. Null, page 126

11. Null, page 125.


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