August 7, 2011
“To Eat Meat, or Not Eat Meat, That Is The Question.”
Living in the Los Angeles, California area and “The Bubble” of the entertainment business, food and diet is constantly on everyone’s lips. A controversial health issue that’s been up for debate for a long time is whether or not Vegetarianism is healthier than those who choose to keep meat in their diet. So, with this controversial health topic on my mind, I decided to do some research to see what both sides had to say about the issue.
I found a really informative website during my research, called ProCon.org that was very useful in finding great arguments from Pro Vegetarianism and Con Vegetarianism. On the list of Pro’s, they used the following facts concerning health, including the rumor that you couldn’t get enough iron as a Vegetarian: “The Vegetarian diet provides a more healthful form of iron than a meat-based diet. Studies have linked heme iron in red meat with an increased risk of colon and rectal cancer. Vegetarian sources of iron like leafy greens and beans contain non-heme iron.”
In rebuttal to that fact, however, the Con list from ProCon.org shared the following information: “Meat is the best source of vitamin B12 – a vitamin necessary to nervous and digestive system health. Although it is also found in eggs and dairy, a peer-reviewed July 2003 study showed 2 in 3 vegetarians were vitamin B12 deficient compared to 1 in 20 meat eaters.
While on the hunt for more articles that included scientific fact and research, I found some more great information on Vegetarian Times explaining that Vegetarians ward off disease because they’re filling up on high fiber and anti-oxidant rich fruits and veggies and aren’t consuming any animal fat. The article also explained that Vegetarianism could help with Weight Control, which directly affects our overall health. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a division of the CDC, the National Center for Health Statistics, 64 percent of adults and 15 percent of children aged 6 to 19 are overweight and are at risk of weight-related ailments including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A study conducted from 1986 to 1992 by Dean Ornish, MD, president and director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, found that overweight people who followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet lost an average of 24 pounds in the first year and kept off that weight 5 years later.”
On the meat side of weight loss, however, the Con list from ProCon.org cited: “A meat-centered diet can help with weight loss. It takes fewer calories to get protein from lean meat than it does from vegetarian options. One serving of lean beef (3 oz.) contains as much protein as one serving of beans (1½ cups) or a veggie burger. However, the lean beef has half the calories of beans (180 vs. 374), and 50%-75% fewer calories than the veggie burger.”
As part of my research, I did find some disturbing information and videos of animal cruelty that goes on in some of our large animal farms. I found this short film produced by The Humane Society, and wanted to attach it because I feel it’s important to make our selves aware of how animals are treated on some of these farms. However, I also found a very nice video on free-range chickens, that I wanted to attach, that shows there are farms that treat their animals properly. (Videos Below)
Since there are legitimate facts and findings from both sides of the Vegetarianism argument, I found a really nice quote from ProCon.org to end the article with. “The right to eat what we want, including meat, is a fundamental liberty that we must defend. What people eat should be their own choice.“
When choosing to eat meat or not, perhaps we should all make the commitment to be more aware of what kind of meats and foods we’re choosing. May we all live long, healthy, and happy lives.
Warning: Video below contains graphic and potentially emotionally disturbing footage. Viewer discretion is advised