Sunday, April 22, 2012


Debate about the pros and cons of Omnivores way of dieting as compared to that of Herbivores is a never ending one with each side having sound science behind their respective way of living. However the fact still remains that world is slowly moving, albeit at a snail's pace, towards plant foods for sustaining this planet, if for nothing else. But whether this is a permanent feature cannot be determined considering many difficulties that come in the way of changing the dietary style. There are fierce defenders of Omnivores who are thoroughly convinced that man has been designed to eat animal based foods and over many millenia  this has been going on. But equally vociferous are plant food protagonists who aver that there is absolutely no need for animal foods for maintaining good health. Here is a view by one of the most prolific writers on food from the US arguing the case of vegetarianism with some passion and conviction.   

"From Bill Clinton to Ellen DeGeneres, celebrities are singing the benefits of a vegan diet. Books that advocate plant-based eating are best sellers. But is eliminating meat and dairy as simple as it sounds? As countless aspiring vegans are discovering, the switch from omnivore to herbivore is fraught with physical, social and economic challenges — at least, for those who don't have a personal chef. The struggle to give up favorite foods like cheese and butter can be made all the harder by harsh words and eye-rolling from unsympathetic friends and family members. Substitutes like almond milk and rice milk can shock the taste buds, and vegan specialty and convenience foods can cost two to three times what their meat and dairy equivalents do. And new vegans quickly discover that many foods in grocery stores and on restaurant menus have hidden animal ingredients. "The dominant social-cultural norm in the West is meat consumption," said Hanna Schösler, a researcher in the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije University in Amsterdam, who has studied consumer acceptance of meat substitutes. "The people who want to shift to a morevegetarian diet find they face physical constraints and mental constraints. It's not very accepted in our society not to eat meat." Still, the numbers are substantial, according to according to a 2008 report in Vegetarian Times. Three percent of American adults, 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian diet, and one million of them are vegans, who eat no animal products at all — no meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, even honey. (And 23 million say they rarely eat meat.) No one knows how many people have tried and failed to switch to vegan or vegetarian diets, but the popularity of books like "The China Study" and the "Skinny Bitch" series suggests that interest is growing. New vegans often cite Robert Kenner's 2008 documentary "Food, Inc.," which offers an unsettling view of corporate farming and the toll it takes on animals, the environment and human health". 

Whether one is convinced or not by the telling points put forward above, it is a fact that Mother Earth cannot support the Omnivores life style with out destroying herself! One of the most practical constraints working against spread of vegetarianism is the affordability, with plant foods costing 2-3 times more in the present market environment. Why this is so is a matter every country must find out to bring about necessary changes that will make fresh foods like fruits and vegetables cheaper than meat foods. Whether the omnipotent and powerful meat industry will permit the governments to do so is a million dollar question! After all many food giants to day are larger than national governments in terms of financial muscle and with their "money" clout they have the capacity to sabotage any efforts that will hit their own financial "health"!


No comments: