|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 215 ]
A vegetarian diet lies at the foundation of the yogic life. The reasons for maintaining a vegetarian diet are numerous and support health for the individual, as well as harmony with our surrounding, natural environment.
Convincing the habitual meat-eater of the value of vegetarianism, though, is often no small task. A lot of propaganda surrounds the eating of meat and an enormous industry relies on meat production, processing and consumption. There's a lot at stake, in financial terms, for a lot of people.
The debate usually starts off on the health front, as Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri writes:
"Most of the people of the word today have been deluded into thinking that they cannot survive except on a diet high in animal protein. This entire concept has been allowed to grow, not-withstanding that a great portion of the world's population is vegetarian...
The person whose diet is made up of heavy animal protein insists that this protein is necessary for health, and indeed he is [partially] correct. We need protein in copious amounts, but we get protein in almost every food we eat, and we do not require animal protein at any time as an adult if an adequate balance of food is being consumed.
Let the sceptic answer this question: 'Where does the cow get its protein from?' Why get yours second-hand, so-to-speak?"
A Scientific Perspective on Vegetarianism
It is a fact that the bio-availability of proteins from meat is less than that from its organic counterparts in nature. This means simply that meat proteins, though they may seem from a composite structure to be more 'complete', in fact take much longer to break down into their 'useable components' within the digestive tract of the human being than do proteins from vegetable sources. This extra-digestive effort requires a higher degree of energy output, thereby negating much of the benefits of the digested substances.
More importantly, though, meat spends a considerably longer amount of time undergoing the digestive process within the human digestive tract than its protein-rich vegetarian counterparts. Thus, before it can be completely broken down and its components either assimilated or expelled, it putrefies (rots) within the gut, leading to the production of toxins which are severely damaging to health over time.
The digestive tract of the human body is simply not designed, as it is for meat-eaters in the animal kingdom, to accommodate the digestive process of meat. Thus, the eating of meat has created a ‘'toxic race' of human beings.
The meat-eating habit is not a natural one for the human species, and consequently is the single biggest disease-contributing factor in cultures where meat-eating predominates. Doctor Swami Gitananda Giri often used to tell his patients, "You’re not sick. You’re toxic!"...
Vegetarian Diet - Part B >>
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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