16 October 2006

Unusual veggo site

This site is a vegetarian site — a Christian one. I expected it to be overflowing with “the Lord wants you to do” type moralising, but it started with just a single little burst:

The apostle Paul taught that we should take care of our bodies, which are sacred gifts from God. He wrote to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

After that, the site gets into the pragmatics quite heavily (snippets follow):

Vegetarianism substantially reduces the risk of heart disease in several ways. The amount of cholesterol in the blood correlates strongly with heart disease, and diets heavily laden with cholesterol and saturated fat elevate blood cholesterol. Even the leanest meat is high in cholesterol and saturated fat.
free radicals contribute to clogging of the arteries that feed the heart, brain, and other organs. Iron, which is concentrated in animal flesh, promotes free radical formation. Vegetables contain a wide range of free radical scavengers ([...] antioxidants) that eliminate free radicals. There is a far greater range of free radical scavengers in natural plant foods than in multivitamins.
Dr Dean Ornish found that a low-fat vegetarian diet combined with moderate exercise, stress management, smoking cessation, and group support actually reverses obstruction of arteries that serve the heart.
By several mechanisms, meat and other animal products are also associated with breast, colon, and types of other cancers. Cooked meat contains large quantities of heterocyclic amines, which cause mutations that lead to cancer.
Similarly, vegetarians have reduced rates of obesity and diabetes. While fat in food is converted to fat in our bodies with about 97 percent efficiency, converting carbohydrates to fat consumes about 24 percent of the carbohydrates’ energy content. Fiber in grains and fructose sugar in fruits help people feel full, which discourages overeating.
Animal protein intake strongly correlates with bone loss and risk of hip fracture, while nonanimal foods protect the bones. Animal proteins are heavily laden with sulfur-containing amino acids, which metabolize to sulfuric acid and acidify the blood. The body leaches calcium from bones to neutralize the acid, weakening the bones. In addition, acidic blood directly stimulates cells that break down bone and inhibits cells that make bone. In contrast, vegetables and fruits contain base precursors, not found in animal foods, that neutralize acids and protect bones.
The food industry laces animals’ feed and water with antibiotics, including penicillin, inorganic arsenic (the most toxic form of arsenic), and erythromycin. The antibiotics promote growth by reducing the amount of bacteria in animals’ intestines and by preventing infection, to which crowded, stressed animals are predisposed. In addition to other effects (e.g., arsenic is carcinogenic), routine antibiotic use leads to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, thereby reducing antibiotics’ effectiveness when treating people suffering from food poisoning or other infectious diseases. Thoroughly cooking meat kills bacteria, but also raises the concentration of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines.
The animal agriculture industry also feeds animals ground-up carcasses — a practice that appears to be responsible for new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human equivalent of “mad cow disease.”
To increase growth and productivity, farmers give hormones to animals. Widely used in the United States, these hormones are known to cause several types of cancer and reproductive dysfunction in humans. While U.S. farmers claim that using hormones to promote growth is safe, the European Union has prohibited this practice since 1995.
Overall, vegetarianism correlates with longevity. A vegetarian diet, exercise, lower body mass index, abstinence from smoking, and hormone replacement therapy (among postmenopausal women), taken together, account for up to ten years’ greater life expectancy.
While humans can digest flesh, and it is likely that our early ancestors did consume some meat, our anatomy much more strongly resembles that of plant-eating creatures. For example, like herbivores (but unlike carnivores), our colons are long and complex (not simple and short) and our intestines are ten to eleven times longer than our bodies (not three to six times longer).
Human anatomy and physiology resemble herbivores in many other ways. Our saliva contains digestive enzymes (unlike carnivores); our dental incisors are broad, flattened, and spade-shaped (not short and pointed); our canine teeth are short and blunted (not long, sharp, and curved); our molars are flattened with nodular cusps (not sharp blades like many carnivores); and our nails are flattened (not sharp claws).
Misinformation from the animal agricultural industry and their friends in government has convinced many people that animal products are necessary for human health.
Tens of millions die annually from starvation or disease related to malnutrition, mostly children. Yet worldwide in 1998, 37 percent of all harvested grain was fed to animals being raised for slaughter; 66 percent in the United States. Meat wastes between 66-92 percent of grains’ proteins and calories.
It is ironic that vegetarians are often accused of caring more about animals than humans, even though they encourage a diet that feeds humans, not animals. Those who assert “Humans come first” should choose to eat lower on the food chain.

Not until nearly halfway down the (long) page do we get the slightest chapter-&-verse — and even then, it’s very light-on. The page has 84 technical cross-references on it.

Very pragmatic; very restrained, I thought, telling us the basic tale without too much emphasis on Christian history.

It goes on to touch on economics, drift-nets, ecology, all sorts of stuff containing no references at all to pilgrimages, blasphemy or people smiting one another. Very impressive. I’ll also be impressed, I suspect, if these people do a book on money.

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