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Vegetarian Discussion
Those who say Non-vegetarianism is growing - Wake Up!

<!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<span style='color:red'>Americans are - slowly - turning vegetarian: Forbes</span>

Vegetarian food sales doubled since 1998, hitting $1.6 billion in 2003. The market is forecast to grow another 61 percent by 2008, according to Mintel, a global market research firm. That growth is giving an extra kick to the expanding business of organic produce and natural foods companies, and forcing mainstream food producers to scramble for a way to love veggies.

What's in the way of faster change? Meat. A recent poll found 81 percent of the consumers surveyed said "a healthy diet should include meat."

Chalk it up to U.S. consumers being a nutritional nightmare when it comes to diet and lifestyle. Studies show more than one-third of the U.S. population is trying to reduce the amount of meat in their diet. They are occasionally consuming vegetarian foods or drinks, citing health concerns like increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure and cancer as the reason for the shift. Nearly 65 percent of adults and 15 percent of children ages six to 19 are deemed overweight.

A 2001 study by the soy industry-supported United Soybean Board found that 72 percent of consumers reported having changed their eating habits because of health concerns. But many find making diet changes challenging, and they remain lukewarm about vegetarianism, with only a small percentage regularly eating vegetarian foods.

Part of the problem: myths about the dangers of a vegetarian diet. Some 66 percent said they agreed with the inaccurate statement, "vegetarian diets require added supplements," Mintel reported.

Still, market research shows that the number of consumers who lean toward some sort of <span style='color:red'>vegetarianism is increasing across all age groups. The Vegetarian Resource Group estimates that 2.8 percent of adult Americans consider themselves vegetarian</span>, up from 2.3 percent in a 2000 survey. Another 6 percent to 10 percent of the population said it was "almost vegetarian" and another 20 percent to 25 percent are "vegetarian inclined," or intentionally reducing meat in their diet, according to VRG. Predictably, women have a higher interest than men in consuming vegetarian foods and drinks, according to the Mintel survey.

The exhaustive Mintel report defined vegetarian foods as those items that directly replace animal or meat-related products, such as soy milk and textured vegetable protein.

Major companies like Kraft Foods, Kellogg, General Mills, ConAgra Foods and Dean Foods, which once resisted the trend toward meat substitutes, are now taking the shift in American diets seriously. Most have either bought natural and vegetarian food companies, or have begun offering their own lines of meat substitutes.

Kellogg purchased Worthington Foods in 1999, adding the fast-growing Morningstar Farms brand. Kraft owns Boca Foods of Madison, Wis., and Dean Foods acquired popular soy milk producer White Wave in 2002.

New product flavors, packaging and wider distribution moved vegetarian foods out of the traditional health-food specialty store and into the mass-market channel. This shift, along with a steady barrage of medical studies and changes in U.S. government labeling requirements, has led to greater consumption, lower prices and further acceptance of vegetarian foods.

Soy protein, for example, has been shown to lower cholesterol, and food companies have latched on to this fact, claiming soy reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Not surprisingly, soy and dairy milk alternatives showed the strongest growth of vegetarian foods from 2001 to 2003, increasing 68 percent to an estimated $301 million in 2003, according to Mintel. By far the largest segment is frozen meat substitutes accounting for 73 percent of vegetarian foods sales.

<span style='color:red'>Interest in vegetarianism is highest among the youngest age groups (ages 25 to 34)</span>, according to Mintel. But their enthusiasm tends to decline over time for a number of reasons, including life-stage changes such as marriage, birth of children and new careers. As vegetarians age, they tend to regain interest in low-meat diets as a move toward healthier living.

The number of baby boomers ages 45 to 64 should increase nearly 30 percent between 2003 and 2008, helping fuel sales of meat and dairy substitutes. The baby boomer segment is showing an unprecedented interest in "food as medicine" products, including those that provide them with short- and long-term health benefits, according to research published in the 2001 HealthFocus Trend Report. The group also has tremendous spending power — $1.6 trillion — and owns 50 percent of all discretionary income.

© 2006 Forbes.com
Veggie supreme
Anurag Yadav

Say `hello' to a culinary trend that is taking the country by storm. Vegetarianism gets a thumping vote of confidence as restaurants are cashing in on a green diet that sits lightly on your conscience and your tummy as well!

Some dismiss it as a fad. Others say it's the sign of the changing times. The truth is that eating out is fast becoming an Indian passion. If you don't believe that, then just take a peek in at any restaurant on any given evening and you'll find it choc-a-block with people. From the ubiquitous dhabas in north India vending butter chicken and daal roti to the restaurants dotting every town and city and from the roadside kiosks hawking cut fruits and chaat to the swank five star eating joints, it's brisk business all the way.

Whether it is Puran Da Dhaaba in Amritsar, Bukhara in Delhi, Copper Chimney in Mumbai, Paradise in Secundrabad, Saravana Bhavan in Chennai or Mocambo in Kolkata, there's a new prosperity and respectability to the business of food.

With the disposable incomes of urban families on the rise, cooking has become a cumbersome chore best left to someone else. And lending a helping hand is an array of convenience food vendors. Pizza parlours, curry joints, bakeries offering sandwiches and salads, south Indian tiffin, Chinese eating rooms, coffee shops and more, have mushroomed in most cities.

<span style='color:red'>However, over the last couple of years a new trend has surfaced. An increasing number of people are sinking their teeth into gourmet vegetarian food. As the preference for veggie foods goes on the upswing, hotels and restaurants are fine-tuning the art of developing vegetarian cuisine.</span>

Take the case of the popular Nosh restaurant right next to Mumbai's Regal cinema in the posh Colaba area. The eatery draws customers in droves as it offers a heady mix of vegetarian international cuisine with choice dishes from the world's gourmet capitals.

Unlike many such upmarket eating joints that dot the area, Nosh is a totally veggie affair where the menu offers all the pleasures of dining in a good ambience, where one can enjoy quality cuisine. Says owner Czaee Shah, "We knew the trend was catching on but never imagined such a big hunger for vegetarian food. This has surpassed all our expectations."

Veggie brigade

<span style='color:red'>Dominos Pizza, Pizza Hut and Pizza Corner have added a distinct vegetarian Indian flavour to their new range of toppings that include peppy paneer, matter paneer and — hold your breath — spicy chaat pizzas.

Special packages for festivals such as Diwali, Raksha Bandhan and Holi are planned to attract the ever-increasing veggie brigade. There are also Navratra special pizzas and burgersfor the customers who continue to flock in during the period of fasting. </span>

Diva, one of Delhi's most popular Italian restaurants known for its wood fired-grilled seafood, and Sirloin Steak, is fast changing its taste to Pasta of your Choice, Lasagne and Italian Pizza — all vegetarian.

Says its proprietor Ritu Dalmia, "A number of our <span style='color:red'>regular clients especially the foreigners, are ordering more and more vegetarian dishes</span>. That's why we have added a lot more veggies to our menu."

Adds Devendra Kumar, Executive Chef of Hotel Le Meridien, "<span style='color:red'>Vegetarianism today is gaining popularity worldwide. There are several reasons for this change. People are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of vegetables and the health hazards of meat. Also, as people travel more often they prefer vegetarian food, as one can never be sure about the quality of meats being served. Eating vegetables, on the other hand, is always healthier and safer.</span>"

This Indian fascination for meatless diets is not new. The only difference is that earlier the vegetarian restaurant was considered the country cousin of the Food and Beverage (F&B) business. But not any more. Now it is the upmarket thrust that is making the cash registers jingle.

Says Chef Gomes, executive chef at Delhi's Tivoli Garden Resort, "We organise a large number of parties and corporate functions and the <span style='color:red'>vegetarian fare is a major draw today</span>. It is not just Indian fare sans meat that people are asking for. There are also demands for the latest international cuisine, which is vegetarian."

Adds Manoj Thapa, F&B manager at Uppal's Orchid, one of Delhi's new five-star hotels, "As far as international vegetarian recipes are concerned, we have to give customers the very best. So, we import stuff like fresh shiitake mushrooms, Roman artichokes and asparagus. Because even though people may not be familiar with some dishes of international vegetarian cuisine, they are ready to experiment and expect us to give them the best."

Exotic cuisines

The greatest and most visible revolution in the vegetarian food business is happening in top-end hotels and restaurants that are preparing separate menus for the vegetarians. Mumbai tops the list with many veggie joints offering exotic Indian and international cuisines.

Little Italy was opened eight years ago to cater to the up-market, veggie clientele, particularly the high-spending Gujarati market in Mumbai. Proprietor Umesh Mehta says the decision to specialise in Italian cuisine was due to the scant number of restaurants, particularly stand-alone ones that served Italian food. The initial response to the restaurant was not very good, but over time it has made its mark and two more branches outside Mumbai have also been launched. Little Italy has an Italian chef and serves authentic Italian food made from imported ingredients.<span style='color:red'>According to the Hemant Oberoi, chief chef of Mumbai Taj Mahal hotel, around 40 per cent of its clientele is vegetarian</span>, and this necessitates planning special menus for them. Even Delhi's Maurya Sheraton will now offer its celebrated Dal Bukhara without garlic for its Jain clientele!

Many hotels and leading restaurants regularly run vegetarian festivals to cater to the growing and high spending veggie brigade. Another joint that serves totally vegetarian fare in a regal setting is the Carnival at the Ramada Palmgrove Plaza Hotel in Mumbai. According to restaurant manager Oniel D'souza, the promotion offering a pure vegetarian, Marwari style thali, has been conceived with the intention of attracting a vegetarian clientele from the Jain and Marwari crowd.

No longer do chefs pass over a ratatouille or a green salad as a side dish. And no longer does a fresh, green diet breed disdain. It is now given star treatment at all top eating houses. Pulses, fruits, fungi and herbs, vegetable stews, fiery and enticing Thai salads, Chinese mushrooms made with herbs and heady Indian chutneys and pickles are all the pick of the season.

And as vegetarianism gets a thumping vote of confidence for its nutritional value and good taste, it is time to say `hello' to a genre of eating that sits lightly on the conscience... and the tummy as well!

Phirangee becoming brahmanical? Yikes.... <!--emo&:bcow--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_cowboy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_cowboy.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Phirangee becoming brahmanical? Yikes....<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Mad Cow disease and colon cancer is changing eating habit in west.
Yoga is another factor.
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Oct 5 2006, 07:22 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Oct 5 2006, 07:22 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Phirangee becoming brahmanical? Yikes....<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Mad Cow disease and colon cancer is changing eating habit in west.
Yoga is another factor.

Chalo, something good may come out of it in India too, seeing saffronized phirangee brahmanical massa not eating meat and doing yoga, who would have thunk it!!!.... <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->

If anything opens in Gujarat they have got to have a veggie menu. IIRC Pizza Hut opened with an all-veggie restaurant. I wouldnt be surprised if McDonalds is the same or atleast offer Jain-burgers.. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
NPR the other day had a guy taling about how to get kids off meat. He asked people to show kids what happens in hodling pens and slaughterhouses (dileted version). he said that if we shy away from doing this thinking its too scary for kids, we will be avoiding reality. This was a health issues program.

Round and round the merry-go-round, and then everybody will find who their real baap is. And that the "demarcation/line" between Hindu culture and "Modern"/Scientific/Ethical thought is as real as the Unicorn.
My American friend went to India and Nepal and was shocked to see Jhatka shops on street. When he came back he visited US meat processing factories. It was very shocking for him. He is vegetarian now. He did lot of self study on Vegetarian, vegan and Meat eater.
Link sent by him
<b>How humans are not physically created to eat meat</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A popular statement that meat eaters say is; "In the wild, animals kill other animals for food. It's nature." First of all, we are not in the wild. Secondly, we can easily live without eating meat and killing, not to mention we'd be healthier. And finally, as I have already shown, we weren't meant to eat meat. Meat and seafood putrefies within 4 hours after consumption and the remnants cling to the walls of the stomach and intestines for 3-4 days or longer than if a person is constipated. Furthermore, the reaction of saliva in humans is more alkaline, whereas in the case of flesh-eating or preying animals, it is clearly acidic. The alkaline saliva does not act properly on meat.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Colon cancer is rampant! This is caused by the slow evacuation and the putrefaction in the colon of the remains of meat. Lifelong vegetarians never suffer from such an illness. Many meat eaters believe that meat is the sole source of protein. However, the quality of this protein is so poor that little of it can ever be utilized by humans because it is incomplete and lacks the correct combination of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Studies show that the average American gets five times the amount of protein needed. It is a common medical fact that excess protein is dangerous, the prime danger being that uric acid (the waste product produced in the process of digesting protein) attacks the kidneys, breaking down the kidney cells called nephrons. This condition is called nephritis; the prime cause of it is overburdening the kidneys. More usable protein is found in one tablespoon of tofu or soybeans than the average serving of meat!

Have you ever seen what happens to a piece of meat that stays in the sun for three days? Meat can stay in the warmth of the intestine for at least four days until it is digested. It does nothing but wait for passage. Often, it usually stays there for much longer, traces remaining for up to several months. Colonic therapists always see meat passing through in people who have been vegetarians for several years, thus indicating that meat remains undigested there for a long time. Occasionally this has been documented in twenty-year vegetarians!
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->How humans are not physically created to eat meat

Personally i am not a big fan of Vegetarianism. I eat meat (except beef), and i love it.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Many meat eaters believe that meat is the sole source of protein. However, the quality of this protein is so poor that little of it can ever be utilized by humans because it is incomplete and lacks the correct combination of amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

Humans, do not take amino acids from the proteins they eat. Except histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine, all are synthesized De nova, i.e., from basic building blocks. And a rich source of essential aminoacids are meat. The price of a kilo of Soyabean or Broad beans which is good source of these aminoacids is almost double than a kilo of Chicken. I personally think we need healthy indian people first.

The UNDP report says almost 50% of children in India less than the age of five suffer from malnutrion. This is the generation that is going to build india later.

What ever may be, in general, a person can choose to be vegetarian if he wants to at his own luxury. But, promoting it in a country like india is suicide.
OK. Thanks bengurionji for providing the inputs.

Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids. There are about 20 different amino acids, essencial eight of these must be present in a healthy diet, all of which you have mentioned by name in your post.

You are absolutely right - unlike animal proteins, plant proteins may not contain all the essential amino acids within a single source. So just the kidney beans or just the broad beans may not have all types of amino acids.

But remember no sane vegetarian eats just daal or just rice or just the rotis or just drinks milk. A normal vegetarian diet includes a mixture of at least pulses-bread-rice and vegetables. This mixture makes up for all the essential amino acids you have mentioned. Combining plant proteins, such as a grain with a pulse, leads to a high quality protein which is just as good, and in some cases better, than protein from animal foods. (By the way, if someone considers Milk as vegetarian - then he should not have any issue at all with protein diversity - since milk and milk products are as rich in protein as meats).

Also, excess dietary protein may lead to health problems too! One of the benefits of a vegetarian diet is that it contains adequate but not excessive protein.

Another very important point. While you did mention, righly, about chicken meat being well-packed with protein in all types of amino constituents - You chose to ignore other contents of chicken meat.

Important one being <b>CHOLESTROL</b> the bad one. A serving of 145 grams of chicken meat contains as much as 641 mg of cholestrol, while the serving of the same amount of daal, rice, roti or vegitables has NIL or negligible cholestrol, in fact some good cholestrol.

Another very important thing to compare. The same serving size of chicken meat has absolutely NIL dietary fiber, resulting in other hazards. On the contarary, the vegetarian diet is such a rich source of the same.

Now about the price and economy. Let me do some research and get back to you.
<span style='color:red'>Veg or Non-Veg? in Bombay, It Matters</span>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, The Associated Press

BOMBAY, India - Never mind pets, smokers or loud music at 2 a.m. House hunters in Bombay increasingly are being asked: “Do you eat meat?” If yes, the deal is off.

As this city of 16 million becomes the cosmopolitan main nerve of a booming Indian economy, real estate is increasingly intersecting with cuisine. More middle-class Indians are moving in, more of them are vegetarian, and the law is on their side.

“Some people are very strict. They won’t sell to a nonvegetarian even if he offers a higher price than a vegetarian,” said real estate broker Norbert Pinto.

Vegetarianism is a centuries-old custom among Hindus, Jains and others in India. The government reckons India has some 220 million vegetarians, more than anywhere else in the world.

“Veg or non-veg?” is heard constantly in restaurants, at dinner parties and on airlines. And the question has long been an unwritten part of the interrogation house hunters must submit to.

But it’s becoming more open, and the effects more noticeable, all the more so in Bombay, which attracts immigrants from Gujarat and Rajasthan, strongly vegetarian states, as well as followers of the Jain religion.

In constitutionally secular India, there’s no bar to forming a housing society and making an apartment block exclusively Catholic or Muslim, Hindu or Zoroastrian.

Vegetarians say they too need segregation.

“I live in a cosmopolitan society,” said Jayantilal Jain, trustee of a charity group. “But vegetarians should be given the right to admit who they want.”

Rejected home-seekers have mounted a slew of court challenges to the power of housing societies to discriminate, but last year India’s highest tribunal ruled the practice legal.

“It’s just not fair. It’s a monopoly by vegetarians,” said Kiran Talwar, 49, a prosthetics engineer who has seen vegetarianism take over restaurants and groceries all over his childhood neighborhood on posh Nepeansea Road.

“If you step out to eat, there’s nothing for miles because everything around is veggie,” he said.

Suburban supermarkets have been known to dump their non-veg foods overnight because of complaints from shoppers.

“We cleared our shelves of tuna tins and frozen chicken. We don’t keep any nonvegetarian items now,” said Neelam Ahuja, owner of the K-value supermarket. “Many customers don’t like non-veg, so we stopped stocking it.”

K-value took the action even though it’s in a heavily Christian neighborhood, and Christians in India aren’t known to have particularly many vegetarians among them.

While Indians are accustomed to housing societies demarcated by religion, separation by diet has meat-eaters worried. Bombay likes to think of itself as a city wide open to the world, and some worry that the vegetarian tide goes against that trend.

Vikramaditya Ugra, a young Bombay banker in search of an apartment, said vegetarian colonies were fine in neighboring Gujarat, a state dominated by vegetarians. “That’s in tune with local sensitivity,” he said.

“But to impose this restriction is not right in a cosmopolitan city like Bombay.”

Ravi Bhandari, a 68-year-old retired businessman, said he tried to lease his apartment to an Indian oil company but the housing society bluntly nixed the deal.

“They said the first tenant is vegetarian, but who knows who will replace him?” said Bhandari, himself a vegetarian who confesses that he had a soft spot for chicken in his youth. “I respect their concerns so I didn’t lease my flat.”

Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong if vegetarians want to not allow non-vegetarian living amongst them, or want to live themselves in a veggie-only soceity. This is not the same as racial segregation, is it!
The Hindu tradition is to do what you want and to keep to yourself. Western neo-vegetarians seem to want to "convert" everybody to vegetarianism and try to impose it on others(ex. PETA). If someone wants to eat meat, that is their business, but I also disagree with those (An idea also coincidentally of Western origin) who tell vegetarians that their diet is somehow unhealthy without meat. I have been a vegetarian my whole life and my aerobic and anaerobic fitness level is much higher than most people who eat meat.

Seems to me that telling other's what to do and to convert people to only your way of life is a very much a western style, unlike Hindus who believe in every community and person doing their own thing.

<!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> Agni--,
in the garb of vege, u have discussed almost the whole philosophy of east and west.
Here is my take on the subject based on ur observation and even otherwise:
Ours is an Individualistic society.
Westerns are part of Independent society. Though I have made my point in this very sentence but to elaborate it, Independent and cooperative.
Not to incense Bodhi, let me say on Veges also:
Be a mokatarian i.e. eat as per opportunity; vege amongst veges and nonvege amongst nonveges.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> If someone wants to eat meat, that is their business, but I also disagree with those (An idea also coincidentally of Western origin) who tell vegetarians that their diet is somehow unhealthy without meat.


I totally agree. You should perhaps also disagree with those who tell, meat eater that their diet is somewhat unhealthy because of the meat.

Good Vegetarian diet is many times better than a diet with meat. But, its individual preference. As for me, anything edible that does not involve killing of cow is fine.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Another very important thing to compare. The same serving size of chicken meat has absolutely NIL dietary fiber, resulting in other hazards. On the contarary, the vegetarian diet is such a rich source of the same.

Bodhi ji,

I have no second thoughts about Vegetarianism being good. Please do consider the fact that those who eat meat, don't eat meat alone for lunch or dinner or breakfast. They have Vegetarian stuff also. The fibre content can be obtained in many forms. Apart from rice and fresh leafy salads of spinach, whole wheat breads that usually accompany a chicken dish or a lamb dish is there for fibres.

Cholesterol, i agree. But, Younger people digest more and grow better with higher nutritional value food.

My point is, We should take what is good in both vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism and make our diet healthier and live a better life.
Some points:

1. The treatment of animals in the US etc is to be seen to be believed.

2. Einstein, Plato, Socrates, Thomas Edison, and all ancient Indian thinkers were veg

3. Taste is the only advantage non-veg has over veg.

4. 80% of India is nonveg. So if 50% under 5 are malnourished, its becos of poverty, not becos of veg.

5. Veg is good for you, for the animals. for the earth.

6. I used to eat *everything*. Been veg for 6 yrs. Feel better than ever.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->80% of India is nonveg.

Oh!! Thats news to me. I was thinking much less...

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->So if 50% under 5 are malnourished, its becos of poverty, not becos of veg.

It is because of poverty. And cheeper alternative to get better life is eating meat.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->. Taste is the only advantage non-veg has over veg.

I beg to differ. I will prefer my favorite veg dish for a chicken burger.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Einstein, Plato, Socrates, Thomas Edison, and all ancient Indian thinkers were veg

Einstein was vegetarian only for the last year or so of his life.

I would not make a statement like, All Indian thinkers were Vegetarians.
Turning out to be a good discussion so far.

Agnivayu, yes you are right about Hindu tradition being 'do what you want, let others do what they want'. World would be a much peaceful and wonderful place if everyone minded his or her own business and never bothered about what others were doing. Hindus, and why only Hindus, almost all ancient civilizations lived that kind of attitude for long long time. ("Life is a toothbrush, you do yours let me use mine")

But unfortunately world is neither idealistic, nor so simple as that. We live in a world of influences. We like it or not, want it or not, the world of isolation is long over. Now we live in a world, where every "kind" of philosophy, ideology, thought-process, practice musters and practices influence upon all other.

Take for example our own discussion of 'veg vs non-veg'. Once upon a time, say about 200 years back, majority of non-veg parents will pass on non-veg eating preferances to their children; just like veg preferring parents will do so to their next generation. And why only eating habits, all other traditions will be passed along from one generation to the next. This way a continuity and co-existance was guaranteed for all of the traditions in a harmonious environment.

However, today, you can not guarantee that the eating preferances of next generation would be the same as previous generation - this is just like other traditions including even faith system. Today, people are increasingly more influenced by the peer culture and 'horizontal vibes', rather than parental influence and 'traditions'. This is the age of information and influence.

So, whats the point?

Point is, if one is passionate about certain ethical code or ideology (here vegetarian ethics), and wants to see that this ideology progresses in the world, it is far from sufficient to just raise one's children in those ethics. The way influences are there in our world, next generations of veggie parents may take to the conflicting ideology. It may be fine too for some parents. But, at the same time, one has all the right to do all one can, to explain why one is following the ideology one is following. And I see nothing wrong in influencing and encouraging others in joining in - through ethical, legal, acceptable, moral means of course. This is different from "conversion" as you have put it, since there is no involvement of falsehood, coercion, force, ambition, organized-church-like body or commercial interests. This is just making a thought popular.

Also you should observe, non-vegetarianism is NOT an ideology, while vegetarianism actually is, from times forgotten! So you may say vegetarianism is NOT conflicting or offending any particular ideology. It is only negating the habits and practices. Situation is somewhat similar to the difference between Buddhist monks preaching religion to no-religion people 2500 years ago Vs Christian missionaries converting people of other faiths in year 2006.

I hope I was able to convey what I think.

Shambhu, thank you. You may want to share how and why you turned to become vegetarian and your experiences of doing so. (You don't have to)

Bengurionji...Yes you are right, India is more vegetarian than 20%, though there is no single agreed upon figure. US foreign markets research (link) says: "Indian vegetarians, primarily lacto vegetarians, make up about 20-30% of the population in India, while occasional meat-eaters make up for another 30%. Indians are estimated to make up more than 70% of the world's vegetarians."

About taste, also I agree. Vegetarian dishes are very tasty. They have got to be more tasty to keep vegetarians - vegetarians!

But I agree with Shambhuji about thinker part. Meats have been knows to be tamasik, and make mind sluggish. This is very nicely explained by Bhagwan Sri Krishna in Gita and Bhagwan Buddha in Dharma Pada. Even Jesus and Mohammed agreed on this point. Any thinker of some worth has got to be sattvik eater - not just vegetarian. And this is probably why not only in India, thinkers world over have tended to be vegetarians rather than non-vegetarians.

About poverty and meat-eating. On one hand you say you agree to vegetarian food being healthier, so why do you insist upon poor being fed on unhealthy food? There are ample options for poor. Let me give you some examples.

In Bihar and UP, do you know what is the basic staple diet in rural areas? It is called 'Satua' or 'Sattoo'. Basically it is a powder prepared from mixture of different types of pulses and wheat. The labourers, farmers, travelers, just mix this in water, and eat it with Jaggery, Chilly, Salt, boiled potato. This makes up for almost all the protein, vitamin, carb needs. When they have time at hand, they make 'laddoos' of it and bake it on fire, and eat with oil/ghee. (This lunch costs less than Rs 5, is very handy, takes no time to prepare, does not perish easily, no bad-smell or messy stuff)

Likewise in Maharashtra, there is Jhunka Bhakar, which is staple diet of labourers and lower working class. This too provides very good nutrition at very affordable cost.

Let us be practical. Yes our country needs to take care of the impoverished mal-nutritioned children. Meat eating may be just an option - I am not denying it - but nothing will justify this as THE solution. There are other practical, healthier solutions.
Every person is a combination of satvic, tamasic, and rajasic qualities. Then, someone who is tamasic will naturally be drawn to those kinds of things, same thing for someone who is satvic. I don't think there is anything wrong is explaining our point of view, but people will do what is in their core nature.

I have seen people who are vegetarian, but are alcoholics. In that case, them being vegetarian doesn't serve the purpose of staying in the satvic guna.

Regarding malnutrition, I read somewhere that to get 1 calorie of chicken meat it takes about 1.1 calories of intake. The same for a fish. For beef it's 30 calories for 1 calorie, so it's acutally highly inefficient to produce in densly populated countries.
And today (no surprise), beef is cheap and popular only in lower density countries (USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina etc..)
<!--QuoteBegin-agnivayu+Oct 5 2006, 07:16 PM-->QUOTE(agnivayu @ Oct 5 2006, 07:16 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Every person is a combination of satvic, tamasic, and rajasic qualities.  Then, someone who is tamasic will naturally be drawn to those kinds of things, same thing for someone who is satvic.  I don't think there is anything wrong is explaining our point of view, but people will do what is in their core nature.

There are two different components in human behaviour - called Prakriti and Pravritti (nature and tendencies).

Prakriti is the baseline behaviour - very hard to change - requires complete transformation. Pravritti are tendencies - which one developes over time, through repeated unconcious actions, which become habits and default behaviour. Pravrittis can be rather easily adjusted.

Meat eating really is not a Prakriti of humans. Experience has shown this to only be pravritti.

<!--QuoteBegin-agnivayu+Oct 5 2006, 07:16 PM-->QUOTE(agnivayu @ Oct 5 2006, 07:16 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I have seen people who are vegetarian, but are alcoholics.  In that case, them being vegetarian doesn't serve the purpose of staying in the satvic guna.
Vegetarian diet is only one step on sattvik path. Takes much more than just being vegetarian. However Vegetarian diet is mandatory first step towards sattvik life, even if not the last step.

(I had mentioned importance of sattva, and therefore vegetarian diet, in context of why majority of great thinkers were vegetarians. In fact majority of great thinkers also did not drink.)
Someday will string together some thoughts on this, but my interest in this subject is - Food as new avenue for social constructionists, Food industry's reach and shenanigans, food information war and environmental effects. If anyone can share their thoughts on these, will be useful to build a scenario that considers everything, and that is helpful. Anyway, just a thought and now I duck back and follow the discussion. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

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