|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
Vegetarianism, a rational consideration By Dugald T. Lewis, MD Despite the raging Dietary wars and the hundreds of diet books available in bookstores today, more and more Americans are becoming increasingly confused about the optimal diet. Nearly two centuries ago, society was also facing this dilemma. Let us take a retrospective analysis of the issue. In 1809, a British physician William Lambe, M.D, wrote a book entitled Reports of the Effects of a Peculiar Regimen in Schirrous Tumours and Cancerous Tumors. His recommended regimen was the discontinuance of flesh food and the free use of water. He advised that this diet if continued for three years would be curative for cancers. Later, the English poet P.B Shelley, a friend of Dr. Lambe who became a convert to Vegetarianism wrote; "Never take any substance into the stomach that once had life." Three decades later on September 30, 1847, a Vegetarian Society was formed in Great Britain with 265 charter members. Meanwhile Sylvester Graham (originator of the Graham cracker) began preaching the virtues of a vegetarian diet across America. The American Vegetarian Society was later formed at a convention of diet reformers in Clinton Hall, New York on May 15, 1850. The first President of that society was Dr. William A. Alcott of Massachusetts, another health advocate. For the remainder of the nineteenth century, several leading American health reformers publicly promoted vegetarianism. Among them were Dr. Milo North of Connecticut, William Metcalf, pastor of the Society of Bible Christians of Philadelphia, and Dr. James C. Jackson and Dr. Russell T. Trall, physicians who had given up on the dangerous drug therapy of that time. Later Dr John H. Kellogg of corn flakes fame, and Ellen G. White founder of the Battle Creek Sanitarium began ardently promoting vegetarianism. Some of their supporters included leaders of the Women Suffrage movement such as Mrs. Susan B. Anthony and Mrs. Amelia Bloomer. On November 2, 1886, the American Vegetarian Society convened a reception in Philadelphia where the featured speaker was Dr. John H. Kellogg of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. At that reception, Dr. Kellogg gave a historical review of vegetarianism. Many Americans later became firm believers as a result of the strong emphasis on vegetarianism by the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Ellen G. White, founder of that institution was a notable health reformer who wrote strongly against the use of flesh foods in the American diet. In 1905, she wrote the following; "Those who use flesh foods little know what they are eating. Often if they would see the animals when living and know the quality of the meat they eat, they would turn from it with loathing. People are continually eating flesh that is filled with tuberculosis and cancerous germs. Tuberculosis, cancer, and other fatal diseases are thus communicated." Despite the warnings, millions of acres of land in the Southwestern United states were later cleared and used for feeding cattle. The American cowboy became an icon. Millions of Americans began changing their diet from a predominantly herbivorous to a predominantly carnivorous one. In 1981, Dr. Linus Pauling commented that over the past 75 years the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains by Americans had dropped by 40%. These continuing trends have removed the protection against dread diseases that comes from consumption of fruits and vegetables. At the same time diseases caused by increased meat intake are increasing in our western world. In the nineteenth century, tuberculosis was one of the first recognized diseases that was transmitted through animal products. Since then, many more have been recognized. In 1997, the National Cancer Institute reported that at least 70% of cancer was preventable This came after their thorough analysis of more than 4000 dietary studies where they were able to detect a relationship between cancer and the consumption of animal flesh. Animal meat can cause many deadly diseases in humans. The excess Cholesterol that produces blockage of the arteries comes only from animal products. Slaughterhouse workers have been shown to have a higher incidence of lymphomas, a cancer that can be transmitted by viruses. Bovine HIV infections, present in up to 10% of cattle are believed to be similar to the Human HIV, and many believe that these infections can be transmitted to humans. Mad Cow disease or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is known to cause the same disease in humans, also known as Creutzfeldt Jakob disease. This disease has already taken the lives of over 100 people in Great Britain. There are health experts who believe that some patients diagnosed with Alzeihmers disease may actually have Human Mad Cow disease. In 2001, 13 billion pounds of dead animal parts from pigs and cows were fed to America's chickens as food. Many bacterial intestinal infections such as Campylobacter, E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and Helicobacter pylori are transmitted by the consumption of animal flesh. In 2002 we saw two major meat recalls in America. ConAgra Foods Inc. in July recalled almost 19 million pounds of ground beef from a plant in Greeley, Colorado, some of which was contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Pilgim's Pride Corp recalled 27.4 million pounds of ready-to-eat chicken and turkey products in what U.S. officials called the largest recall in the nation's history. Commenting on that disaster, Paul Harvey, nationally renowned radio personality commented last October; "Ellen White foresaw meat contamination over 100 years ago. She said it would come close to the time of the end." Now in 2003, we are witnessing SARS, another disease caused by consumption of a certain cat species by the Chinese. After 200 years, society must rethink vegetarianism as a safer form of eating. It is a rational consideration that can be life-saving. ___________________________________________________________ Contact Dr. Dugald Lewis
Robert Cohen, author of: MILK A-Z
Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dairy Education Board
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