In this world we live in, we find differences or classification in everything we set our eyes on like the rich and the poor, the developing and the developed countries, normal and inferior goods etc. and between all these differences, we also have some related to food items namely vegetarian and non vegetarian. Believed by many, vegetarian cuisine is considered far better, healthy and nutritious than the non veg items which mostly include meat. However, on the other hand, many also claim that consuming only vegetarian food makes us no different from herbivores and moreover lacks variety and taste as well making people bored up very soon. These ideas and views from two sides gives rise to a debate regarding which group is better and/or is there any difference between the two forms when it comes to calorie and nutrition intake.
We humans, unlike animals, are creatures who look for comfort, satisfaction and also show some amount of stubbornness. People get sick of doing the same kind of work again and again; while some look for change others accept it as their fate. The same formula applies to food as well. According to WHO or the World Health Organization, the cost incurred on medical facilities for diabetes and heart diseases in India alone come up to $210 billion per annum with an expectation of an increases to about $335 billion in the next ten years. So this means, an average person has high chances of dying from various lifestyle issues than from a road accident or from an infectious disease like dengue.
A study done on the diet plans of both the groups reveals the positive and negative attached to both, that is, no one group is complete and an adequate mix of both is required.
The study reveals that vegetarians show an increased risk of iron, zinc and vitamin B12 deficiency. However, if they consume a variety of foods in the right quantities, basically a diet meeting the requirements of all nutrients with special focus on items rich in calcium, zinc and vitamin B12, then an optimal healthy diet can be achieved. Ofcource the weightage of exercise cannot be forgotten which adds to the list of most wanted for a better physical condition.
Coming to the other side, the study reveals that non vegetarians have a shorter life span and are more vulnerable to chronic diseases and on an average have more cases of heart diseases, hypertension and diabetes. Studies on the other hand, have however revealed, that the cases of heart diseases does not arise from the consumption of chicken and fish but arise when the same food items are deep fried in partially hydrogenated oil.
According to the study, in America alone the quantity of consumption of high fat content chicken, beef and seafood was more than the quantity consumed by the same locals the previous year. The conclusion which was finally made by this study states that both the diets can help us achieve the optimal health level and also prevent nutritional deficiencies and other chronic diseases if special consideration is given to a diet which includes items in the right quantity and quality with adequate exercise a change in attitude.
On the spiritual front, some cultures believe that consumption of non vegetarian food is a sin, we incur a sin by killing innocent animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Many cultural/religious leaders claim that people who work in such factories incur 70% of the sin while the consumers incur 30%. Surprisingly many also claim that the prodders or workers in slaughter houses are possessed by ghosts because of their callous or carefree attitude towards animals. The sin by killing a cow is considered to be of the highest level. Vegetarians can also be seen as killers as plants are also considered living creations of god, however the sin in killing plants is much less than animals because in case of plants the feeling of pain is far less due to their rudimentary intellect and mind. Adding to the list of spiritual beliefs, it’s also believed that people who like to consume rare meat are likely to attract ghosts, demons and other negative energies. Rare meat is close to raw meat and this type of meat is usually a preference of demons. The paradoxes for the communities who both slaughter and consume meat increase the spiritual impurity of the meat. All such beliefs are superstition or reality depends on our own thinking however such sayings have shown their effect with many rural communities shifting from non veg to veg consumers.
With all such arguments given against non veg food items, the group for its defense asks a simple question that if meat was not made available for man, then why we have canine teeth. Is it not meant for consumption of meat???
The answer for which was given by the proponents by saying that the function of the teeth is for tearing of food. Saying that the provision of canine teeth is for consumption of meat solely is just like saying that the provision of tongue is for cleaning like animals, which cannot be seen as a strong argument.
Thus we have seen various arguments and beliefs brought forward by different studies and the members of the two groups. To choose which group is better still is a difficult task but if someone asks me, I would say that, what we eat does not matter provided that we know what we are consuming and maintaining our physical condition through regular exercise and avoiding to a large extent junk and oily food items.