the great vegetarian debate

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

the great vegetarian debate

Postby Luke » Tue May 05, 2009 7:08 pm

Howdy! I thought I'd create a thread for anyone to talk about vegetarianism. First of all, I'm curious to know if any of our members are vegetarian or at least mostly vegetarian. (Hmm, I wonder if there should be a "Food and Exercise" subforum...)

I finally became a vegetarian a few weeks ago for ethical reasons. I had been stopped on the street a few times by some Hare Krishnas who were looking for donations. I gave them some small donations and told them that I was Buddhist and got into some discussions with them. They are all strict vegetarians and I was embarrassed to admit that I was not. Also, many Buddhist masters have talked about the benefits of being a vegetarian (I know that some don't think it's so important, but I've never heard of a Buddhist master actively opposing vegetarianism) and I had been considering trying it for a long time.

However, I would describe myself as "mostly vegetarian" even though I am strictly vegetarian at the moment. My intention is to do what the Dalai Lama does: he eats only vegetarian food when he's at home, but he sometimes eats meat when he's travelling. This sounds sensible to me because I don't want to create a huge fuss every time I'm a guest at somebody's house. I also don't want to check if the things I buy are made with trace amounts of animal products because I live in a foreign country where I still have trouble translating all the writing on the labels. The main thing is that I'm no longer eating large chunks of slaughtered animals.

During the first few days, I felt kind of strange, slept a lot, and had farts which smelled disturbingly similar to dog farts (which I don't think violates any precept. "Thou shalt not dog-fart." "Lama, I am experiencing a 'wind disorder' "). Hmm...I don't think I'd want to share a windowless cabin with a group of fruitarians. :?

But now I feel pretty normal again. Life goes on. Things aren't really so different now, except that I now fantasize about onion rings and large containers of cherry yogurt instead of about steaks and sushi.
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Tue May 05, 2009 8:49 pm

Hi Luke,

I started being a serious vegetarian a couple of months ago. Prior to that I had been mostly veggie for a few months. I've really lost any cravings for meat the the sight of it and smell of it is sort of icky for me. My friends and family have been really cool about it, for which I'm grateful. I feel a lot better since giving up meat! Maybe we can support each other on the veggie-path, as we're both kind of new to it.

Do you feel better physically since giving up meat?

:namaste:
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dazzle » Tue May 05, 2009 9:19 pm

I've been a vegetarian for most of my life.

This is a good site to explore for Buddhist vegetarians:

http://www.shabkar.org/

:smile:
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue May 05, 2009 9:26 pm

I have been vegetarian for 25 years. I was Buddhist first and then began to see that vegetarianism naturally followed from the First Precept, loving-kindness for all beings, and compassion for all beings.

I have never looked back and always found it odd that some become vegetarian only to revert back to meat after some time passes. My health improved tremendously, as well as energy since being vegetarian.
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue May 05, 2009 9:44 pm

In the Lankavatara Sutra, the Buddha states that he “does not permit the eating of meat and will not permit it” and he predicted that in the future there would be people who would twist his words to make it appear that he approved of meat eating.
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dazzle » Tue May 05, 2009 10:56 pm

A teaching on not eating meat by HH 17th Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje


http://www.rinpoche.com/teachings/nomeat.htm?page_id=52


_/\_
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby thornbush » Wed May 06, 2009 3:09 am

Here's some Sutra/Commentary/Articles references on various differing views...
From the Brahmajala Sutra
http://www.ymba.org/bns/bnsframe.htm
3. On Eating Meat
A disciple of the Buddha must not deliberately eat meat. He should not eat the flesh of any sentient being. The meat-eater forfeits the seed of Great Compassion, severs the seed of the Buddha Nature and causes [animals and transcendental] beings to avoid him. Those who do so are guilty of countless offenses. Therefore, Bodhisattvas should not eat the flesh of any sentient beings whatsoever. If instead, he deliberately eats meat, he commits a secondary offense. (43)

4. On Five Pungent Herbs
A disciple of the Buddha should not eat the five pungent herbs -- garlic, chives, leeks, onions, and asafoetida. (44) This is so even if they are added as flavoring to other main dishes. (45) Hence, if he deliberately does so, he commits a secondary offense.

From the Shurangama Sutra
http://www.e-sangha.com/alphone/shurangama.html
"Ananda, all beings can live if they eat what is fresh, and they will die if they take poison. Beings who seek Samadhi should refrain from eating five pungent plants of this world. If these five are eaten cooked, they increase one's sexual desire; if they are eaten raw, they increase one's anger. Therefore, even if people in this world who eat pungent plants can expound the twelve divisions of the Sutra canon, the gods and immortals of the ten directions will stay far away from them because they smell so bad. However, after they eat these things the hungry ghosts will hover around and kiss their lips. Being always in the presence of ghosts, their blessings and virtue will dissolve as the days go by, and they will experience no lasting benefit. People who eat pungent plants and also cultivate Samadhi will not be protected by the Bodhisattvas, gods, immortals, or good spirits of the ten directions; therefore, the tremendously powerful demon kings, able to do as they please, will appear in the body of a Buddha and speak Dharma for them, denouncing the precepts and praising lust, rage, and delusion. When their lives end, these people will join the retinue of demon kings. When they use up their blessings as demons, they will fall into the unintermittent hell. Ananda, those who cultivate for Bodhi should never eat the five pungent plants. This is the first of the gradual stages of cultivation.

http://online.sfsu.edu/~rone/Buddhism/S ... uotes.html
"Purna, thought and love become bound together so that people love each other and cannot bear to be apart. As a result, ceaseless successive births of parents, children, and grandchildren occur in this world. And the basis for all that is desire and greed.

4p 38-39 "Greed and emotional love feed on one another until the greed becomes insatiable. The result of that in this world is the tendency of egg-born, womb-born, moisture-born, and transformation-born beings to devour one another to the extent that their strength permits. The basis for all that is killing and greed.

4p 40 "Suppose a person eats a sheep. The sheep dies and becomes a person; the person dies and becomes a sheep, The same applies in all rebirths among the ten categories. Through death after death and birth after birth, they eat each other. The evil karma one is born with continues to the bounds of the future. The basis for all that is stealing and greed.

4p 42 "‘You owe me a life; I must repay my debt to you.’ Due to such causes and conditions we pass through hundreds of thousands of eons in sustained cycle of birth and death.

6p 20 "After my cessation, in the Dharma-ending Age, these hordes of ghosts and spirits will abound, spreading like wildfire as they argue that eating meat will bring one to the Bodhi Way.

6p 20-21 "Ananda, I permit the Bhikshus to eat five kinds of pure meat. This meat is actually a transformation brought into being by my spiritual powers. It basically has no life-force.
Those of you Brahmans who live in a climate so hot and humid, and on such sandy and rocky land, that vegetables will not grow; therefore, I have had to assist you with spiritual powers and compassion.
Because of this magnanimous kindness and compassion, this so-called meat suits your taste.
After my extinction, how can those who eat the flesh of beings be called the disciples of Shakya?
6p 22 "You should know that these people who eat meat may gain some awareness and may seem to be in samadhi, but they are all great rakshasas. When their retribution ends, they are bound to sink into the bitter sea of birth and death.
They are not disciples of the Buddha. Such people as these kill and eat one another in a never-ending cycle. How can such people transcend the Triple Realm?
6p 23 "When you teach people of the world to cultivate samadhi, they must also cut off killing. This is the second clear and decisive instruction on purity given by the Thus Come Ones, the Buddhas of the Past, World Honored Ones.

From the Lankavatara Sutra
http://lirs.ru/do/lanka_eng/lanka-chapter-4.htm#chap8

Some links:
On Stopping Killing
On Not Eating Meat
Animal Friendly Cultural Heritage and Royal Decrees in the Legal History of Sri Lanka
THE FIRST PRECEPT: REVERENCE FOR LIFE
http://www.shabkar.org/index.htm

Other views:
http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Dr._ ... _Practices
Vegetarianism
One should not judge the purity or impurity of man simply by observing what he eats.
In the Amagandha Sutta, the Buddha said:
'Neither meat, nor fasting, nor nakedness, Nor shaven heads, nor matted hair, nor dirt, Nor rough skins, nor fire-worshipping, Nor all the penances here in this world, Nor hymns, nor oblation, nor sacrifice, Nor feasts of the season, Will purify a man overcome with doubt.'

Taking fish and meat by itself does not make a man become impure. A man makes himself impure by bigotry, deceit, envy, self-exaltation, disparagement and other evil intentions. Through his own evil thoughts and actions, man makes himself impure. There is no strict rule in Buddhism that the followers of the Buddha should not take fish and meat. The only advice given by the Buddha is that they should not be involved in killing intentionally or they should not ask others to kill any living being for them. However, those who take vegetable food and abstain from animal flesh are praiseworthy. Though the Buddha did not advocate vegetarianism for the monks, He did advise the monks to avoid taking ten kinds of meat for their self respect and protection. They are: humans, elephants, horses, dogs, snakes, lions, tigers, leopards, bears hyenas. Some animals attack people when they smell the flesh of their own kind. (Vinaya Pitaka) When the Buddha was asked to introduce vegetarianism amongst His disciples, the Buddha refused to do so. As Buddhism is a free religion, His advice was to leave the decision regarding vegetarianism to the individual disciple. It clearly shows that the Buddha had not considered this as a very important religious observance. The Buddha did not mention anything about vegetarianism for the lay Buddhists in His Teaching. Jivaka Komarabhacca, the doctor, discussed this controversial issue with the Buddha: 'Lord, I have heard that animals are slaughtered on purpose for the recluse Gotama, and that the recluse Gotama knowingly eats the meat killed on purpose for him. Lord, do those who say animals are slaughtered on purpose for the recluse Gotama, and the recluse Gotama knowingly eats the meat killed on purpose for. Do they falsely accuse the Buddha? Or do they speak the truth? Are your declaration and supplementary declarations not thus subject to be ridiculed by others in any manner?'

'Jivaka, those who say: 'Animals are slaughtered on purpose for the recluse Gotama, and the recluse Gotama knowingly eats the meat killed on purpose for him', do not say according to what I have declared, and they falsely accuse me. Jivaka, I have declared that one should not make use of meat it is seen, heard or suspected to have been killed on purpose for a monk. I allow the monks meat that is quite pure in three respects: if it is not seen, heard or suspected to have been killed on purpose for a monk.' (Jivaka Sutta) In certain countries, the followers of the Mahayana school of Buddhism are strict vegetarians. While appreciating their observance in the name of religion, we should like to point out that they should not condemn those who are not vegetarians. They must remember that there is no precept in the original Teachings of the Buddha that requires all Buddhists to be vegetarians. We must realize that Buddhism is known as the Middle Path. It is a liberal religion and the Buddha's advice was that it is not necessary to go to extremes to practise His Teachings. Vegetarianism alone does not help a man to cultivate his humane qualities. There are kind, humble, polite and religious people amongst non-vegetarians. Therefore, one should not condone the statement that a pure, religious man must practise vegetarianism.

On the other hand, if anybody thinks that people cannot have a healthy life without taking fish and meat, it does not necessarily follow that they are correct since there are millions of pure vegetarians all over the world who are stronger and healthier than the meat-eaters. People who criticize Buddhists who eat meat do not understand the Buddhist attitude towards food. A living being needs nourishment. We eat to live. As such a human being should supply his body with the food it needs to keep him healthy and to give him energy to work. However, as a result of increasing wealth, more and more people, especially in developed countries, eat simply to satisfy their palates. If one craves after any kind of food, or kills to satisfy his greed for meat, this is wrong. But if one eats without greed and without directly being involved in the act of killing but merely to sustain the physical body, he is practising self restraint.

http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... opic=25324
Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen Pal Zangpo, lord of omniscience, who's a vegetarian, wrote in "A Clear Differentiation of the Three Codes" (sDom gsum rab dbye):

"Disciples may partake of meat that is pure in three ways; to refuse it would be one of Devadatta's austerities.

In the Great Vehicle, meat is forbidden; meat-eating, it is taught,
causes rebirth in lower destinies.

Similarly, certain differences in what is allowed and not allowed exist among the violations against the codes of the Great-Vehicle Perfections and Mantra traditions. How could invariant sanctions and bans be reckoned
for such radically divergent systems?

It is wrong, therefore, to apply one-sidedly schemata of invariant prohibition and allowance.

There is, for instance, always a need for muck and mud in growing lotuses.

They thrive by being surrounded by rushes and the like. Other flowers have no need of these. For aquatic plants, arid soil is adverse,and wetness is hostile to dry-land plants.

Tropical flora will not grow to maturity in cold regions,not are warm lands suitable for plants that need cold.

Therefore, whatever the task may be, it will end in success if performed
in accord with its own system.

But if done in some contrary way,it will not be successful, or even if it does succeed, it is hard for it to turn out well.

Similarly, all permissions and prohibitions will be successfully achieved
if observed according to their respective systems."

Whether compassion and lovingkiness alone are sufficient for the path of enlightenment?
Sakya Pandita wrote this in the same text:
"The Sage has taught that unskilled love
and compassion also become causes
of rebirth in unhappy destinies;
it was with skilful compassion in mind"
that He called compassion a virtue."

Jivaka Sutta
Vegetarianism
Buddhism and Vegetarianism

From the late Ven Master Hsuan Hua:
http://online.sfsu.edu/~rone/Buddhism/BuddhismAnimalsVegetarian/stewinthepot.htm
For hundreds of thousands of years, the stew in the pot
Has boiled up a resentment very hard to level.
If you want to know why there are calamities and wars in the world,
Just listen to the sounds from a slaughterhouse at midnight.

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Luke » Thu May 07, 2009 8:27 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:Hi Luke,

I started being a serious vegetarian a couple of months ago. Prior to that I had been mostly veggie for a few months. I've really lost any cravings for meat the the sight of it and smell of it is sort of icky for me. My friends and family have been really cool about it, for which I'm grateful. I feel a lot better since giving up meat! Maybe we can support each other on the veggie-path, as we're both kind of new to it.

Do you feel better physically since giving up meat?

:namaste:

Hello Veggie Sister,

No, I don't feel better physically since giving up meat. If anything, I feel somewhat weaker, but I'm doing this for ethical reasons so I don't care. However, I know that there are many possible vegetarian diets and I might need to experiment more to find out what works for me.

I do feel better emotionally because I am not eating dead animals anymore.

I went to see my lama last weekend and my sangha served a delicious Indian food called "dal" for lunch which was basically curry-flavored lentil paste with rice. It was fantastic. I should ask them for the recipe.

Every animal possesses Buddha-nature and is infinitely special. More than anything, I think we Buddhists worship the miracle of consciousness. Even a tiny ant possesses this wondrous thing called mind.

OM AMI DEVA HRIH
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu May 07, 2009 8:46 pm

Hi Luke :smile:

I feel better emotionally and spiritually since I haven't eaten dead things too, although I don't judge those who choose to eat meat. I did it my whole life, and I personally know monastics for whom I have lots of respect who eat meat. But now it really looks like flesh and blood to me. Eww.

If you're feeling weaker with your new diet maybe you should ask your doctor if it's okay to take a multi-vitamin? Just a thought. Though I don't want any more babies I take a prenatal every day because they're chock full of stuff that's good for me.

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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu May 07, 2009 10:19 pm

Luke wrote: No, I don't feel better physically since giving up meat. If anything, I feel somewhat weaker, but I'm doing this for ethical reasons so I don't care. However, I know that there are many possible vegetarian diets and I might need to experiment more to find out what works for me.

Hi Luke,

It may be your choice of foods. When I first became a vegetarian, I still craved lots of protein and ate lots of cheese and dairy products and meat substitutes which were high in protein and iron. So much for the so-called lack of protein vegetarians are supposed to have, I had too much protein in my blood. Gradually I learned to eat and like more vegetables and my protein and iron levels came down to normal levels.

I once even jokingly (but factually) said that I was a vegetarian that doesn't eat vegetables. Tofu is from soy beans which is technically a legume, tvp, and gluten are more of a bread and cereal and grain food group, as are lentils, peanuts, chick peas, and other grains. Too much protein can make you lethargic whereas vegetables are more of an energy booster.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Luke » Sat May 09, 2009 3:18 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:If you're feeling weaker with your new diet maybe you should ask your doctor if it's okay to take a multi-vitamin? Just a thought. Though I don't want any more babies I take a prenatal every day because they're chock full of stuff that's good for me.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm already taking a multivitamin every day and I drink fruit juices that are fortified with some vitamins.

TheDhamma wrote: It may be your choice of foods. When I first became a vegetarian, I still craved lots of protein and ate lots of cheese and dairy products and meat substitutes which were high in protein and iron. So much for the so-called lack of protein vegetarians are supposed to have, I had too much protein in my blood. Gradually I learned to eat and like more vegetables and my protein and iron levels came down to normal levels.

I once even jokingly (but factually) said that I was a vegetarian that doesn't eat vegetables. Tofu is from soy beans which is technically a legume, tvp, and gluten are more of a bread and cereal and grain food group, as are lentils, peanuts, chick peas, and other grains. Too much protein can make you lethargic whereas vegetables are more of an energy booster.


That's an interesting theory, Dhamma. Did you know for a fact that you had too much protein and iron in your blood (i.e. chemically from a blood test)? I do probably eat quite a bit of dairy products right now and I eat eggs occasionally too.

For example, today for lunch I ate multigrain pasta, mixed vegetables, and cabbage with olive tomato sauce and a few pieces of rye bread with margarine on them. I still felt incredibly hungry only half an hour after. Maybe I simply need more calories (the "horse diet" anyone?). On the other hand, I'd like to lose weight, so I don't want to eat TOO much.

I've also been starting to go running again, so my body is trying to cope with that as well. I should read about vegetarian diets for athletes. They demand the most from their bodies. It's not hard to live off a vegetarian diet if all a person does is sit in a cave and meditate all day.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Dragonflye » Sat May 09, 2009 6:48 pm

Hey guys & gals,
I've been vegetarian way longer than I've been "Buddhist". I started in college after a chemistry hot dog experiment which totally grossed me out. After college I ate meat again (not sure why)...but for the past 7 or 8 years I've been totally vegetarian. I'm an occasional vegan, but can't seem to get past the 2 week mark with veganism...too restrictive and really hard to go out to eat (which I love to do). I started this lifestyle for health reasons, but now it's all about the animals! So it doesn't matter to me whether I should be vegetarian as a Buddhist, I just am. There's no turning back. I will admit to an occasional seafood craving, but i won't give in...

Congrats to the new vegetarians...welcome to the dark side...mwahahahaha... :twothumbsup: :spy:
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sat May 09, 2009 7:46 pm

Thanks for your input, Dragonflye :smile:

The only meat that I miss so far is tuna. I love tuna!

:alien:
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Luke » Sat May 09, 2009 9:08 pm

Well, I've been digging up some information for vegetarian athletes which I think other vegetarians will find useful as well.

http://www.vegparadise.com/otherbirds510.html
http://www.runtheplanet.com/trainingrac ... tarian.asp

So, the main thing to watch out for is to get enough zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, protein, and fat.

I've been drinking 1.5% milk for a long time, since I felt that I already ate enough fat when I was eating meat. As an experiment, I drank about a cup of some 3.5% milk today and I feel fantastic. My whole body feels warm and tingly and good (I did some calisthenics earlier, but still I haven't like this in a while). I think I'll try to drink higher fat milk in smaller quantities.

I think I might not have been getting enough fat in my diet. I should also learn how to incorporate more healthy oils, like olive oil, into my diet. Also, I should get probably get more iron in my diet. Spinach is one of the best sources of iron, so I should find ways to eat that. Iron is also especially important for women. People are in danger of becoming anemic if they don't get enough iron in their diets.

Here's a very detailed study about vegetarian athletes if you like to read research articles:
http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/70/3/570S
Here is the article's conclusion:
A vegetarian diet per se is not associated with improved aerobic endurance performance; however, other benefits make this dietary regimen worthy of consideration by serious athletes. A plant-based diet facilitates high-carbohydrate intake, which is essential to support prolonged exercise. A well-planned vegetarian diet can provide athletes with adequate amounts of all known nutrients, although the potential for suboptimal iron, zinc, trace element, and protein intake exists if the diet is too restrictive. However, this concern exists for all athletes, vegetarian or nonvegetarian, who have poor dietary habits. Athletes who consume diets rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains receive high amounts of antioxidant nutrients that help reduce the oxidative stress associated with heavy exertion. Whereas athletes are most often concerned with performance, vegetarian diets also provide long-term health benefits and a reduction in risk of chronic disease. In 2 studies, a combination of regular physical activity and vegetarian dietary practices resulted in lower mortality rates did than a vegetarian diet or exercise alone (2, 81).

A vegetarian diet combined with regular exercise is an excellent way to protect your precious human body.

Congrats to the new vegetarians...welcome to the dark side...mwahahahaha...

Hmm...you must be referring to the gas.

Image
Caption: I want YOU to consume exotic sources of fiber in large quantities!
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Dragonflye » Sun May 10, 2009 12:45 am

Thanks for the links Luke. I'm training for a 5K at the end of July. I sometimes take for granted that "I know what I'm doing" nutritionally when I'm training, but new information is always good to have... :namaste:
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Luke » Sun May 10, 2009 3:14 pm

I think knowing how to get iron from vegetarian foods is the least obvious.

This link shows good vegetarian dietary sources of iron and the amount they contain:
http://www.vegsoc.org/info/iron.html

Top 4: chickpeas, branflakes, spinach, baked beans :popcorn:
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon May 11, 2009 4:51 am

Being athletic or doing vigorous training will require more caloric intake, but it gets burned with the exercise. You may remember the famous case of Michael Phelps who reportedly ate 12,000 calories per day but was still thin and in top-shape due to several hours of training a day.

Michael Phelps later clarified that his intake was actually "only" 10,000 calories per day. :tongue:
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon May 11, 2009 4:52 am

A friend of mine does a vegan raw food diet and competes at a high level in cross country running and stair climbing races and frequently wins, even at the age of 40. His website:

http://www.runningraw.com/
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby Luke » Mon May 11, 2009 8:24 pm

TheDhamma wrote:A friend of mine does a vegan raw food diet and competes at a high level in cross country running and stair climbing races and frequently wins, even at the age of 40. His website:

http://www.runningraw.com/

Thanks for the link, Dhamma. I think that vegetarian athletes are great examples for other people.

Here's an article by a vegan strength training coach named Mike Mahler about his diet:
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/mahler53.htm

Another article by him "Power Vegan Meals For Hard Training Athletes"
http://www.mikemahler.com/articles/veganmeals.html

I keep hearing people talk about raw foods diets. I'm not ready to commit to that, but I should make an effort to eat more raw vegetables to get the extra nutrients from them. Right now, I mainly eat cooked frozen vegetables and raw fruit. I guess I'm kind of lazy and I don't want to spend a lot of time cleaning and chopping fresh vegetables which go bad quickly.
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the great vegetarian debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon May 11, 2009 9:10 pm

Hi Luke,

Thanks for those links. I notice Mike Mahler places a lot of emphasis on protein, which could be from the need for that for body building. His equation of one gram of protein per pound of weight would be way too much, unless it is specifically designed for body builders.

Most sites say about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram, not per pound:

http://proteins-carb-fats.suite101.com/ ... _is_enough

http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.htm
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