the great vegetarian debate

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

Re: Vegetarianism

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon May 11, 2009 9:15 pm

Luke wrote: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.

Raw food dieting is hard. I've tried it a couple of times and it involves a lot of preparation time and if you follow it hard-core, you can't eat bread (cooked), tofu (soy beans need to be cooked), soy milk, potatoes (imagine eating a raw potato :thinking: ).
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby KeithBC » Tue May 12, 2009 11:15 pm

I have been vegetarian for 27 years and vegan for 13 years. I was a Buddhist first, then decided that vegetarianism followed naturally from that. I had never even heard of veganism, but, when I did, the transition was natural.

I never noticed any undesirable effects from going vegetarian. I competed annually in a cross-country ski marathon (42 km), and finished in a respectable time each year. What surprised me was that, when I went vegan, my time in the race suddenly improved by more than 10%.

When I donated blood, they always commented that I had no lack of iron in my blood. When I went to a new doctor, he nearly had a fit when I told him I was vegan. He ordered up every test in the book, and was chastened to have to tell me that they all came back normal or better.

So, I have found no downside to vegetarianism or veganism. I think it is a great way to put the Precepts into practice.

Does that make me better than someone else? No, of course not. Does it make me better than I was? definitely.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Luke » Mon May 18, 2009 10:22 pm

TheDhamma wrote: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.

Yes, the bodybuilders generally eat lots of protein. Most of the huge ones eat 1 to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, so Mike is being conservative from this standpoint. I don't know enough about human physiology to say which is correct, but Mike at least shows that it's possible to get a lot of protein from a vegan diet if people want to do this.

I'm not lifting weights or counting my calories right now, so I'm not concerned with getting a certain numerical value of protein. I am guided more by how hungry I feel.

The think the main key to strength and endurance is simply eating enough calories. I started eating more and my strength and endurance levels have returned to normal (possibly slightly better than normal). Right now, I'm running and doing calisthenics and I have to walk everywhere because I live in Europe without a car. Everytime I need groceries, I'm walking home with a heavy backpack, and I walk to and from work with a heavy backpack.

For dinner tonight, I ate pasta and tomato sauce, mixed vegetables, many pieces of rye bread, a bowl of lentils, fruit juice, and vanilla pudding--and I'm getting hungry again! I'll have to try some of Mike's recipes.

KeithBC wrote:I never noticed any undesirable effects from going vegetarian. I competed annually in a cross-country ski marathon (42 km), and finished in a respectable time each year. What surprised me was that, when I went vegan, my time in the race suddenly improved by more than 10%.

That's cool, Keith. I glad to hear about another successful vegetarian athlete. I think that it's important to show that vegetarianism isn't simply for sissies. This might encourage other young men to try it who normally would be turned off by the idea. (Compassion for all living creatures is more important than overt displays of "manliness," but not everyone thinks this way yet.)

Anyway, it's obvious that vegetarianism is very healthy, and after a little research, it becomes obvious that vegetarianism can be good for athletes; but can the impossible be achieved: the fartless vegetarian diet? Being a vegetarian requires eating loads of beans, lentils, cabbage, broccoli, and whole grains. I think my body is becoming more used to eating these things, but some nights are very "loud" nonetheless.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Luke » Sun May 31, 2009 4:33 pm

Here's another interesting fact I discovered: white white increases iron absorption from food, but red wine, tea, and coffee inhibit iron absorption it.

simple info:
http://www.healthcastle.com/iron.shtml

a research article about wine and iron absorption:
http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/61/4/800.pdf

It's also interesting to note that wine itself has iron in it. You get the most iron from it if you drink it on an empty stomach.

It seems like it might be good for vegetarians to drink some wine if they haven't taken a vow against it.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby sraddha » Sun May 31, 2009 9:37 pm

I am mostly vegetarianism, and it's true that slowly you become less and less attracted to food with meat, and then less attracted to any food in general as you continue your practice.

As a practicing Buddhist, I only eat once a day before noon, and now for me it has become everyday. I never felt weaker as a result.

I see other people eat so much and I remember my old days, I think -- gosh, maybe you don't really need to eat so much -- perhaps it really is all formative conditioning that Buddhist practice destroys.

I don't think vegetarianism or what one eats should take the place of living a good ethical life. Of course, however, the intentional killing of living beings and particularly higher living beings for meat, might smack a little of greed...i.e. I need to kill to live!

However, those who have established faith in the wonderful Tathagatha, remembers that it's not meat or food that makes one strong -- it's the Dharma -- feeding on delight inthe Dharma makes our minds, bodies and words as hard as a diamond!

Happy indeed we live who have nothing of our own,
We shall feed on love (priti), just like the radiant devas. 200 Dhammapada


An interesting article for Buddhists:
http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 31,0,0,1,0
Vegan Buddhist Nuns Have Same Bone Density As Non-vegetarians!

Sydney, Australia -- A study comparing the bone health of 105 post-menopausal vegan Buddhist nuns and 105 non-vegetarian women, matched in every other physical respect, has produced a surprising result.

<< No drawbacks ... a plant based diet found to be healthy for bones despite the lack of calcium.

Their bone density was identical.

The study was led by Professor Tuan Nguyen from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research. He collaborated with Dr Ho-Pham Thuc Lan from the Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Their findings are now published online in Osteoporosis International.


However, I disagree with the conclusion of the article. This does not mean veganism or a plant based diet is healthy, it means Buddha Dharma works! :anjali:

I used to fast as a non-Buddhist, and I used to feel horribly imbalanced, week and disoriented -- there's no way I could sustain eating once a day without the Triple Gem.

Now as a Buddhist, I can eat only once a day, and feel no weakness. You can do this if you meditate over 2 hours a day, I notice the less Buddhist meditation I do, the more I need to eat.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:20 am

sraddha wrote:
An interesting article for Buddhists:
http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 31,0,0,1,0
Vegan Buddhist Nuns Have Same Bone Density As Non-vegetarians!

Great study! Not too surprising, in my opinion. Vegan foods, especially green leafy vegetables are loaded with calcium and I have heard that the calcium from the green veggies is actually better absorbed by the body and bones than the animals sources, (such as cheese and milk).
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby sraddha » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:34 pm

TheDhamma wrote:
sraddha wrote:
An interesting article for Buddhists:
http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 31,0,0,1,0
Vegan Buddhist Nuns Have Same Bone Density As Non-vegetarians!

Great study! Not too surprising, in my opinion. Vegan foods, especially green leafy vegetables are loaded with calcium and I have heard that the calcium from the green veggies is actually better absorbed by the body and bones than the animals sources, (such as cheese and milk).


I think any diet, one must make sure that one is getting the vitamins necessary and that those vitamins are getting absorbed.

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/?id=VEGANS.PUR

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- An examination of the amount of calcium in strict vegetarian diets that exclude dairy products has found that these diets -- known as vegan -- lack the calcium needed to prevent osteoporosis later in life.

Vegan diets are not likely to provide enough calcium, the dietary review concluded, even if people avoid salt, protein, caffeine and other substances that increase calcium loss.



Which is why I think, the Buddhist nuns in the article with the strong bones show that Buddhism is working and not veganism as the average vegan diet lacks the necessary calcium in comparison to a non-vegetarian diet.

Buddha Dharma is powerful indeed! :smile:
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby thornbush » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:26 am

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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:23 pm

But the evidence that plants can do the same is limited and controversial.


I know there are plenty of articles out there suggesting all kinds of nearly sentient activity among plants, but I don't know, there seems to be a huge jump from the plant life to the animal life.

They are just not that comparable in so many ways. First, they are in totally different kingdoms of life (namely, Animal Kingdom, Algae Kingdom, Bacterium Kingdom, Fungi Kingdom, Plant Kingdom); second there is no brain, no central nervous system, and third, in Buddhism "beings" do not get reborn outside of:

1. Purgatory (Hells, but impermanent, not eternal)
2. Asuras (jealous beings)
3. Ghosts
4. Animals
5. Humans
6. Higher Beings (the six planes within sense world, consisting of angels or impermanent gods)
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:21 am

TheDhamma wrote:Raw food dieting is hard. I've tried it a couple of times and it involves a lot of preparation time and if you follow it hard-core, you can't eat bread (cooked), tofu (soy beans need to be cooked), soy milk, potatoes (imagine eating a raw potato :thinking: ).


Hi TheDhamma,

Is a raw food diet more expensive than a regular vegetarian diet?

Thanks :)
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:31 am

Yes, it can be more expensive, especially if you eat out. :tongue:

Raw food restaurants are expensive! It must be all the preparation work making all of the diverse dehydrated, creative entrees.

But if you eat mostly salads and fruit juices (at home), it may not be that expensive.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:20 am

TheDhamma wrote:Yes, it can be more expensive, especially if you eat out. :tongue:

Raw food restaurants are expensive! It must be all the preparation work making all of the diverse dehydrated, creative entrees.

But if you eat mostly salads and fruit juices (at home), it may not be that expensive.


:thanks:
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby thornbush » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:32 am

Found this from another site:
http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... =90430&hl=
The First and Only On-Line Vegan Restaurant featuring Vegetarian Versions of America's favorite classic dishes and more, offering an unprecedented 40+ menu item of Entrees, Soups, Appetizers, and Sides, in 3 different sizes, all 100% Vegan and 100% Vegetarian.

http://www.veggiebrothers.com/
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby msmedusa » Sun Dec 27, 2009 11:38 pm

I have been Vegetarian for a sum of seven years and Vegan for about one and a half years. Since becoming Vegan I have lost over two stone in weight and overcome a severe problem with high blood pressure. Generally I feel heaps better and would recommend it to anyone... :smile:
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:56 am

Vegetarian since 1986, pretty much vegan since 1992. I do eat honey as I see no harm in it and in fact possibly some benefit as harm goes and the way bees are. Strict vegans do not eat honey as it is a animal product. I don't search for it or anything but if I find it perchance in a bread or somesuch I will eat it.

All will occasionally eat meat or dairy accidently to my experience. It is found in the strangest of places. I personally don't sweat it when it occured by accident.

As a strength training issue I'd suggest additional protein is necessary. There are however now plenty of vegan supplemental proteins made of peas or hemp or such things. Regular eating strength training people always supplement these things even to their meat eating diets. It is just very difficult to get very high protein amounts from a regular even meat eating diet.

It is truly wonderful nowadays at least in the US you can eat a great variety of things and they are found everywhere. In the begining it was quite difficult to find things.

Some Buddhists eat meat some don't to my experience. I have heard good arguments from both sides on the issue.

To my view it causes more harm and environmental harm so it is a no no if I can avoid it. Flat plain and real simple, but that is a personal decision. Those that don't and are Buddhist.....I may question their ability to think rationally and reasonably, but never question their Buddhism or their being
Buddhist. To my take it is their logic that is faulted not their religious view. Some rural peoples may have to eat meat to survive but that is not to be found on the internet. Perhaps if I was in prison I would have to eat meat to survive.
And then I would.

Noone should kid themselves on being vegetarian being equal to a meat eater as boths foods may be considered conscious beings. One pound of meat generally is caused by the consumption of the cow or sheep, of seven pounds of grain. So even by that take being vegetarian causes less harm, We cause harm in this life just by virtue of being human....and that is one more reason to seek enlightenment!!!.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Clueless Git » Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:23 pm

Noisy vegan chippin' in ..

By consuming less plant eating animals one consumes less plants

By consuming less plants one 'consumes' less land, water and peripheral resources.

According to World Health Organisation statistics one child dies every six seconds from starvation and malnutrition related diseases.

Personally I long since lost the ability to dissassociate the process of feeding animals soley for the purpose of slaughter from the process of slaughtering humans by not feeding them at all.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Karma Sonam » Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:49 pm

Not wanting to upset anyone but if you have given meat up on compassionate grounds and are British then you should really consider going vegan. The British dairy industry is brutal in many ways, including the indiscriminate slaughter of bull calves, slaughtered pretty much within 24 hours after birth. Either that or pay a large amount for your milk, so that the calves become cost effect to keep rather than slaughter. Average life expectancy for a milking cow is 4 lactations; the average cow before she is culled has 4 calves 2 are male so they are shot straight away. In order to keep the national herd going she has one calf that survives, so one is reared to be a milking cow and the other one is shot. Also, half of all diary cows spend six months a year lame.

My husband was a cattle vet for a long time. He isn't anymore. (he's not a buddhist). :namaste:
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:04 am

Certainly agree 100%.

In the US the average life expectancy of a milking cow is about seven years. Cows left to live out their lives generally live about 20 or so. So milk cows are put to slaughter living only about a third of their lives. And veal calfs (horrible tortureous barbaric treatments of a animal) are kept by most dairy farmers in the US to supplement incomes from milking.

So in India or perhaps some other places dairy may be used without such effects.

But it iis still a inefficient useage of grain products which results in more pollution and carbon fomation, and thusly is generally environmentally a negative, as opposed to veganism.

But to add in the interest of full discloseur I personally eat honey if it is in products so in that regard I am not a bonafida vegan or strict vegan, as honey is a animal product. I find no harm in honey overall more than that found in other harvestable grain or fruit products. But that is a personal decision.

But i do believe people can be Buddhists and eat meat or dairy. Though I don't.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby msmedusa » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:41 pm

Karma Sonam wrote:Not wanting to upset anyone but if you have given meat up on compassionate grounds and are British then you should really consider going vegan. The British dairy industry is brutal in many ways, including the indiscriminate slaughter of bull calves, slaughtered pretty much within 24 hours after birth. Either that or pay a large amount for your milk, so that the calves become cost effect to keep rather than slaughter. Average life expectancy for a milking cow is 4 lactations; the average cow before she is culled has 4 calves 2 are male so they are shot straight away. In order to keep the national herd going she has one calf that survives, so one is reared to be a milking cow and the other one is shot. Also, half of all diary cows spend six months a year lame.

My husband was a cattle vet for a long time. He isn't anymore. (he's not a buddhist). :namaste:


Hi Karma Sonam

Yes I agree.

I live in England and am well aware of the horrors of the British Dairy industry. My personal transition from Veggie to Vegan seemed an inevitable choice once I learnt of the abuse involved in dairy farming here.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Potato » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:06 pm

I have been vegetarian since 2004. I lost my taste for dairy milk a long time ago, but I eat cheese and the occasional egg. My cat has to have some plain yogurt regularly due to a chronic digestive ailment (this is on the vet's advice), and since he can't finish an entire container before it spoils, I eat some of that, too.
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