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The Beef between Vegans and Meat-Eaters

Update Date: Aug 16, 2012 10:35 AM EDT

Discrimination and bigotry are as natural to the human disposition as love and loyalty. Even if we tell ourselves we are fair and impartial we find ourselves succumbing to those shameful feelings of fear, suspicion or derision when face with opinions, appearances and ways of living different from our own.

Take, for example veganism. I for one am a happy, healthy omnivore with no intention of giving up meat of any kind
anytime soon. However, many of my carnivorous compatriots laugh at vegetarians and seem to have an unexplainable disdain for vegans. Where does the animosity come from?

Anjali Sareen, a writer for the Huffington Post reveals her reasons why she chooses to be vegans. Among these are: disdain for animal cruelty and a believer of the "animal rights movement," a joint concern for workers in factory farms where she reports approximately 9,003 deaths from work-related injuries between 1992 and 2009.

Additionally, she disagrees with growing vegetables that are fed to slaughtered animals to feed humans as opposed to growing vegetation for human consumption. Lastly she explains that the waist and pollution of meat factories and farms contributes over "18 percent globally to greenhouse gas emissions."

For these reasons, and others, the writer chooses to live a lifestyle where she is essentially guilt free. Just as those who enjoy a porter house steak or some grilled salmon live guilt free in our love of meat. They are conflicting lifestyles that are not just dietary preferences, rather a way of looking at the world and the creatures that inhabit its land.

The fact is, as diets are concerned, neither meat eaters nor vegans can claim that they are healthier than the other.

According to a 2006 article published in the Proceedings of Natural Sciences, researchers found that vegetarians did tend to have lower BMIs and lower cholesterol levels than non-vegetarians and also had 20 percent fewer deaths from ischemic heart disease.

However, another study published in the Archives of Public Health found that vegetarian diets were associated with lower vitamin B12 status and therefore to increased levels of artery-clogging homocysteine.

Additionally, according to the National Health Dossier, Slovokian researchers found that the healthiest inhabitants of Northern Europe are from Iceland, Switzerland and Scandinavia, populations that consume some of the highest amounts of animal protein in the world.

In other words, the consumption of fruits and vegetables and not the cessation of meat is what make one healthy. Both groups can be healthy or function or the opposite: Bodybuilders. So whether you prefer legumes to leg of lamb is between you and your doctor.

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