Be a Vegetarian

I was preparing for my Toastmasters speech last week, and found out that being a vegetarian is one of the best things you can do to your body, especially in the United States. Here is the complete text of my speech to explain why:

Fellow Toastmasters,

Let me tell you something about myself. I am 100% vegetarian. I have never, ever tasted meat of any kind in my life. I don’t know what it tastes like or feels like. I am a vegetarian by birth, not by choice. I never gave a serious thought about the reasons behind this fact, until I came to this country.

Shortly after I landed in US, I started going out to lunches/dinners with local people. On seeing what I was eating, people were amazed and started asking me questions like “are you allergic to chicken, how can you survive without any meat, how do you get your nutrition or umm..so what do you eat..only salad?” To them, I was like a person from another planet.

After getting bombarded with questions like these, I asked myself this for the first time: why am I vegetarian? Why should I be a vegetarian? Sure there are ethical reasons, and religious ones too, and Indian food tastes so good with vegetables and spices, but is there something scientific and tangible behind it? I did some research and found out a lot of facts in favor of vegetarianism, some of which I will share with you today.

Overall it is a consensus that being vegetarian is good for you and the benefits fall in 3 groups: environmental, ethical and health.

The Environment

Eating animals wouldn’t harm the environment if it were done on a much smaller scale. But modern meat production involves intensive use–and often misuse–of grain, water, energy, and grazing areas and contributes heavily to all sorts of pollution and soil erosion.

For example, Thirty million tons of methane–a gas that contributes to global warming–come from manure in sewage ponds or heaps.

One third of original U.S. cropland has been permanently removed from production due to excessive soil erosion.

Livestock production is the largest polluter of water in the US, topping all other industries that produce toxic wastes. A farm in Milford, Utah, which raises 2.5 million pigs every year, creates more waste than the entire city of Los Angeles.

Raising animals for food is an extremely inefficient way to feed a growing human population. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, but just 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat. It takes 15 pounds of feed to get one pound of meat. But if the grain were given directly to people, there would be enough food to feed the entire planet.

The world’s cattle – excluding pigs and chickens – consume quantity of food the equivalent to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people. That’s nearly double the entire population of the world today. This is a very inefficient way to produce food.

——————————-

Ethics

Animals suffer from pain and fear just as much as we do. They spend their last hours locked in a truck, packed into a cage with hundreds of other terrified animals and then cruelly pushed into a blood soaked death chamber. Their body parts are even fed to other animals. Cruelty to such animals in captivity is a serious ethical issue and should make one repeal the ways of modern factory farming.

Pigs and sheep are far more intelligent than 6-week old children, which is something to think about.

——————————–

Health

On the health front, there are plenty of studies conducted and the consumption of animal products has been conclusively linked with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis. The EPA estimates that nearly 95 percent of pesticide residue in our diet comes from meat, fish and dairy products. 15 million pounds of antibiotics are used in animal production every year- These drugs end up in your milk and meat.

Meat-eating and a lack of dietary fiber are linked to colon cancer. Only plant foods contain fiber.

By reducing your consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs by 50%, you reduce your risk of a heart attack by 45%. By following a pure vegetarian diet (no animal products at all) you reduce your risk by 90%.

Also if one thinks practically, a sausage can contain ground up intestines. How can anyone be sure that the intestines are empty when they are ground up? Do you really want to eat the content of a pig’s intestines? Also, have you ever heard of cabbage flu or mad carrot disease? No, only bird flu or mad cow disease.

Including animal products in your diet is like playing Russian roulette with your life.

——————————-

Personal finance

– Being healthier from a vegetarian diet means spending less on health care.
– Vegetarian food tends to cost less than meat-based items.
– Replacing meat, chicken and fish with vegetables and fruits is estimated to cut food bills by an average of $4,000 a year.

——————————-

Well, since coming to US, things have certainly changed in this country. Vegetarian societies are coming up, famous celebrities are going meatless and voicing their opinions. As for myself, I now know that even though I accidentally am vegetarian by birth, it is for all the good reasons.

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30 Comments

  1. Rise said,

    July 27, 2006 at 7:02 pm

    It was great to read this post. I am a vegetarian (not vegan) for past 7 years and I am in US since 2001. So, it was difficult initially as I was a meat-lover and most of my friends here are also non-veg. But I feel good about my decision and am still maintaining it. I am a vegetarian by choice (mostly because of the environmental and ethical reasons you have mentioned).

  2. The silent observer said,

    July 31, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    Thanks Rise! It feels good to know about your reasons for turning vegetarian!

  3. Carlos Aguayo said,

    August 3, 2006 at 11:18 am

    Hi Vipin!
    I think a veggie way of life is good, I recenlty started to eat more salads and I feel good. Altough last night I had a ‘porterhouse’ steak, I went to safeway and they were 50% discount, I went to my place, put coal in my grill, and cooked it to perfection. Trust me, it was the best dinner I’ve had since Xmas in my hometown haha. Always a good steak makes me feel happy and energized.
    And today is the first time I enter to your blog and is the first post I read ha.
    Well, just wanted to say hi and express my thoughts 🙂

  4. Amit Buche said,

    August 4, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    Hey Vipin,

    I think this is an x-cellent post on vegetarianism i’d read so far.. and all group benefits explained sound perfect. bravo!! vegetarianism…
    My vegetarianism thoughts got re-freshed to new heights.. thanks..

    Just wondering : What will happen to earth’s natural cyclye – if all living creatures including men will eat only veggi items 🙂

  5. August 4, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks Amit. As for earth’s natural cycle, it should be able to sustain itself if ONLY human beings convert to vegetarianism.

  6. Lalit Patil said,

    August 17, 2006 at 5:37 pm

    I am vegetarian not because I love animals, but because I hate plants.

  7. ami said,

    August 30, 2006 at 2:45 am

    hey
    this was quite a nice thing to read on vegetarianism… i was too a born veggie… and i did a speech on vegetarianism… and the thing which grosses everyone here in aus is this: become a vegetarian for the sake of your health as well as our lovely furry friend.
    The horrifying practices used in the meat industry goes like this: animals are herded and receive an inspection. They are then stunned by electricity or persussion. The animals are then hung by legs on processing lines and their main artery is cut where the blood drains out and the animal dies a slow, painful death. After that, the skin is removed and the dead carcass is inspected for quality assurance. If the animal passes the inspection, the body parts are cut, separated and chilled for preservation. The meat is then transported to distribution centres which in turn is sent to local retail markets. Would you like that done to you? So how would the animals? About 52 billion animals which is eight times the human population of the planet are bred and killed each year for food worldwide. Slaughterhouses are nothing more than an undercover massacre where animals suffer extremely. Linda McCartney said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, the whole world would be vegetarian!” and thus, to lessen the agony which the animals undergo, we, humans should all be vegetarians.

  8. ami said,

    August 30, 2006 at 2:46 am

    sorry theres some mistakes

    The horrifying practices used in the meat industry goes like this: animals are herded and receive an inspection. They are then stunned by electricity or a blow. The animals are then hung by legs on processing lines and their main artery is cut where the blood drains out and the animal dies a slow, painful death. After that, the skin is removed and the dead carcass is inspected for quality assurance. If the animal passes the inspection, the body parts are cut, separated and chilled for preservation. The meat is then transported to distribution centres which in turn is sent to local retail markets. Would you like that done to you? So how would the animals? About 52 billion animals which is eight times the human population of the planet are bred and killed each year for food worldwide. Slaughterhouses are nothing more than an undercover massacre where animals suffer extremely. Linda McCartney said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, the whole world would be vegetarian!” and thus, to lessen the agony which the animals undergo, we, humans should all be vegetarians.

  9. August 30, 2006 at 9:01 am

    @ami: Thanks for your comments. As I said in the last statement, “I now know that even though I accidentally am vegetarian by birth, it is for all the good reasons.”

  10. September 6, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    Thankyou for taking the time in writing your researched facts and opinions, I find it very important to inform the public and others intrested in vegetarianism about those 3 groups. =]

  11. Charlene said,

    September 12, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    I disagree that one can be 100% vegetarian because one never had meat. Do you count fish meat?

    It is ironic because Germans and their descendents are stereotypically meat lovers. I am 2nd-generation American but unlike my family and extended family, I eat no meat or eggs whatsoever. I’d buy soy milk or organic milk, but with the amount I drink it’s too damn expensive. I believe myself to be 100% vegetarian because I don’t eat eggs or flesh.

  12. Ajay Chaturvedi said,

    September 21, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    It was really a good feeling after reading this article. I am a 100% vegetarian by birth. Before 2 years I was in India so I never felt short of veg stuff to eat but since lats two years I am in Middele East and its really tough to survive on vegetarian food. I am proud of my will power that I continued with veg food. I faced occasions in 5/6 stars hotels when I slept with eating only Salad in Dinner.

  13. rainer said,

    September 24, 2006 at 10:23 pm

    vegan diet ideal

  14. September 25, 2006 at 10:20 am

    Thanks Ajay..and keep it up!

  15. The Bach said,

    October 19, 2006 at 1:36 am

    Vegetarians

          There is some classification I made about food habits, keeping vegetarians in mind, with some information available over net. Here they are. 

    Fruitarians. – These people eat fruits, seeds and raw roots (sweet potatoes etc). The Hindu (inc…

  16. pavitra said,

    November 15, 2006 at 12:39 pm

    Your article is really great.I am in canada and I am also vegetarian.My kids are also vegetarion by birth like you.Here also people ask me same questions as you mentioned in your article.Now I have answers to all the questions.

  17. Jennifer Romero said,

    October 11, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    wow it was very intresting learining about all these animals being harmed i really am looking foward to become a vegeterian

  18. Sonam said,

    February 14, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Hey please can you e-mail me, when you read this. I need some help for my speech on vegetarianism! I would really appreciate if you could help me.

  19. Aayushi said,

    July 29, 2008 at 3:15 am

    Hi!
    I live in New Zealand and most people aren’t vegetarian. My mum IS pure vegetarian but as my dad and brother are NOT I have spent a great part of my life eating meat even though I am a huge animal activist but now finally at the age of twelve I’ve stood up to y dad and he has agreed to lt me be a happy vegetarian!

  20. Vipin said,

    July 29, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Good going, Ayushi and keep it up!

  21. eugenie said,

    February 3, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Hey, i like your speech! i think we have alot in common. i am a vegetarian by birth too and i share the same feelings. i am also currently writing a speech on vegetarianism! thanks your speech gave me ideas on how i could write mine!

  22. John said,

    October 3, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Thank you… it is definitely encouraging to hear the ideas of others who do not eat meat. My wife has been a vegetarian for the last 14 years. I stopped eating meat 2 weeks ago. My wife is half Indian; most don’t bat an eye when she says she is vegetarian, but I’m having a hard time with explaining to my family why I have made this decision. While I do care about animals, I’m not a half-crazed animal lover; I just decided that the economic, ecologic, and spritual reasons to live without meat were enough. Ironic, because up until now, I’ve been a hunter and a fisherman. I’ll keep my marksmanship skills and continue catch-and-release fishing; if society ever fails, I will eat meat in order for me and my family to survive, but if I can live without meat, I will.

  23. Mya said,

    October 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I really enjoyed your post. I decided to be a vegetarian about three months ago. It was hard for me at first because i come from a culture of meat lovers. I have always wanted to become one and some of my friends were already vegans. While i was searching the internet i came across this good website Vegetarian Newbie http://www.vegetariannewbie.com . I joined their free newsletter which is so helpful for someone like me who needs information. I have learnt so much . I would recommend them to anyone interested in becoming a vegetarian

  24. gillan mufwambi said,

    November 25, 2010 at 6:24 am

    send me more information on what to replace with meat.

  25. Bhaskar said,

    December 24, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Very nice speech on vegetarianism.
    If any one really feels that human beings have been civilized then one must stop the cruelty inflicted on innocent animals for one’s food requirement when nutritious vegetarian food is plenty available. Flesh is only a temporary alternative when no vegetarian food is available for survival. Most people have the misconcept that meat eating makes one stronger & healthy. The most strongest animal on earth- elephant is a pure vegetairan. In fact meat eating makes one sick both physically & mentally. Every civilized person must abstain from meat eating or I say he/she is still an uncivilized barbarian.

  26. Jenny said,

    August 19, 2011 at 2:56 am

    Hi everyone!
    I’m vegetarian by birth, too. Not only because I like animals, but also I hate meat.
    It’s always been disgusting for me. My parrents were begging me all my life to eat it, but i never wanted to.
    I’m professionaly active in sport for over 10 years, I’ve never been seriously sick (thanks to God and probably my food) and my weight’s always been perfect 🙂
    .. but still people are asking me what am I eating, how could I live without meat and they feel sorry for me in some kind of way.
    I just smile to their comments because I’m satisfied with my life and I feel it’s like a gift from God (makeing me vegetarian by birth).. 🙂

  27. Jai Joshi said,

    December 11, 2011 at 10:08 am

    hi
    great speech
    i am a vegetarian myself and i always wanted to convince people to become a vegetarian
    + this helps me in my English speech
    thanks……….:)

  28. February 11, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I found this article , “Be a Vegetarian Lessons from today”, quite
    entertaining and it was indeed a good read. Many thanks-Ashlee

  29. alex said,

    April 16, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Awesome article. I am proud to be a vegetarian

  30. bishnupriya patalsingh said,

    December 24, 2014 at 5:47 am

    I’m not vegetarian…..still I love to eat more veggies than all that meats…..it’s good thing to protect our wildlife….so try to consume less non-vegetarian dishes…..proud yourself to being a vegetarian….


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