If I told you that you were, on a daily basis, consuming food which could give you cancer, would you still eat it? If I told you that by limiting your intake of this food, you could not only live a longer and healthier life, but also be at a lesser risk for many types of cancer and chronic diseases, what would you do? Most of you are, in fact, on a daily basis, eating some form of meat, poultry or fish -- all of which have been linked to cancer and other chronic diseases. I have been a vegetarian for the past four years and over the course of those years, have done extensive research on living a healthy vegetarian lifestyle.
Every part of the human digestive tract points toward a vegetarian diet. Digestion begins in the mouth. Let’s examine the tooth and jaw structure of humans. Have you ever compared your teeth to those of a wolf or a tiger? Human teeth are flat or slightly rounded at most -- designed to grind plant material, not tear into the carcass of an animal. Carnivores, like wolves and tigers, can only move their jaws up and down whereas herbivores, like cows and horses, can move their jaws up and down as well as side-to-side. This side-to-side motion allows for the grinding and mastication of leaves and plants. Humans have the tooth and jaw structure which most closely resembles a herbivore - not a carnivore.
The human mouth produces a salivary enzyme known as alpha-amylase. The sole purpose of this enzyme is to break down complex carbohydrates, which are found in plant foods, into simple sugars. There are no carbohydrates in meats, so a carnivore has no need for this enzyme - yet humans produce it in abundance.
The stomach juices of a carnivore are rich with very strong acids which digest the muscle and bone a carnivore ingests. Digestion of starches, vegetables, and fruits is easily accomplished with the much weaker acids found in the stomachs of herbivores and humans.
Human intestines are long and coiled, like those of cows and horses. This anatomical feature makes digestion slow, allowing for the breakdown and absorption of nutrients. The intestines of a carnivore, like a cat, are short and straight - allowing rapid digestion of flesh and excretion of the remnants before they putrefy. Herbivores and humans have vastly more complex intestinal systems than do carnivores.
Many Americans have dangerously high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is found only in animal-based foods. According to DrMcDougall.com, “Humans, like other plant eating animals, have livers with very limited capacities for cholesterol removal -- they can remove only a little more than they make for themselves for their own bodies -- and as a result, most people have great difficulty eliminating the extra cholesterol they take in from eating animal products. This apparent ‘inefficiency’ is because humans have evolved on a diet of mostly plant based foods (containing no cholesterol), and therefore, they never required a highly efficient cholesterol-eliminating biliary system.”
Moreover, our instincts are for plants. To most people, the idea of chasing down, slaying, and consuming freshly killed meat is repulsive. To eat decaying flesh, like a vulture, is utterly unthinkable. Even if the meat is cooked, most people are disgusted by the idea of eating a slab of horse, rat, dog or giraffe.
Most people do not have negative reactions to unfamiliar plants like they do with meat. For instance, if I asked you to sample the tropical Star Fruit, you would do so with minimal hesitation. If, however, I asked you to taste a bit of cow’s brain or bull testicles, you would react with much more reluctance. Why is this? Because your natural human instincts...