THE 3 reasons to give up meat (and 1 not to).

Via Ben Ralston
on Aug 25, 2010
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THE 3 reasons to be vegetarian.

I’m not talking about:

  • > Vegetarians who take it literally – eating nothing but vegetables.
  • > Lazy vegetarians, who eat pizza for dinner, left over pizza for breakfast, and pasta with a jar of tomato sauce for lunch. They’re not real vegetarians. They’re just pretending, and it won’t last.
  • > Self-righteous moralizing goody-goodies who like to make other people feel bad by making themselves feel better; trying to convert them to become as self righteous as they are. That’s not what it’s about. They just didn’t grow up yet. They will.

The real vegetarians are people who know what I’m talking about…they eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, pulses, grains, seaweeds…and whatever other yummy stuff they can get their hands on (okay, apart from meat – more on that later). They also recognize that in order to really feel their best, some spiritual practice is required. So as well as eating a balanced diet, they live a balanced life: striving always for the proper mix of material and spiritual aspiration.

So, three reasons you should either pat yourself on the back for keeping it real, or consider changing to a healthier, more sustainable, and ethical way of eating:

1. Your Health

I don’t care what anyone says. Yes, you’ll find doctors who disagree with me on this, but I wouldn’t pay much attention: doctors, despite their many years of brainwashing (oops, did I say that out loud?) education often haven’t got much of a clue about what health is. They’re too busy fixing problems.

Being vegetarian is much better for your health than eating a diet that includes animal products.

Rather than asking doctors for unbiased truth, you’re better off asking insurance salesmen. I know that might sound funny but I’m very serious (as always): there’s a lot of money in insurance. That means that they get things right. So ask your insurance company – do they give better premiums for people who are vegetarian? Often they do – why? Because they know that there is less chance you’ll get heart disease or cancer (two of the biggest causes of premature death?) if you’re vegetarian. They know that as a vegetarian, you’re more likely to live longer, and they’re less likely to pay out. Yup, it comes down to simple economics.

So, why is it healthier to be vegetarian?

Why do we eat? Primarily for energy. That energy comes from the sun. All energy comes from the sun, in one way or another. (Even oil, when you think about it, is bottled sunlight – sunlight that fell to the earth millions of years ago and was fossilized and buried for a long time, but sunlight nonetheless!)

When you eat a plant-based diet, you are getting that sunlight directly:

  • Plant absorbs the sun’s energy
  • Photosynthesis occurs
  • You eat the plant, and
  • Bingo! You absorb the energy and feel goood!

When you eat a meat-based diet, you are getting second hand sunlight:

  • Plant absorbs sunlight
  • Photosynthesis occurs
  • Cow eats plant
  • Digests plant and
  • Gets sunlight directly
  • Then you eat the cow, and
  • Get a little of that sunlight, but let’s face it, not much.

To digest that meat takes a lot of work for little energetic reward. It’s not worth it!

Health (as I said in the article linked to above) is not just about avoiding sickness. It’s about feeling fantastic. Yes, there are many people who eat meat and avoid sickness, there’s no disputing that. However, I believe that generally, it’s possible to feel more fantastic eating a vegetarian diet than it is eating meat. The reason being simply that your body will be lighter – yes, most likely in terms of weight, but also and more importantly in terms of photons. Your body actually contains light. You are light. That’s why we eat sunlight and drink water. That’s what we are.

‘Yes’, I hear you say, ‘but we’re also meat’. Well, sure, but do you want to feed the dense, gross, material aspect of yourself, or the subtle, light, spiritual aspect of yourself. That’s what it comes down to on the issue of health, and I know what I choose.

You are what you eat. The reason it’s a cliché is because it’s true – every culture has an equivalent saying. However, and please pay close attention to this: it’s not just your body that IS what you eat. It’s every aspect of you. What you eat is reflected in your thoughts, your desires, your senses, your emotions, your deeper feelings… every aspect of your consciousness. YOU ARE what you eat.

2. The Environment

Our environment is… messed up. (I’m trying to give up swearing. It’s tough sometimes. This is one of those times).

‘What has the environment got to do with meat’ you might ask? Well, a lot.

As Ramesh Bjonnes pointed out in his recent article on the connection between meat consumption and global warming, the meat industry is now considered by many to be the leading contributor to global warming; more so “than all forms of transportation combined”! Wow. Or as they say here in Slovenia, land of forested hill-top churches and castles and bees: Uau.


  • Meat is not economically viable: it takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh.
  • A huge amount of land is required to graze livestock and grow the grain necessary to feed that. That land could be put to much better use. Not to mention the issues of soil erosion, desertification, and threat to indigenous species that are implicit with overgrazing. Or the rain-forests that have been cut down to make space for that land…
  • The meat industry pollutes massively. The VAST amount of water necessary for the rearing of animals and  growing their feed, gets polluted; the land gets polluted (from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feedcrops, and sediments from eroded pastures.); eutrophication occurs.
  • The meat industry is responsible for biodiversity loss on the planet. Care much about the thousands of species that are becoming extinct every year?

3. The Animals

There are about 6 billion of us humans on the planet. Each year in the U.S. alone (not counting China, or Europe, or anywhere else – just the U.S.) around ten billion animals are slaughtered (source: Wikipedia). I believe this may be a very conservative estimate – I’ve seen estimates of up to 40 billion. Nevertheless, if you think of this on a global scale, and then factor in the fish: you realize that the meat industry is actually responsible for the slaughter of many, many times more beings than there are people on the planet. Each year it starts all over again. How many animals and fish is that in my / your lifetime? I dread to think, but if you want you can do the math.

However, that’s only one side to the story: how a being lives is more important than how it dies. How do the vast majority of these animals live: in squalor and without dignity. Think of the worst Nazi concentration camp, and you’re halfway there.

I have no quarrel with killing an animal for food. Try telling the Inuit that they shouldn’t eat fish, or the indigenous people of Tibet that it’s cruel to eat Yak – they’ll laugh long and loud.

But what a difference there is between killing an animal with respect and dignity, out of necessity, and ‘growing’ animals industrially with no basic rights (fresh air, clean water, a little space) in order to slaughter them in a manner that is at best cruel, but usually amounts to torture.

Scientists tell us that everything is energy. What happens to the energy of suffering, pain, and indignity caused by our meat industry? Because you know, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted to another form. What happens to that energy I wonder? What happens to it…?


Well, I’ve listed 3 good reasons to give up eating meat. For the sake of balanced and unbiased journalism, let’s at this point ask: ‘what are the reasons for eating meat?’

There’s only one good argument that I’ve heard for eating meat: it tastes good. It’s a great reason, because it’s honest. To many people, it does indeed taste good. I myself must admit to occasional cravings.

However, if we’re really truthful with ourselves, we see that in no way can a meat-based diet be justified; in the light of the environmental, economic, ethical, and health crises that we are living through today, giving up meat is quite simply one of the smartest, and best choices you can make.


Share this blog post on your social media, give it a facebook ‘like’, and send the link to your (furry or not) friends.

Spread the word.

Giving up meat is the single biggest contribution you can make to a sustainable, ethical, and healthy future.



Suite 101


About Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting. He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.


178 Responses to “THE 3 reasons to give up meat (and 1 not to).”

  1. Shelli Meyers says:

    Eileen, I really liked your article on I too was a little taken aback the first time I saw my teacher chow down a medium-rare New York sirloin. The whole situation and my emotions around it has been an amazing practice in equanimity, as has my decision to eat a bit of meat – and reacting both in "ew gross" and "omg this is kinda yummy" ways, sometimes simultaneously – during Vajrayana feasts. Thanks for sharing it here.

  2. lisa says:

    I have another reason to eat meat…for some people, based on their own biochemical individuality, an entirely plant based diet devoid of any animal products is simply not the best choice for optimal health. I am one of those people. I was a raw vegan for years…I was not only overweight, but I also had low energy and health that was overall less than optimal.

    That said, I eat VERY minimal amounts of animal products..I eat mindfully. No industrialized meat…I buy from local, organic farms for my produce; I eat 3-4 oz of sustainable fish, grass fed beef (average red meat consumption 1-2 times a month), or free range/organic chicken per serving; and I only eat local organic eggs from my neighbors’ backyard or another farm in my general vicinity. I avoid dairy with the exception of some Greek yogurt in moderate amounts as well. The majority of my diet consists of a raw, organic plant based diet, and I adopt the Michael Pollan philosophy of knowing where my food comes from and using common sense.

    I have thyroid issues and soy is an unhealthy food for me for the most part. My body does poorly with grains as well, and I also avoid corn and any kind of flour.

    Biochemical individuality…one man’s food is another’s poison. If I felt best on a 100% vegan or vegetarian diet, I would eat that way. This is not my reality.

    And one more thing…eating dairy, even the organic, hormone free, free range, etc….is still often quite cruel and may promote the killing of baby calves for veal, etc. Not to mention the terrible processed faux meat products that are filled with sugar, MSG (TVP), and add to all sorts of physical ailments. There is no ONE way of eating that fits ALL.


  3. candicegarrett says:

    There are some sources of b12 available, the most reliable being a source of yeast. Here's an interesting link you might (or might not) enjoy

  4. […] Ben Ralston, is a regular contributor to Elephant Journal.  Ben asked us to post this and get people thinking about meat consumption.  He lives with his family live in the secluded hills of Eastern Slovenia, one of the most un-spoiled, beautiful countries of Europe.  Ben is a yoga master in the Sivananda tradition, and a healer. The Ralstons welcome people to their home and center for yoga retreats and healing.  Connect with Ben on Facebook, find out more about his unique retreats at Prem Center and read more of his writings about yoga, healing, holistic health, and personal empowerment on his blog Grounded Spirituality.  He tried Twittering, but couldn’t get the hang if it. var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname="The 3 Reasons To Give Up Meat (…1 not to) by Ben Ralston"; a2a_config.linkurl=""; […]

  5. barefootlotuss says:

    These discussions are all great. . and remind me why I'm not a Buddhist. . .I love diversity too much.

  6. Ramesh says:

    Lisa: You wrote "I have thyroid issues and soy is an unhealthy food for me for the most part. My body does poorly with grains as well, and I also avoid corn and any kind of flour."

    Have you ever tried doing a yoga asana combination of shoulder stand (sarvangasana) and fish (matsyasana)? You do shoulder stand for 2-5 minutes and fish for half that time and 2-4 rounds of this set per day. This is a great yogic way to balance your thyroid glands.

  7. Science Works says:

    "To digest that meat takes a lot of work for little energetic reward. It’s not worth it!"

    please, if this were true, there would not be such a thing as carnivores. The energy required to digest, hunt and kill an animal, guard it from opportunists, heal itself, reproduce and if is female and a mammal care for it's young by producing milk must be at least equal to the energy of it's food source, meat. How about the fact that many physically anthropologists, theorize that it was the introduction of large amounts of meat into our diet that allowed the human brain to expand to it's current size and abilities. Or the fact that one of the oldest forms of hunting involves hunters running down their prey until it is too exhausted to continue in hunts that can last days.

    Eating plants is the very definition of the indirect consumption of the sun's energy. We are not made of photon's. The fact that certain life processes result in a tiny amount of electromagnetic radiation is unsurprising, and doesn't change anything. Oil is not fossilized light as oil formation requires biomass.

    I have no issue if you choose to be a vegetarian, but when you present misinformation into your argument especially as related to scientific fact, it becomes an issue.

  8. Ben_Ralston says:

    Great comment (not)whollyafool, thanks for your helpful contribution to the debate.

  9. Ben_Ralston says:

    I'll second what Ramesh said – Shoulderstand and fish (and plough too) are wonderful tools to bring balance to the thyroid and the metabolism.
    I agree with your last sentence (Lisa) completely.
    Love, Ben

  10. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thanks Candice, it's true – there are many processed foods out there (I could have mentioned them in the article) which are really little more than poison. I believe there are a lot of people that actually have no idea of how bad they are for their physical health, emotional balance, and state of mind.
    Thanks for pointing it out.
    Love, Ben

  11. Ben_Ralston says:

    Science Works,
    With a name like that you should do some research, and think a little deeper about what is presented before making silly comments about it.
    My article is not about carnivores. It's about human beings. It is arguable that human beings are omnivores. It is not even remotely feasible that we are carnivores. We have completely different biological makeup to all carnivores.
    What about the people who suggest that our brains got bigger due to the introduction of meat into our diets. What about them indeed? It's absolute nonsense as far as I am concerned. It is an offshoot of the 'I need animal protein to survive' theory.
    I didn't say that we are made of photons. i said that we are light. There's a subtle but important difference. That subtlety is one of the reasons it is better not to eat meat. A lighter diet helps you to think, perceive, and act in lighter, and more subtle ways.
    Please don't just come here and accuse of misinformation unless you are going to a) read the article properly, and b) disprove that something I have said is untrue. Otherwise it's simply rude.
    With love, Ben

  12. […] The 3 Reasons to Give Up Meat (and 1 not to) from elephantjournal. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)10k downloads in 2 days, update on what is coming up!How over rated 😉 from → love lists ← Etsy Love No comments yet Click here to cancel reply. […]

  13. Science Works says:

    Your assertion was that less energy is available from meat the plant matter and that is simply not true. I was pointing out if it were true carnivores would not exist, not that humans are carnivores. I am quite aware we are omnivores. All one needs to do is look at say lions which make a kill every couple of days, and compare to their prey which must graze nearly continuously. to see it is false.

    As far as The meat diet- brain connection go here…. You can dismiss it if you like but you'd still be wrong.

    To say that we are light, is to say that we are photons. Which is patently untrue. Furthermore you confuse two meanings of the word light to give credence to your assertion. I fail to see what light in the sense of a fundamental particle and light as an abstract feeling one gets from eating certain types of food have to do with each other, and they are not the same thing.

    As far as you subtle spiritual essence use of the word light. I don't even know what that means. and I doubt if you can explain it to me in any coherent way.

  14. Ben Ralston says:

    Hello Science Works,

    I assume from both your name and the tone of your comments that you value rational, scientific reasoning. However, some of what you say betrays a lack of such judgement yourself:

    How can you attempt to devalue my statements on *human* diet by stating (even after you assert that we are omnivores) that *Lions* get plenty of energy from a carnivore diet. Of course they do!! They are carnivores!!!

    Your meat / brain connection is very superficial. It is also based on the old and now outdated theory that our consciousness is stored in our brain. It isn’t.

    The brain is a computer that manages our body and certain aspects of our mental awareness. It is very useful, but not the all important *seat of the soul* that Descartes (I think it was Descartes) proposed a long long time ago. There is no evidence, nor can there ever be, that meat is what helped humans to evolve. It could be argued equally that meat hindered human development, and prevented us from achieving our potential. So to say that I’m wrong may or may not be true, but it is a moot point if you really want to debate reasonably.

    We consist of different aspects. We have a physical body, a mental body, an emotional body, an energy body… but they are not separate. They are really the same consciousness, in different expression. The ‘mind’ and the body are the same. When we usually use the term ‘mind’ we mean our consciousness right? Well, it’s not confined to the brain! There are multiple aspects to our consciousness – body consciousness, emotional awareness; mental process; they all happen in different areas of our being – thought in head, emotion in heart, etc… If you think deeply about this – where your consciousness is located – you will realise that it is actually not possible to pinpoint it. When I talk about energy, and about light, I am not talking ONLY about photons. I am talking in a broader sense, that is not really possible to prove in the normally accepted scientific way. But it is time to accept that science is limited; if we really want to understand the world around us, it is necessary to go BEYOND our thought processes. Out of our heads, so to speak. There is other understanding much more powerful and far more fulfilling and satisfying, and using the brain is not the way to get to it. So you’re right in a way – I can’t explain it to you in a coherent way, because to understand it, first you must be coherent yourself. (which simply means that the body, emotional, and mental aspects are aligned).

    Please don’t take what I say as patronizing or condescending. I know it may sound like that, but I am taking time here for no other reason than simply to share what I have found after many years of (in my opinion) truly scientific research. I have experimented and researched with diet, personal development, spiritual practice, and so on for many years – this is what I have found to be true through *direct experience*; of course it is entirely subjective, and in that sense not provable. But what need is there to prove something that you know beyond any doubt to be true?

    Investigate for yourself, and you will see.

    With love, Ben

  15. elephantjournal says:

    To quote Waylon Lewis, "Ben, you're awesome."

  16. Jana Gray says:

    Would flax seed oil supply the omega 3 fats you require?

  17. Ben_Ralston says:

    Hi Shelli,
    I've only just noticed these comments of yours here, so please excuse the very long delay in replying to you.
    I'm going to be very honest as usual, and I'm guessing you won't like what i have to say (as usual!) but hey, we'll see 🙂
    As I said in the article, you are what you eat: not just your physical self, but your thoughts too. I've noticed, from the many comments that you've left after my articles and on the EJ facebook page, that you are pretty negative. I'd go so far as to say that you come across sometimes as rather angry and 'tetchy'. I am not trying to upset you, but I believe that there is no point in having a forum of this kind if we're not going to be honest with each other, so I'm telling you what I feel; I am an intuitive empath, as well as a healer, and perhaps there is some truth to what I say. Or perhaps I'm wrong! But you might want to give it a little thought.
    If i'm right, and you tend to get angry, or depressed, or over-emotional, or lazy easily, you might want to look at your diet. Because we ARE what we eat. And if you eat lazily, it will be reflected in how you feel. Not only physically, but also emotionally, mentally, etc.
    That's why I stated at the start of my article that lazy vegetarians don't usually stick to being vegetarian – it's because it's easier to get a balanced diet from eating meat lazily than from eating veggie. So to feel better (physically, emot. ment. etc) they usually switch back to eating meat. Of course, it's a generalisation. Perhaps you're the exception.
    With love, Ben

  18. […] The Three Reasons to Give up Meat (And One Not To) – The Elephant Journal. I would agree with the reasons in the post and I appreciate articles advocating vegetarianism that don’t come off as preachy or judgmental of omnivores. […]

  19. думаю Вы слышали об этой авиафирмы, в большинстве случааев плохое. мы с мужем обязаны были улететь из Геленджика в Москву в 12.10 , а улетели на следующий вечер в 22.00. еще до этой поездки мы купили билеты на октябрь в Геленджик, сейчас поездка срывается и деньги получить буквально нереально… а это немало. еще у них нет эл.адреса( есть только почтовый для возврата денег), даромго телефона( только с моб. платныф- 38 руб. за 1 мин) и связаться с ними в принципе невозможно, офиса нет). и не летайте этой авиакомпанией!
    к стате сериаллы и фильмы я качаю с Мегаполиса i7 причем бесплато. 🙂 можете пользоватся. Лучше чем локалка.Если канечно ссылка не нужна можете и удалить.

  20. Ben_Ralston says:

    Sorry that's all greek to me…

  21. Christopher Spiewak says:

    Despite the debatable elements of vegetarianism that will inevitably evoke disagreement for all eternity, the simple non-debatable fact is that the cumulative (individual or human) effect of living/eating veg*an is more positive than negative, more light than dark.

  22. ARCreated says:

    chia seeds baby 🙂

  23. ARCreated says:

    I always say ….if everyone just ate less the world would change…no one has to live EXTREME…it too me 4 years from carnivore to vegan (from the day in sangha my teacher discussed it to the day I took the full plunge)

  24. ARCreated says:

    the double ramesh ben whammy…:) nirvana 🙂

    Lisa – I have hypothyroidism and before yoga and veganism I took synthroid. I am now 100 percent vegan (NO SOY) and no longer have to take my meds. between yoga and supplements I keep my thyroid balanced. The number one most important (after my matsyanasa and halasana) is iodine supplemenetation.

    HOWEVER — if you find the healthiest is with some meat I truly applaud the responsible, conscious way you consume!!

    PS I agree with you about dairy…personally I think dairy farming is the CRUELEST!!!! and if cruelty is the issue then the first thing that should be given up is dairy, unless bessie lives in your back yard.

  25. Stacey says:

    I have been vegetarian since 1998 because of ethical concerns, environment and lastly my health. I am the only one in my family however my hubby is a semi-vegetarian, he just needs to give up chicken now and.. for most people the transition is a step by step process. I became completely meat free over 6 months with chicken being the first that I gave up.

    I guess you would call me a lazy vegetarian because I still in enjoy my pizza, french fries, etc. I eat what I want, I just avoid meat. However I do enjoy some mock meats quite regularly. I admit that I do need to re-review my diet as far as recipes go because I don't do many of these which help to make meals more interesting, diverse and healthy. Thx for your review.

  26. Ben Ralston says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful and honest comment Stacey.

    I wouldn’t call you a lazy vegetarian, but it does seem that you could do with loving yourself a little more by taking time for food and nutrition?

    With love, Ben

  27. Erica says:

    I think to say that the only good reason to eat meat is that it tastes good is a careless minimizaion. I personally was born and raised a vegetarian and when I turned 30, my body shut down and I became very sick. Now, without regular meat in my diet, I don't build muscle, have energy or feel good in general. There are many people who can live off of a vegetarian or vegan diet, but each body is different, comes from a different lineage and culture, and has different nutritional needs. To make a broad generalization that vegetarianism is the way for all people discounts our individuality and speaks to an extreme fundamentalist viewpoint.

  28. Erica says:

    I am conscious in the meat that I choose and am aware of where it came from and how it was treated. I honor the animals that gave their life to provide me with nourishment and strength. Like it or not a food chain exists in all living beings. Animals of all kinds prey on others to survive and thrive, and just because we humans are the most evolved, doesn't make us wrong for seeking nourishment where we need it, even if that means in the flesh of another animal. If your body can function on a vegetarian diet and even thrives on one, more power to you and thank you for the contribution to our planet and it's animals. However, the message would be more openly received without the judgement.

  29. goddamnit says:

    if i was to be your dinner, i would will with every fiber in my body that i made you suffer as well. . .
    how do you like them apples?
    speaking of apples, the only thing snakes eat that even slightly resemble apples are eggs.

  30. […] the two textual traditions of the Theravada and Mahayana and the contradicting teachings about meat eating contained within them. Buddhist monks recieving alms. Photo: […]

  31. omnivore says:

    I personally was born into a vegetarian family. We ate a lot of dairy, beans and grains and I grew up watching other kids play sports and constantly feeling weak and tired, unable to participate. I could not build muscle no matter how hard I tried. I ran, biked, lifted weights, swam and I was always weak and tired. I was a conscious vegetarian and at times vegan. I focused on getting vegetarian forms of protein like beans, nuts, seeds, high quality grains like quinoa and amaranth and yet by the time I was 30, I had developed serious health problems and could hardly function. At that time a nutritionist suggested I try adding meat to my diet. With the first bite, my body screamed with delight and gratitude, soaking in the protein. After adding meat to my diet, I had energy, built muscle, and felt vibrant. I do not feel heavy or dense. I feel light and healthy. I do often think about the animals who gave their life for my nutrition. I choose carefully the meat that I eat and I am aware that if I consume an animal who was treated poorly and not nourished appropriately, then I am consuming both their energy and contaminated flesh.

  32. omnivore says:

    I make the best choices I can, but I am very clear that I need meat to survive and thrive. Not everyone does, so to write an all-encompassing, one-size-fits-all article that reduces the value of eating meat to taste is irresponsible. People listen to you for heaven's sake. I respect you, what I know of your background, and your work, but if you want to be taken seriously as you say you do, my suggestion is avoid editorializing relevant and controversial issues such as this one.

  33. Ben_Ralston says:

    Great comment. Respect.

  34. CultofNow says:

    Poorly reasoned nonsense.

  35. LasaraAllen says:

    Good stuff, Ben. I'm with ya.

  36. Lindsay Jean says:

    Respectfully, I agree with the first three reasons to be a vegetarian but I think the one reason to eat meat was a bit flippant, Ben. I gave vegetarianism a good try – three years – and for health reasons I don’t feel obligated to share over the internet, my body’s response made it clear that I need to eat meat. I still eat a primarily vegetarian diet and try to make responsible decisions around all of the food I eat, most especially the small amount of animal products I consume. Ahimsa means more than not eating animals.

    Moreover, haven’t we at ele already beaten this topic into the ground?

  37. francesca_c says:

    "Because they know that there is less chance you’ll get heart disease or cancer (two of the biggest causes of premature death?) if you’re vegetarian. They know that as a vegetarian, you’re more likely to live longer…"

    I agree that vegetarians have lower rates of heart disease but vegetarians do not generally have lower overall rates of cancer and their survival rates are similar to that of health-conscious omnivores. Please keep promoting a vegetarian diet on the grounds of environmental or ethical reasons but perhaps you could be cautious in recommending a vegetarian diet on the basis of health.

  38. Ben_Ralston says:

    Hey Omnivore, thank you very much for your thoughtful, reasoned contribution.
    I will acknowledge that my stance on this issue has changed slightly since writing it. I still believe that what I wrote stands up for the majority of people; but I will agree now that there are certainly people (yours is the perfect example) whose constitution and biological make-up needs meat to, as you say, survive *and* thrive.
    There is a simple and I think reasonable answer as to why I editorialized, which I'm sure you will understand – most people in the world today don't take what I wrote into consideration – they dont' think about these three different issues at all. They usually fall into two distinct camps – either 'killing is wrong' (to me it's a nonsense, because death is natural); or 'meat is necessary to survive'. I think that both those camps are blinkered, and I wanted to write something that got *both* of their attention.

  39. Ben_Ralston says:

    Hi Lindsay,
    I think that the topic has been beaten into the ground before EJ, and will continue to be so long after EJ. Why? Because it's kinda important…
    Please see my comment to Omnivore (a few comments up) for my response to the rest of what you say. Basically, I agree with you.

  40. Bob says:

    I disregarded everything you said when you tried to tell me that we "eat sunlight."
    You obviously have no idea how a cell works at all.

  41. jerachine says:


  42. […] things that brought this home to me very clearly was a comment that a reader left after my article The 3 Reasons to be a Vegetarian. Calling himself simply ‘Omnivore’, this person said that despite having had been raised a […]

  43. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you for your comment Francesca.

    It is my experience, and many others, that switching to a vegetarian diet promotes health.
    I was sick a lot. I stopped eating meat, and i became much healthier.

    This leads me to believe the statistics that say that vegetarianism is healthier, as opposed to the stats that say otherwise.

  44. Ben_Ralston says:

    You might want to not take things so literally…

  45. Ben_Ralston says:

    See answer to above comment…

  46. Patrick S. says:

    Dammit, thought I found a good article to show my friends up until you started talking about the non-sense that is global warming. ;-/