How I Became Vegetarian

Around early 1995 I was thinking about to stop eating meat. I thought that would do good for my body and my mind.

Then I was waiting in a room, randomly took a book and randomly open it in the part that finally defined my decision. Later a saw many people becoming vegetarian because of the same part from the same book, so I found it important to share. The author was Sri Yukteswar and the book name is The Holy Science, from 1894.

This is the part of the book that influenced my decision that time (copy and pasted from Sain Louis’ Guide to Vegetarian Life):

What is natural food for man?

First, to select our natural food, our observation should be directed to the formation of the organs that aid in digestion and nutrition, the teeth and digestive canal; to the natural tendency of the organs of sense which guide animals to their food; and to the nourishment of the young.

Observation of teeth

By observation of the teeth we find that in carnivourous animals the incisors are little developed, but the canines are of striking length, smooth and pointed, to seize the prey. The molars also are pointed; these points, however, do not meet, but fit closely side by side to separate the muscular fibers.

In the herbivorous animals the incisors are strikingly developed, the canines are stunted (though occasionally developed into weapons, as in elephants), the molars are broad-topped and furnished with enamel on the sides only.

In the frugivorous all the teeth are of nearly the same height; the canines are little projected, conical, and blunt (obviously not inteded for seizing prey but for exertion of strenth), The molars are broad-topped and furnished at the top with enamel folds to prevent waste caused by their side motion, but not pointed for chewing flesh.

In Omnivorous animals such as bears, on the other hand, the incisors resemble those of the herbivorous, the canines are like those of the carnivorous, and the molars are both pointed and broad-topped to serve a twofold purpose.

Now if we observe the formation of the teeth in man we find that they do not resemble those of the carnivores, neither do they resemble the teeth of the herbivorous or th eomnivorous. They do resemble, eactly, those of the frugivorous animals. The reasonable inference, therefore, is that man is a frugivorous or fruit-eating animal.

Observation of the digestive canal

By observation of the digestive canal we find that the bowels of carnivorous animals are 3 to 5 times the length of their body, measuring from the mouth to the anus; and their stomach is almost spherical. The bowels of the herbivores are 20 to 28 times the length of their body and their stomach is more extended and of compound build. But the bowels of the frugivorous animals are 10 to 12 times the length of their body; their stomach is somewhat broader than that of the carnivorous and has a continuation in the duodenum serving the purpose of a second stomach.

This is exactly the formation we find in human beings, though anatomy says that the human bowels are 3 to 5 times the length of man’s body – making a mistake by measuring the body from the crown to the soles, instead of from mouth to anus. Thus we can again draw the inference that man is, in all probability, a frugivorous animal.

Observation of organs of sense

By observation of the natural tendency of the organs of sense – the guideposts for determining what is nutritious – by which all animals are directed to their food, we find that when the carnivorous animal finds prey, he becomes so much delighted that his eyes begin to sparkle; he boldly seizes the prey and greedily laps the jetting blood. On the contrary, the herbivorous animal refuses even his natural food, leaving it untouched, if it is sprinkled with a little blood. His senses of smell and sight lead him to select grasses and other herbs for his food, which he tastes with delight. Similarly with the frugivorous animals, we find that their senses always direct them to fruits of the trees and field.

In men of all races we find that their senses of smell, sound, and sight never lead them to slaughter animals; on the contrary they cannot bear even the sight of such killings. Slaughterhouses are always recommended to be removed far from the towns; men often pass strict ordinances forbidding the uncovered transportation of flesh meats. Can flesh then be considered the natural food of man, when both his eyes and his nose are so much against it, unless deceived by flavors of spices, salt, and sugar? On the other hand, how delightful do we find the fragrance of fruits, the very sight of which often makes the mouth water! It may also be noticed that various grains and roots possess an agreeable odor and taste, though faint, even when unprepared. Thus again, we are led to infer from these observations that man was intended to be a frugivorous animal.

Observation of the nourishment of the young

By observation of the nourishment of the young we find that milk is undoubtedly the food of the newborn babe. Abundant milk is not supplied in the breasts of the mother if she does not take fruits, grains, and vegetables as her natural food.

Cause of disease. Hence from these observations the only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn is that various grains, fruits, roots, and – for beverage – milk, and pure water openly exposed to air and sun are decidedly the best natural food for man. These, being congenial to the system when taken according to the power of the digestive organs, well chewed and mixed with saliva, are always easily assimilated.

Other foods are unnatural to man and being uncongenial to the system are necessarily foreign to it; when they enter the stomach, they are not properly assimilated. Mixed with the blood, they accumulate in the excretory and other organs not properly adapted to them. When they cannot find their way out, they subside in tissue crevices by the law of gravitation; and being fermented, produce diseases, mental and physical, and ultimately lead to premature death.

By the way, I am not 100% vegetarian today. I still have seafood very rarely, when is very difficult to find veggy options in some fancy restaurants.

5 thoughts on “How I Became Vegetarian”

  1. We are making a slow transition into veg. eating. First, we have started with new recipes. Second, we changed what we purchased in the store and our last step is to be meatless in 6 months:-)

  2. Não acho que esse tipo de análise seja válida como forma de justificar o vegetarianismo. Esticando essa justificativa, teríamos de voltar à vida selvagem. E eu acredito que a decisão do vegetariano deve partir do racional.

    Aliás, não acho que o vegetariano precise de muitas justificativas, acho que basta dizer “sou vegetariano porque não gosto que matem vacas e porcos só pra eu falar hum, que gostoso” ou “sou vegetariano porque as vacas soltam pum”.

    Talvez essas justificativas sirvam pra ajudar pessoas a pensar, e bem, nesse caso é válida.

    Bem, sei lá. Só sei que me deu vontade de chutney de manga 😀

  3. Matias, concordo com você. A evolução humana vai no sentido racional e seu argumento de não matar animais é meu principal também.

    Mas esse trecho do Yukteswar foi a gota d’água para as idéias que já estavam me rodeando. E coloquei-o aqui porque observei que ele influenciou definitivamente diversas outras pessoas a se tornarem vegetarianas. Acho que as pessoas precisam de empurrões menos racionais e mais floreadas como essa para consolidar duas idéias racionais.

    Sei lá, só sei que também fiquei com vontade de chutney de manga.

  4. My story is a bit different but may be relevant to someone. I read that Adam and Eve were in a paradise and ate the fruit of the trees. Thus man is a fruit eater. But because of the fall into sin from eating the wrong fruit, it became necessary that we started eating roots and other produce of the field. (If you want to speculate on the science of it, something in the fruit might have created a reaction or dependency that became genetic)
    I started eating fish because I was told to get more protein and omega oils in my diet, but I could easily drop it for soy.
    Soy products top meat any day. The taste can be enhanced with spices and salt (just like meat), you have no weight on your conscience, and it is less fattening.
    If you do decide to change your diet, consult a dietician and go for regular check-ups to ensure that your are getting all your vitamins and minerals.

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