EDIT: after a bit of thought, i'm modifying my first bulletpoint--
first, my views on vegetarianism:
- i suspect
95%a large number of vegetarians are doing it as a sneaky way of dieting, and 5%a smaller number for their views
- a vegetarian that i respect is one that has done a LOT of research on farming and the meat industry
- though it is certainly possible to get all your required nutrients without meat, it is likely that many vegetarians do not do so
- if you think your body is somehow precious to the point where you feel as if you are dirtying it by eating (well-cared for & vegetable-fed) animal products, you are just seriously... wrong
- though i believe that humans can get used to not eating meat, to the point where they no longer crave it, i also believe that we as humans were meant to be omnivores
- if you have an eating disorder, you should seriously question the reason as to WHY you are cutting out meat products, and ask yourself whether continuing with a vegetarian diet is really a healthy decision
the American Dietetic Association recently published an article linking vegetarianism in teens to an increased likelihood of later developing an eating disorder. i find this very un-shocking, but very interesting as well. i was going to just highlight a few points from an article in the telegraph, but i think i'm just going to post it all, because there are a lot of good points raised--
Vegetarians at greater risk of eating disorders, say experts
Vegetarians are at greater risk of developing dangerous eating disorders than meat eaters, a new study has found, as young people who did not eat meat were more likely to binge eat than carnivores.
Former vegetarians were also more vulnerable to developing anorexia and bulimia than meat eaters.
The study of 2,516 young people found that reformed vegetarians were more likely to use extreme methods to control their weight than those who had always eaten meat.
Vegetarians and former vegetarians aged between 15 and 23 were most likely to binge eat, the study found.
Nutritionist Dr Ramona Robinson-O'Brien, of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in Minnesota, said that the study results "indicate that it would be beneficial for clinicians to ask adolescents and young adults about their current and former vegetarian status when assessing risk for disordered eating behaviours.
"Furthermore, when guiding adolescent and young adult vegetarians in proper nutrition and meal planning, it may also be important to investigate an individual's motives for choosing a vegetarian diet."
The study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that although adolescent and young adult vegetarians may eat a healthier diet there was evidence that they could be at increased risk of developing an eating disorder.
Of those who took part, 4.3 percent were currently vegetarian, 10.8 percent former vegetarians and 84.9 percent had always eaten meat.
Among 15 to 18-year -olds there was no significant differences in weight between each group; however, among 19 to 23-year-olds, current vegetarians had a lower body mass index, a calculation of their weight in relation to their height, and were less likely to be overweight or obese than meat eaters.
says the author in the article i read prior to finding this one (NOT MY QUOTE PEOPLE!):
It's why vegetarians are mostly girls. Because vegetarianism is a way of controlling one's food intake without drawing attention to one's vanity.
i think this is definitely true for SOME vegetarians. but more importantly, i'd like to comment on the relationship between "controlling one's food intake" and disordered behavior. as i wrote in #5, i believe that humans are meant to be omnivores. this does not mean that we cannot live a healthy and non-disordered life as a vegetarian, but it is not the "natural" way (in an evolutionary sense), and so i think for some, this creates a position of deprivation (even if not with respect to the amount of food consumed). to me, it is all about predisposition to addiction/an eating disorder. after all, not all girls who diet end up with eating disorders... and so we might say that the ones that do were somehow (genetically and/or environmentally) predisposed to developing their disorder. dieting does not cause an eating disorder, but it puts us at risk to developing one (versus not dieting). there have even been studies that link a relatively long bout of sickness (involving unintentional restriction of food intake-- mono for example) to the development of an ED (and i even know someone who developed her ED this way). i believe this idea of risk+predisposition is the case for vegetarianism as well. whenever we cut out certain foods (either in a conscious or unconscious manner) we are creating a sense of deprivation and training our bodies to want that food more. after all, humans have spent the majority of their time on this earth in a struggle to find enough food to eat, and so it has been advantageous for humans to overeat after a period of famine. this is quite self-evident in my own disorder, as my disorder quickly morphed from anorexia to bulimia after an extended period of deprivation. and though a vegetarian might be quick to combat this statement with: but i'm not starving myself, think about how you/your body might react if someone were to say that starting now you cannot eat any bread products. suddenly you want a freshly baked baguette... right? and so, this is why diets fail... after a period of "being good," dieters fall off the wagon (::cough:: deprivation ::cough::) and eat the forbidden fruits in larger quantities than they would have had this food been allowed in moderate quantities. and for ANYONE who says "well no, i would just want to eat [insert forbidden food here] all day long," TRUST ME on this one. . . my cupboards are now full of cookies, granola, muffins, cereal, ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate, etc. etc. etc., and i have no desire to eat it other than when i want a modest portion (which i allow myself to have pretty much whenever i want). back when i was restricting, this could nevvvverrrr have been the case.
alright, i'm done rambling, and i'm now hungry! i'd love to hear your thoughts!
SECOND EDIT: one more thought about the idea that we cannot sustain the amount of meat consumed without excessive amounts of energy and harmful effects to the environment. i do believe that most americans/those in developed nations eat TOO MUCH meat. i shall end with another quote from the same article that peaked my interest in this subject to begin with. i think this guy is dead on:
I absolutely concur with the notion that we in the developed world eat too much meat. We absolutely do. Current meat consumption levels are unhealthy for the people and a drain on the planet's resources. The neo-Malthusian projection that says there is not enough land to feed the nine billion people who will be living here by 2020 unless most of the meat-producing land is turned over to vegetable crops (or something) is probably not too wide of the mark.
So the thing to do is to eat less meat, not none. You don't make meat a moral issue and campaign to end it. You just lay off it a bit. That way there will be plenty to go round, the land will be able to yield its bounty much more efficiently (after all, without cow crap to nourish the soil, how are your precious carrots going to grow all big and juicy?), nobody will have to die of heart disease and we'll all be able to scoff a juicy steak from time to time.