Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Am I really a vegetarian?

The usual topic of debate right? I was always defensive about me being a vegetarian. I would give 101 reasons as to why eating plant is vegetarianism and eating animals is non-vegetarianism. But this time, I did a serious retrospection within myself... and here are my findings.
  • CURD: The one thing which I cannot live without. No meal is complete without curd-rice. But isn't curd full of yeast? A micro-organism?
  • Mushroom: Though I have no idea how to cook it and all.. and have hardly cooked at home. I like to eat it when I go out for dinner. But mushroom is classified as fungi. Another micro-organism.
  • Egg: Though I agree it's not considered "purely-vegetarian" if you eat egg. After all it's chicken in the making. But my father being very orthodox didn't object us to eating it. On top of that, forget about eating directly. Even if I can avoid it, how about all those nice yummy cakes and pastries? Don't they have chicken-in-the-making?
  • Bread: Again, it's formed by yeast. So should I stop eating all bakery products?
  • Milk: Who can live without it? Actually the milk we drink is not meant for us, it is meant for the calf. But we still take it. So aren't we indirectly hurting the animal? So should I just stop having all dairy products?
  • Plants: The good old dialog, "plants have life" too. So is it OK if I kill one form of life but not other?
  • Medicines: They are direct killers. The so called anti-biotic. The things which kill bacteria and virus. So is that OK? Or is it also a sin and I should stop taking medicines?

My point is not veg vs non-veg. My point is people associating religion with it. Pronouncing that eating meat is equivalent to sin.

I very well understand from Hindu mythology point of view. All our gods and goddesses have one or the other animal as their vehicles. We worship these gods and goddesses along with their "vaahanaas" and hence it is difficult for us to kill and eat them. It's as though we are killing a part of our God.

But, I am against the definition of vegetarianism = sanctity. I think veg or non-veg is just a classification. One group is plant-eating and the other group is animal-eating. No one is higher or lower than the other.

P.S: I am a strict vegetarian. But recently I found that some kinds of cheese (specially used in Pizzas in USA) have cow's gelatin. As that is supposed to make it more cheese-like. After knowing this, I am forced to think... what about the countless Pizzas I had already savoured? Indirectly I have had a piece of our sacred animal. Will I even get a place in hell? Or will I be banished from hell too????????


veena shivanna said...

Very Nice post Shark!
When I was just deciding to marry my husband, we had this debate of whether food habits connect to spirituality & google never gave me a good/right answer & we just dropped debating on it more!
The last para was really funny! Cows gelatin, for heaven sake !! I had heard that same thing from one of my microbiologist friends that even ice-creams has that thing, GOD knows what is that.
I had almost stopped it, I ate softies for almost 5-6 years! Even now It cautions...
I still remember that email which said, Mc-D's french fryies has some animal extract..& they gave an explanation!!
Even after I order veggies at US, I used to consiously mention, No Meat, No Egg!! Those chinese restaurant folks add the so called ' Chicken in Making' to every damn thing!

pavan kumar said...

this link citing hindus (and Gods) eating beef might change the equation a bit..

basically vegetarianism is more associated with Hindu Brahmins for reasons such as "karma" (killing animals) and not spoiling the tongue's uchchaarana for chanting vedas..

here is some interesting analysis by sepiamutiny to top this discussion

and lastly, hell and heaven are expanding at such rates that they would merge eventually :)

Kavi said...

I think you have raised a very pertinent point ! The point that i have is this that this debate is age old !

Saying no to curd because it contains microbes would be taking it to the extremes. three quarters of the world eat much more than microbes. I guess awareness must reach there first

Sunil Parmar said...

Hello Shark!
You've raised a good point...but then i'm an ardent non-veg fan.. :)

Prashanth M said...

nice post... and an everlasting debate -- eggs, milk are veg 0r non-veg. Quite similar to which came first, chicken or egg?

veena shivanna said...

How about H20? Ultimately they are made up of 2 molecules of hydrogen & 1 of oxygen. Do they have microbes in it ? Ha Ha.. food for thought!

Sudhakar said...

Hmmm.. Good post !!!

Yesterday, we had an similar discussion, but that was about Am I really true non-vegeterian?
and they decideed that I'm Chickenarian as I don't eat Pork & Beef (Well, I do eat lamb, but it's not avialble here in Prague)

priya said...

Shark: If you in any restaurants in US, I bet they maintian teh same oil for all fry products. Evenif you order vegetarian, you will never know if it is a different oil.

In Jainism they say, stmaping small insects or even ants is a sin. Wonder how can we walk by noticing everything....

praneshachar said...

very nice post and nice comments too.
it is matter of ones belief and the practices. why nonveg even some of the vegetables like onion garlic etc., not used by lot of people yes they have their own reasons for that as pavan kumar mentioned it. now a day everywhere right from airlnes to all restaurants talk of jain food
we should not go deep into these.
too much of technical issues and microorganisms etc., and just follow what is good for you
some NV people say meat and chicken have become costly because so many veggies by birth have started taking it may be true.
even here I saw bengalis eating fish almost everyday but here in our part as I know from friends they eat NV once a week mostly on sundays or on some special occassions the practices and habits differ from region to region and community to community

shark said...

@veena: Awww i will NEVER ditch ice cream! forget it! I would rather be called "dharma brashta" rather than sacrifice that ;-)

@pavan: That was surely some interesting link! Lots of insightful info... And it makes sense too... getting an edge over buddhism.

@kavi: I am not saying that I should say no to curd. ultimately it is individual's choice. My point is that we associate veg to sanctity. We claim we are the best! we are the closest to god and all that blah. My point is that we should avoid doing it.

@sunil: Good for you..:) enjoy all you can :)

@prashanth: again, whichever came first, my intention of the post is to say that vegetarianism is not something great. It is not superior to non-vegetarianism. It is just a choice which some people make.

@veena: of course water has virus/microbes.. how else do you think I got so sick ;-)?

@sudhakar: well the answer is you are not :-P.

@priya: Yes, I am sure they use the same oil and all. It does not bother me as long as I don't see it with my eyes. Again it;s just a mental block!

@praneshachar: Very nicely put! I have to totally agree with you. ultimately it;s an individual's choice. And we as people, should not comment on that saying veg is good and non-veg is bad. Whoever wants to have can have, and whoever doesn;t want to can abstain from having it.

veena shivanna said...

Lady Shark, How are you feeling now ?
Looking at your last comment, I can't resist this temptation.. Is P non-veg by choice :-)
Ha Ha...
Hearty Congratulations in Advance ree. yaake antha gottaaytalla :-)

GuNs said...

I wrote a LOOOOOOOONG comment here. Where did it go?


Gini said...

A place only in hell for you definitely. ;)

shark said...

@veena: Thanks ma.. I am much better now :)
P is actually veg by choice :)
and Thanks again...

@Guns: I didn't see any looong comment from you :( re-post it please.
AH! I will be happy if I atleast get a place in Hell ;-)

Anonymous said...

Dear shark,

When I and you open our mouths or just breath in through the nose, hundreds of baccelli get sucked in. Some survive till a course of antibiotics some dont. So you are allready killing animals without intensions. Forget what you ate and did not.

The point otherwise is, human being is what his mind is (prana), prana is all about what he has eaten. If the content in is satvic - one that doesnt ignite you ; hats off to you otherwise let other people put their hats down and run away from the person!


Anonymous said...

diet consists of grains like wheat, rice, lentils or pulses and beans, oil-seeds are recommended as they fall under the category of non-injurious food. They are yielded only when their plants get dried of their own after their age ends. Fruits and vegetables that become ripe on the plants or branches of trees or those that fall on their own after becoming ripe, are used for food.

Jains are strict vegetarians and many also avoid root vegetables as it is violent to plants. They also avoid any liquor so they can live a mindful life.

Anonymous said...

Other aspects of their food philosophy is that they regularly offer food to poor people, fast on certain days, do not waste any food, drink filtered water and eat after sunrise and before sunset

Anonymous said...

Jains (followers of Jainism) follow a diet similar to veganism. This diet disallows meat, poultry, fish and eggs. However, certain followers also do not eat plants grown under the ground such as potatoes. This is not a Vegan diet because Jain vegetarianism allows the consumption of dairy products.

Jain religion promotes vegetarian diet to support its main principle of non-voilence. It forbids followers from eating roots as rooting out kills the plant.