This post will not try to lure you into being a vegetarian. I sit and eat comfortably with people who eat meat, and i don’t try to convince them to do otherwise. I’ve been a vegetarian since 1973. My reason for vegetarianism is mostly related to a compassion for animals, rather than simply for health reasons. Currently, i am an Ovo-Lacto vegetarian, though for a few years i was a vegan (not eating any animal oriented products, including milk and eggs). I do not use much (at all) in the way of dairy products, but do eat eggs fairly often. Over the years, one has met all kinds of vegetarians and non-vegetarians. It has been an interesting ride. Some vegetarians, whom i’ve known or lived with, were simple and non-arrogant about their vegetarianism. They were simply that way, and they didn’t flaunt it or look down on those who were not like they were. I was appreciative of the way they were… of their non-judgemental approach. I’ve also met plenty of vegetarians who were rather arrogant and pretentious about it… looking down on those who did not fit into what they thought was the only correct way to be.
Years ago, i was introduced, by two female vegetarian friends, to a man who was a fruitarian. He did not eat plants because he thought that plants had feelings. He was rather pitiful to look at… looking very emaciated and sickly (though he was only in his 20’s). He claimed that it was “wrong” to even eat bread… since yeast — used to make bread — is closely related to animals. To me, what he said didn’t carry much credibility… especially since he looked like death warmed over. For a meal, he would eat some fruit… and he looked down on people who ate plants (as if they were immoral). One can take idealism to levels that negate the correct and proper care of the physical organism that the mind inhabits, causing irreparable harm to that organism.
When one was a vegan, after a period of time, though eating a good variety of foods, there developed unnatural cravings to eat more and more. Something was missing in that diet. Eventually, one went back to an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian regimen. I was taking Chia oil capsules for the essential fatty acids. However, skin started to come off of my inner legs by my thigh area; it literally fell off! When i started taking Fish Oil capsules and/or Krill Oil… the skin problem went away. What i didn’t know before then, was that vegetable oils, including Chia, Flax, oils from nuts, and such, are in the form of ALA fatty acids. Most people cannot readily convert the ALA into the needed DHA. DHA is critical for proper brain function and body chemistry; many vegetarians are lacking in information about this (and in the necessary DHA). In a big way, this is a real crisis, and few are knowledgeable about it. Even non-vegetarians can be very lacking in DHA… which can lead to all kinds of problems, including cognition problems and Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, DHA from algae has become commercially available, which is great for vegetarians and even vegans. I currently use the Diet Standards brand called “Prenatal DHA”; please don’t laugh (like my wife did)! It can be purchased for less $ (than on some sites) on eBay, if one shops around. Fish oil and Krill oil, additionally, contain very large amounts of DHA.
As we age, we — vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike — especially need plenty of DHA; the brain consists largely of fat and DHA; DHA is essential! DHA is the predominant structural fatty acid in the central nervous system and in the retina of the eye, and its availability is vital for the development and health of the brain.
Lately, one has been into studying Native American culture, before the arrival of Europeans. They ate plenty of vegetables (back then) as well as meat. They respected nature… and lived in real harmony and balance with nature. Many of us, these days — vegetarians included — don’t even come close to that genuine harmony… that genuine balance. We, with our fossil-fueled cars, fossil-fueled plane trips, excessively large homes, overpopulation, and endless plastics, are far from that harmony. (One has been trying, with geothermal home heating, a small home, with using small cars, not having children, and recycling, etc.; but one can never do enough.) Being a vegetarian does help environmentally and with nature; however, there are many other factors that affect life in very significant ways.
Please — vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike — take the time to read the following regarding DHA: