Sunday, April 1, 2007

Get Veggy!

Guess what I found?

The Christian Vegetarian Association. (Apparently they don't believe in the Real Presence - Jesus, being human, was an animal in the sense that we are all animals. On the other hand, they hopefully make exceptions for God.)

Now, I consider vegetarianism the way I consider celibacy, which is as a scary sacrifice that spiritual giants perform. I know a lot of giants. Of course, the CVA doesn't think it's scary - they think it's the best thing since sliced bread. (Sorry.)

Well, of course, I had to do a fisk of their FAQ page.

The Christian Vegetarian Association is an international, nondenominational ministry of Christians who find that a plant-based diet benefits human health, the environment, the world’s poor and hungry, and animals.

Arrange in proper order of priority: your body fat; global warming; your uncle who's about to starve under a highway bridge; edible animals.

We believe that the Holy Spirit inspires us to live according to our deepest, faith-based values—our “calling.”

The calling of married men is to raise holy children and strengthen their wives on the road to salvation. The calling of college students is to assume the duties they bear to their fellow men. The calling of vegans is to eat tofu.

We find that Christians care, often deeply, about world hunger, human well-being, the environment, and animals. Since a plant-based diet helps address these concerns, we see it as an opportunity to honor God.

And besides, eating tofu is cheaper and easier than serving vegetable soup to the homeless, washing an orphan's hair, picking up litter, or feeding the cat.

How is vegetarianism good stewardship?

By turning up your nose at a perfectly fine peace of chicken, you, er...

World Hunger

Jesus preached, “For I was hungry and you gave me food.…[A]s you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:35, 40 RSV).

Bingo! Let's give up meat and feed the poor lots of filet mignon, chicken wings, and roast-beef subs. Poor people eat the best off our tables. We sacrifice for our fellow men. God is happy, we're happy, the poor are happy - what's not to like?

Yet, while tens of millions die annually from starvation-related causes and close to a billion suffer from malnutrition, 37 percent of the world’s harvested grain is fed to animals being raised for slaughter; in the United States, the figure is 66 percent.

And, I may point out, the number of people starving to death in America is almost nil. Most Americans get plenty of food - albeit greasy, unhealthy food.

Converting grains to meat wastes 67-90% of grains’ proteins, up to 96% of their calories, and all of their fiber.

Albeit animals proteins are more efficient sources of protein. And fiber is indigestible - it just helps clean the sewage system.

Since it generally takes far more grains to feed a meat eater, worldwide meat consumption greatly increases demand for grains.

But the people fed on meat tend to be healthier, as meat is a one-stop fix for nutrition. Without meat, you have to plan your menu, and how many starving poor people have the time for that?

Because land, water, and other resources are limited, growing demand for meat increases the cost of all food, and the world’s poor become increasingly unable to afford food of any kind.

The question is: should we give stuff to the poor, or should we give them discounts at the grocery store?

Your Health

The apostle Paul wrote that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), and it follows that we should care for our bodies as gifts from God.

Meat being part of a healthy, normal diet...

The largest organization of food and nutritional professionals in the U.S., the American Dietetic Association, has endorsed well-planned vegetarian diets. The ADA notes that vegetarian diets are associated with a reduced risk for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, colon cancer, lung cancer, and kidney disease.

Not to mention schizophrenia, flu, and leftist leanings.

In contrast to the predominantly plant-based Mediterranean diet that Jesus ate,

Remember the miracle of the loaves and tofu?

modern Western diets (heavily laden with animal products) put people at risk. For example, animal foods tend to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which elevate blood lipids and increase the risk of heart disease, by far the #1 killer in the West.

Then again, that's because we eat too much meat. If we slacked back on the meat and shipped it all to Africa or North Korea or something...

Because farmed animals are bred to grow quickly and given little exercise, their flesh is particularly high in saturated fats. In contrast, polyunsaturated fats in plant foods generally improve one’s lipid profile and reduce heart disease risk.

St. Paul on the phone: he wants to know what in heaven a lipid profile is.

Numerous studies show this.

The study is always right.

The Cornell-Oxford-China Project found that rural Chinese, who eat much less animal fat and protein and derive the bulk of their nutrition from plant sources, have far less heart disease mortality and much lower cholesterol levels than Americans or Chinese people in cities who eat a more Western diet.

In rural China, they die from famines. Or the government.

Regarding obesity and diabetes, fiber in grains and fructose sugar in fruits help people feel full,

What does this have to do with Christianity again?

which discourages overeating. In study after study, vegetarians weigh less and have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight than their meat-eating peers.

It's worth noting that St. Thomas Aquinas (Fatty Aquinas, his enemies called him) is in heaven and 90 percent of movie stars are, at best, still in purgatory.

Regarding bone health, animal proteins are heavily laden with sulfur-containing amino acids, which acidify the blood. The body neutralizes the acid by leaching calcium from bones, weakening the bones. In contrast, vegetables and fruits contain base precursors that neutralize acids and protect bones. Harvard Medical School’s Nurse's Health Study of 77,761 women, who were followed for 12 years, found that milk consumption did not reduce the risk of bone fractures.

Tear down those "Got Milk?" posters!

The routine use of antibiotics to prevent infections in crowded, stressed animals promotes dangerous antibiotic resistance among bacteria. Furthermore, high-speed slaughterhouse operations predispose meat to bacterial contamination. In 1999, the CDC estimated that food poisoning sickens about 76 million Americans annually and kills about 5,000.

A 1 in 15 million chance of dying from food poisoning. Compare that to the likelihood of dying from snowboarding, promiscuous activity, and reading Christian Vegetarian Association bulletins.

A year later, the CDC found that about 86 percent of reported food poisoning outbreaks derived from animal food sources.

Most people don't eat moldy bread, you know.

Other human health concerns that derive directly from factory farming include consumption of pesticides, hormones, heavy metals, and dioxins that become concentrated in animal fat, and “Mad Cow” disease.

A'course, pesticides used on factory-farmed grains has no effect.


Seriously, the problem with the CVA is they give up meat in order to, well, fulfill an agenda. Vegan hermits don't have an agenda. They give up meat for the same reason they are celibate - because they can concentrate on God, not roast beef.

And if hermits want to feed the poor, well, they haul out some baskets and head to the rough side of town with a load of food. This has the advantage of having an immediate, direct, effect on actual living people.

I know where a Sisters of Charity place is. Email my dad and we'll give you directions.

PS. Another installment next week. Their theology promises to be worse than their economics and biology.