Any Vegetarians/Vegans out there?

Discussion in 'The Iron Chef' started by LeeJUk, Jan 1, 2010.

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  1. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Megan, I'm not sure what all you consider 'damaging foods', but I have personally had cause many times to remind myself that Christ did not come preaching salvation by a change of diet -- he seems to have eaten the common food of the time, and blessed it, and his comments about food were analogies drawn from the common foods, or the statement that the things that we put into our bodies are not what defile a man (and he was talking about basic hygiene, which as Ruben pointed out, seems to have at least as much impact on questions of health and longevity!). Obviously we should try to be good stewards of our bodies (and I'm definitely in favor of trying to get sensible nutrition to be able to do what God gives us to do as well as we are able), but common food seems to be quite good enough for such a purpose: there is a tremendous amount of guilt in many of the idolatrous food salvation schemes out there -- whether they claim to be Biblical or not -- in my experience.
  2. LeeJUk

    LeeJUk Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks a lot for all your posts.

    My reasons:

    1) Health not only for me but if God ever calls me to start a family then I want to be a good example.
    2) The treatment of animals by the industry is appalling in the UK and USA.
    3) The fact that food is not an end but a means. A means to empower our bodies but it seems today that a lot of our eating is instead disabling our bodies, depleting our energy and increasing the chances of death. So doesn't it make sense to instead put the best kind of fuel into our bodies?

    Especially thanks to you megan your posts were very informative. I don't think I want to eat meat substitutes and tofu etc... simply because I think I can live without the taste of meat. If I couldn't live without it then I'd probably just give up and rather eat the real thing.

    I will keep you updated on this thread :)


  3. Theogenes

    Theogenes Puritan Board Junior

    Not me! I love animals, they're delicious!
  4. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    I hope this is not a hi-jacking the thread, but I agree with Heidi in that just as gluttony is a sin because it is extreme indulgence, the opposite end would be true too, extreme diet. In either case we make idols of our food. The extreme dieter is almost constantly thinking about what they eat and how food is prepared.

    Another example might be to consider the miser. Their sin is hording because it shows a lack of faith in God providing for their needs. In a similar vein, worrying about health to the point that one questions everything that goes into their body would constitute a lack of faith in God and His care for us.

  5. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I have the same question about this verse:

    I'll go ahead and start that thread, then.


    As to being a vegetarian, I don't think it is sinful, but you'd better consider the very real health concerns and ask your doctor how you can get around those if you decide to opt for a vegetarian diet. You also need to realize the implications this will have for dining with others. I eat very little meat because I don't really like it much, and it has in the past caused problems with where I can go eat with people and how much I can accept their hospitality when visiting their homes. These days I pretty much just eat what I'm given, even if I don't like the meat being served. I couldn't give up shrimp, though - Yum!
  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Ruben: In Defense of Food doesn't advocate avoiding (totally) meat or grains but in trying to cultivate the eating of more organic plants and vegetables. The "Western Diet" consumed in America is unbalanced.
  7. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Except for extremes, promoting health also increases happiness, and not over-gorging the senses also promotes a refinement of the tastes. Even lentils would taste good to an Esau if he was hungry enough. Stewardship of all that God gives also includes health, diet, exercise, etc.
  8. Michael

    Michael Puritan Board Senior

    Andrew, you are right and I know plenty of people who make food and/or diets an idol. Even worse would be to assume that refraining from meat is somehow holier or more spiritually edifying.

    Lee, there is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing a prudent vegetarian diet for the sake of health or taste. However, I'm not sure that you can establish this as [you put it] "the best kind of fuel" for your body. Meat does have its value in this regard (keep in mind too that I am speaking as a vegetarian myself).

    You do bring up something important though about the treatment of animals. It's not a topic that I spend a lot of time on, but it is a real problem that exposes a sad lack of stewardship. But even here I doubt I could find a reason to disavow all meat. Perhaps it would be better to only buy from more reputable sources. I don't want to downplay the seriousness of the matter, but I just don't see by any means as a sole reason for vegetarianism if alternatives exist.

    This might sound a little confusing or like I am speaking out of both sides of my mouth here. If you are really interested in trying out vegetarianism and are prepared to handle your nutrition as well as some inconveniences, I think you may be pleasantly surprised at some of the benefits that come with it. But as others have warned, just try not to pursue it for the wrong reasons or without ample attention to your health. Otherwise, go for it!

    p.s. Tofu, though often used as such, is not really a meat substitute in and of itself. It's a great source of protein that absorbs the flavor of whatever it is prepared with. If you like the consistency, there are plenty of creative dishes that can be enjoyed with it.
  9. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Pergy, I was wondering how that would reflect on biblical cultures as well -- five loaves and two fishes, manna and quail, etc? (and I read Psalm 81 the other day -- God would have fed them with the finest of the wheat) I'm very much in favor of treating land and animals, and the people who farm them, with fairness, and there is a lot of injustice in our current way of life. But leeks and garlics weren't the provision of God for His people in the wilderness -- He took them away from that? And a certain kind of diet never seems to be a big deal outside of the ceremonial significance of clean and unclean. (Of course, I think it's common sense to eat your vegetables :)

    Also I wanted to clarify re: idolatrous diets -- I hope I didn't come across as accusing anyone of idolatry (I'm sincerely sorry if I did). I have encountered a lot of thinking (and in the past I have come to think that I was defiling myself by eating a piece of bread, hence my reaction :) along the lines of what follows in the quote below, from a cookbook written by one the first home-economics professors in the US, in a chapter rather notably entitled 'The Coming Cook'. The quote is in dead earnest, but it's almost a parody of claims inherent in statements made about many diets -- as if we could actually reverse the processes of decay in our bodies, effecting moral change, until we usher in eschatological glory by means of what we put in our mouths. I think it's also common sense that good nutrition supports better mental and emotional function -- but God's way of salvation changes us from the inside out.

    -Mrs. Welch's Cookbook

    (It's interesting to contrast the 'food convenient' in Proverbs -- enough that he would not steal and take God's name in vain, not so much that he would be full and deny God. Food convenient for him seems to have been simply the provision of daily bread that would best help him to depend on God for food?)
  10. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Yes, but would you agree with that assessment?
  11. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    My family eats a vegan diet. It is for health reasons. The term that best describes our diet is "Nutritarian" which is not necessarily vegan, but many Nutritarians are vegan. It is a diet consisting of real foods over processed. Focus on nutrient dense foods which are mainly vegetables. Unadulterated meat and dairy are good, but not in the mass quantities that the Standard American Diet Encourages. Healthy eating is more than good stewardship, it is a matter of preserving life and obeying the 6th commandment much like wearing seat belts and respecting the speed limit. We may die of a car accident anyway, but as responsible God fearing people we should promote such practices in order to preserve life.

    For good resources on Nutritarian diets I highly recommend both Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Dr. John McDougall.
  12. tt1106

    tt1106 Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi, I live with 4 (wife and 3 daughters) who are strict vegetarians and have been former Vegans. I think if they ever create a suitable soy substitute for sour cream and/or cheese, they might go full tilt. But alas, enchiladas knock them off the wagon each time.
    Two of my daughters have never had meat or cows milk from a carton, the other turned Vegetarian at 4 (13 years ago). I'd say my wife is very knowledgeable and has gone to great lengths to try and make a lasting effort by avoiding the mistakes of other carnivores turned vegetarians.
    She is adept at manipulating tvp (textured Vegetable protein (which I love) ) and makes wheat gluten Setan (like ham without the meat. Usually her dishes are very good.
    I'm getting into the thread late, but thought it was interesting.
  13. Michael

    Michael Puritan Board Senior


    Yeah, I could never do the vegan thing. Cheese is just too good!
  14. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    They make veggie cheese. It tastes pretty good.
  15. tt1106

    tt1106 Puritan Board Freshman

    But it melts weird. :)
  16. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    and it does not taste good.
  17. Claudiu

    Claudiu Puritan Board Junior

    Do you really believe this?
  18. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    That's an awesome quote, Heidi!
  19. Idelette

    Idelette Puritan Board Graduate

    Actually, I agree with Megan about the grains. The main reason grains were used for hundreds of years in many societies, is because of its low cost and accessibility,not for health reasons. In fact, almost every nation that relied exclusively on grains has had severe health problems as a result. Fiber in and of itself is undigestible by the human body. Some would even classify it as a toxin because too much fiber can actually cause irreversible damage. Fiber simply binds with water and passes through the intestinal track bulking stool; which is the only reason it is good for. However, most grains contain gluten which is a high allergen. You would be amazed how many people have a gluten-intolerance and not know it! In fact, it is said that only a small percentage of people can actually tolerate grains well.

    Two of the healthiest cultures in the world are parts of the Mediterranean and Japan. Both diets are actually low-grain and some completely gluten-free. Their diets consist of mainly seafood, raw vegetables, beans, sea salt, oils rich in omega 3's, and fruits. Both diets eat mainly fresh, unprocessed foods. In all honesty it's the processing of foods that is most harmful. And in my opinion, even more so than eating red meat. Personally, if someone were to ask me how they could improve their health by eliminating something from their diet; I would suggest eliminating sugar and all processed foods way before I would suggest eliminating meat. Lean, naturally -raised meat actually has a lot of beneficial properties; minerals, proteins and enzymes that are all necessary. I do think limiting red meat is good, but I think eliminating other things from ones diet is far more beneficial! Just my two cents! :)
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
  20. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    I'll be provocative. Any religion based on food is idolatry, because the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking. We can value nutrition, but salvation through nutrition is a dangerous error, and a quite popular and widespread heresy of our time.
  21. TeachingTulip

    TeachingTulip Puritan Board Sophomore

    Almost every false religion has one or more dietary rules and/or restrictions.
  22. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    This is a good succinct quote. I used it today when explaining my diet to someone on Facebook.
  23. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I've never thought of it that way before, but good point. On the other hand, the true religion had some too as a church under age.
  24. Megan Mozart

    Megan Mozart Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you for helping me... I was starting to feel like an idiot. :(
  25. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Try living on a low grain fiber diet for a few years and see what happens to your colon. It ain't pretty. That is one of the major reasons that colon cancer is increasing in record numbers. The modern Western diet is a low grain fiber diet. It is being adopted all over the world and the result is appendicitis and colon cancer increases in those countries.

    One aspect of diet is that we Westerns don't look at diet holistically, even 'holistic' types. We look at diet clinically trying to figure out what little part is good and what little part is bad. One cannot say that the Mediterranean or Japanese or Inuit or. . . diet is best simply because of health indicators in that particular part of the world. There are too many other non food factors that impact health. Things like climate, stress, distress, family, community, transportation, and a whole lot more that cannot be analysed in a lab have significant impacts on physical health.
  26. Megan Mozart

    Megan Mozart Puritan Board Junior

    By the way, I just realized the contradictory nature of having Tom and Jerry mix as my avatar and my nutrition theory... :think:

    This is very true. I have to be careful watching the Biggest Loser because even though I love that show it certainly preaches salvation through health, which makes me want to make diet and exercise my life.

    I'm probably going to regret sharing this, but a couple of years ago I did have a brief stint (very brief) of anorexia and bulimia. No doctor officially diagnosed me but that's what I had. I was depressed at the time and for some reason I decided at the time that being thin would be the thing to make me feel better (I have been at least a little overweight for most of my life). Though I had the behaviors for only a short time, I still tormented myself for a while with wanting to be thin.

    Now I don't really care that much anymore about being thin, thanks to God's grace, but after that I wanted to have perfect health, yet at the same time struggle with binge eating or unhealthy foods, which is a leftover remnant of my "bulimia". It is one of the most frustrating things in the world to be caught between two idolatrous sins like that, and I could never emphasize that enough.

    I thought I could never get out of that hard place, but yet again God rescued me from that. Now I have a much healthier view of exercise and diet and my happiness doesn't bank on it anymore. I can't believe what God has done to me. It is amazing. Now I just enjoy exercise because it is FUN (it never used to be) and because it just gives me so much more energy throughout the day and I feel better. As far as diet goes, I still struggle with eating too much, going to the store all the time and buying snacks because I'm bored. I've been trying to make consistent meal plans so that I don't have to deal with those cravings. Also, aside from whether or not they're good for you, I just love vegetables and fruits. I am addicted to apples lately. I think I'm going to have another one.

    So anyways, that is my disclaimer to idolatrous dieting. I've been there, done that, and there is no way I'm going back or encouraging anyone else to for that matter. There is however a lot that I learned in my journey about the scientific facts about what is good for your body and how it works (I watched and read a lot of stuff about it), so if someone is interested in knowing what a good diet is, I'm happy to tell them. But I am sorry if I am came across as advocating idolatry in my answer.
  27. Megan Mozart

    Megan Mozart Puritan Board Junior

    I guess my main point is this: salvation through health is definitely an idolatry running rampant in our culture. I've lived it. But caring about your health, and having an idea about health that is different than most people's, is not the same as idolatry.
  28. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Megan, I agree with that statement -- of course various data supports different theories, and any time the word 'should' comes in the discussion becomes morally loaded (I don't even remember if anyone has used that word in this discussion: but so often people do when trying to say that one kind of diet is better than another). I think the main thing is to eat to the glory of God, with thanksgiving (I think you made this statement earlier too?). If we are merely indulging ourselves without care for the temple He has given to us, the sin is in our hearts, not in the food; in large part, the grains, meats, veggies, available to people throughout cultures and centuries have been adequate to sustain them in God's service for as long as I have any desire to live on this earth, and we don't need to scruple in conscience about eating regular food.
  29. Megan Mozart

    Megan Mozart Puritan Board Junior

    I don't think eating unhealthy foods is a sin. Sorry if I sounded that way.
  30. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Oh, Megan, I don't think there's any need to apologise: it's good to clarify, and I've appreciated your clarifications. Thank you.
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