Evidence to support a plant-based diet

For a long time I have believed as an O+ blood type, I should stick to a diet consisting largely of animal protein. However when I started the 200 hour teacher training course with Tirisula Yoga, I found eating a meal with meat the night before significantly affected the way I felt during asanas the next morning, due to the time taken to digest. In addition eating anything particularly spicy (or Rajasic) made me feel very heavy and lethargic during the next days activities. After completing the course, it has changed the way I eat and how I feel about food, and because of this change I was interested to find out more about what the benefits are of a plant based diet.
1) Due to excessive consumption most of the animals we eat are over farmed and diseased. To combat infections such as Staphylococci, livestock are administered antibiotics, which in turn enter our bodies when we consume meat, with harmful results. Research also suggests that meat farmed in the U.S contains dangerously high levels of deadly pesticides.
2) Environmental reasons – 3 x more fossil fuels must be burned in order to produce a meat centered diet rather than a meat free diet. Therefore our mass consumption of meat is rapidly depleting the world’s natural resources, a reduction in the consumption of meat may help to slow global warming.
3) Reduction or elimination or meat eating could also reduce world hunger. An acre of land can produce 40,000 potatoes or 250 pounds of beef. Using grazing pastures to grow vegetables instead of rear livestock could therefore significantly increase the availability of food for all.
4) Too much protein can be harmful. Excess Urea produced by protein metabolism, can cause kidney damage. Excessive protein consumption can also produce ammonia, another Nitrogen byproduct of protein metabolism and cause dehydration and calcium deficiency.
5) Research suggests a diet containing large amounts of protein (including dairy) can contribute to the development of cancers (such as breast, ovarian, colon, stomach and prostate). Meat eaters also take in a greater amount of cholesterol from meat, putting them at greater risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
6) Other diseases associated with consumption of meat (according to research) are: strokes, constipation, arthritis, migraines, ulcers, kidney stones, hiatus hernia, gallstones, hypoglycemia, diverticulitis, osteoporosis, kidney diseases, asthma and trichinosis.
7) Biologically humans are not designed to eat meat. We have much longer intestinal tracts (around 12 meters, depending on the size of the individual) then those of the typical carnivore, whose intestinal tracts are very short. This allows rotting meat to be expelled quickly without putrefying within the body, as sometimes occurs in humans. The law of Karma and the first Yama within the eight limbs of yoga, states we should not harm or injure another living creature. The pain that you inflict on others will rebound upon you, and you ‘reap what you sow’. A yogic diet is one that brings inner peace to the body and mind and encourages spiritual progress.
There are many environmental, ecological, ethical, physical and spiritual reasons to move towards a plant based diet (without suppressing the desire to eat meat). Simply reducing your consumption of animal products may not only enable you and your family to stay healthy for longer, but will improve the environment and others life’s in the process.