History of Vegetarianism

Many people become vegetarian for religious, moral or ethical reasons.  I chose to become vegetarian for the moral and ethical reasons regarding the treatment of animals.  When first deciding to transform my lifestyle, learning how long vegetarianism has been around blew my mind.  Vegetarianism began long before recorded history and has withstood the test of time. 



I think it is important to understand the lifestyle from the various points through history and see how it has benefited human kind.

Going way back to cave men, many anthropologist believe that most early humans ate mainly plant foods and were more gatherers than hunters.  This concept makes the most sense to me.  Knowing how to gather and grow sustainable food is a more reliable source of nutrition than hunting.

Vegetarian ideology is said to have been practiced among religious groups in Egypt around 3,200BCE.  The karmic beliefs of reincarnation were a main factor in vegetarianism for these people. 

In many eastern religions a meat-free diet is fundamental in religious philosophies.  Many religions have doctrines of non-violence and respect for all life forms, including animals.  Vegetarianism has always been one of the main aspects of Buddhism.  The religion focuses on compassion to all living creatures and the respect for all.




Looking at the research, it is clear to me that many of the early vegetarians, besides early humans, practice this lifestyle because of religious and philosophical reasons.  I find this very interesting because those religions are not as common in the United States. 

Vegetarianism was not very common in the US until 1971.  Author, Frances Moore Lappe, wrote a bestseller book titled Diet for a Small Planet that was published in 1971 encouraging people to practice a meatless diet.  His book described that it takes 14 times as much grain to feed an animal than what you get out in meat.  He recognized this as an enormous waste of resources and supported a vegetarian lifestyle to stop wasting the world’s food.





In the 1990’s the American Dietetic Association officially endorsed vegetarianism after overwhelming medical evidence supporting the superiority of vegetarian diets.  Many of my vegetarian friends became vegetarian in the 90’s because of the research and the support of a healthy lifestyle. 

I believe that the vegetarian community has grown rapidly in the past couple years because of the shocking truth behind the meat industry.  There is no denying that our county allows the mistreatment of animals to produce meat quicker at more quantities.  Recent documentaries and research has brought this industry in the limelight.



Vegetarianism has been around since before recorded history and has withstood the test of time.   It has been recorded through many decades in cultures all over the world.  A plant-based diet has sustained humanity for thousands of years, why not join in on this healthy lifestyle?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie


29 comments:

  1. Thanks for the history! I watched something really interesting about the Paleo diet the other day, very well researched and highlighted throughout history how our diets have changed. They specifically pointed to eating grains as a more recent development and possibly cause to many of our health problems. I like to practice perimeter shopping and try to avoid processed foods in general.

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    1. Thanks! Everyone should try to eat healthier!

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  2. My SIL is a vegetarian and this was really interesting to read. Thanks for the info!

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    1. Thanks! Pass it on to her if you think she'll like it!

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  3. Hey, I've always been intrigued by vegetarians and vegetarianism. I'm wondering if it's really hard to transition from being a meat lover, health wise. Would my body have that meat-withdrawal phase? Thanks!

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    1. Hi, Paulline! Everybody's body is different – I had some minor meat cravings for a little while, but my body never felt weak or unenergetic without meat. When you focus on your objectives, it's easy to make the change!

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  4. Ooh, very interesting! I am inspired to research more about Buddhism and Vegetarianism.

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    1. Thanks, Monica! Let me know what you find!

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  5. I have thought about doing this but I do eat meat a few times a week.

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    1. Don't worry, Maggie, baby steps! Every little bit helps.

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  6. I for one can't seem to function properly without protein and meat. I do know how much better I feel when I eat vegetables instead though. This is all good information. I grew up in a Seventh Day Adventist household where people were vegetarians. So I really should try to understand it a little better.

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    1. Hi, Lexie! It's always good to have a deeper understanding between us. Vegetables are super healthy!

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  7. Wow, what a great post, I didn't know all that about vegetarianism! I've cut back so much but still include a little meat here and there, I'm still learning how to get a balanced diet (like protein - without milk and eggs!). Thanks for your history lesson!

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    1. Hi, Heather! There are a lot of great plant-based protein sources! Check out this post http://juliegreenandkeen.blogspot.com/2014/11/vegetarian-myths-debunked.html

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  8. I would be the only one in my family. I'm not a meat fan.

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    1. It can be tough being the only vegetarian among meat-eaters. Don't give up!

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  9. I understand and respect your choice...I can't see myself being vegetarian...:)

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  10. I've never been brave enough to make this switch but I have several friends who are vegetarian and some who are vegan. I always have to make sure everything I cook for them is to their liking and its been fun tweaking some of my family recipes to do so! Thanks for the insight :)

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    1. Thanks for reading, Katriza! That's very considerate of you to make vegetarian and vegan-friendly meals. It's never too late to make the switch, and you can find plenty of inspiration here if you decide to take that path! :)

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  11. Thanks for the history. Very interesting. I was a vegetarian for about 7 years before I got pregnant.

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    1. Thank you, Amy! Vegetarianism goes even deeper than I first thought!

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  12. I enjoyed reading the history. It makes complete sense when you stop and think about it.

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    1. Thanks, Debi, I agree – it does make a lot of sense!

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  13. This is very interesting and an excellent report on vegetarianism. It would not have occurred to me to consider it.

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