Upon What Meat Doth This Our Caesar Feed
The caldron of bubbling issues in our society often threatens to boil over spilling the detritus of a rapacious society into a visible anomie.
The issues bouncing from head to head range from political myths that education needs more money to be effective, that more/less food stamps should be distributed, that climate change will end the world at 8 AM on Christmas day and the disaster of Obama care.
The one I choose to discuss concerns the idea of eating dead flesh to sustain healthy living bodies, i.e. human beings. Many debates about this subject center on nutritional or moral or ethical concerns. Leaving aside the concepts of vegetarianism, we can agree that we want the best in food, as well as in everything else.
We should like to bring our lives in harmony with our aspirations, into harmony with the highest that we can know. And as we look for the best in music, in art, or in literature, we naturally seek to find the best in physical as well as in mental food. And we must find this by learning to think and to reason out the matter from the higher point of view.
There are those in the world who have no desire for the best, who are willing to remain on the lower levels and consciously and intentionally build into themselves that which is coarse and degrading; ever watch a Miley Cyrus Bangerz event?
For those who are striving for the highest and the purest in everything, for themselves as well as for their fellowmen, let us see in detail why eating dead flesh is far from being our best nutrition First, a surprising statement to some people, surprising, because we have been brought up to believe that we cannot exist unless we eat meat. However, vegetables contain more nutriment than an equal amount of dead flesh.
There are four elements necessary in food, all of them essential to the repair and the up building of the body.
a. Proteids or nitrogenous foods
The food substances which contain nitrogen are commonly called proteid, or, if these compounds are considered together, the name protein may be given the group. Protein is not a single compound, but includes all substances which contain the element nitrogen in such combinations as are available for assimilation in the human body. This is the classification usually accepted among physiologists.
Fact: All necessary elements for good health exist to a greater extent in vegetables than they do in dead flesh. The claim that flesh-meat contains some of these elements to a larger degree than vegetables is not a fact and we are dealing with facts. The only sources of energy in dead flesh are the proteid matter contained therein, and the fat which has no more value than other fat. The only point to be considered is the proteids.
Keep in mind, proteids have only one origin; they are organized in plants and nowhere else. Nuts, peas, beans, and lentils are far richer than any kind of flesh in these elements. Their great advantage is that the proteids are pure and therefore contain all the energy originally stored up in them during their organization.
In the animal body these proteids, which the animal has absorbed from the vegetable kingdom during its life, are constantly passing down to disorganization, during which descent the energy originally stored in them is released.
Consequently what has been used already by one animal cannot be utilized by another.
The proteids are estimated in some tables by the amount of nitrogen contained therein, but in flesh meat there are many products of tissue-change such as urea, uric acid, and creatin, all of which contain nitrogen and are therefore estimated as proteids, though they have no food value whatever. And this tissue-change is necessarily accompanied by the formation of various poisons, which are always to be found in flesh of any kind, and in many cases the virulence of these poisons is very great.
If you obtain any nourishment from the eating of dead flesh, you obtain it because during the life of the animal, he consumed vegetable matter.
You get less of this nourishment than you ought to have, because the animal has already used up half of it, and you have along with it, various undesirable substances, and even some active poisons, which are of course distinctly deleterious.
A well-known physician remarked: “It is interesting to note that scientific men all over the world are awakening to the fact that the flesh of animals as food is not a pure nutrient, but is mixed with poisonous substances, which are the natural results of animal life.” There is not space enough to document further scientific experts on this matter which can be found with any nominal research.
Some interesting historical observations, however, tend to validate science and may be more amusing and enjoyable to read.
Of all the tribes of Greeks the strongest and the most enduring, by universal admission and reputation, were the Spartans; and the exceeding simplicity of their vegetable diet is a matter of common knowledge.
The Roman gladiators – men on whose strength depended their life and fame – diets consisted exclusively of barley cakes and oil.
Charles Darwin remarked in one of his letters, “The most extraordinary workers I ever saw, the laborers in the mines of Chile, live exclusively on vegetable food, including many seeds of leguminous plants.”
And if you believe in the scriptures you will need no argument for the desirability of the vegetarian diet, for God, speaking to Adam while in the garden of Eden, said: “Behold I have given y you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it will be for meat.”
If you would like the cow’s perspective, read “A Mother’s Tale” by James Agee. This is one of the best allegorical short stories in print.