Chapter One

By Ray & Frances Foster

 

You have decided to be a vegetarian and to love it. Good! The first step in reaching a goal is to know exactly what your aim is. There are many good reasons to become a vegetarian, but first, why would you want to become a vegetarian?

Cancer rates are increasing, and in this new millennium, cancer is likely to become the number one disease from which we moderns die. A plant-based diet can often prevent, and goes a long ways in assisting to cure, cancer. Our present number one killer, heart disease, can largely be prevented or reversed by diet and life-style changes.

In our world, it is the degenerative diseases that are killing us. This is largely due to the Western dietary excesses of calories, proteins, and fats. Degenerative diseases such as coronary artery disease, (causes heart attacks), cerebral artery disease (causes strokes), diabetes, arthritis, and many others, are rare in those parts of the world where a principally unrefined vegetarian diet is eaten. The China Study(1), Dennis Burkititt’s research(2), and many other studies have confirmed this truth.

After creation, mankind was told what his diet was to be. It was vegetarian! Thus, being vegetarian honors God in doing what He designed in our best interest.

Personal health, and particularly endurance, is fostered by a plant-based dietary. If the "civilized world" would exercise more and eat an unrefined plant-based diet, most of the degenerative diseases would be significantly decreased.

The practice of feeding grain to animals wastes resources and pollutes the earth. Modern methods of agriculture and animal husbandry use the principles of mass production and industrial assembly line practices. This upsets the balance of nature and is destructive to our earth. The heavy use of chemicals depletes the soil and promotes disease among men and animals. The use of antibiotics, growth hormones, and the practice of feeding animal by-products back to the animals as a "protein supplement" facilitate the development of disease in animals and in the people who eat them. Being kind and gentle to the animal kingdom is necessary in developing these graces ourselves. It degrades and hardens our characters to kill and eat animals. In some countries, butchers are not generally chosen to be on a jury because it is considered that a certain hardness and indifference to life is associated with that profession. Being vegetarian helps save the planet in general and us in particular.

So, whatever your reason for wanting to become a vegetarian, the decision you have made is a good one. This book is for you!

WHAT IS A VEGETARIAN?

Vegetarianism comes in different varieties. In the broadest sense, vegetarians can be classified as follows:

 

a) Semi-vegetarians

b) Pesco-vegetarians

c) Lacto-ovo vegetarians

d) Ovo-vegetarians

e) Vegans

f) Fruitarians

g) Raw foodists

 

The Semi-vegetarians eat other things along with plant foods, such as dairy foods and eggs, chicken and fish, but no other animal flesh. They could be considered to be the "liberal" end of the vegetarian spectrum. At the other end of the spectrum are the Raw foodists who eat only a raw plant-based diet. The usual reason given for this perspective is that the enzymes are "live" if the food has not been cooked. (Cooking is believed to destroy the "live enzymes." We will discuss this in another chapter.) The "middle of the road" vegetarians are those who limit their dietary to plant foods and include the whole spectrum of fruits, grains, and nuts as well as vegetables, cooked and raw. These vegetarians are sometimes called Vegan. A Vegan chooses not to eat any animal product or animal flesh. For the sake of definition, Pesco-vegetarians eat dairy foods and eggs, fish, and no other animal flesh; Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat dairy foods and eggs, but no animal flesh; and Fruitarians eat only fruits, nuts, and grains.

WHERE DO I START?

There are four steps in making the change from eating anything to enjoying vegetarian food. These same four steps are taken in any significant change you may want to make in your life, so knowing how to make changes is a powerful tool that may be of service to you in other areas of life as well.

The four steps that follow are a description of natural law. We can call it the law of change. The process is as follows:

1. Become Informed About the Subject.

 

In becoming a vegetarian, the first step is to learn the nutritional and other factors involved in eating plant foods. It is assumed that you have taken this first step on your journey to become a vegetarian. If that is a false assumption, look over the reading list at the end of this book. You may want to do some additional reading to help you become better informed on the many solid reasons for deciding to be a vegetarian. It is solid information, the facts, and the truth, which are needed to fuel your emotions to make the decision to make a change. Mark Twain is reported to have said: "Get the facts first. You can distort them later!"

2. Make a Decision. 

Once you are fully roused by the facts, decide what you are going to do about it! Make the decision to eat plant foods based on solid truth. There are many things learned by trial and error. We want to help you reach your goal of enjoying and reaping the many benefits of eating plant foods with as little trial and error as possible!

 

3. Persevere and Be Determined!

It takes perseverance and determination to make life changes! There are feelings of indifference and past habits that must be overcome. Habits are resistant to change. This is especially true with the ritual of eating when so many parts of the mind and body, as well as emotions, are involved. In addition, eating has social aspects that influence the ease or difficulty of change. The other side of the coin is, when better eating habits are formed, all of these factors work toward the preservation of the better way of life you have chosen. The key idea here is to persevere until your new way of living and eating has become a habit. Then the habit can be enjoyed.

4. Experience the Benefits of Your Decisions!

Once a better habit has been established to the point of experiencing its benefits, then (and not until then) you can realize that what you once considered innocent (what you used to eat), was really doing you harm and destroying your life and body. It is impossible to come to the full realization of this without first experiencing the benefits of the changes you decided to make in the beginning.

This law of change is cyclical. The first little step is taken in gaining new knowledge, and the last step is realizing that a benefit has been gained that would have been impossible without the whole cycle. Thus, step-by-step, it is possible to improve your life in many areas. Nutrition is only one area of life, but nutrition is a major determinant of good health, a vibrant life, clear thinking, and rational decision-making.

Consider that change is best made little by little. Do not attempt to change more than you are able to accomplish. Do not try to make night and day changes all at once. Work little by little. It is little by little that big changes are made.

I give credit to discovering this law of change from a paragraph in one of the books recommended for further study:

"Only when we are intelligent in regard to the principles of healthful living can we be fully aroused to see the evils resulting from improper diet. Those who, after seeing their mistakes, have courage to change their habits, will find that the reformatory process requires a struggle and much perseverance; but when correct tastes are once formed, they will realize that the use of the food which they formerly regarded as harmless was slowly but surely laying the foundation for dyspepsia and other diseases." Counsels on Health, page 134.

As we put these principles into our lives, they become established habits, and we find we enjoy what God has made even more than we were enjoying our previous way of eating.

Let’s get started with looking at what to eat when you get up in the morning!

 

References: 

1 Campbell, T. Colin, PhD, and Campbell, Thomas M., II, The China Study, 
BenBella Books, Dallas TX, 2005. http://www.thechinastudy.com/about.html 

2 Nelson, Ethel R., Burkitt: Cancer-Fiber, Brushton, NY: Teach Services, Inc.,
RR Box 182, 12916, 1998, 204p. Or search for "Dennis Burkitt" on the web.