How and where did vegetarianism come from?
Non-traditional nutrition systems differ from the principles and methods of nutrition of a healthy and sick person generally accepted in modern scientific dietetics. Sometimes unconventional eating is generally based on generally accepted scientific concepts and differs only slightly from them. Many unconventional food systems completely deny the generally accepted principles and methods of dietetics and take unscientific forms. Often, the approach to the nutrition system not only does not correspond to modern scientific dietetics, but also differs from the traditions and views on the nutritional problems of most of humanity. Vegetarianism is the general name for a nutrition system that excludes or restricts the consumption of animal products.
History of vegetarianism
The term “vegetarianism” comes from the Latin word “vegetativus” – vegetable. The basic principle of vegetarians is: “I don’t eat anyone.”
Vegetarianism as a special food system originated in ancient times. It is believed that it entered Europe from Asia. National traditions of predominantly plant nutrition have developed there primarily as a result of the inaccessibility of animal products for the majority of the population. The spread of the philosophy of Buddhism in the countries of Asia also contributed to the maintenance of vegetarian traditions.
Types of vegetarianism
There are different types of vegetarianism. It is divided into two branches: strict vegetarianism, or, as it is also called, old vegetarianism, or veganism. Vegans do not eat those biological objects that walk, swim, crawl and fly, and their waste products, that is, milk, eggs and honey. The benefits of vegetarianism are as obvious as the downsides.
There are other types of vegetarianism as well. The second branch of vegetarianism is called Young Vegetarianism and is subdivided into lacto-vegetarianism, when milk and dairy products are included in the diet, and lacto-vegetarianism, when not only milk, but also eggs are allowed. Usually honey is not excluded with Young Vegetarianism.
The ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras (VI century BC) is considered the ancestor of Young Vegetarianism. Diogenes Laertius (III century AD) in his treatise on the history of philosophy wrote: “Pythagoras was a sage, and such that he did not touch meat. And he said that it was an unacceptable temptation. But he treated others to them. I wonder at the sage: how could he, without being tempted, push others to temptation. ” In his opinion, the influence of vegetarianism was extremely positive.
It is known that already in the IV-V century. BC e. the priests of Ancient Egypt did not eat meat. Vegetarians today are mostly Hindus, among whom the Jains are strict vegetarians. Of all the states of India, the most “vegetarian” is Gujarat, where the influence of Jainism is strong. Many people in India who belong to the upper caste of Brahmins are lacto vegetarians; for representatives of other castes, the consumption of meat and other animal products was not prohibited even in antiquity.
The transition to vegetarianism in different eras
In Europe, interest in vegetarianism arose in the XIV-XVI centuries, during the Renaissance. In Russia, the first vegetarian societies were created at the beginning of the 20th century.
Among the supporters of vegetarianism were many great people of the past: Pythagoras, Plato, Seneca, Plutarch, Voltaire, Rousseau, Newton, Byron, Lamartine, Schopenhauer, Beketov and many others. All sources devoted to vegetarianism note that N. Tolstoy was a supporter of vegetarianism (lacto-vegan). Tolstoy came to vegetarianism at the end of his life, after the shock he experienced at the slaughter in the Tula province. The same reason led to vegetarianism and the German composer Richard Wagner. He did not notice the disadvantages of vegetarianism and did not talk about it in his works.
The need for vegetarianism is often justified by reference to the Old Testament. In those verses of the book of Genesis, which are cited as an argument, the following is said: the horn: “And God said, behold, I have given you every herb that sows seed, which is on all the earth, and every tree that has tree fruit, sowing seed; – this will be food for you; But to all the beasts of the earth, and to all the birds of the air, and to every creeping thing on the earth, in which there is a living soul, I have given all herbal herbs for food. And it was so ”(Genesis 1: 29-30). There is no prohibition to eat animal food in the Bible, but there are words: “And Abel was a shepherd of sheep, and Cain was a tiller” (Genesis 4, 2). A few pages later, the Bible says: “All that moves, that lives, will be your food” (Genesis 9, 3). Further in the Old Testament (“Deuteronomy”, ch. 14), detailed instructions are given as to which of “everything that moves” is allowed,
Impact of vegetarianism on society
Bernard Shaw wrote in his Autobiographical Notes: “My will says how to bury me. Instead of a funeral cortege, bulls, sheep, pigs, flocks of poultry, and also a small aquarium on wheels with goldfish will rush after my hearse. All these living creatures will wear mourning bandages in honor of a person who died, but did not eat living creatures like himself. Except for Noah’s ark, it will be the most incredible sight of its kind. ”
L.N. Tolstoy believed that eating meat is immoral, so the transition to vegetarianism turned out to be quite simple for him. “Eating meat is a relic of the most brutal barbarism, and the transition to vegetarianism is the very first and natural consequence of enlightenment.” There are now over 800 million vegetarian followers in the world.
People who exclude only the meat of warm-blooded animals from their diet also consider themselves vegetarians. Thus, Rockwell Kent, an American artist, considered himself a vegetarian. He wrote: “I just eat oatmeal, potatoes, rice and beans, tomatoes and – here I confess to sin – lobster and fish, butter, milk and eggs.” Diets in which animal products are included not “simply”, but according to one system or another, are rather a far-fetched trend that can hardly be attributed to vegetarianism.