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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Veg or Non Veg?

Veg or non veg -A question that generates a lot of divided opinion and heated arguments.

I was just thinking of my next topic to blog and what do I stumble across - a post on vegetarianism written by a person whom I know( not so closely though) enlisting the benefits of vegetarianism and even taking potshots at people who eat non veg. I really could not agree to some arguments put forward in the post.

The author argues that human beings are herbivorous by nature and the whole body and digestive system are programmed to accept only veg diet. I remember learning in high school biology that human beings are omnivores - meaning we can eat both meat and plant produces.Are humans not part of food chain.Dont animals of higher order eat animals in the lower links of the chain. Did not cave man roast and eat animals along with berries and fruits. I am not a historian or scientist, but going by the images and whatever knowledge I gained of my science education I believe what I have written is correct.

The writer argues that Brahmins are not supposed to eat non veg. I know most people including me( If eating egg and chicken once in a blue moon counts as non veg:)) in my community of Goud Saraswat Brahmins eat non veg , especially fish is eaten widely in Mangalore side.As per the ancient caste system, the varnas are decided by Guna ( quality) and Karma ( action). That means Brahmins are those who have the qualities and skills of a teacher , scholar or priest. But now a days Brahmin people are into lot many occupations, so just from my Karma point of view I am not a Brahmin. And people have this misconception that not eating non veg is the hallmark of a Brahmin; in fact not eating meat might be just one of the gunas or qualities expected in a Brahmin.

Telling that all non veg people have animal instincts and are not good people shows lack of maturity. I am a person who does not believe in generalisations. Are all veg people good. Just eating eggs or meat does not make/break the character of a person. What about the monks and Swamis who are getting caught for bad acts these days.They are fed on vegetarian diet , but their actions are far from noble.I remember having a ' pure veg' colleague of mine staring disapprovingly at my lunch plate for taking eggs and proudly declaring he will never have those. I have lot of vegetarian friends who are so by reason of faith/ religious practices or by personal choice. Most of them never question other people on their food choices . I respect them for being vegetarian, thats their wish, I respect it.But the same way people who are vegetarian should also not look down upon people who are fond of meat. Everybody in this world is entitled to their own opinion and choice.If we argue that all non veg people are bad , then in western countries atleast 90% of population is gone case. Thats why I told generalisations dont work. Also I have to mention that some of the really wicked and money minded people I have met were/are vegetarian incidentally.Bottomline is it takes much more than what you merely eat to determine what sort of a person you are.

Another factor that comes into play is when you are out of your home country. In UK and US there are lot of options for vegetarians , of course not as much as in India. But if you go to remote areas where mobility is an issue, you may have to taste unpleasant things because it is pretty difficult to get vegetarian food.My husband had to stay in Finland for a while in a hotel and his diet consisted of just bread, potato mash and French fries. The only other thing that was available in that area was half cooked reindeer soup. I am sorry for almost killing your appetite.But many people turn non veg as they have to constantly live out of their comfort zone. My father who works with a bank gets transfer every 3 years and most of the time he is on his own. I have never heard him complain of the food because he just adjusts with whatever is available. He used to tell that when he was working in a remote area in Malappuram the breakfast was malabar parota and chicken/beef , a far cry from the idly/dosa routine of our household.But sometimes there is no room for being fussy especially if you cant cook on your own or you are fed up of the staple diet of bread and curd rice.

I have heard people complaining about how UK stores put eggs in cakes and ice creams whereas we get ' eggless' in India.In western world, egg is considered vegetarian. Most of the veg people I know really dont make this an issue , they are fine as long as they dont smell or see the egg. When foreigners come to India dont they adjust with whatever food available. Do they ask for steak and mash and scones and croissants.One thing we have to understand is we cant have a mini India wherever we go.The superstore near my house in UK can't stop putting eggs in cakes and ice creams and pastries to cater to just less than 1% of its customers, they will incur loss by doing so.Most of the joints here, Subway, McDonalds , Pizza hut, Burger King etc have atleast one vegetarian option and again its driven by how many customers are actually there for vegetarian items.

Having said that I strongly believe in treating animals well and detest all cruelty meted out to them. I respect the conviction of people who could make vegetariansim a part of life and enjoy its benefits.I tried hard, but had little success.Eating too much of non veg is also not good for health as it leads to cholestrol and heart problems. Even non veg should be eaten in moderation.The whole world works on a fine balance. If all are vegetarians or all are non vegetarians, the fragile ecological system will be threatened; so its important to keep an eclectic mix of both.

My one wish is that people who have opted vegetarianism are genuine in doing so and it does not end up being a fad and a way to bash up people who are different from them in eating habits.And humans are not judged by what they eat, but how they behave and how good they are at heart!!


  • Hi Chitra,
    Read through your post as well as your previous posts. Nice to see yr writing.Keep them coming.:)

    By Blogger Sindhu, at 1:24 PM  

  • Well said !!! One Chicken Biriyani on me :)

    By Blogger Sachin R K, at 11:17 AM  

  • Well said and neatly written,I accept most of your view... Pls do add me as in your Gtalk,have somethin to discuss on this

    By Blogger Karthik Prasad, at 6:18 PM  

  • Vegetables are very important for health. Non veg is reduce weakness and it is provide energy. thanks for sharing.

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    By Blogger Advin Charles, at 8:52 PM  

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