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A. Influence on people’s health
1. The word «vegetarian» was coined in about 1840 to mean people who lived without killing for food, either for moral or health reasons or both. But the practice is much older than that. Greek philosophers recommended vegetarianism and famous people who have practised it in the past include Leonardo da Vinci, Tolstoy and Voltaire, Milton, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Isaac Pitman, Tagore and Bernard Shaw. Surely this proves that mental activity does not depend on flesh-foods. What then are the arguments that might stop us eating meat?
2. For millions of years people must have lived on fruit, nuts, grains and leaves and so developed that kind of digestive system. Perhaps the more we get away from this diet towards meat-eating, the less likely we are to be healthy. Cancer, tuberculosis and heart diseases are certainly more common in meat-eating communities.
3. But if it is so unnatural for Man to have an omnivorous diet, why do we eat (and enjoy) meat at all? One theory is that Man may have started eating the flesh of animals during the Ice Ages when most of the vegetation was destroyed. Today the Eskimos still live almost entirely on flesh — they have no alternative! It is worth considering how wasteful meat-eaters are with land. A meat-eater needs about three times as much land to support himself and his animals as a vegetarian does. For every 45 kilos of dry food eaten by cattle only 1.8 – 7.3 kilos come back as food – an expensive method of producing food. So millions of people have no choice but to live mainly off vegetables.
4. Vegetarians claim that the basic food elements which we need to grow and be healthy come from the earth, air and water through vegetation. Therefore, they argue that by eating meat we are getting these foods secondhand after they have been digested by the animal. Getting food through animals also means getting chemicals and hormones used in farming and feeding animals. In fact it has been said that the average American contains so much DDT – a dangerous chemical – that he is not fit to be eaten!
5. A diet of vegetables, fruit, grains and nuts together with a little dairy produce can give us all the vitamins and minerals we need. However — a word of warning — after years of flesh-eating, giving up animal products should not be too sudden. Dairy products — milk, butter, cheese and eggs — should be used until the body is accustomed to the new diet.
1 – E
2 – A
3 – B
4 – F
5 – C