29 September, 2020

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For A Healthier & Humane Sri Lanka

By Bhagya Wickramasinghe

Bhagya Wickramasinghe

Bhagya Wickramasinghe

Adapting to a meatless diet is more a lifestyle choice than a mere dietary change. The choice of changing the diet to a more plant based variety can occur for several reasons. Sri Lanka is a society with diverse cultures, religions and values. The concept of responsible living and kindness is not new to our country. Therefore, adapting to a meatless diet would come more naturally to Sri Lanka, which is still centered around agriculture. In line with this view the Meatless Monday movement, which is a global movement that seeks to make people give up meat for one day of the week in order to address issue such as animal welfare, reduction of green house gas emissions, and for a healthy living is a step that Sri Lankan community could take.

Benefits of a Plant Based Diet

Changing once choice to a plant based diet can have many benefits, among those being the protection of animals, improving one’s health by moving away from unhealthy eating habits, creating a responsible society, help protect the environment and adapt to the impacts of climate change and the possible and more obvious health benefits of maintaining a plant based diet, at least one day per week.

One of the most direct impacts and benefits of the Meatless Monday movement is that it would lead up to a humane society actively engaged in animal welfare. Moving towards a plant based diet has a significant impact on the environment and many environment and climate change experts are of the view that reducing meat consumption can pave the way towards a significant individual contribution towards adapting and mitigating the adverse effects of climate change.

Going Meatless & Emission Cuts

Ms Vositha Wijenayake, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator of CANSA, commenting on the environmental benefits of a meatless diets and the adverse impacts of the meat industry towards climate change noted that “ Animal farming has a significant impact on climate change and has been recognised as one of the main contributors towards GHG emissions. Initiatives like Meatless Monday have the capacity to create change at the local as well as the global level, and help bring the climate change issues to the public discourse. Animal farming consumes an undue amount of natural resources, contribute to deforestation and harm the air and water quality.”

“The impact of these activities are a part of the vicious cycle that affects the environment and contribute towards the adverse impacts of climate change. Turning away from animal farming, and moving away from meat consumption will help take action to address impacts of climate change,” she added.

Shifting to a Healthy Life Style

In the busy world today people have become less conscious about nutrition and healthy eating habits. Becoming meatless would therefore be a movement towards inculcating healthy eating habits. There are numerous health benefits of moving towards a meatless diet.

Chairman of the non-governmental organization, Sports and Peace, Education, Empowerment and Development Mr. Priyantha Pathirana noted that: “In the modern day society, people have shifted to life styles that are unhealthy for them. This includes cutting down on the physical activity, and shifting ways of food consumption. Consumption of meat based diets impact one’s health, and has proven to increase obesity, cholesterol level, and the risk of heart attacks. Coupled with lack of physical exercise this leads to a population that is lacking in health, and suffering from health issues, even among children. Shifting to a healthy lifestyle which is of healthy habits, and meatless means that you have to make a conscious choice about every meal, including a conscious effort to contribute to the development of one’s self as well as one’s community.”

These benefits highlight the sustainable value of moving towards a plant based diet and making a conscious decision for a better world one day at a time. The movement, “Meatless Mondays” will be a good way to address the needs for a a happier, healthier and a humane society for all: humans as well as animals.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    2

    The Buddha spoke of MODERATION. He ate meat too if it was offered by the laity. Excessive consumption of meats is not healthy but a moderate portion of high quality proteins is good; meats and fish offer that. Each his or her own choice isn’t it? Key here is MODERATION. The high quality animal proteins with its amino acids etc cannot be easily substituted.

    • 3
      1

      “The high quality animal proteins with its amino acids etc cannot be easily substituted.”
      -unless you eat the correct combinations: unpoilshed rice with beans or lentils, or nuts and raisins etc. Eggs and milk are complete proteins too, not forgetting fish.

      Without nutrition training or awareness, becoming meatless or even vegan will have negative impacts in the long run for the young and the pregnant etc..

      Conversion needs some sort of convincing conviction too. For example carbon neutrality for the planet, or people will accept that you are truly of the highest caste! That is why the vellahlas like to boast that they are “vegetarian” or “chaivam” on such and such a day of the week. Sadly it is not about the poor animals and birds whose throats are slit with or without atonement prayers in this modern age of nutrition awareness to satisfy man’s primitive taste buds!

      Also, once you are off meat, your tongue can get enjoy the full taste of each vegetable. There is no thick coating on the tongue 24/7 to obstruct this enjoyment or dulling of other tastes by the meat-taste. The curry taste comes from the curry sauce itself. For starters try adding mushroom or a dash of ajinomoto (less than 5 g for women and 7.5g for men and none for babies as an impurity in some of the brands can cause some problem in the brain). Only a small pinch, less than 1 g is needed to achieve a comparative taste in curry sauces, or some ghee with curry leaves and our spices.

      Good cooking skills will come naturally with time when you convert.

      During Thanksgiving wild turkeys and the deer take shelter outside our back porch. They feel safer near vegetarian houses. If you look into the innocent eyes of cows and deer and wild pigeons you will see that they respond to us with trust. Their innocent gaze inspires meekness of soul and friendship with all nature. So the net result is more than physical health.

      Bahgya, Nice article. Thanks.

      • 0
        0

        Even in India, the Kings and Warriors were exempt, eating meat, hunting and making war was expected of the Highest world-over.

  • 3
    1

    Agriculture is the direct driver for worldwide deforestation
    In this, it is acknowledged that in recent times, farming associated with animal rearing has overtaken the traditional grain farming.
    The correlation between (grain) farming and population growth is a fact.

    http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-overview/
    http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/deforestation/deforestation_causes/forest_conversion/
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120925091608.htm
    http://kanat.jsc.vsc.edu/student/callahan/mainpage.htm
    http://development.thinkaboutit.eu/think3/post/population_series_5_environment_without_resources.html

    (If romanticism and a theory of morality are concerns, then the hunter-gatherer, small-time fisherman and the backyard plot with yams (not grain) is ideal)

  • 3
    1

    Bhagya,
    All this consideration for animals is well and good, but please explain why we humans have some canine teeth even after a million years of evolution? Surely that has something to do with the diet we are designed for. Why is it we cannot live on grass?

    • 4
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      Good question. Go in front of a mirror and do as follows to find the answer.

      Put your two index fingers at the ends of your mouth and strech the cheeks wide to expose the upper set of teeth. You will notice how much you resemble a dog with the canine teeth exposed.

      Canine teeth are named so because they are a dog feature. You don’t have to do things the ‘doggie way’ just becuae you hae some doggie parts.

      Dogs enjoy meat a lot. Do you? By the way, you should seriously think of switching to a grass diet as you have been wondering. That seems to fit your level of intelligence better!

      • 0
        0

        Dentist,
        You may not eat meat for basically religious reasons, the same way that Muslims don’t eat pork. That does not mean that those who eat meat are less intelligent than you.
        Did you know Koreans eat dogs? Chinese eat practically anything. Are they less intelligent?
        To each his own, I say. You may not eat meat , but do not try to justify it with vague “moral” and health reasons.
        Our digestive system is designed for a MIXED diet, that’s why we have canine teeth, not because they are left over from canine ancestors. I don’t know about you, but I never had any canine ancestors.

    • 1
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      Old codger:

      If you touch the end of your backbone, you feel even the left over part of your Tail.

      Does that mean you have to behave like an animal ?

      • 0
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        Jimmy,
        Your logic is faulty. We ARE mammalian animals, not fish. That’s why we have a vestigial tail. Cows too are animals. They don’t eat meat.
        Perhaps we would be better off behaving like animals. They eat only when they are hungry, don’t waste food, use sex only for reproduction, and generally don’t kill their own kind.

      • 1
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        ANIMALS BEHAVE BETTER THAN PEOPLE USUALLY !!

    • 2
      1

      In spite of our canine teeth, can we digest raw meat like other carnivorous animals? Certainly not! Canine teeth alone can never be justification for being carnivorous!
      Sengodanm. M

      • 0
        0

        Sengodan,

        We definitely CAN digest raw flesh, not that I am recommending it. Have you heard of Sushi? It is raw fish eaten by the Japanese.
        The reason why eating raw flesh is discouraged is that bacteria are present. How do you think humans survived before the invention of fire? They even ate other humans! These are facts.

  • 1
    1

    Many people eat as if there is no tomorrow. Visit the buffet parlour in any restaurant, you’ll see the truth. That is the problem. Not the cows.

  • 1
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    Giving up starch on Saturdays will also be healthy and help towards the environment department and the associated sins.

  • 1
    0

    See how healthy is North indian peoples’ food is. They eat fermented milk which is healthier than fresh milk and it provides the animal protein requirement too.

    On the other hand, Beef, Pork, chicken were responsible for Mad cow disease, bird flue and Trichinosis. Secondly red meat blood and fat are responsible for cancer and heart diseases.

  • 1
    0

    An excellent article Bhagya.

    Luckily the Mrs makes sure I eat healthy.

    I could live the rest of my life on bandakka, wattakka, and my favourite all time vambattu moju. I only get ‘meat’ twice a week.

    AND, don’t ever take away my fried fish and chips treat at the (secret location, sorry).

    Sadly, the biggest killer for Sri Lanka must be the starch.

  • 1
    0

    Very good article. The author has argued her point of view logically, morally and scientifically. It may not be practically possible for all people to become vegans or even vegetarians overnight. However, meatless Monday’s could be a good start.
    Sengodanm. M

  • 0
    0

    leave Tamils with autonomy and copy paste their admin.

  • 1
    0

    Canine teeth is there to eat meat. Ask JVP who lived in the forest and ate mostly raw and burned meat (army notice the fire) how fun was it.

    After a few days, they could not walk, forget the war.

    Now, they have to look for rice/bread and curry/pol sambol.

  • 1
    0

    Is licking meat without biting even a Sin ??

    • 2
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      ONLY if it is NOT your wife.

      • 0
        0

        Tut,tut!!

  • 5
    0

    At the rate the Royal duo at Temple trees and central bank make their people to rob the country, not only Monday, on any day we cannot afford to buy/eat meat.

    I think giving up meat would not help climate change because animals eat cheap non-edible grass and wastes. If we are to substitute meat with vegetables, lot of deforestation would have to be done for cultivation.

    This Monday Madness is good for Colombo 7 elites. In Sri Lanka,meat is once a week luxury for the working class and daily wagers.

  • 1
    0

    I love my steak medium. A ribeye is best. I LOVE BEEF, PORK, SHRIMP all haram for some religions. But I love my spinach, parippu, cabbage(gives a lot of gas) , mung ata, murunga when I go to Sri Lanka, beets, carrots, dambala etc but sorry folks BEEF is what’s for dinner on my brand new grill tonight. I will put some Asparagus spears in too.

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