25 Surprising Facts About Vegetarianism You Might Not Know

You’ve probably heard in recent years that a vegetarian diet is a much healthier way to feed yourself and that consuming excessive amounts of meat—especially red meat—is quite bad for your heart, your blood vessels, and overall health. From an ethical point of view, you’ve probably heard that eating meat makes you responsible for all the animal cruelty and killing that takes place daily. It’s also possible that you’ve heard about many celebrities who follow a vegetarian diet, with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie being prime examples, which probably makes you think that vegetarianism is cool.

As with most things in life, however, the truth is somewhere in the middle, and vegetarianism is no exception. However, we won’t be examining the pros and cons of being a vegetarian or vegan with this list but instead will be highlighting 25 Surprising Facts About Vegetarianism You Might Not Know that will inform and enlighten you about a lifestyle that has been around for thousands of years despite becoming “trendy” only recently.

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Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that a vegetarian diet increases the body’s metabolism, helping the body to burn fat and calories up to sixteen percent faster than the body of someone who eats meat.

foodSource: hsph.harvard.edu, Image: Wikipedia

The first Renaissance figure to advocate vegetarianism was Leonardo da Vinci. Actually, he was a hard-core vegan who openly argued with the strict local religious authorities of his time, saying that humans do not have a God-given right to eat animals.

Leonardo da VinciSource: The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

A 2008 study by Time approximates the number of U.S. vegetarians at 7.3 million adults or 3.2 percent of the population. Of these, only 0.5 percent, or one million, are vegans.

vegetarian restaurantSource: time.com, Image: Wikipedia

The French philosopher Voltaire is known for being a major historical figure in the cause of vegetarianism (though we don’t know if he was a vegetarian). He used the antiquity of Hinduism to attack the Bible’s claims of dominance and acknowledged that the Hindus’ treatment of animals represented a “shaming alternative to the viciousness of European imperialists.”

VoltaireSource: The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism, Image: Wikipedia

The China Study is a book that was based on a twenty-year study that compared the mortality rates of meat eaters and vegetarians. According to the book, citizens of countries who ate more meat were more likely to have higher death rates from “Western diseases,” while those of countries who ate more plant food were healthier.

vegetablesSource: The China Study, Image: Wikipedia

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