Why Latinos Need to Become Vegetarian
I don’t want to sound like a preacher with this post. However, I care too much about my community to not be direct with you. You need to become a vegetarian or vegan. Not because eating meat is unethical, but because of your health.
Latinos have some of the highest rates of diabetes in the US. According to the Office of Minority Health, a national survey showed that Mexican-Americans are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with diabetes. HELLO, they said TWICE! And this is only one of the many health problems we rank high in.
I have a theory of why this is. Back in our parent’s homelands, traditional diets are balanced and the quality of food is different. In the United States, people’s lifestyles change, causing an imbalance in that diet, and thus bringing all sorts of bad juju. Take the following into consideration:
MSG and an Unbalanced Traditional Cuisine
Lots of our food gets contaminated with MSG and fake ingredients. Do you think your abuelita back in the homeland was using seasoning with MSG? No way man! She was using fresh herbs and traditional cooking techniques. Have you ever noticed that, at least in NY, all “Spanish” food tastes the same? Thats because most restaurants are using the same seasonings, all of which have MSG!
However, the biggest challenge is that our ancestors did not eat as much meat as us because it was either scarce or expensive. Traditional diets are generally healthy because they are an optimal balance of local food items to give your body the best energy, performance, and nutrients it needs. We totally mess them up living in the modern world that is filled with fast food and constant bad-for-you snacking.
Meat is Badly Produced
The meat in the United States is questionable. Why? Well because it comes from large scale, commercial farms that mass produce cattle, chicken, and other animals, in very unhealthy and unethical ways. How you raise animals directly impacts how it will affect humans. Pump them with antibiotics, you are getting those antibiotics Treat them like badly, and the meat will be tainted with hormones that animals release when they are under stress.
If you need to eat meat, then spring for cage-free, free-range, vegetarian feed alternatives. Remember – a little meat goes a long way. Considering the health bills you will save on, its worth the investment. Your body is like a car engine. The cleaner the fuel, the cleaner it will burn, and the less pollution you will have to take care of.
Bad Treatment = Bad Energy
Karma. Yes, I’m totally throwing that card, particularly since our Catholic-influenced cultures makes it very clear that what you give, you get back. Come on, don’t pretend all of us don’t have a little mystical seed inside that was planted by our grandmothers.
The way that animals are treated in these commercial farms is horrible, almost nightmarish. Even our “animals are animals” family members would be horrified to see some of the practices that take place. When you are consuming meat, you are also consuming that negative energy.
The following video is very graphic, but I think its important to see what I’m describing. However, keep in mind, this is not even the worst video I’ve seen. I just didn’t want to scar you guys too much.
Wisdom from the Oldest Living Cuban
Its hard for your body to digest meat. You are putting added stress, and thus more wear and tear on your body. Benito Martinez Abrogan, who at 126 was considered Cuba’s oldest living person, said that his longevity was thanks to “a healthy diet of fresh vegetables, some meat and occasional consumption of alcohol.” So, even for a fellow who migrated to Cuba in 1880, it was clear that eating less meat was healthier. Interesting, no?
I hope some of you will be inspired by this post, if not, then at least start paying attention to what you are consuming. We need to protect not only our political rights, but our food/consumer rights. The least we can be do is demand that the food we consume is healthy. My mother and great aunt died of pancreatic cancer at a very early age, and I wonder how much their diet influenced their health. Educate yourself and keep your family safe.
[…] on 17. Mar, 2011 by VegLatino in Food, Health I don’t want to sound like a preacher with this post. However, I care too much about my community to not be direct with you. You need to become a vegetarian or […]
i’ve been one for about thirty years, now. i don’t talk about it at all with other latinos. i’m cuban-american,and, they are, particularly retrograde and closed minded, about vegetarianism. for a man, i think it’s that much harder,as there are some rather implicit asinine notions related to manhood,and a lack of animal protein in one’s diet.. “los machos son carnivoros”. i’ve yet to meet a latina non- veggie,[actually i don’t thionk i know a single latina veggie],who was turned on, by my being a veggie. and i mean trun on in any and every way you can imagine. of course, i’m being a bit flip here.
I have been vegetarian not as long as you have. I am Puerto Rican and I live on the Island here I can confirm we have plenty of latino and latina vegetarian individuals. The person that wrote this post is Cuban-American and Latina and one of the reasons we created this blog was to break those myths like the one you mentioned.
If you ever want to share your experiences as a guest post feel free to let me know.
When Raul told me he was going vegetarian, I questioned his reasons, not manhood. When he told me that he had stopped getting acid reflux at night, and was sleeping better due to the weight he was losing from his new way of eating and exercise, I encouraged him to continue his diet. Of course it was filled with lots of jokes in the beginning but I had to adjust to his new diet and it also opened up my culinary experience. Not only did I have to research what foods to give him, I also learned about different types of proteins you can get from plants. After six years of cooking and learning, it has been a good experience. He comes up with recipes and I execute to my best what he wants to eat. Now that we have a daughter who is growing up vegetarian, I research on a daily basis and cook what nutrients she needs.
We have seen the other side with my family and his where they have said to give him meat on the occassions he has been sick.
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