Herbivores and Carnivores.

Herbivores and Carnivores.

I have been a largely plant-based eater since I was 18. The reason is that I have the welfare of animals at heart, along with a desire to eat healthily. Back in the 80s when I was a young man, vegetarianism and veganism were fashionable.

Artists like The Smiths, Howard Jones, etc, advocated that such a diet was moral and compassionate. Indeed, The Smiths brought out an album called ‘Meat is Murder’ encapsulating why people should be herbivourous.

Fast forward to today, I am less of a vegetarian now. I eat chicken and fish but in no way would I eat red meat. So I guess I would come under the banner of being a pescatarian or a flexitarian. In other words, my diet is still largely plant-based but includes non-plant food too. Am I still eating more vegetables for health and am I still compassionate for animal welfare? Certainly, both those ideas loom large in my mind and probably will always do so. Could I cut out chicken and fish, if I had to and return to just veg? In truth, I think I could make the change if I so desired.

The one thing I am glad about today is the range of plant-based foods out there. At one time being a herbivore was looked on as being weird or being on the fringe. Now there is acceptance of this diet and for me, it is well overdue. Of course, you will always get those who mock you with “Oh you are eating rabbit food!” But one gets used to such banter and you should not take it personally or retaliate.

Some Christian veggies say they see evidence that Jesus himself was largely herbivourous. This matter was taken up by Dr. Ron Colbert in The Los Angeles Times. Colbert himself is a Christian and he is a physician and nutritionist by trade. Dr. Colbert said that by and large, Jesus would have eaten what we call today a ‘Mediterranean diet’. His diet would have consisted of grains, fish, vegetables, modest amounts of olive oil, meat, and wine. So if Dr. Colbert’s assessment of Christ’s diet is correct then Jesus ate a healthy all-round diet.

Dr. Colbert advocated following this diet would be healthier than the fast-food cuisine many Americans ate. He also observed that Americans who professed to be Christian and against a healthy diet were usually right-wing and obese.

14% of adults in the UK (7.2 million) are following meat-free diets, 8.8 million Brits are planning to be more herbivourous in 2022. Just 2% actually became herbivourous or semi-herbivourous in 2021. These facts and figures will also encapsulate those Christians who are eating a plant-based diet.

Christians who are plant based in their diet or semi-plant-based give 3 reasons why they are:

1) Ethical concerns for animal welfare.

2) The rights of our fellow created beings or animals if you prefer.

3) Scripture that advocates being respectful to God’s creation.

St Francis of Assisi is known especially in Catholic circles for being the Patron Saint of animals. St Francis was not as far as we know a stirct vegetarian but advocated that Christians should treat animals with respect and compassion.

Some Christians eat meat, while other are plant-based in their diet, and that is their choice as Christianity has no special diet, unlike Islam or Judaism. Muslims and Jews stick to Kosher and Halal where animals are ritually slaughtered. A prayer is given for the animal thanking God for the provision of meat and for the life of the animal. Though Christians are free to eat what we want and that is fine, I may not agree with eating meat, but carnivores are free to do it, just as herbivorous Christians are free to eat what they want to eat.

Certainly, God gave humans the plants and animals to sustain us on this planet, but that does not mean exploiting them or abusing them. In our dealings with God’s creation, we must eat with a good conscience, but be mindful and respectful of what we are eating also. God expects us to treat the other beings we share the planet with (animals) with compassion, love, and mercy. God also expects us to eat and drink healthily as our body is indeed a temple and we need to look after it. That does mean we cannot indulge in pizza or alcohol occasionally but we should moderate these occasions.

Scripture talks at length about the subject matter in this blog:

1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”.

Genesis 1:29: And God said, “Behold I give you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of the earth and every tree with its fruit. You shall have these for food”.

Colossians 2:16: “Therefore, let no one pass judgement on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath”.

God bless you,

Nick x.

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