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Food for Thought

posted 23 Apr 2018, 12:52 by Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin   [ updated 23 Apr 2018, 15:16 ]

Thou Shalt Not Kill

Except if it shall be tasty when it is seasoned and cooked.

Food for Thought

Our congregation is slowly being infiltrated by a strange new inhabitant called a vegetarian.

There were only two of them until this year when they  suddenly increased by three more with their hungry, confused spouses.

Being vegan or vegetarian  is permitted by Torah. It is said that we were all vegetarian until G-d relented and permitted His/Her hungry children to eat meat.

Each of us has a different reason for our switch to being a vegan or vegetarian and we have different degrees of observance. I am a vegetarian, eat fish and eggs, and am unconcerned if by error some meat enters into food that I thought was vegetarian. This winter I was advised to lose 10 pounds before my hernia operation both  for my own comfort and for the surgeon. I had wanted to lose 10 lbs. and this was a perfect opportunity. The diet the hospital gave me was the diet from hell which I could never follow, so I became vegetarian. I easily lost those ten pounds and have kept them off for the last 3 1/2 months. The benefits are numerous. Being slender is healthier, vegetables and vegetable dishes taste better, I feel better, and I am no longer as hungry as I used to be. My doctor says my kidney numbers are better and I have maintained my health. In addition there are the following side benefits - food is cheaper, I don’t participate, however indirectly, in killing animals,  the world’s food supply is greater, and the environment has improved with fewer cows raised for my benefit.

Jonathan Usher

Forks Over Knives

As a recent convert to veganism (Pesach 2018) I haven’t experienced it long enough to give a credible argument from my own personal perspective. However, I can say what motivated me to choose a plant-based diet. Seven things influenced me.

  • Mounting empirical medical evidence that a plant-based diet is far more healthy than anything containing animal products (see point 6)

  • A vegan diet is more sustainable and less demanding on the environment than a meat-and/or-dairy based diet, with a vegan diet taking about a 10th of the resources

  • Moral concerns -  animals are not biological automatons; they feel complex emotions such as pleasure, anger, fear, sadness, anxiety; they show complex social behaviours such as altruism, cooperation, self-sacrifice, leadership and following, friendship, pairing, and loyalty. They exhibit responses to pleasure and pain. I am an animal lover – how could I continue to reconcile my love for animals with a diet that eats them? (Note: The recent Dog Meat Festival in China had a huge influence on my decision. How could I be outraged at the consumption of dogs, but not cattle? Or chickens?)

  • Kosher- I became disgusted at the quality and cost of kosher meat and chicken available in Toronto. Veganism makes it easy to keep kosher.

  • Food sensitivities – particularly to dairy.

  • My diabetes. I researched a study called the China Study and learned that the results of a 20-year study in parts of China where people’s diets were primarily plant-based showed very low instances of diabetes. The researchers posited that the traditional thinking about diabetes being caused by sugar and carbs was false.(The Chinese people studied had very high carb intakes - rice). An animal fat diet impairs our bodies from processing sugar and carbs, therefore leaving sugar in the bloodstream resulting in diabetes. The root cause was not the sugar and carbs, but the animal fats rendering our cells unable to absorb sugars.

  • My husband’s uncontrollable high blood pressure. Charly’s blood pressure, despite medication, was too high. Vegetarianism is a positive diet that when combined with low/no salt has been shown to reduce blood pressure.

Charly and I watched several documentaries that educated us on the health, moral and environmental advantages of a plant-based diet. We read several articles and books and decided to try it for two weeks. The two weeks passed and we’re still going – Charly’s blood pressure has improved drastically and my diabetes is well controlled.

I feel wonderful! More energy. Happier. Clearer. The only disadvantage I’ve noticed is the need to plan ahead. It’s a price I’m willing to pay. We also are committed to buying only organic produce and have drastically reduced our consumption of processed foods.

Quite frankly, I can’t imagine anyone watching a documentary like Forks Over Knives and NOT being motivated to change. I was telling a group of friends about this new journey and how the documentaries showed the horrible treatment of animals in the meat industry and one guy actually said “Oh I won’t watch that. I love the taste of meat too much.”

I get that people’s diet choices are personal. I get that ignorance kept me a meat-eater for 66 years. But I cannot understand anyone refusing to be educated. Once you know what’s going on, you cannot sit idly by.

Judy Hazan


Rabbi Kook followed a vegetarian diet and even predicted that when the Messiah appears we will all follow a vegetarian diet.  So those of us who are following this diet are already almost* there!

I guess vegan is even better,  and we do eat a lot vegan, but not all vegan.  

I actually say I follow a vegetarian diet rather than say I am a vegetarian.  

Some people go meatless once a week which is a start to more healthy eating.

However, *parve dark chocolate is vegetarian and vegan and so are French Fries, so any diet needs thought.  A vegetarian or vegan diet can be healthy or not depending on food choices.

(vegan: no eggs,  no dairy, no honey, yes: legumes, nuts seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables)

(vegetarian: do eat eggs, dairy, honey, as well as what vegans eat)

(From Google: The strongest support for vegetarianism as a positive ideal anywhere in Torah literature is in the writings of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook(1865-1935). Rav Kook was the first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel and a highly respected and beloved Jewish spiritual leader in the early 20th century. He was a mystical thinker, a forceful writer, and a great Torah scholar.)

Marilyn Richmond

Ahimsa Parmo Dharma

(Non-Violence is supreme religion)

For hundreds  of years, the Brahmin caste of Indians (for instance, more recently, Gandhi) and Jains--totaling in the millions of people--adopted vegetarianism, according to the philosophical principle of Ahimsa--at the least minimal, and ideally, no suffering to all living things.  Basically, as we have learned from DNA studies, only a few chromosomes differentiate humans from amoebas.

Sheldon Richmond

Ahimsa is an attribute of the brave. Cowardice and ahimsa don't go together any more than water and fire.

Mahatma Gandhi

The Great Lie

Once in a while you're lucky enough to have an "Ah ha!" moment that has the potential of turning your life around. My name is Charles Greene and I am a professional dieter.

I've made eggs my go-to breakfast for years.

“There is…no scientific evidence whatsoever that eating eggs in any way increases the risk of heart attack,”  says the egg industry’s National Commission on Egg Nutrition.

I'd scramble up two eggs with butter, cubed 12 grain bread, (or oatmeal,) and feta cheese.

Recently, and with my usual creativity and ingenuity, I changed the delivery system in how I consume my eggs. I began to liquify my go-to breakfast in boiling water rather than scrambling. i.e. Instead of chewing and digesting the meal slowly, I drank my breakfast. Convenient, for certain.

In less than a week, my blood pressure went through the roof. 205/160. Two days later I was in ‘Emerg’ wracking my brain trying to figure out why the dramatic change in blood pressure.

My answer, in short, was that it took time for my body to digest the scrambled eggs. Drinking the liquified eggs however, was tantamount to hanging an intravenous drip connected directly into my bloodstream. Hit your body that hard, every day, and your body doesn't stand a chance of reducing the buildup of cholesterol in your bloodstream - ergo clogged arteries and high blood pressure.  My "Ah ha!" moment - eggs are in fact not healthy. Period. It's not a question of moderation. Dr. Michael Greger has his "big hammer, little hammer" analogy. Why hit yourself with a hammer at all? After doing a ton of research, I made the decision to go Vegan the following week. Why not vegetarianism? Well, that’s just a smaller hammer.

Re: Eggs. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent convincing people eggs are not going to kill them. Cardiology experts warn that eating even a single egg a day may exceed the safe upper limit for cholesterol intake.

Charles Greene

One warning: Do your homework. Consult a doctor. Vegans must supplement vitamin B12. Also, regardless of diet, people don’t get enough vitamin D.