In Indian culture, vegetarianism is popular for health, nutrition, economics, and religious reasons.
The word vegetarian was coined by the founders of the British Vegetarian Society in 1842, and is derived from the Latin word vegetus meaning “whole, sound, fresh or lively”. In Indian culture it implies a balanced philosophical and moral sense of life, as well as a diet of vegetables and fruit.
Vegetarianism in Indian culture is viewed as an essential step towards a better society. It can improve health and prevent disease such as cancer and heart disease. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association “Ninety to ninety-seven percent of heart disease can be prevented by a vegetarian diet”. Research at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Max Plank Institute in Germany show that most vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and grains are excellent sources of complete protein.
Economically, much farmland is required to grow the grain that feeds livestock in order to produce meat. According to information compiled by the US Department of Agriculture, over 90% of all the grain produced in America goes to feed livestock that is exclusively being raised for meat including cows, pics, sheep and chickens. The same study states that for every sixteen pounds of grain fed to cattle, we get back only one pound of meat. Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer estimates that bringing down meat production by 10% would release enough grain to feed sixty million people.
Vegetarianism: A Means to a Higher End by Adiraja Dasa