Thousands of years ago when people grouped together in tribes, leaders of various sorts advised and controlled the tribal members. Most of the leadership involved hunting and fighting other tribes.
But, since the fear of death prevailed just as strongly then as it does now, other leaders sought to control the behavior of the tribe in terms of terms of avoiding death and also of controlling what all humans are curious about: “The After-Life.” Humans have always believed that within our bodies there is a spiritual element which today we call “Soul.”
Our imaginations were just as fertile then, tens of thousands of years ago, as it is today. We believed then, as we do today, that after death there is another life in a different land.
We felt certain then, as we do today, that our behavior during the earthly life would influence strongly the pleasure or the pain in the life that succeeded our death.
The tribal leaders who counseled us concerning our behavior when we are alive on this planet were the forerunners of the religious leaders that we know today.
Religion, in one form or another, has been with mankind from the very beginning of life, not only as a family, but as any other group, no matter how small. The original religious leaders focused on specific behavior as the means of achieving immortality and happiness in the afterlife.
One behavior pattern that was deemed critical, because of its daily occurrence was: Diet.
Every religion tells its adherent, not only what to eat, but, also, how to eat it. In addition, even the method of killing the animal to be eaten or preparing the food to be eaten is described in thorough detail.
If members of the society break these dietary “Laws” they may find themselves unable to enjoy any existence after death. We know, for example, that Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians all have dietary restrictions concerning edible food. Some religions ban all meat. Some ban the pig as a source of food. The time of eating, the fasting during certain religious holidays, the avoidance of certain meats during certain days, have all been codified into the many religions of the world.
The most common ban is that against eating meat. Vegetarianism, numerically, is the most prevalent religious dictate concerning the use of food. The rationale for vegetarianism is not health; but rather, avoidance of killing the body which is the host of another soul.
Nonetheless, in the last few decades, people have become vegetarians with the purpose of improving their health. If we examine the health statistics of vegetarians in the west, not Asia, we can see that vegetarians have much better results in terms of vascular disease and cancer. However, in terms of Type Two Diabetes, many vegetarians have a propensity to eat an abundance of carbohydrates, sugar and starch, with resultant diabetes and obesity.
SEARCHING FOR THE PERFECT DIET
Although vegetarianism is close to the ideal diet for good health, it has three fundamental flaws.
All humans require:
2. Essential Amino Acids, and
3. Essential Fatty Acids.
Finding these three groups in a vegetarian diet is not impossible, but highly improbable for the average person.
In particular, finding Vitamin B12, which is essential to prevent a deadly disease called Pernicious Anemia, is extremely difficult. Finding all the Essential Amino Acids and the Essential Fatty Acids is also a laborious task.
People go on a diet to become healthy and happy. If the diet requires constant remembering, searching and calculating, the dieter within a short period of time, less than two years, drops the diet and searches for another.
We are seeing this constantly in the field of nutrition. Unless the dieter is deeply religious or emotional about his or her diet, the original vegetarian diet becomes modified so that meat or fish or milk products or eggs may be used.
In the last decade the big question amongst those searching for the “Perfect Diet” is “Should I eat Meat or Fish?” with the veggies, fruit and nuts.
If the reasoning for vegetarianism is love of animals, people generally opt for fish, with whom they have very little empathy. Fish, again, is the choice when the health benefits of Omega3 is take into account.
My favorite reason for advising fish as the source of essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, is the well known health of the Japanese who have the longest life span on the planet. The Japanese cuisine is crowded with fish, since Japan is a group of islands surrounded by water where the fish thrive and are easy to catch.
BUT, WHY JUST FISH?
If we are looking for the “Perfect Diet” why should we stop at fish? The Japanese don’t stop with fish. They eat mammals, birds, reptiles (turtles) and amphibians (frogs.)
If we are looking for the “Perfect Diet” we must let our reasoning and our research be our guide. Emotions and religions really have no logical role in nutrition. See which group of people has the highest level of health; and, most of all, live the longest. Follow their diet. They have distilled that diet through thousands of years of experimentation, observation, above all, real life testing.
In my humble opinion, THE JAPANESE DIET IS THE PERFECT DIET!