As people who believe in God's Word, we know that the picture of peace and harmony we see in the Garden of Eden is not fully attainable today. But, with the help of a plant-based, vegetarian diet, and a daily walk with God, we can “get back to the Garden” with the help of raw fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and we have the science to prove it--but we also have the testimonies of ancient and modern cultures that adhere to a vegetarian diet. Here are 3 countries that thrive and benefit from a vegetarian diet:
- Jamaica. During the 1930s, a religion called Rastafarianism developed in Jamaica partially as a rebellion against the then-dominant British colonial culture. One of the most famous representatives of this religion was Bob Marley, and though he passed away many years ago, Rastafarianism is still alive and well today worldwide. Those in the Rastafari movement celebrate “Ital” food, which is food that is natural, unprocessed, organic, and free of chemicals, additives, and preservatives. Their diet originates from their unique interpretation of the book of Leviticus, but their hearts are devout in their desires to preserve the earth and respect God’s creation. Some physical benefits that Jamaican Rastafarians may experience from their vegetarian diet include a decrease in heart disease as well as low blood pressure. Red meat tends to worsen hypertension, so eliminating it from their diets probably relieves problems related to high blood pressure. A vegetarian diet also tends to be a high-fiber diet, and eating a lot of fiber helps keep cholesterol levels in check. In addition, leafy greens and fruits are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants which protect their hearts from heart disease. Because of their vegetarian diets, Rastafarians are much less likely to have heart problems than cultures that don’t follow a vegetarian lifestyle, which allows them to live longer, fuller lives.
- Ethiopia. Because of the fasting traditions of Orthodox Christianity, which is the dominant religion in the country, Ethiopia is full of delicious plant-based foods. Orthodox Christianity abstains from all animal products for approximately 250 days out of the year to honor (1) The Fast of the Advent, (2) The Fast of Nineveh, (3) The Fast of Great Lent, (4) The Fast of the Holy Week/Passion Week, (5) The Fast of the Apostles, (6) The Fast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, (7) weekly Wednesday and Friday fasts, and (8) The Paramon Fasts. Generally, fasting in Ethiopia represents the purification of sins and the regaining of the innocence that we humans once had in the Garden of Eden. In this way, Ethiopia aligns its heart and vision at least partly with ours here at Hallelujah Diet. Because of their devotion to their spiritual purification, the people of Ethiopia have a decreased risk of cancer as well as a head-start on the movement to help protect God’s creation. A mostly vegetarian diet protects the people of Ethiopia from cancer because eating too much meat, especially processed meat with its chemical preservatives, can increase the risks for cancer. Additionally, cooking meat with methods like barbecuing and pan-frying increase the risks for kidney cancer. By taking meat out of their diets for the majority of a calendar year, the people of Ethiopia don’t have to worry nearly as much about developing kidney, colon, or esophageal cancer as the western world does. In addition to the prevention of cancer, a plant-based vegetarian diet also has benefits that help protect God’s creation by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent. Ethiopia is a country that cares about its physical health, its spiritual health, and the health of the world around it, and we can all learn a thing or two from following their dietary examples.
- India: The vegetarian practices of India are rooted in India’s different religions, especially Hinduism and Jainism, that promote kindness and non-violence toward all living things. Though India’s religious practices are not inherently Christian, their view of harmony amongst all living things brings to mind the non-violence we see in the Garden of Eden. Because of India’s mostly vegetarian diet, the people of India have a lower chance of becoming overweight and, therefore, a lower chance of developing diabetes. We’ve already mentioned that vegetarian diets are full of fiber, which keeps cholesterol levels in check, but fiber also helps us regularly use the bathroom, making sure we’re not storing too much waste at a time in our bodies. Additionally, fiber can help us feel fuller, acting as a natural appetite suppressant so that we don’t eat more than we should and thereby gain more weight. Another aspect of a vegetarian diet that helps prevent obesity is that it’s a diet that is generally low in calories. The measurements of calories we take in vs the calories we burn are essential to weight loss, weight gain, and weight maintenance. If you’re trying to lose weight, a low-calorie diet like a high-fiber vegetarian diet doesn’t require as much exercise in order to burn excess calories as a non-vegetarian diet does. One of the biggest risks of gaining too much weight is the development of diabetes, but a vegetarian diet could improve insulin sensitivities and blood sugar levels. Because of their cultural and religious commitments to nonviolence, India is seeing the benefits of weight loss and decreased cases of diabetes all throughout its culture. Since diabetes and obesity are such large challenges for Americans, the people of the United States would do well to consider shifting to a vegetarian diet.