Olympics and Vegetarianism

Dr. Mervyn G. Hardinge, a medical physician and researcher with degrees from Harvard and Stanford Universities and one of the strongest proponents of vegetarianism has done extensive research on the subject, and has published numerous articles on the merits of meat-free diet. He concludes, “ that human beings do not have to eat meat…is impressively evident to anyone familiar with even the rudiments of word nutrition.”  In 1959, he wrote: ”Formerly, vegetable proteins were classified as second-class and regarded as inferior to first-class proteins of animal origin, but this distinction has now been generally discarded…. Many field trials have shown that suitable mixtures of vegetable proteins give children the power to grow as well as children provided with milk and other animal proteins.”

Dr. Nevin Scrimshaw, Protein expert from MIT said: “Fortunately there is no fixed nutritional requirement for the relatively costly sources of protein-milk, meat, and eggs. Legumes and oilseed meals are acceptable alternatives …one third of a properly processed oilseed meal mixed with two thirds of a cereal grain gives a mixture of a quality and concentration of protein adequate for all human needs, even of the infant or the young child.”

Nobel prize winner Dr. Arturi Virtanen agreed, “ Lacto-vegetarians can receive easily all the necessary nutrients from fruit, vegetables, potatoes, cereals and milk low in fat.” Dr. Hardinge added that relying on dairy products is unnecessary. “properly prepared plant foods provide adequate protein for every age group, including infants.” The Hunza people of Northern Pakistan are often cited for their excellent health. Lancet in 1963 reported on the people who live at altitudes of 2,000-8,000 feet, deep in the valley of Kaghan, Gilgit, Hunza and other mountainous areas of Northwest Pakistan. Consuming the simplest possible diets of wheat, corn, potatoes, onions and fruits, they trudge up and down the rough mountain paths for anything up to fifty miles a day. They have existed thus for perhaps many thousands of years, free of obesity and cavities, and sure to enjoy long healthy lives.

Gary Null, Ph D in Human Nutrition and Public Health Science, who published over fifty books on health and nutrition, says, “The myths about protein abound in the Western world, making it one of the most misunderstood areas in nutrition. Many of these myths are so entrenched in our psyche, we find it difficult, if not impossible, to let go of them, even though the recent scientific data shows them to be false. Concepts of what protein does, where it comes from, what will happen to us if we don’t get enough, are all part of these myths.… In fact, today’s athletes, the ones who are winning the races and sports event, are not loading up on protein, but rather, on carbohydrates.”

Vegetarian body builders include Gilman Low, who set nine world records in 1903 for his strength and endurance, and Roy Hilligan, the first vegetarian ‘Mr. America’.

All the above evidence points to the fact that one need not be a non-vegetarian to be a participant in Olympics. What is required is a balanced diet and a rigorous practice with high motivation.  In Andhra Pradesh more than ninety (>90) percent of the population is non-vegetarian.  Yet there is no representation of Telugus in the Olympics. We can certainly rule out vegetarianism as a reason for their inability.  There are several reasons for our failure in Olympics or any other sports. The major reasons are education, facilities, opportunities, motivation etc. We don’t have any! The government elected by the people has no interest in the participation of Telugus in Olympics.  There is no real program or scheme to cultivate sports in Andhra Pradesh. The government would spend money on populist schemes rather than on education, sports and Telugu pride.  Sreenivasarao Vepachedu

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