Giles Coren of the Times of London believes that vegetarianism is just another form of disordered eating, an illness hidden under layers of moral or religious reasoning. "Vegetarianism is a cry for help," he writes.
"Vegetarianism is an eating disorder," Coren writes, "It's a better eating disorder than many others, because at least it doesn't make you fat, and in general it doesn't cause you to wither away and die. But it does make you pale, and flaky, and unbelievably tedious to be around." First of all, no. Vegetarianism is not an eating disorder. Yes, it is true that many people with eating disorders will claim vegetarianism as a means to cut out several foods from their diets and excuse themselves from meat-laden meals, but to lump vegetarianism, a CHOICE, in with anorexia and bulimia, which are full-blown mental illnesses, is a bit offensive and ultimately ridiculous.
If Coren's argument was that vegetarianism, in certain cases, can be a symptom of an underlying eating disorder, I'd say he was right. But Coren argues that all vegetarians are simply attempting to adhere to a vegetarian lifestyle as a means of putting up a giant finger to the world: "It's why so many vegetarians have tattoos and exotic piercings (you know it's true). It's why anarchists, squatters, G20 protesters and art students are usually vegetarians. Frustrated that they cannot, and never will, control the world, or anything else of any significance, they starve themselves and carve holes in their bodies." Coren also notes that most vegetarians are girls, "because vegetarianism is a way of controlling one's food intake without drawing attention to one's vanity."
Coren argues that vegetarianism (as well as food allergies) is just a means of drawing attention to one's self, and states that maybe we'd all be better off if we stopped making a big deal about what we were eating, and just had a little meat now and then. He also pulls out the extremely tired (and debatable) "Hitler was a vegetarian, and he was crazy!" argument as a means to tie not eating meat with being a sociopath of sorts. "Meat tastes good. It carries vitamins and minerals with a unique efficiency that is critical to the maintenance of a healthy life. And it gives pigs, quite literally, a reason to live."
Perhaps Coren has never met a vegetarian who is sane, eats a proper amount of food, and maintains a healthy, meat-free lifestyle. Or maybe he didn't bother asking any vegetarians why they don't eat meat, as many people don't eat meat for religious reasons, or because of their stance on animal rights. The moral, spiritual, and ethical reasoning behind vegetarianism goes far beyond Coren's view that all vegetarians are attention-seeking tattooed anorexic anarchists who would rather ruin society than eat meat. Albert Einstein, on the other hand, once said, "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
I think I'll go with Einstein on this one. Thanks anyway, Giles.
Do A Pig A Favour! Ban Vegetarianism Now! [TimesOnline]