Menachem's Writings

Vegans, Vegetarians, Raw Food and Whole Food, Plant Based Diets

I used to eat meat, lots of meat. What can you expect? I was born and raised in Australia. When I was a kid beef was much cheaper than chicken. We only ate chicken in honour of shabath or on special occasions. I do not recall if we ever ate turkey, duck or goose. Back then they probably did not even have kosher geese or ducks in Sydney where I lived. There probably were kosher turkeys in Melbourne, in those days, and I imagine still today, in that larger Kosher consuming society. I do remember when the state government allowed slaughter of venison for the first time for private consumption — I tried to organise a few friends to guarantee buying a whole deer for kosher slaughter. It never came off. I was in my 20's by then.

But then I saw the light!! 😃 We had just spent a month outside of Israel. On our return we were at a festive celebration at the Sheraton Plaza Hotel in Yerushalayim. All the attendees said it was a fantastic meal. I admit that it was tasty. Everyone enjoyed it. But I am sure it was designed for the taste buds only — I supposed laced with MSG and/or other chemicals that belong in a chemistry lab and not in my body. That night I did not sleep too much nor too well. The cow and the chicken from dinner were now taking their revenge ... yes we were served a medley. (I am sure how that word came to be applied to meat — I know how to swim a medley, but eating it is something else.)

Well really, I stopped eating meat last August. Not just meat, but anything connected or derived from meat. Not eggs, milk, fish (yes, fish is an animal!) — just plants, from the ground and from the sea (yes seaweed is yummy and healthy too — lots of minerals, better than land plants).

There were a number of reasons for this, that all seemed to come together at the same time. I had stopped consuming cow-milk products seven years earlier, and felt all the better for it. I had switched to goat yoghurt and cheese (they make some really good goat yogurt and cheese at Givot Olam in Itamar if you are that way inclined, which I was). I really felt the better for it, in a couple of different aspects of my being. Simply I was becoming less comfortable with meat. While we were away — in Sydney Australia, Chiang Mei Thailand and Hong Kong — I did not consume any, nor felt any lack without it.

Then I bumped into my personal physician, Efraim Ben Zeev of Efrat. He was reading a book called the China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II. I had already been off meat for a couple of months by the time I read the book. However Efraim's description of the Study was influential on my decision. He now basically follows Collins's dietary recommendations (though he eats a bit of organic chicken on shabath and drinks a low fat latte on Tuesdays).

I was learning Midrash with my son, Aviel, before his barmitzva, which was to take place on Shabbat B'reshith, the first parsha, portion, of the Tora. When haShem blesses Adam, he gives him permission to eat from anything that grows out of the ground (vegetables, grains, legumes) and on the trees (fruit) only. This shows that man can live on vegetables alone. The fact the He later, in the time of Noaḥ, allowed the eating of meat does not detract from the fact that man does in no way need meat and from-meat products (if I was a calf I am sure cow's milk would be beneficial to me, but just like I never saw a cow smoke a cigarette, I never saw a cow or a bull put milk into a cup of coffee). Man was permitted to eat meat because haShem noticed man's weakness? How many of Adam and Eve's grandchildren ate burgers out the back of the outhouse before they smoked that vegetarian cigar.

So what differentiates man from a goat, deer or other ruminant? [What is a ruminant? a hoofed, even-toed, usually horned mammals including cattle, sheep, goats, deer and giraffes (yes a giraffe is most certainly Kosher — when did you last eat a giraffe steak?) They have a stomach divided into four compartments and chew a cud consisting of regurgitated, partially digested food moving about these stomach compartments.]

Man only has one stomach, so cannot regurgitate cud. Our bolus goes down a one way street. If your semi-degraded, masticated, food goes against the flow, against the peristalsis in your oesophagus, you ain't feeling to good — you'll (watch under) chunder as the Okkers say [vomit for the rest].

The difference lies in the fact that humans can use their brains. We know (though those into raw foodism seem ignorant) that in order to absorb the nutrients in many foods (yes, yes, I know not all foods — heat kills the bacteria in Miso and in soya curds [yes Little Miss Muffet]. Our primitive, one stomach bodies need help, so we have to cook, pickle, curdle our food and yes sometimes eat it raw too.

As a result of her whole grain, non-processed food diet, my wife lost (I would say gained) nearly 60 points down on her cholesterol level. Her HDL cholesterol ratio is great. So this is a great cholesterol reducing diet. Triglyceride level is normal and weight has gone down. Me, I've had some improvement too, but I started from a lower point.

I eat more than before, eat a much more varied diet than before, and do not have those up and down feelings that characterised the last time I ate a piece of animal. But remember, only eat whole foods — avoid any kind of (unnecessary) processing, and where possible eat food from the organic garden — leave the chemicals in the lab! Stick to olive, sesame or avocado oils.

Menachem Kuchar, 26th May, 2008    
20th Iyar, 5768    


I've just put up some photographs of my Home town EFRAT.