General Question

Hobbes's avatar

Is it possible to live healthily on a diet that is not directly or indirectly connected to the harm of living beings?

Asked by Hobbes (7355points) September 16th, 2010

The lives of plants are generally not considered to be as important as those of animals, but they are in fact living beings. I wonder (hypothetically) whether it would be possible to exist solely on a diet composed of things which are naturally produced by plants and animals, the taking of which does not harm them?

For example, milk and eggs can be taken without harming the animals in question. Fruit can be plucked without harming the tree, and I imagine some vegetables exist that could be harvested without harming the plant.

I don’t really think I’d pursue such a diet, I’m just wondering whether it could be nutritionally viable.

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12 Answers

faye's avatar

Many plants make their seeds and die. So we can use all the seeds and use nuts. Root vegetables make themselves and die so we can use all root vegetables. Legumes also grow their seed pods and die. So with all the seeds, legumes, beans and root vegetables, we could live heathily. This is a vegetarian lifestyle when you add eggs and dairy, vegan without. I fogot to mention all the green leafy vegetables that we can pick some without killing the plant and all the cabbagy plants that die after they make their vegetable.

Seek's avatar

You’d still have the vegans breathing down your neck for all the chicken abortions and cow-enslavement.

And really, if stealing a chicken egg is bad, wouldn’t it be equally bad to steal a seed that has the right to grow into a cornstalk?

We can’t live on water and oxygen. Something has to die so we can live. That’s the nature of the planet.

YoBob's avatar

Plants want you to eat their fruit. That’s why they make them so bright, shiny, and attractive. This is how they spread their seeds around and make new plants. It’s part of their reproductive cycle.

Humans are every bit as much a part of the balance of the continuum of nature as any other classifiable sub-segment of life the universe and everything. I am always a little bit disheartened by those who seem to feel that humans somehow have less of a right to carve out their niche in the universe than, say, a chimpanzee or a termite. We are what we are, omnivorous critters with frail bodies that we make up for by having a big brain.

gondwanalon's avatar

Don’t feel bad that you have to harm other living things in which to live. Other living beings would certainly take advantage of you if given the chance. Also look at how other living beings treat each other. The tough live and the weak die. It is a brutal dog eat dog world in which we live.

ru2bz46's avatar

If eating an egg is wrong, then so is masturbation and sex with no intention of procreation.

phoebusg's avatar

Eventually with the evolution of synthetic biology, you could create mechanisms that produce ‘food’ – containing all the bits you require to keep on living. But for the time being – this is not possible. Something living has to change into ‘food’, for something else living to continue on. Nothing personal, it’s just how the system worked and has worked for a while – except for the primary producers that do currently change inorganic to organic matter for all the rest of us.

Although, currently we’ve so infested the water cycle with dioxins that do not break down – so it’d be to your best interest not to eat animals – especially animals that eat a lot of other animals. Dioxins are stored in fat and animal tissues – the more you concentrate or higher up in the food chain you sit, the worse it is. Unless you have a bio-farm that cleans its own waters from heavy metals and dioxins and only exposes animals to that (rare, and so far only a few fish farms do that). Looking forward to eating sushi—in the future again :)

LostInParadise's avatar

There is a group called fruitarians that eat only raw fruits. I tried to find an objective discussion of the diet on the Web but it seems everyone wants to give their point of view. I don’t see how these people could get sufficient protein from such a diet. I don’t know if beans or seeds could be included, because these are potential new plants.

It also seems to me that since there are micro-organisms everywhere, it is just about impossible to do anything without killing some of them.

josie's avatar

In nature, there is such a thing as the food chain. Except in unusual circumstances, humans are pretty much at the top of it.
It is not your fault.
Nature made it that way.
Wouldn’t it be healthier to accept that?
Unless you are talking about how some animals are raised for food, and then I see the point

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yes, veganism or raw foodism.

NaturallyMe's avatar

Absolutely! There’s nothing healthier than a mostly fruity diet. :)
@josie One doesn’t have to accept anything of the sort – the diet being mentioned is an option out of many different diets, one it free to chose any diet that suits them and the one mentioned by @Hobbes happens to be very healthy. Fortunately we are able to choose what we eat, so if some choose not to harm animals (or plants), good for them, right? Right. :)

Kardamom's avatar

Being a vegetarian or a vegan definitely helps reduce your negative impact on the lives of other living beings and helps you to become more healthy, but everyone impacts the world and lives of others to some degree. Just the idea of driving to the store or a restaurant involves some sort of damage. You have to look at things in the bigger scope. You can’t force others to change their habits, but you can influence them by example. The biggest impact you can make is to try to live your own life in a way that is less destructive to other living beings, human or otherwise. Don’t preach, but live an exemplary life, to the best of your ability. Think about things like suffering, waste and pollution and try to avoid those things as best you can. Then try to make choices that move toward compassion, symbiosis and sustainability. None of us will ever be perfect, but we can always strive to make better choices, even if we just start small.

Time2's avatar

Yes, by eating a diet of mostly fruit and vegetables. Also, fruit produces the most calories per acre of any food as far as farming goes. It’s much more efficient then meat, which is 5th in supply despite 70% of farmland being devoted to it.

Don’t worry about protein, most of it gets converted into glucose anyway. You may need to worry about vitamin B-12 though.

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