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I believe it all begins with the simplest - blue-green algae, which is consumed by small fish, and then those fish are in turn consumed by larger fish, etc., eventually we consume them - salmon, tuna, etc. Animals also consume, we kill and eat the animal. In this manner, in a very remote way, we access the sun's power that began with th algae manufaturing chlorophyl during photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is to plants what hemoglobin is to us: the energy-carrier for the body system. In fact it is the compound in nature most chemically similar to hemoglobin! As a vegetarian, therefore, I cut out "the middle man" of all the animals/meat we consume, eliminating their excess cholesterol and the health problems. If you compare a country whose residents consume less meat, they also statistically have less heart disease, diabetes, etc. The USA consumes the most meat per capita of any citizens in the world - and we also have the highest rates of those diseases, so it may certainly be seen that there is a strong correlation between meat-eating and such diseases/conditions. So try to "cut out the middle man" and consume less meat and more vegetables. Blue-green algae, in fact, is itself available in health food stoes, usually as spirulina or chlorella. Both are equivalent. Other cultures/religions avoid meat, cloaking that in their spiritual beliefs. Just as Jewish koshr rules actually have a good appliation for a people wandering/living in the desert. "Don't mix meat and dairy", for example. There is a stronger possibility of spoilage of either in the warmth of that desert. So this prohibition serves to not amplify that risk. Today it is tradition. Back then, 3,000 years ago, it was practical.