A Healthy Plant-Based Diet: Good for the Jews

Protecting our health isn’t just a good idea – it’s a Jewish value.

Maimonides himself wrote:

"Maintaining a healthy and sound body is among the ways of G-d - for one cannot understand or have knowledge of the Creator if one is ill. Therefore one must avoid that which harms the body and accustom oneself to that which is helpful and helps the body.”

Given this mandate, reducing or eliminating the consumption of animal products can be considered a Jewish value for health reasons alone.

After all, study after study have showed us that the consumption of animals products has been linked to higher rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension, stroke, impotence, and other diseases.

Consider:

• The landmark Adventist Health Study has tracked tens of thousands of Seventh-Day Adventists, most of them vegetarians, since 1958. The most recent results, published in 2012, show that vegetarian Adventist men live to an average of 83.3 years and vegetarian women 85.7 years — 9.5 and 6.1 years, respectively, longer than other Californians.

• The famous Harvard Nurses Study, which, among other findings, demonstrated that eating just one egg per day presents the same mortality risk as smoking five cigarettes per day.

• And The China Study, one of the largest epidemiological studies of all-time, found a strong correlation between the consumption of animal protein and several forms of cancer.

These studies, and many others like them, help explain why former Chief Rabbi of Ireland David Rosen has said: "As it is halachically prohibited to harm oneself and as healthy, nutritious vegetarian alternatives are easily available, meat consumption has become halachically unjustifiable.”

Entire books have been written about the deleterious impact of animal products on our health. 

You can learn more by visiting the Website of Jewish Veg adviser Dr. Michael Greger, who collates and analyzes the latest nutrition research.

Connect with the Jewish Veg Movement