I was going out to eat last night with a friend of mine from India who is leaving town for good. Somehow (although not entirely randomly) we started talking about food and vegetarianism. You see, my friend is a Jain, and therefore by the strict guidelines of his religion and culture, he is to not just be vegetarian, but is also not to eat anything that was grown below ground. That's right, no meat, eggs, OR potatoes, onions, garlic etc.! (In the U.S., he has decided to fore go the restriction on not eating rooted vegetables because it is too difficult)
"Jainism's stance on nonviolence goes far beyond vegetarianism. Jains refuse food obtained with unnecessary cruelty. Many practice a lifestyle similar to Veganism due to the violence of modern dairy farms, and others exclude root vegetables from their diets in order to preserve the lives of the plants from which they eat. Potatoes, garlic and onions in particular are avoided by Jains. "
To the left is a symbol representing ahimsa, which is the first of 12 vows a Jain typically takes and means, to not intentionally take life. Due to this vow, eating meat, eggs, and rooted vegetables are prohibited because they are viewed as directly taking life. (source: Religions of the World )
Now I am also vegetarian and so we were talking about why we are both vegetarian, and why some of our friends are vegetarian. This led me to some natural questions, how many people in the world are vegetarian? And, in comparison, how many people in India are vegetarian vs. the number of U.S. vegetarians. After we both guessed at some percentages, I decided to do a little research.
India: 31 - 40% vegetarian. With 1,028,700,000 people in India as of March 1, 2001, that makes 318,897,000 - 411,480,000 Indian vegetarians.
United States: 2.3 - 2.8% vegetarian. With 303,328,637 people in the U.S. as of November 9, 2007, that makes 6,976,559 - 8,493,202 United Statesian vegetarians.
And for fun, .2% - 1.3% of people are vegan in the U.S., or 606,657 - 3,942,272 vegans.
Are you one of the 6-8 million? (or, since this is the internet, one of the 318-411 million?)