Anjali: How come Westerners, who are mostly non-vegetarians, are healthier than us vegetarians?
Swamiji: To say that vegetarians are unhealthy is also not very true because vegetarians like the camels have stamina and elephants have sheer size and strength and horses are sturdy and beautiful. So it is not very right to say this and these are silly arguments that were brought in at a time when everybody thought that eating dead bodies is the best way of living. Nowadays the whole opinion has changed, but I will come to that. Also, the world has recognised the economics of it recently. They have made statistics that were published all over; I think UNO did it, about the amount of land necessary for cattle to feed. That it is uneconomical to leave so much land fallow for cattle to feed on and also much of the grains are given as fodder to animals to fatten them so that the meat may be good. This land, if used for growing more food, can be used to feed more people in the world and the starvation level can be wiped out completely. It is not correct to say that in order to have stamina a lot of meat is necessary. In fact, the latest theory is that this animal protein is very difficult to be digested and assimilated and that vegetable protein is more easily absorbed into the system.
The climatic conditions in the west forced them to eat meat because they could not have vegetarian food all year round. For three or four months only could they plough the land, the rest of the time it is all snow. As you come more and more towards the tropical climate, there is more greenery, more vegetables are available.