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Vegetarian Lesson Plan

This is a lesson plan that teachers can use to introduce students to vegetarianism.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of the period today, students will be familiar with the definition of vegetarianism and its various aspects.

MATERIALS: Chalkboard, student notebooks.



    Vegetarianism is the abstinence from meat, fish, and fowl.

    1. Compassion for animals: Many people do not want to kill or harm animals. For example, Albert Schweitzer and Mahatma Gandhi extended their philosophy of compassion and non-violence towards humans to animals also.
    2. Aesthetic considerations: Some individuals do not like the taste or appearance of meat.
    3. Ecological reasons: Every aspect of meat production, from raising livestock to slaughterhouse operations, presents ecological questions.

      It takes more land to produce protein through meat than through vegetables or grain. One acre of land produces 7.9 times more oats than beef and 9.8 times more broccoli than beef. Two- thirds of all cropland in the US, about 300 million acres, is devoted to growing feed for animals whose meat we eat. Excess nutrients -- fertilizers and animal waste -- washing off from these farmlands pollute waterways. (Horton, Tom, The Baltimore Sun, 11/25/84.) In addition to issues with land and water resources, other environmental problems resulting from meat production include soil erosion, deforestation, and decreasing energy supplies.

    4. Spiritual reasons: For example, many Seventh-day Adventists, Jains, and Hindus are vegetarian. Some members of the Jewish faith base their vegetarianism on Biblical laws commanding compassion for animals.
    5. Health Reasons: A considerable body of scientific data suggests positive relationships between vegetarian diets and risk reduction for several chronic degenerative diseases and conditions, including obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and some types of cancer. (Journal of The American Dietetic Association, November 1993, Volume 93, Number 11.)

      One study demonstrated reversal of even severe coronary artery disease by using a combination of a vegetarian diet deriving less than 10% of its energy from fat, smoking cessation, stress management, and moderate exercise. (Journal of The American Dietetic Association, November 1993, Volume 93, Number 11.) It is important to have good habits in each area.

    6. Economic considerations: Meat is often too expensive for people.
    7. Influence of family, friends and famous people:

      Did you know all these people were or are vegetarians? Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, "Mr.Rogers," Leo Tolstoy, George Bernard Shaw, Mahatma Gandhi, Isaac Bashevis Singer (Nobel Prize Winner), Sylvester Graham (inventor of graham cracker), Louisa May Alcott (raised as a vegetarian), Plato, Pythagoras, Plutarch, "Adam and Eve," Albert Schweitzer, k.d. lang (country-rock singer), Linnea Quigley (horror actress), Sara Gilbert (tv actress) ...


    Macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, cheese pizza, eggplant Parmesan, vegetable soup, pancakes, oatmeal, grilled cheese, bean tacos, vegetable lo mein, French toast, scrambled eggs, French fries, vegetable pot pie, milk shakes, bread, yogurt, cheese lasagna, peanut butter and jelly, cottage cheese, fruit salad....


    Tofu, tempeh, bulgur, lentils, millet, tahini, falafel, nutritional yeast, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, sprouts, chickpeas, tamari, kale, collards, carrot juice, barley, rice cakes, carob, split peas, kidney beans, soy burgers, kiwi fruit, papaya, blintzes, curry, nut loaf, guacamole...

    1. Vegetarian foods high in fat include cheeses, butter, avocado, oil, margarine, nuts, whole milk, and eggs.
    2. Sources of calcium in a vegetarian diet include low-fat milk and dairy products, kale, collards, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, tofu, almonds, and tahini (sesame butter).
    3. Sources of iron in a vegetarian diet include watermelon, collards, lentils, kale, oatmeal, and broccoli.
  6. DEVELOPMENTAL ACTIVITY (optional assignment):

    Announce essay contest and rules. Suggested topics: vegetarianism and health, vegetarianism and me, vegetarianism and world hunger, why people become vegetarian, what do vegetarians eat, what famous people in history have been vegetarian and why, interview of a vegetarian, ethics and vegetarianism, etc.

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April 5, 2001

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