New study: those who eat meat-free live longer

The cafeteria at Oakwood University is meat-free.
The cafeteria at Oakwood University is meat-free.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The campus at Oakwood University is beautiful and serene. The cafeteria may hold some surprises for a first time visitor. Jerry Ross is the public relations creative services director. He takes us on a tour of the meat-free cafeteria. "This is the main cafeteria for Oakwood University. This area, typically, is where all our vegan food is kept."

To clarify: a vegetarian eats a meat free diet, and a vegan eats no meat by-products like milk, cheese, etc.

So "the grill" provides hot dogs and hamburgers of a different sort, according to Ross. "Only veggie patties will you see cooked in here. No meat. This is a meat-free cafeteria and campus."

It's the only meat-free college campus in Alabama. Ross said he made a personal decision to go meat-free while in college. "I was at the most healthy point in my life, because I was eating, primarily a vegetarian diet."

He took it a step further when he became a vegan.  "Getting off of eating cheeses, eggs, etcetera."

While he left that way of eating, he's slowly making his way back.

Many of these dietary restrictions are not just a matter of doing something to make your body healthier. So many of these dietary restrictions are actually found in the bible.

Dr. Trevor Fraser is a professor in the religion department. He said the instructions are easy to find.  "...and it's found in Genesis, we believe in the beginning when God said the diet of human kind, he said this would be the best approach."

He said the bible is full of dietary references. "Now there came a time after the flood when we were given the option to eat meat."

Fraser said there are Adventists who are meat eaters but there are limits. "You'll find that in Leviticus 11. You talk about whether we should eat at that point, clean meats versus unclean meats," added Fraser.

For the meat eaters that means certain animals.

"Animals like cows and chickens. We don't eat shellfish for example, but fish with fins and scales," he said.

As for the study showing vegetarians and vegans live longer than meat eaters, he said he's not surprised.  "In our community we do have many people who are living in their 90's to a hundred and it's primarily due to the strength of the diet."

Fraser said that biblical instruction also goes beyond diet to exercise and more. "We do believe in a holistic approach that suggests that we should also live a lifestyle that's different."

...based on biblical instruction, and proving to add years to a lifetime.

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