* Re "Veganism, It's Not Just a Diet," April 14:
I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for many years and a vegan for several months. Contrary to what vegetarian activists fervently believe, there is no one diet that is suitable to all the world's cultures. In our most altruistic desires we may wish it true that everyone could subsist on tofu and carrots, but it is simply not the case. The average Eskimo, for example, cannot remain healthy on a vegetarian diet. It would be safe to assume that they would become ill after changing a diet they have followed for hundreds and thousands of years.
It would certainly benefit the majority of Americans to reduce their meat (and junk food!) consumption for their own personal health. But one must factor in the genetic heritage of the individual involved and not make blanket statements about diet. Those who are from cultures with long histories of meat-eating would be wise to taper off their meat consumption over a period of generations rather than quitting altogether.
We all should be very aware and educated as to our food choices, knowing that what we eat affects not only our own health but that of the planet itself. If on occasion one must eat meat, one should at least acknowledge the animal that gave its life, much as is done in indigenous cultures.