why would one choose to be vegan? one of my dear friends posed this exact question on facebook over the weekend, and it really got me thinking. most of you know that my husband and i have been a vegetarian for a long time, and often end up eating a vegan diet as well. their are many reasons why someone would go vegetarian, vegan or choose to eat only local & organic products, but today i want to specifically discuss the reasons why someone would choose to 'go vegan'.
- you'll live longer. studies show that on average vegans live 6 years longer than meat eaters.
- avoid toxins. (non-organic) meat contains antibiotics, hormones & toxins produced by stress & pesticide residues that become concentrated from all the crops they have eaten.
- less land consumption. an astounding 20 vegans can live off the same amount of land required by one meat eater.
- less water consumption. it only takes 25 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of wheat whereas it takes 2500 gallons to produce 1 pound of meat.
- reduce potential for food poison. 80% of food poisoning is due to infected meat.
- reduced risk of heart disease. vegans have a 57% reduced risk of getting heart disease (the #1 killer in america today!).
- proper protein. the average american eats twice as much protein as necessary for a healthy diet and much of that is from red meat. getting protein from beans and grains is much healthier and reduces the risk for osteoporosis.
- healthy hormones. eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a widely accepted practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans.
- avoid antibiotics. antibiotics are almost always given to (non-organic) feed animals, which can lead to bacterial resistance in humans. many of the antibiotics used to treat human infections are also used in feed animals. this means by consuming this, we are causing ourselves to be less resistant to antibiotics.
- increased weight loss. a healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues. 33% percent of americans are obese, while only 2% of vegans are.
- prevent osteoporosis. bone health depends on a balance of neither too much or too little protein, adequate calcium intake, high potassium, and low sodium. with a healthy vegan diet, all four of these points set a perfect scenario for preventing osteoporosis.
- appropriate puberty. since 1950, girls are hitting puberty on average 4-7 years earlier and boy's sperm counts have decreased by 25-50% due to the hormones present in non-organic meat and dairy products.
- reduced risk of Alzheimers. meat eaters have double the rate of Alzheimers disease as vegans.
- support heathy ecosystems. nitrates & pesticides used on crops grown to feed livestock end up in our rivers and vastly effect the health of micro environments and ecosystems.
- reduce global warming. the 1,300,000,000 cattle in the world emit 60,000,000 tons of methane per year (methane is a greenhouse gas which leads to global warming).
- reduce animal cruelty. the animals involved in mass industry farming are exposed to the most cruel, unsanitary and horrific conditions. if you can handle watching it, the 'meet your meat' movie will give you a glance into the common practices of present day industry farming.
- reduce your risk for cancer. vegans have a 40% reduced level of cancer than the general population thought to be because they have a higher intake of vitamins A,C & E.
- eliminate bad cholesterol. eliminating any food that comes from an animal and you will eliminate all of the 'bad' dietary cholesterol from your diet (heart disease is the leading cause of death in america today).
- save rain forests. if they continue to clear american forests to raise cattle at the present rate, in 50 years there will be none left.
- increase your energy. when following a healthy vegan diet, you will find your energy is much higher.
so many people get hung up on the idea that eating vegan or vegetarian is just too difficult. or they may find themselves emotionally attached to just how tasty meat can be. what they often don't know, is that it is ever increasingly easy to eat a vegan/vegetarian diet, and enjoy much of the same things you do now. with meat substitutes, you can enjoy healthy vegan bacon, burgers and even barbecue! it's a great way to ease into the lifestyle. today, even eating out is no problem. with most american restaurants offering vegan friendly dishes, you can also head to a mexican, thai, chinese, or indian restaurant for a sure bet of vegan/vegetarian options.
what do you think? is it worth the health of your body and your planet to skip the meat? i think i could have stopped after reason #1 and been convinced, but i would love to know what you think. i'll meet you in the comments section!