Lately, one big trend in nutrition has been veganism. People are starting to see that the simple fact of eating one hamburger or simply drinking one glass of milk can not only affect animals, but also themselves and the entire world. Here are the four most known reasons to go vegan:
The first, globally known and the most obvious one is to not harm or kill animals. Being vegan means preventing exploitation of animals and animal cruelty. Every single year over 56 million animals are killed to be eaten and every second only in the USA 300 come across a brutal end. However, what most people don’t know is that most of these animals are actually killed prematurely, because of being useless to the livestock industry. Milk-cows are killed within three to four years of age, for not being productive anymore. Beef-cows are killed even sooner, while naturally they could live up to 20 years of age. The same thing happens with pigs and sheep. However, these cases are not as cruel as the poultry industry, where every single year 40 million day-old male chicks are killed, especially in organic farms because they are costly and useless to their production goals. Also, the famous “cage free” animals are just kept in closed places where they can barely move. There are a lot more numbers that could be given to demonstrate how bad one single glass of milk or an “organic” egg is. The happy farms and happy animals showed on TV do not exist, and that is what veganism is about. Vegans want to stop that cruelty for those innocent animals who only desire happiness and peace.
However, if animals are not considered a big enough issue to turn into veganism, there is an even more important reason to consider this change: people’s own health. Studies have demonstrated that veganism is much healthier than what people consider a normal diet, however people haven’t realized it yet. The main issue every single non-vegan person seems to worry about when thinking about veganism is protein. What they don’t know is that plants have more than enough protein to live a healthy life without any type of problems. However, if for any reason people want more than the usual protein needed such as for muscle building, legumes have more proteins than meat or any kind of non-vegan protein source. There are even Olympic bodybuilders who are vegan, which once again demonstrates that veganism doesn’t lack on protein. Another question that recurrently pops into the minds of non-vegans when thinking about veganism is where vegans get their calcium from. However, it has been proven that the calcium in cow’s milk is not as easy to absorb in your bone as for example the calcium in kale or cabbage. Actually the countries that consume maximum cow’s milk are also the countries with the highest osteoporosis rates in the world, which are the USA, UK, Sweden, Finland and Norway. When drinking for example soy milk, the intake in calcium is the same, nevertheless more of that calcium is absorbed into the bones and as soy milk does not come from animals it has no cholesterol. Moreover, like all animal proteins cow’s milk acidifies the body pH, which triggers a biological correction. Calcium is a good acid neutralizer, so whenever such a correction is needed, the body takes the calcium that already is on our bones to neutralize the acid. So when drinking cow’s milk instead of winning on calcium there is actually a calcium deficit, which explains the osteoporosis rates. Another big issue is that 70% of the antibiotics produced all around the world are fed to farm animals, so that they grow bigger at a faster rate. Once these animals are big enough they are killed to be eaten, so by eating meat antibiotics are eaten indirectly. This is not only bad for the body the moment the meat is eaten, but in the long-term this makes the antibiotics present in the body less effective when required. If too much antibiotic is taken, directly or indirectly, the bacteria that creates the flu or the cold becomes stronger and immune to the antibiotic. So by eating a lot of meat, and therefore a lot of antibiotics, people are increasing their chances to get a flu. It is also proven that vegans in the long run have a much smaller risk of obesity, diabetes, strokes or even cancer. Also, if we look at land animals, not only humans, we see that the largest land animal on earth, the elephant, eats only plants, lives long and has no problem with calcium or protein deficiency. Biologically speaking, humans are nothing like carnivores, but like omnivores. We don’t have sharp canines, which are meant to be used to extirpate the flesh of other animals. However, what we do have are more teeth to be able to chew our food, which carnivores barely do. Also, our intestines are about 10 times our body size whereas carnivores’ intestines are 3 times their body size. This is because once in the body, meat starts to decompose and bacteria builds up. Carnivores don’t absorb this bacteria, as once it starts building up, they already get the meat out of their system again, but for humans it is different, as meat stays for a longer time. This actually causes clogged arteries and in consequence strokes. Also, worthy to mention is that there exists a warning label on fish packets for pregnant women and children, as it can contain mercury. So if it isn’t good for a woman who is growing another life in her body and can only eat healthy food, why is fish healthy for other people?
The third reason and also a really important one is the environment. Fossil fuels are used to power the farms machinery, the transport of animals and meat, as well as to store and cook the meat, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Meat production is 1/5 of all the greenhouse gases in the world. So by being vegan a valuable contribution to the climate change mitigation is made. Apart from that, water would be saved. When producing one single hamburger 2400 liters of water are needed. However, when eating a potato it is only 25 liters. People recycle and say they care about the environment, but what few know is that the biggest change would be if everyone was vegan. Veganism would make the earth better.
At last, another reason to be vegan if all the other ones were not good enough is the effect on other human beings. Livestock consumes more protein and water than it produces. Most of the grains planted around the world are first given to animals and then to people. A lot of food is lost by this. Nevertheless, people keep eating meat and complain that there is no food in many parts of the world. If everyone was vegan only 1/3 of the land used to produce food with the current diet would be needed. With veganism world hunger would not exist. Actually, if everyone was vegan, half of the world could be fed only with the quantity of food that is now given to the livestock. 56 million animals are killed every year just for a part of the world while other people don’t have access to any form of food.
The good thing is that people are starting to realize all the facts mentioned above and are trying to make a change. However, people that don’t know about all this and stick to meat think about veganism as an extreme thing that can’t do any good. The greatest problem is that people are used to one thing and don’t want to see what a big change with so little effort could help us achieve. Vegans are not crazy hippies who have some weird thing with animals. Of course there are people like that, but that doesn’t mean all vegans are like that. Not every vegan started this type of life for animals, there are a lot of people that just do it for the diet and being healthy. A lot of people also think that for them it would be impossible to not eat meat or cheese or milk, that they would miss it too much. But there is fake meat, fake cheese, soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, soy yogurt, soy ice cream, and they all taste real! They may be called fake, but they have more protein, more vitamins and minerals than normal meat. And there is also not-so-healthy food available for vegans to crave on such as oreo, lays, doritos, haribo, and even lindt 70%, 80% and 90% chocolate bars. So why not make the change? What is the difference? The only difference is buying the food from one shelf or another one in the supermarket. Being vegan is easy and natural and people don’t realize how easy it actually is, until they try it. So give it a try!