In our modern world, there are more unresolved issues in regard to the health of the planet and those upon it. Morals guide us and have an impact on how we treat our environment. It is largely believed in many cultures that meat is a nutritious and mandatory part of well-being. Our society support and utilizes the meat of animals as part of their own diet and lifestyle. We are coached into the consumption of meat and dairy.
Few people know that meat is an unnecessary food group. It may surprise you how much damage is caused by the overconsumption of these everyday dietary materials. Veganism can decrease chronic illnesses, help the environment, and diminish animal suffering. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines veganism as “a strict vegetarian who consumes no food (such as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals: one who abstains from using animal products (such as leather).” (-Merriam-Webster Dictionary) This term concludes that veganism is more than a diet.
Veganism is often a specific lifestyle that caters to a greener planet. Being vegan supports health, environmental factors, and cruelty-free products. There are numerous health benefits to reducing meat and dairy intake. Specifically, The China Study, a novel by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II, first published in 2005, is based on the examination and finding of how plant-based diets are linked to a reduction of chronic illnesses. Such illnesses include heart disease and various cancers. Numerous resources, such as The China Study, give insight into how the vegan diet reduces the risk of heart disease.
When meat and dairy are consumed it can lead to higher levels of cholesterol and saturated fats causing complications with digestion which is proven to lead to increased likelihood of health-related issues. A variety of chronic illnesses can be aided by incorporating a vegan diet. It is a common claim and misunderstanding that without animal products you may become protein deficient. This is a false claim based on the misinformation of protein content in plant-based products. For example, a serving of broccoli has almost twice the amount of protein per serving than beef according to Thinkybites.com. There are many concerns considering the vegan diet including protein intake, B12, and high levels of estrogen in soy as well.
However, there are multiple sources of vegan food that includes an abundance of B12, and many supplements to combat lower levels of necessary vitamins. The common myth that estrogen in soy products, such as tofu, can be harmful to men and women’s health is a vast misconception. Summarized by UC Davis integrated Medicine “A meta-analysis published in Fertility and Sterility which was based on more than 50 treatment groups, showed that soy products do not affect reproductive hormones, including testosterone levels, in men…… American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an analysis of 14 studies which showed that an increased intake of soy actually reduced the risk of prostate cancer by 25% while risk was reduced 30% when ingesting nonfermented soy products like soymilk and tofu.” (-Rosane Oliveira, UC Davis Integrative Medicine)
We should listen and take health studies into account. Based on the current information of plant-based diets and veganism we should look further into incorporation these products into our lifestyle. An important aspect of veganism to consider is how it supports the planet. There is an increased concern for global warming issues due to the increased amounts of Carbon Dioxide within the earth’s atmosphere. There are severe consequences to excess C02, such as, environmental, economic, and health-related concern. When you adopt a vegan diet it can lead to a decrease of these pollutants into the air and essentially begin to erase a portion of our own carbon footprints. Tofu, a meat alternative, creates around an equivalent of 0.4 pounds of C02 per pound, compared to a pound of lamb, which creates an equivalent of 86 pounds of C02.
Beef also takes a relatively higher amount of water to produce a single pound. Not only does the veganism help our health, but it helps the planet as well. A decrease in pollution and an increase in air quality can lead to a safer atmosphere with reduced risk of damaging the oceans and rainforests. In addition, a vast number of crops, like grain are raised for farm animals. Much of those resources can be consumed by those starving or in dire need of food. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)), “It takes about 13 pounds of grain to produce a single pound of meat. All that grain would go a long way toward feeding the hundreds of millions of people—many of them children—who don’t have enough to eat. In fact, malnutrition currently affects about 870 million people worldwide and accounts for the deaths of more than 2.5 million children under the age of 5 alone every year.” (-People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA))
Decreasing meat intake can reduce the percentage of grain consumed by farm animals. By taking action we can attempt to combat world hunger. Some may assume a vegan diet is too expensive and not affordable. However, most meat products are expensive as well. There are plant-based alternatives that are equivalent or even lower in standard grocery fees. Yes, it is true, there may be some vegan foods that are overly priced, but with budgeting, a decent amount of food can be purchased within manageable costs. Websites are created to teach those who desire to be more cautious about eating meat and find vegan alternatives for their favorite foods. You can still enjoy your favorite scrumptious meals while being more cautious about your health, the environment, and animal rights.
Some believe it is not worth time or energy to transition to the vegan lifestyle and claim it won’t make a difference, but we all have to take small steps as a community to make an enduring impact for the future of our planet. Lastly, let’s discuss the ethical stance on veganism. Eating animals can be described by many as a natural process. Others may claim with modern advances, and meat alternatives, we should be more open to decreasing harm to animals. Instead, try focusing on our actions and venture into a vegan cuisine. There is an array of footage that presents how animals are treated abusively, yet the companies selling these products say animals are “humanely slaughtered”, “grass-fed,” and “free range.”
It is uncommonly known that animals are raised in horrific and small cages, babies are often taken from their mothers right after birth. The animals on factory farms live in pain and suffer until they are killed by slaughterhouse workers. Those who work in the meat and dairy industry are often reportedly traumatized by the cruel events taken place in these facilities. Countless documentaries such as Cowspiracy and Earthlings, show the horrifying truth of the meat and dairy industry and the impact of animal agriculture on the planet. They give graphic insight to enlighten the viewer of how animals are treated in factory farms.
Society should be considering the wellbeing of all animals, they do not have a voice of their own. It is up to us to speak for them. What you eat everyday does have a potential effect on the life of an animal. We must find justice for animals and give them their rights to live and be free of captivity and abuse. As Paul McCartney once said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” (-Paul McCartney) By helping animals, you are able to produce liberation and compassion. The vegan lifestyle can contribute to many causes. The reduction of animal products can result in increased health benefits, supports the environment, and is ethical. We can cut down on animal products and truly be enlightened by how our actions affect the entire planet.
What you eat can alter your risk for chronic disease. What you purchase, such as fewer animal products, can decrease global warming, and erase carbon footprints. Most of all the food you choose to serve on your dinner table can create the opportunity to save the life of an animal. We must be more cautious and ethical to create a better world in which life can thrive and not be diminished. Be the voice for the voiceless. Discover the potential of veganism. Small changes have immense results. We have the potential for impeccable progress to heal the globe with the power of veganism.
- Campbell, T C, and Thomas M. Campbell. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health., 2006. Print. Retrieved from https://www.benbellavegan.com/book/the-china-study/ *Accessed 2 December 2018
- Chury, Kate. “Fact or Fiction: Vegetable Protein Edition.” Retrieved from http://www.thinkybites.com/content/2015/3/25/misinfo-protein-edition* Accessed 2 December 2018
- Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. Directed by Andersen, Kip, and Kuhn, Keegan. A.U.M. Films, First Spark Media, 2014. Retrieved from https://www.netflix.com/title/80033772 * Accessed 2 December 2018
- Earthlings. Directed by Monson, Shaun. Nation Earth ,2005. Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358456/ * Accessed 2 December 2018
- “New Study: Go Vegan and Help End World Hunger.” PETA Prime, PETA: People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals, Web. 2 December 2018. Retrieved from https://prime.peta.org/2013/08/hunger * Accessed 2 December 2018
- Oliveira, Rosane. “The Startling Truth About Soy.” https://ucdintegrativemedicine.com/2015/06/the-startling-truth-about-soy/#gs.QHn73F4 * Accessed 2 December 2018
- Park, Alex. “Be a Patriot, Eat Less Beef ” https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/07/american-meat-consumption-changing-better/- * Accessed 2 December 2018
- “Vegan.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam Webster, 2018. Web. 2 December 2018. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vegan * Accessed 2 December 2018
- “What is Global Warming, Global Warming and Climate Change.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, Web. 2 December 2018. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/global-warming-overview/ * Accessed 2 December 2018