A vegan lifestyle prevents a tremendous amount of animal exploitation and suffering. It offers a powerful way to reduce environmental footprint, especially concerning climate change. A vegan diet can be not only insanely delicious but also a well-planned vegan food that can fuel the highest levels of fitness while reducing the risk of various chronic diseases.
The above paragraph provides an excellent introduction to the topic, but it doesn’t do the subject justice. Indeed, understanding every critical issue about veganism would require months and months of study. For this, one should be familiar with topics like plant-based nutrition, animal rights philosophy, and the exploitation of slaughterhouse workers. One would also love to read up on the damage the meat industry inflicts on human health and the environment. There are a dozen other reasons why vegan diets carry great benefits, but here you get the idea.
There is much to explore about benefits that arise from ridding your diet of animal products—all of it exciting and of profound importance.
With that being said, you need to start somewhere. Fortunately, just a little reading about the reasons to go vegan will deliver an enormous payoff. So, I’ll provide some essential material to familiarize you with why one should be Vegan and right here we are:
For Your Health
A well-planned vegan diet follows a healthy eating direction and contains all the essential nutrients that our bodies require. Both the British Dietetic Association and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognize that a Vegan diet is suitable for every age and at any stage of life. Some of the researches have linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lesser rates of heart diseases, type-2 diabetes and some set of cancer.
Turning vegan is an excellent opportunity to explore nutrition and cooking and improve your lifestyle. Naturally, getting nutrients from plant foods allows more intake for health-promoting options like fruits, nuts, whole grains, seeds and vegetables, that contains beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- Reduced risk of Cardiovascular disease: Meat contains high amounts of saturated and trans fats that can increase the cholesterol level in blood. Excess cholesterol allows fatty deposits in the blood vessels, which increases the risk of peripheral artery disease, stroke and heart disease. Plant-based foods, by nature, contain no dietary cholesterol. A diet that is high in fat and cholestrol can raise blood pressure as well, that makes cardiovasular diseases more likely. In a 2018 study, the Cleveland Clinic revealed that eating red meat could increase the risk of heart disease 1,000 percent more than a plant-based diet.
- Reduced risk of Diabetes: Constant research shows that plant-based diet could reduce the risk of devloping diabetes or even reverse diabetes altogether. In a meta-analysis, it was found that individuals with increased intake of fruits and vegetables in their diet lowered their risk of developing type-2 diabetes by than those with their regular diet. Brooklyn Borough President Adams says that he reversed his diabetes diagnosis by shifting to a plant-based diet. This concept is supported by researchers. The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) mentions an online program that helps people living with diabetes adopt a plant-based diet to reverse their condition. An extensive meta-analysis provides comprehensive evidence that consistently following a healthful, plant-based diet could help lower the risk of type-2 diabetes by 23 percent.
- Meat, Dairy and Cancer: In the year 2015, the World Health Organization categorized red meat under Group-2 carcinogens stating that it may cause cancer in humans. Processed meat like bacon and pepperoni, along with Tabacco smoking and asbestos, were categorized under the Group-1 category, meaning it is carcinogenic to humans. Also, small amounts of meat could increase the risk of cancer. An Oxford University study found that eating as less as three rashers of bacon a day could increase cancer risk by 20 percent. Professor Jane Planet, a geochemist who survived cancer six times, says that dairy is also a carcinogen. She believes that her plant-based diet helped her breast cancer remission twice.
- Improved Mood: The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) spotlighted a study that investigated the relationship between eating habits and mood of 3,486 people over five years. In this study, it was found that the participants who consumed whole plant foods recorded fewer symptoms of depression. Another study declared that vegetarians typically experience more positive moods than meat-eaters. Nutritionist Geeta Sidhu-Robb spoke to Cosmopolitan about the survey that was published in Nutrition Journal. She mentions, “The elimination of long-chain fatty acids, predominantly arachidonic acid, which is present in meat and is associated with symptoms of depression, means you are less at risk of suffering from it.” “Vegan diets also have more complex carbohydrates present, which increases the feel-good hormone serotonin in the brain,” she further added.
One of the critical reasons for people to go vegan and stay vegan is to prevent animal exploitation. Having an emotional connection with animals may form a part of this reason, while many believe that all creatures on this planet have a right to life and freedom. Specifics aside, avoiding animal products is one the obvious way one can stand against animal cruelty and animal exploitation everywhere.
- Cruelty due to Animal Testing: Many people are against experiments on animals. A survey done by Naturewatch Foundation found that 99.5 percent of people in UK are against cosmetic testing on animals. While most of the people are against this practice due to the fact that it is cruel to animals, animal testing is also considered unreliable. Many experts across the globe agree that tests on an animal cannot accurately predict human response to a product. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), more than 95 percent of pharmaceutical drugs test safe and effective on animals but fails when tried on human. However, this practice is still prevalent in the beauty industry. Veganism does not support animal exploitation, and so buying vegan beauty products guarantees that one is not supporting animal testing.
- Cruelty Bees: There is a common misconception that honey is vegan-friendly, and people are confused to learn that honey bees don’t make honey for us. Extracting honey from a beehive is an extensive cruel process on the part of bees. After extracting honey from a beehive, farmers replace the honey with a sugar substitute, which is substantially worse for the bee’s health. The cheap sugar replaced for honey lacks essential nutrients, vitamins and fat that honey contains. This immoral practice causes honey bees to overwork to replace the lost honey. Cruelty on bees is up to an extent where they are killed or have their legs and wings torn off by haphazard handling. Many bees die after stinging the farmers in self-defence.
In many cases, beekeepers clip the queen bee’s wings to prevent them from leaving their hive and producing a new colony elsewhere – which would slant productivity and profit. Queen bees are often artificially inseminated. Farmed honey bee populations are sometimes captivated by a disease called ‘colony collapse disorder’ – which includes ‘bee management stress,’ ‘pesticide poisoning,’ and ‘inadequate forage/ poor nutrition.’ By excluding honey, as in a Vegan diet, one shows concern for bees welfare and stand against cruelty done on bees.
For the Environment
A single possible thing one can do at an individual level to protect the environment is to reduce their Carbon Footprint. The researchers at the University of Oxford found that turning into a Vegan diet, i.e. cutting on meat and dairy products from the diet, could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 percent. A recent study in the journal Science provides one of the most in-detail analysis to date for the detrimental effects farming could have on the environment and included data on approximately 40,000 farms in across 119 countries.
- Less Greenhouse Gas Emission: The analysis reveals that meat and dairy production is responsible for 60 percent of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison, the products themselves provide only 18 percent of calories and 37 percent of protein levels around the world. The head author, Joseph Poore, says that a vegan diet is the single “biggest way” to reduce one’s impact on the planet Earth. He explained this by adding that the Vegan Diet lowers greenhouse gases, global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use. He further added that this practice is far more significant than cutting down on flights and buying an electric car as these could only reduce greenhouse emissions. “Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy,” he added.
- Smaller Water footprint: Animal-based diets are incredibly water-intensive. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a vegan meat burger requires 75 to 99 percent less water than a bacon cheeseburger. According to Water Calculator, one following a vegan diet has half the total water footprint in comparison to a meat-eater. According to an article on PETA, a person turning vegan saves approximately 219,000 gallons of water a year. Beef has an overall water footprint of roughly 4 million gallons per ton in comparison to the water footprint of vegetables that is about 85,000 gallons per ton. Several studies have shown that a healthy meat-free diet reduces our water footprint by up to 55%.
- Reduces Deforestation: Animals raising for the food industry requires a vast extent of land and deforestation. The beef industry is considered responsible for Amazon fires since farmers burned down sections of the rainforest on purpose to make room for herds. Researchers at Oxford University completed the most comprehensive analysis of farming impact on the planet. They compared data from nearly 40,000 farms in across 119 countries and found that beef production needs 36 times more land than plant-based protein like peas. Over 50 percent of the world’s arable is devoted to livestock grazing or growing feed. As the world’s population grows, the amount of land needed to
support this system increases with it. Since the planet is not growing more land, the only way to make this happen is by chopping down trees to make way. The researchers mentioned that if everyone switched to a Vegan Diet, global farmland use would drop by 75 percent, freeing up landmass the size of Australia, China, Europe, and the U.S. in total.
Not sure what Veganism is? Read Here