When a friend told me about veganism, I laughed and shut him up saying, “I am a carnivore. I can’t do it!” For the longest time, I believed that veganism is a fad and there’s nothing called “mock meat”. Veganism seemed impossible to follow on a daily basis. From buying cruelty-free products to not shopping online – I’d have to become a monk to be a vegan!
And then… Okja happened.
National Geographic’s documentary on starving polar bears happened.
The climate is clearly changing. A few clicks online unearthed scientific evidence that pointed to our diet and lifestyle. “Can’t I change that a little bit?” Since that realization, I have been going back and forth about going vegan. It sure is a struggle for a “carnivore”. But now, I am AWARE of what my actions can lead to. This post is about creating awareness. One small decision to not order a takeaway can help save the planet and lives. Read on to know why going vegan is the best bet for humankind’s survival.
1. Lowers The Risk Of Heart Disease
Consuming too much of meat and meat products can cause an increase in cholesterol levels. This, in turn, can cause arterial blockage and increase the chances of cardiovascular diseases (1).
When you go vegan, you will consume a lot of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that can help reduce inflammation and decrease oxidative stress in the body. As a result, the risk of cardiovascular diseases decreases (2).
2. Lowers The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is the modern plague. Our diet and lifestyle choices are mainly to be blamed for it as we tend to consume high animal protein, processed foods, frozen foods, and high-sugar, and high-salt foods.
3. Improves Digestion
Going vegan can also improve your digestion significantly. Scientists found that people on a vegan diet had fewer pathobionts and more number and variety of good gut bacteria that aid digestion (5).
Vegan diet or plant-based diets are loaded with dietary fiber, which helps in bulking the stool, thereby preventing constipation and bloating. You can read more about it here.
4. Aids Weight Loss
Obesity is a global epidemic (6). Scientists believe that there’s a direct link between central obesity and excessive meat consumption (7). That’s because meat is high in fat and energy. If you follow a sedentary lifestyle, you will not burn off the calories/fats you consume. As a result, you tend to accumulate fat in your body, leading to further health complications.
Going vegan can help you shed the pounds without having to huff and puff at the gym. The dietary fiber in the plant-based foods forms a gel-like layer, thereby slowing down the transition of food through the gut and increasing satiety.
5. Improves Mental Health
Ask any vegan, and they will tell you that since they have gone vegan, they feel calm and stable mentally. Like obesity, mental illness is a global problem. The WHO reports that more than 450 million people suffer from various mental illnesses (8).
A vegan diet is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that provide the brain with proper nutrition (9). As a result, your brain functions better and is less triggered by stimuli.
6. Improves Skin
Acne, dark spots, fine lines – all are signs of bad food choices and a sedentary lifestyle. Dairy, poultry, fish, meat, and processed meats are loaded with artificial additives and antibiotics that have a grave effect on your health. This, in turn, reflects on your skin.
Going vegan will help you get rid of various skin problems by boosting metabolism, improving digestion, and increasing your energy levels.
7. Improves Fitness
It’s a myth that you need to consume animal protein to be fit or have a toned body. If that were true, there wouldn’t be so many successful vegan athletes! In fact, the truth is just the opposite.
Consuming plant-based foods helps you get various essential amino acids along with dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients. Unlike animal sources of food, plant-based foods are devoid of toxins and harmful chemicals. Moreover, there are plenty of plant-based protein shakes available that can fulfill your body’s protein requirements.
For Animal Welfare
8. Kindness Toward Animals
Being kind costs nothing. Showing kindness to animals only brings joy to society. The slaughterhouse horror is real, and animals understand that their life is in danger. This causes their stress levels to increase, releasing a lot of toxins. When you consume this meat, it adds to your body’s toxin build-up.
By preventing mass forceful breeding and mass animal slaughter to meet the market demands, you will not only save lives but also show compassion, empathy, and kindness to other living beings, just like yourself.
9. Horrors Of The Dairy And Poultry Industries
Milk, eggs, and chicken – we buy these ingredients from a well-lit, air-conditioned supermarket without knowing the horrific truth behind where these foods come from. There are videos online that show the udders of goats and cows attached to a milking machine that pump out milk. That too, within hours of giving birth. Imagine the trauma the mother and the calf have to go through!
While watching one such video, I couldn’t help but feel violated and sad for the animals being treated in the most inhumane manner. In the poultry industry, chickens are kept in small cages, where they cannot move around or spread their wings. The beaks of hens are cut off to prevent them from nervous pecking. Moreover, billions of chicks die every year due to overcrowding.
10. You Don’t Really Need Animal Products
Yes, your body’s protein requirements can be met through plant proteins and phytonutrients. Getting all the essential amino acids from a plant source is better than an animal source, given the way the animals are treated in meat farms, dairy farms, and slaughterhouses.
For The Environment
11. Animal Agriculture Is Detrimental For The Environment
Animal farming is the leading cause of greenhouse gas production, water pollution, deforestation, loss of habitat, species destruction, air pollution, and land degradation. The more the demand for meat, the more we destroy the environment that supports the survival of all living beings on this planet.
12. Melting Ice
Every year, the temperature of the planet is rising, and it is a warning bell (10). The lives of polar bears, orcas, Arctic wolves, walruses, penguins, seals, and other Arctic animals and humans are in danger.
As the ice melts, the danger of more heat being absorbed by the earth’s surface increases. The sea levels will rise, the ocean currents might change, and methane and carbon dioxide release might further aggravate global warming.
The recent environmental disasters and animal pain are reasons enough to turn into a vegan. There’s nothing that can go wrong if you change your diet and lifestyle. Yes, it is tough and will not happen in a day. But take baby steps and keep at it.
There’s a reason we are referred to as humankind. Spread awareness, and you will start to see things from a different and open perspective. Once that happens, you will not look back at your old eating habits and lifestyle. The door to veganism is open – and there’s no good time to step in than now. Think about it.
- “Red meat consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases-is increased iron load a possible link?” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine.
- “A Review of Plant-based Diets to Prevent and Treat Heart Failure” Cardiac Failure Review, US National Library of Medicine.
- “A plant-based diet for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes” Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Plant versus animal based diets and insulin resistance, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes: the Rotterdam Study.” European Journal of Epidemiology, US National Library of Medicine.
- “The Health Advantage of a Vegan Diet: Exploring the Gut Microbiota Connection” Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Obesity and overweight” World Health Organization.
- “Meat consumption is associated with obesity and central obesity among US adults” International journal of obesity, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Mental disorders affect one in four people” World Health Organization.
- “The Vegan Brain” Psychology Today.
- “Global Temperature” NASA.
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