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Why go vegan?

Let me start by saying this- the vegan diet is not for everyone. Everyone's dietary needs are different, and certain medical conditions restrict a vegan diet horribly.  Before making the switch, have an honest conversation with your doctor to ensure you can safely do so. Now, on with the question. Why should you go vegan? Let's discuss this below...

Go Vegan for...

The animals

Your health

The Evironment
 

For the Animals

This one seems fairly obvious, but many people look past the individual animal who has unique emotions and see nothing more than food  Worse, society tells us that these animals lack intelligence when it's not close to the case! For example, pigs have an intelligence that is similar to a 3-year-old child. It has also been shown pigs and chickens have very complex social hierarchies. What about cows? They make excellent mother and are very nurturing. It has also been suggested that they form bonds much like we do. They also like to run and play and are extremely affectionate. It's why many vegans refer to them as "grass puppies". All this being said, we are not putting to death unintelligent beings. That isn't the worst part. The worst part is we treat them as if they are nothing more than property rather than individuals capable of feeling. The meat industry tries hard to say this cruelty "doesn't really happen" but keep in mind, this comes from someone who profits off the meat and dairy industry. It is no surprise they would defend their practices. This brings me to the only reason we truly need to go vegan- they are sentient beings.

As I made clear above, every animal feels fear, sadness, and pain.  They are all individuals with different personalities, desires, and social hierarchies. Most animals raised on factory farms are raised in sheds where they can barely move and stomp around in their waste. This leads to many dying of suffocation or disease, Iff these animals were cats or dogs, the owners would be arrested for animal cruelty. Just because they were born a different animal doesn't make it any less wrong. Many cows and chickens have their throats slit while still conscious. All pigs are conscious as they are gassed alive. Their screams can be heard from outside the slaughterhouse. Again, if these animals were cats or dogs, we'd be outraged...but because they are a different species, it makes it okay; even though there is no true difference between a farm animal and a pet. 

What about free range? Isn't it "better"

This is usually related to "Free-range eggs"  While the label might seem more humane, it is anything but. Free-range hens, as chicks,  have their beaks cut off without local anesthetics to prevent any fights between the birds. These types of hens are supposed to spend at least half their life out in pastures, however, because of the overpopulation of hens, they usually aren't able to. Chickens are also bred to grow 10x faster than normal. As a result, they suffer from lameness when their legs can't keep up with their rapidly growing bodies. This applies to all chickens. Overall, there is no difference between normal eggs and free-range. It's just a marketing technique to make people feel better about their choices while still subjecting sentient beings to unnecessary cruelty.

But what if I buy my meat and/or eggs from a local farmer?

Now, this is in no way a dig at small family farms, but here's the thing...you can't claim to love an animal and then send it away to be killed, knowing good and well the kind of horror that animal is going to suffer. Sentient beings do not want to die, regardless if they are a dog or cow, If you love your pet, you will do your best to ensure their safety, and handing over a farm animal to be slaughtered is far from that. In regards to eggs, most chicks sold in stores came from some sort of factory farm, so you are still supporting the meat industry. I'm sure the farmer does take good care of their animals, but living a good life does not equal a justifiable death. 

Okay, but fish aren't sentient.

This is yet another lie from the meat industry. Fish do, in fact, feel pain and suffer immensely when they suffocate after being yanked out of the water. The act of fishing can even severely injure the fish by the depressurization as they are pulled out of the water This can lead to damage to their internal organs or can even cause their eyes to pop out. Needless to say, fishing is not humane or harmless in the slightest. 

For your health

This is a very popular reason why many go vegan, including myself. It is important to note a vegan diet can be healthy, as long as you don't fill your diet with a bunch of junk food. The closer you are to a whole food plant-based diet, the better. Following a whole food plant-based diet has the ability to:

- lower BMI

- lower blood pressure,

- Lower Blood sugar levels

- Lower cholesterol levels

These things considered, a plant-based diet can also prevent or even reverse heart disease, and in many cases has helped individuals come off medications for chronic illnesses. From personal experience, following a plant-based diet has also helped me to have better control of my asthma. A plant-based diet has also been linked to a lower mortality rate- those following a plant-based diet tend to live longer. 

Recently, studies have shown that red meat has been linked to colon cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease...the very diseases a plant-based diet protects against. 

So, if you want better health, give a plant-based diet a try. All information contained is this section came from the National Library of Medicine. To read the entire article, follow the link here Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets - PMC (nih.gov)

For the environment

When discussing global warming, politicians love to point the finger at us and the things we do in life. While what we do in our lives CAN impact the environment, what we eat is the biggest factor we could change to reduce our carbon footprint. How has the meat and dairy industry impacted our environment? Let's discuss it!

I think the biggest shock for me was how much water went into the meat and dairy industry.. Consider the following: it takes...

- up to 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1lb of beef
-477 gallons of water to produce 1lb of eggs
- 900 gallons for 1lb of cheese

-1,000 gal for 1 gal of milk

According to the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources in between 2014 and 2016, the total amount of water consumed by livestock was 72,650 billion gallons of water. Meanwhile, people in our country and around the world lack access to clean water. Animal waste further complicates the issue by being impossible to properly dispose of. This then leads to the contamination of groundwater, which could impact the water supply for humanity. All this considered, if everyone went plant-based, we could potentially end the water crisis worldwide.

The meat and dairy industry is responsible for a large majority of all greenhouse gasses, not cars as we are made to believe. It also takes up nearly half of the habitable land on Earth. To add to that more and more land is cleared every year to make more room for crops or pastures to hold more farm animals. As the world population increases, so does te demand for meat and dairy. At some point, we will run out of room and a mass food shortage is bound to happen if we do not change our eating habits. 

The best thing you can do for the planet is to go plant-based. It cuts down on water and land usage as well as eliminates animal waste. 

 

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