To Care or Not to Care
If there was one distinguishing trait that sets vegans apart from the average person, it’s their capacity to care. Vegans care about the Earth and all life that inhabits it. Vegans care about putting only high quality food into their body. In the case of former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, he became vegan because he cares about staying healthy enough to become a grandfather, and veganism has the best chance of making it happen. Vegans are people who care a lot and are willing to act on their beliefs.
The Decision is Yours to Make
Whether we take action or turn a blind eye when we see injustice is a personal choice. According to the Humane Society, 4.6 billion animals were slaughtered in 2016. To vegans, this is an atrocity, and it’s well within our power to change. The difference between accepting such wrongs in the world and taking steps to change them begins with a single commitment to improving our dietary choices.
6 Excellent Reasons to Try Veganism
Asking people why they became vegans will reveal a variety of answers. Some may have seen a video showing how cows and pigs are intelligent and capable of playing exactly like dogs. Other vegans may have been swayed after reading about the substantial benefits to health and fitness. Whichever reason inspires you, know that there are tried and true ways that the vegan diet can enhance your life.
1. Fight the Slaughter of Cows, Pigs, Chickens, and Other Animals
The cornerstone of the vegan lifestyle is that all life is important. Vegans believe that every living creature deserves a chance and that no animal should be bred as a commodity for humans. With this commitment comes a sense of peace deriving from the fact that you’re not benefiting from the deaths of other creatures. For pet lovers, this concept of respecting animals is easy to grasp, but it’s important to realize that all animals, including cows and chickens, have a right to live a full life without being slaughtered as food.
The Amount of Grain Needed to Raise Cattle
A tangible way to observe the impact that slaughtering animals has on our world is to view it in terms of the grain required. It takes 2000 pounds of grain each year to raise livestock to the point where they can produce enough meat. Conversely, a human can be fed for a year on just 400 pounds of grain. This comparison illustrates that five times the people can be fed with the grain we use to raise a single cow for slaughter. Clearly, the vegan lifestyle is exponentially more sustainable and better for the Earth.
Live Without Guilt on a Vegan Diet
Champion marathon runner and lifelong vegan, Fiona Oakes, has a unique perspective on the most valuable benefit of being vegan:
"I honestly believe that the most benefit to me being vegan is that I do not carry the burden of guilt that I would have to endure knowing that I abused others for my own 'benefit'."
This sentiment is shared by many vegans. The reality of living without causing harm to animals brings a sense of peace for millions of people – It’s the secret source of joy inherent in the vegan lifestyle.
2. Achieve a High Level of Fitness
Saturated fat is among the biggest causes of obesity, but a vegan diet avoids it all together. This theme is common in veganism. One of the strong points of the vegan diet is that it avoids many of the foods and ingredients that cause people to become overweight. The emphasis on healthy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains eliminates many harmful foods from the vegan diet, especially when you avoid sugary and processed food. Athletes like Venus Williams rely on a vegan diet to fuel their elite performances.
Health is Good, But What if I Want to Grow Muscle?
The biggest misconception of veganism is that it doesn’t offer enough protein to support muscle growth. Vegan athletes like the champion powerlifter, Pat Reeves, and popular pro-wrestler, Austin Aries, would beg to differ. Vegan champions Venus Williams and legendary boxer Mike Tyson would join them. The list of accomplished vegans who make their mark on the athletic world is vast, and it’s expanding every day.
The Vegan Diet is Loaded With Protein-Packed Superfoods
On the vegan diet, beans, seeds, nuts, and grains provide ample protein to make up for the lack of meat. For example, potent vegetables like peas are loaded with 8 grams of protein per cup. If building and maintaining muscle is important to you, then the vegan lifestyle can keep your body strong and lean – without the need for animal protein.
3. Prevent Major Diseases Like Cancer and Diabetes
It’s no longer a question of whether processed and red meats cause cancer. The World Health Organization has labeled processed meats like bacon and sausage as group 1 carcinogens, meaning they greatly increase the chances of developing cancer. While other meats pose some degree of risk, one thing is certain: the hormones and antibiotics given to farm animals make their way into our bodies. After factoring in cholesterol and other reasons to avoid meat, it’s clear that a vegan diet is a much healthier option.
Processed Meats are Carcinogens
Did you know that processed meats like salami and hot dogs are the most likely meats to cause cancer? According to the World Health Organization, processed meats are known to increase the risk of colon cancer by 18%. While processed meat is the worst, it’s not the only harmful form of meat products.
Red Meat Increases the Risk of Cancer
A study conducted by Harvard in 2014 revealed a disturbing fact about red meat. One serving of red meat per day during adolescence raises women’s chances of developing pre-menopausal breast cancer by 22%. Combined with the saturated fat and grotesque animal abuse associated with red meat, there are a lot of excellent reasons to swear off it for good.
4. Live Longer than Meat-eaters
How important to you is longevity? While you may not think about your life expectancy very often, it’s worth noting that people who don’t eat animals live at least 12% longer than those who do. The primary reasons for this are that meat eaters are much more likely to be obese, and they’re more likely to develop life-threatening diseases like diabetes. The whole foods on a vegan diet are organic and packed with nutrients, providing your body with all you need to live a long, fulfilling life.
Equip Yourself for Survival with a Plant-based Diet
It’s no longer an assumption that a plant-based diet helps you stay healthy and maximize your lifespan. Research studies that tout the massive health benefits shown in vegetarians and vegans are now plentiful, and proof of the vegan diet’s effectiveness can be easily found online. For example, Dr. Michael Greger explained how a vegan diet effectively counters the effects of the top 15 killers of men and women. With strong research concluding in its favor, the longevity benefits of veganism are clear.
5. Veganism is Social: Meet Like-minded People
Most vegans are extremely passionate about their lifestyle, and they gravitate towards like-minded people. This means that whatever city you find yourself in, it’s very likely that there are nearby vegans you can call friends. Apps like Veg capitalize on this idea by giving opportunities for vegans to meet each other as they would on Tinder. In addition to new vegan apps, numerous books, websites, and restaurants are rising in popularity, providing an expanding level of support for vegans.
5 Reliable Ways to Find Vegans in Your Area
Finding likeminded vegans can do a lot to help renew your dedication to the lifestyle. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help you in your search for other plant-eaters. Here are a few useful ideas:
- Make friends with employees from your favorite vegan restaurant or store
- Plan your own vegan dinner party or vegan potluck
- Find local vegan Facebook groups and request to join
- Look for animal or environmental activist groups; many activists are vegan
- Join vegan meeting sites like HappyCow.net or Veggiedate.com
As you can see, the journey to a perfect vegan lifestyle may take some planning, but you don’t have to undertake it by yourself. Use these suggestions to find friends with the same goals as you!
6. Contribute to Positive Change in the World
The majority of scientists are in consensus that a plant-based diet is better for the Earth. In 2015, a federally appointed panel of nutritionists that comprise the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded that the vegan diet is not only healthier than a meat-based diet, but it’s much better for the environment. Not surprisingly, the meat industry was quick to oppose the ruling, but the fact remains: experts agree that the vegan lifestyle is sustainable, healthy, and a much better alternative for our planet.
Scientists Agree that Meat Puts Huge Demands on the Planet
During a study on the impact of meat consumption, scientists from Cornell University concluded that meat was exponentially more taxing on the planet and on our resources:
"The meat-based food system requires more energy, land, and water resources than the lactoovovegetarian diet. In this limited sense, the lactoovovegetarian diet is more sustainable than the average American meat-based diet."
Due to the vast amount of grain, manpower, and other resources used to raise animals for slaughter, scientists all over the world agree that a plant-based diet is a much more sustainable option for mankind.
Ready to Experience the Vegan Lifestyle First-hand?
You’ve done the reading, seen the research, and have a solid idea what the vegan diet is all about. Whether you care about the undeniable health benefits, the feeling of not benefiting from slaughtered animals, or the fact that you’re living the best lifestyle for the planet, the reasons to go vegan are vast and powerful. Perhaps it’s time to experience these benefits and try out the vegan lifestyle for yourself!