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Monday, June 11, 2012

Reasons to Go Vegan

In my post The Vegan Journey, I showed that getting to the point I am at now has taken a lot of time, effort and self education. Sometimes I needed reasons or reminders for why I was doing this. Sometimes I still do. Whether you are completely vegan, just cutting back on meat and/or dairy, or maybe being more selective of the meat/dairy you do eat, tips like this might be helpful to you too. 

1. You’ll live longer. Studies show that on average, vegans live 6 years longer than meat eaters.
2. Avoid toxins. (Non-organic) meat contains antibiotics, hormones & toxins produced by stress & pesticide residues that become concentrated from all the crops they have eaten. Plus, 80% of food poisoning is due to infected meat. AND, eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a widely accepted practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. Not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans. Since 1950, girls are hitting puberty on average 4-7 years earlier and boy’s sperm counts have decreased by 25-50% due to the hormones present in non-organic meat and dairy products. Antibiotics are almost always given to (non-organic) feed animals, which can lead to bacterial resistance in humans. Many of the antibiotics used to treat human infections are also used in feed animals. This means by consuming this, we are causing ourselves to be less resistant to antibiotics. 
3. Less land consumption. An astounding 20 vegans can live off the same amount of land required by one meat eater.
4. Less water consumption. It only takes 25 gallons of water to produce 1lb of wheat whereas it takes 2500 gallons to produce 1lb of meat.
5. Support heathy ecosystems. Nitrates & pesticides used on crops grown to feed livestock end up in our rivers and vastly affect the health of micro environments and ecosystems. 
6. Reduce global warming. The 1,300,000,000 cattle in the world emit 60,000,000 tons of methane per year (methane is a greenhouse gas which leads to global warming).
7. Reduced risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimers,  cancer, and bad cholesterol. Eliminate any food that comes from an animal and you will eliminate all of the ‘bad’ dietary cholesterol from your diet. Vegans have a 40% reduced level of cancer than the general population, thought to be because they have a higher intake of vitamins A,C & E. Vegans have a 57% reduced risk of getting heart disease (the #1 killer in America today!).  Bone health depends on a balance of neither too much nor too little protein, adequate calcium intake, high potassium, and low sodium. With a healthy vegan diet, all four of these points set a perfect scenario for preventing osteoporosis.  Meat eaters have double the rate of Alzheimers disease as vegans.
8. Increased weight loss, increase in energy. When following a healthy vegan diet, you will find your energy is much higher. A healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues. 33% percent of Americans are obese, while only 2% of vegans are. On a personal note, I have effortlessly gotten back to the weight I was in college. That is AFTER having 2 kids, and I have little to no time for exercise, whereas I exercised a lot in college. Plus I have more energy and my skin is clear. 
9. Reduce animal cruelty. The animals involved in mass industry farming are exposed to the most cruel, unsanitary and horrific conditions. If you can handle watching it,  "Meet Your Meat", "Supersize Me," and "Food, Inc" (to name a few) will give you a glance into the common practices of present day industry farming and meat processing.

10. Save rain forests. If they continue to clear forests to raise cattle at the present rate, in 50 years there will be none left.


Veggie Revolution: Smart Choices for a Healthy Body and a Healthy Planet by Sara Kneidel

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