Posted on July 29 2017
I also think it is important to realize that your choices DO make a difference! On several levels your actions have reactions. So instead of just following the status quo, please take the time to put some serious thought into the following:
Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian; however I am educated in the health care field. A few of the areas I am educated in include: biochemistry, hematology and pathology. My knowledge on health is based on my schooling, my clinical experience as well as through the research I continue to do out of interest and fascination on the subject of health and nutrition.
There have been several studies done that prove that eating a properly balanced plant based diet has many health benefits. These include:
-lower rates of obesity, diabetes, cancers (such as prostate, colon, breast), Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease (and in some cases even reversal of these diseases
-lower risk for gout, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, gallstones and intestinal problems, macular degeneration, cataracts, osteoporosis
-lower cholesterol levels and promote healthy blood pressure
-lessens migraines and allergy symptoms
*I am not suggesting that genetics does not play a role in these diseases, nor am I ignorant to the fact that specific genes have been identified to contribute to them, however it has also been shown that environmental factors (such as diet) also play a dominant role in the activation of such genes.
Eating a healthy, balanced vegan diet means more fruits, veggies and other whole foods which:
-increases intake of important vitamins and minerals
-provides more energy
-makes our skin healthier
-makes stronger and healthier hair and nails
-increases fiber intake making you more regular
I know that I have felt healthier than ever since I adopted a vegan diet. I hardly ever get sick. I think I’ve had one cold in the past 3 years.
There is no doubt that eating a vegan or even vegetarian diet is better for the planet. Here are some issues to consider:|
-Animal agriculture is the number one contributor of global warming, more so than all of the world’s transportation combined
-The meat/dairy industry wastes a huge amount of the world’s fresh water, it takes over a thousand gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef
-From fertilizer to feces, factory farming creates a ton of waste which often finds its way into soil and water systems
-Precious land such as rainforests are being destroyed for cattle grazing
-Animal and plant species are being destroyed because of rainforest destruction
-It takes over 10 times more energy to produce animal protein versus plant based protein
Worldwide one person dies every 3-4 seconds from hunger or hunger related causes. That is about 25,000 people dying a day from hunger. Some points to consider:
-It takes 15-20 pounds of grain to produce ONE pound of animal flesh
-Hundreds of millions of acres are used to grow feed for livestock
-Billions of cows, chickens and pigs are getting fatter by the minute while 1.2 billion people do not have enough to eat on a daily basis
My initial reason for keeping animals off my plate was my love for the animals. Don’t worry, I won’t go into a ton of gruesome detail about why I think it is wrong to eat animals. But here are some very basic points to consider:
-*The majority of meat sold in grocery stores and restaurants is from corporate owned factory farms that do not care at all about the animals well-being before or during their death
-HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of animals are slaughtered each year for human use
(Check out this link: http://www.adaptt.org/killcounter.html )
-Baby animals and their mothers are forced to maternal separation
-Chickens have their beaks seared off, male pigs and cattle are castrated, all without pain relief
-Chickens, turkey, pigs are kept in confining cages so small they can’t turn around or spread their wings, and they are often surrounded by their own waste
-Many animals bred for food are drugged to be as fat as possible in the shortest time possible; this causes them to become crippled under their own weight
-A huge percentage of eggs come from birds that spend their entire lives in battery cages so tiny they can hardly move
-Cows do NOT constantly produce milk; on factory farms they are kept pregnant to continually produce it
-At the slaughter house the most horrific things happen to these animals while still alive! The details are nothing short of a gruesome horror movie.
-Farm raised fish are often kept in overcrowded, filthy cages hardly able to swim
-Industrial fishing causes billions of non-target animals (such as dolphins, whales, sharks, sea turtles) to be killed or injured each year
*One may argue that there are farms that adhere to more humane practices. I acknowledge that some farmers may treat their animals better than some points described above. But still, if you support the slaughter of animals, then your definition of humane is different than mine.
Carnism is Taught
I believe that our views on eating meat are a social construct that is taught to us from a young age. We are taught what animals are pets and friends and what animals are acceptable to kill and eat. This varies country to country, but everywhere you go there is a status quo that 99% of people follow without questioning.
What is carnism? This is directly taken from the carnism.org website:
“Carnism is the invisible belief system, or ideology, that conditions people to eat certain animals. Carnism is essentially the opposite of veganism; “carn” means “flesh” or “of the flesh” and “ism” denotes a belief system. Most people view eating animals as a given, rather than a choice; in meat-eating cultures around the world people typically don’t think about why they find the flesh of some animals disgusting and the flesh of other animals appetizing, or why they eat any animals at all. But when eating animals is not a necessity for survival, as is the case in much of the world today, it is a choice – and choices always stem from beliefs.”
For many people this reason for being vegan won’t apply/appeal to you and that is completely okay. I don’t think I am better or you are worse for not believing in the same spiritual outlook as me. But maybe some people can relate to how I feel so for that reason I will share my personal beliefs:
I could never work in a slaughterhouse killing all those animals every day and I am not happy or interested in paying someone to do something for me that I would not do for myself. I would find it hypocritical and it doesn’t bode well for me. In my mind, killing another living creature is a big deal, especially if there is suffering involved. But even if some say that there is no suffering involved, in their final moments I believe that animals can sense fear in other animals and can also sense the end is near when they smell blood. The vast majority of these animals are not being euthanized gently like a sick pet at a vet clinic. It is nothing like that! A slaughterhouse is a place that most people would not dare step foot in, so then why support something that you cannot even bring yourself to witness?
In my life I am looking to grow in many ways, and one of those ways is spiritually. I believe that if I were to support an industry that kills hundreds of billions of innocent animals a year I would be preventing myself from this type of growth. I don’t see how I can personally evolve into a better, loving, more caring person by supporting an industry that unnecessarily kills and mistreats animals.
Now this topic might sound ‘out there’ to some who don’t think much about universal energy, but I believe that all the fear and pain and negative energy the animals were feeling prior to death, stays within it, and by consuming the dead for energy, on some level you are ingesting that fear, pain and negative energy. On the other hand, eating living foods like plants does the opposite – fills you with life! I believe in universal energy/karma/law of attraction/cause and effect – call it what you will. I think that if I were to support the meat and dairy industry it would somehow cloud my personal happiness. I find I have more peace of mind knowing that I am doing my best to not contribute to the death of billions of Mother Nature’s creatures each year, and instead I try to give the animals my love and respect. On top of all of that, I also feel as though my passion and compassion towards animals, the earth and my own health exudes into other areas of my life making me a better person.
Have you ever considered Paying It Forward? Have you ever thought about how the world will be in 25, 50, 100 years? How life will be for your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren? Think about those questions in conjunction with all of the above information.
At the end of the day, if you feel bad in any way, shape or form about something you do or support, why not make a change and stop doing or supporting it? Being vegan doesn’t solve everything, but it is an easy, simple way to help immensely in all of the above issues, and the more people who catch on, the greater the outcome.
Thinking of Making the Change?
I really feel that making this type of lifestyle change is something pretty hard to regret! For whatever reason motivates you the most, by following a plant based, whole foods diet you can most certainly start to see some positive changes in yourself as early as a few weeks. I would suggest that you do some of your own research and learn as much as you can. Check out my page ‘Books and Doc’s’ for some of my favourite books and documentaries on the subject.
I am lucky that I have a positive support system (my husband decided join me for the most part on my plant based adventure shortly after I did) but I know that not everyone has that level of support. Some family members might even be offended if you all of a sudden decide to stop eating food they have always prepared for you. If you are the main cook for your family and they don’t wish to join you on your new adventure, then that is another battle to face. You could try to teach them what you have learned, watch a documentary with them, give them a book to read that inspired you. Ultimately though, if you have decided to try a vegan lifestyle than do it, no excuses! Excuses don’t help anyone! Life is too short and there are too many people who aren’t living the life they want to live because of excuses. So I urge you to do what feels right for you! ♥