Why vegan? Put simply, a nutritionally balanced, plant based diet has a vast number of health benefits, unquestionably low environmental impact, without the need for unnecessary animal exploitation of any kind.
When it comes to food we all have our preferences, opinions, likes and dislikes. Many people find cooking boring or too time consuming, almost an inconvenience. I have always considered food important, not just for the pleasure it brings you when you eat it but also for the healing powers it has to offer. The truth is making the time to cook is smart, it puts you in control of your health, it is your preventative medicine.
It took me a while to conclude plant-based is the way forward and the more I look into it the more I reassure myself it is the right path. When trying to transition to plant based eating you simply need to focus on the gains and here are my top three reasons for going vegan:
1. Health – nutritionally dense plant based foods can help you be healthy.
Firstly, you can be vegan and continue eating unhealthy, processed foods that will destroy your health. For me however, it is important to focus on nutritionally dense wholefoods. There are so many people on this planet that are overfed and undernourished. So many people do not understand that one calorie is not equal the other.
When you embrace nutritionally dense, plant based eating you rediscover food again. Well-planned plant-based diets are rich in protein, iron, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. The plant-based sources of these nutrients tend to be low in saturated fat, high in fibre and packed with antioxidants, helping mitigate some of the modern world’s biggest health issues like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
2. Animals – can you be an animal lover and continue eating animals?
Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans. More than 3,000 animals die every second in slaughterhouses around the world. These shocking figures do not even include fish and other sea creatures whose deaths are so great they are only measured in tonnes and at the rate we are currently fishing it is predicted the oceans will be empty by 2048!!!
Whenever I think of these numbers it overwhelms me, trying to grasp the scale of animal suffering imposed by us is close to impossible. But we all have a choice…and my choice is to no longer participate in this “norm”. We all have the power to make a difference and by going vegan you chose the most compassionate way of eating, which also happens to be healthy and environmentally friendly.
3. Environment – the future of our planet is on our plates.
The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment – from the crops and water required to feed the animals (92% of the water is hidden in our food), to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. Livestock production may have a bigger impact on the planet than anything else. It would take 40 million tons of food to eliminate the most extreme cases of world hunger, yet nearly 20 times that amount of grain is fed to farmed animals every year in order to produce meat. More than 70 per cent of all agricultural land in Britain is used to feed animals. If Britain went vegetarian, less than half the farm land would be needed – vegan, less than a quarter.
The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves. On the other hand, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet, making the switch to veganism one of the easiest, most enjoyable and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment.
The above are my pea size, easy to digest points for why going vegan is the way forward. Get in touch if you want to know more or would like help transitioning towards more compassionate, greener, nutritionally dense and healthier living.
Eric Lewis for New Yorker