There are literally hundreds of benefits that you can get from changing your diet to a plant based one. This article will list the top 15 reasons for a plant based diet.
1: Animals Feel Pain
It is very easy to look at all of the differences between us humans, and other non human animals. However, once you look at the similarities, everything changes! All animals, whether they are chickens, pigs, cows, dogs, humans… we are more similar than you might think. All of us have two eyes, a heart, feet, mouths, a brain, friends, and family. Probably the most important similarity between us all, is that we all have the ability to feel. Whether it is joy, love, calmness, fear, or pain, every animal feels these emotions.
When these animals are at the slaughterhouse, they know what is going to happen to them. You can clearly see the fear in their eyes, and their bodies are so tense. This is well portrayed in Save Group Movements around the world, where activists bear witness in front of slaughterhouses to give the animals some love before dying, and they also take photos and videos to document these beautiful creatures.
Many animals bond with each other and form friendships, just as humans do. This is commonly documented in cows, cows have best friends and they get stressed when they are separated. Most scientists now agree that animals feel pain. A famous neurologist named Lord Brain has stated:
“I personally can see no reason for conceding mind to my fellow men and denying it to animals. […] I at least cannot doubt that the interests and activities of animals are correlated with awareness and feeling in the same way as my own, and which may be, for aught I know, just as vivid.”
2: Save Water
Water is something we all use every single day, and it is necessary for life. However, it is not an unlimited resource. In a report called Livestock’s Long Shadow written by the Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization, they estimate that by the year 2050, over 66% of the world’s population won’t have enough water to meet their basic needs. This report also stated “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”
Eating a plant based diet saves a lot of water. Producing meat, dairy, and eggs uses more water than anything else. Water is needed for the animals to drink, to clean them and the factory farms they live in, to grow mono crops that they eat, to clean the slaughterhouses, and so much more. There are over 100 billion animals killed for food each year. For reference of how much water it takes to produce meat compared to plants, it takes 16,000 litres of water to produce one single kilogram of ground beef. (The World’s Water, 2008-2009). To produce a kilogram of potatoes, it only uses 500 litres of water! Plants will always use less water to produce than meat, dairy, and eggs will.
3. Lower Carbon Footprint
The livestock industry contributes to many of the greenhouse gases in the world today. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has stated that the livestock sector creates more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector! Livestock accounts for 18% of all greenhouse gases, while all transportation is only responsible for 13% (Environmental Protection Agency). According to authors R. Goodland and J. Anhang, livestock and their byproducts are accountable for a minimum of 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide every single year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions!
Not only does animal agriculture create a lot of CO2, it is responsible for much of the world’s methane emissions (they produce 150 billion gallons of methane a day), and 65% of all nitrous oxide, which is 296 times more powerful than CO2 (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2006). Eating a plant based diet means you will not longer be contributing to all of those animal agriculture emissions anymore.
4. Reduced Risk Of Heart Disease
Now that it is 2016, there are countless studies of cases where after people switched from eating a standard american diet to a plant based one, they lowered their risk for heart disease and were even able to reverse it. This is because a plant based diet doesn’t have any cholesterol, and this way of eating won’t clog your arteries (which is a huge culprit in cardiovascular disease). This has been proven again and again by plant based doctors and their patients such as Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and T. Colin Campbell just to name a few.
5. Lowers Risk of Osteoporosis
In the book The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell explains how the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis have the highest dairy consumption, and countries with the lowest rates of osteoporosis consume the lowest amount of dairy. Dairy is very acidic, and our bodies are alkaline. What happens when you consume dairy is that your body now has to balance the acidity of the dairy to make it alkaline, so it does this by leaching calcium out of your bones. Then your body just urinates out the calcium. Dairy does the opposite of what they claim milk does. It doesn’t give you strong bones, it creates weak bones in your body (Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, Calcium And Strong Bones).
6. Reduces Desertification
Desertification is a prominent problem in today’s world, it is largely due to animal agriculture. Desertification is where a once biologically productive piece of land turns into a wasteland. Animal husbandry and agriculture is a significant contributor to this process (Science Heathen, 2015). Livestock grazing, and growing fields of mono crops for the animals to eat are two major causes for this. When you choose to eat a variety of plant foods, especially organic, you are fighting against this.
7. Works Towards Putting an End to World Hunger
There are over one billion people in the world who do not have enough food, mostly in developing countries. Most, if not all, of these people suffer from malnutrition. Animal agriculture is a contributing cause to this. We have more than enough food on this planet to feed every single person. The problem is that humans are raising and killing 100 billion animals a year to eat. Those 100 billion animals need to eat, so humans grow GMO soybeans, corn, and other crops to feed these animals. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, one third of the planet’s arable land is used to grow food for livestock. Imagine if all of this land went to growing plants for humans to eat instead. Additionally, 26% of the world’s ice free-land is used for livestock to graze on.
We prioritize feeding animals so that we can later eat the animals, instead of just eating the plants directly. Many people in third world countries who do have the space to grow food usually don’t even grow it for themselves, they grow crops for livestock to export and make money from that.
We prioritize feeding animals so that we can later eat the animals, instead of just eating the plants directly
8. It Can Save You Money
Plant based diets are not expensive. Sure, buying specialty vegan items such as vegan ice creams, vegan meats, and vegan cheeses can be expensive. But those are not necessities! You can easily make your own at home using cheap ingredients. The cheapest foods in the entire world are already vegan. Beans, rice, corn, potatoes, bread, oats, and pasta are what all of the poorest countries live on, because that is all they can afford. These foods are all very filling, sustainable, and most importantly, inexpensive! Meat, dairy, and eggs are far more expensive than these plants.
9. To Save the Amazon Rainforest
The amazon rainforest has been facing severe deforestation for a few decades now. Over 91% of the amazon rainforest has been destroyed due to animal agriculture. There are 1-2 acres of the amazon rainforest clear cut every 1-2 seconds (World Resources Institute). The leading cause of this destruction of the rainforest is for grazing cattle, and also for growing mono crops of soybeans to feed livestock. According to the Tropical Rain Forest Information Centre, there are up to 137 plant, animal, and insect species that are permanently lost every single day due to the rainforest destruction.
10. Because the Dairy Industry is Incredibly Cruel
Famous activist Gary Yourofsky says that there is more cruelty in a glass of milk than a pound of beef. This is because in order for cows to produce milk, they have to be pregnant. Dairy farmers artificially inseminate these female cows with a “rape rack,” this is the name the dairy industry calls it. After giving birth, the calves are immediately taken away from their mothers. The mothers grieve, mourn, and bellow for their calves to be brought back. If the calf is male, he will be taken to a veal farm where he will stay in a veal crate for 2 weeks before he is murdered for veal. If the calf is a female, she will have the same dreadful fate as her mother.
Babies are taken away from the mother cows so humans can drink the milk instead of the calves. This vicious cycle continues for 4 years. After 4 years, the mother is slaughtered and made into hamburgers. The dairy industry IS the meat, and veal industry.
11. For the Health of Slaughterhouse Workers
The slaughterhouse is a very dangerous industry. Companies prioritize profit over the worker’s’ basic rights. In the United States alone, there are over 500,000 people working in slaughterhouses. The majority of slaughterhouse workers are people of colour that can’t get any other job. Most slaughterhouse workers are African American or Latin American. Many workers are undocumented as well. The industry has a very high turnover rate which exceeds 100% annually (Food Empowerment Project, 2016).
Many injuries occur in the slaughterhouse because of the dangerous tools, and the crowded, fast paced environment. They do long hours with many repetitive motions that lead to injuries and chronic body pain (Workplace Safety and Health). Slaughterhouse workers often also suffer a lot of psychological problems. An an article from The Observer called PTSD In The Slaughterhouse states: “It will come as no surprise that the consequences of such emotional dissonance include domestic violence, social withdrawal, drug and alcohol abuse, and severe anxiety. As slaughterhouse workers are increasingly being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, researchers are finally starting to systematically explore the results of killing sentient animals for a living.” Working in a slaughterhouse is not a healthy job, the workers experience a lot of physical and psychological problems.
12. Vegan Food Is Delicious!
Vegans don’t just eat salad all day long! Vegan food is just as flavourful and delicious as non vegan food. Meat is flavoured with plants in the form of marinades, seasonings, or sauces to make it taste good. You can use those same flavourings on things such as tofu and get very similar results. There is a vegan option for literally every non vegan food out there. Pizza, cheese, cupcakes, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, veggie burgers, fish strips, chicken nuggets, even eggs! There are thousands of recipes online showing you how to make these products, or you can buy them at stores. So many stores now offer vegan ice cream, vegan frozen meals, frozen mock meats, and so much more. There are also lots of vegan restaurants and cafes opening up now to provide you with even more options!
13. It’s Easy To Get All of the Necessary Nutrients
A popular argument to veganism is that you will not be healthy. This is far from the truth! Think about where animals such as cows, chickens, and pigs get all their nutrients from… plants! There is nothing in meat that plants don’t have. So instead of filtering your nutrients through the body of a dead animal, just eat the plants directly and you will be so much better off. Meat doesn’t have any antioxidants, and it is full of antibiotics, cholesterol, hormones, and chemicals. Plants are full of antioxidants, they are cholesterol free, and they are full of vitamins and minerals!
They have lots of protein too, every single plant in the world has protein, they all just vary in amounts. For protein on a vegan diet you can just eat peanut butter, tofu, beans, veggies, nuts, and seeds. The only vitamin worth researching and supplementing on a plant based diet is B12. Vitamin B12 is a type of bacteria that comes from soil. In the past, humans got b12 by eating dirt on organic vegetables, or the animals got enough from grazing on grass. People think you get b12 from meat, but this isn’t true. However, we now sanitize everything, and livestock don’t eat a natural diet. All factory farmed animals are given a b12 shot when they are born. So instead of giving an animal a b12 shot and then eating the animal to get your b12, simply take a supplement instead.
14. You Can Build Muscle On a Vegan Diet & Lose Weight Too!
It is much easier to lose weight by following a plant based diet instead of an animal based one. This is because plant foods are low in calories, so you can eat much more of them! You can eat larger portions, feel completely satiated, and still lose weight. Especially if you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, they are especially calorically dilute. It is also easy to build muscle on a plant based diet! If you want more protein to help build muscle, simply use one of the many vegan protein blends that are available for purchase now, or just eat more protein in your diet from nuts, beans, etc. There are thousands of vegan athletes, a few popular ones being: Carl Lewis, Scott Jurek, Murray Rose, Mac Danzig, Robert Cheeke, Mike Tyson, Rich Roll, and many more!
15. You CAN make a difference!
It is easy to think that you don’t have any power to make a difference in this world. Fortunately, that is far from the truth! You have the chance every single day, 3 times a day, to have a positive impact on this world. You can do this by choosing to eat plants. Every single day, a vegan saves 1,000 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, and one animal’s life! Every single day. (Cowspiracy, The Sustainability Secret, 2014).
Everything adds up and little actions turn into big ones, especially when thousands of people all over the world are doing them. There has been a decline in dairy and meat industry. The plant based industry is booming. 5 years ago, there would be nowhere near the amount of vegan options that there are in stores today! You have the power to change the world and make a difference every single day.
Every single day, a vegan saves 1,000 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, and one animal’s life!