People who misunderstand the vegan lifestyle and diet often regard it as a trend. They don’t understand the powerful benefits and meaningful reasons that lead people to go vegan. We’re not here to be preachy, but we totally get it. Vegans take up many important causes that everyone on the planet benefits from. Vegans are helping you, even if you don’t realize it.
1. For Animal Welfare
The first reason people go vegan is somewhat obvious. Animals you eat have to die for you to eat them. This means they’re raised for maximum production. Factory farmed animals are often raised in crowded conditions, overfed, and don’t receive proper medical care. They’re living things that are treated like inanimate objects, and that idea can be hard for some people to handle from an ethical perspective.
The production of dairy and eggs isn’t much better. Dairy cows and egg laying chickens are just as disregarded as animals raised for meat. The only way to know how the animal was treated is to buy your dairy or eggs from a local farmer or neighbor. Some vegetarians go this route, or raise their own chickens for eggs. They know that their animals are being properly cared for and loved, and this helps to settle their worries.
Factory farming isn’t a pretty picture. We don’t want to spend too much time lingering on the dark reality of what many animals go through before they ultimately wind up on a dinner table. It doesn’t make for a light afternoon read, and a thorough description would definitely warrant a trigger warning.
2. For The Environment
Factory farming practices often pollute the environment. Cows produce a wealth of methane that enters the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Factory farming contributes to about 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions every year. This comes from both meat cows and dairy cows. It’s hard not to think about what your pint of ice cream is doing to the ozone layer. Maybe it’s time to find a decent swap.
Raising meat takes a lot of water. A single pound of beef takes about 1,800 gallons of water to produce. A pound of beans takes about 180 gallons of water to produce. Swapping out the beef in your chili for beans uses ten times less water. To put that into perspective, you’re saving the amount of water the average person would use to take 81 showers. Swapping beans for beef four times a week would negate your water use for a whole years’ worth of showers if you shower almost every day.
3. For Health Reasons
It’s important to note that being a vegan doesn’t automatically make you healthier. Sugar is completely vegan. French fries made in vegetable oil are completely vegan. Tons of desserts can easily be adapted into vegan recipes, but that doesn’t make them healthy.
The nutrition facts and ingredients are what matter most. You’re still going to need to stay away from high amounts of added sugar and fried foods and focus on achieving a balanced diet.
That having been said, there are still numerous advantages to a plant-based diet. Animal-based foods are often high in cholesterol, making them not the greatest options for heart health. People who follow a plant- based diet are more likely to have lower cholesterol levels. Overall, making whole food, plant-based ingredients the focal point of every meal makes it a little easier to maintain your health and supply your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive.
There’s also a pragmatic perspective at play. One pound of watermelon contains 134 calories with a huge boost of vitamins and fiber. A one-pound cheeseburger (i.e. your “double” cheeseburger) averages at about 1,300 calories, tons of fat, and tons of sodium. What would you rather eat an entire pound of? Plant-based foods are inherently more filling. You can graze on fruits and vegetables all day without thinking twice. All you’re doing is supplying yourself with fiber and vitamins.
4. Eliminating Processed Foods, Questionable Additives, and Artificial Ingredients
Nobody really knows what’s going on in factory farms. Animals are often exposed to disease, pesticides, heavy metals, and contaminants. Salmonella, E. coli, trichinosis, parasites, and everything else you never want to vaguely entertain the notion of eating can be rampant at a factory farm.
The meat that makes its way to the grocery store can also be laden with unexpected additives. Salmon and beef are often colored with red dyes to make them look more appealing. When meat has been sitting in the case for too long without selling, grocery store butchers simply disguise the color, dress it up in seasonings, and change the sell-by date. You don’t know how old that meat really is by the time you get it, and you don’t know exactly what was used to keep it fresh (or at least looking fresh) for that long.
And then there’s meat glue, which is probably, in our opinion, one of the strangest things that exists in the world. The meat industry exists to turn a profit, and your butcher or grocery store wants to be able to sell you everything. Smaller cuts of beef or trimmings from better cuts can’t go to waste. Instead, they’re fused together with a special glue used for meat.
It would be different if people knew these things and chose to consume the products anyway, but most of the time, that isn’t what’s happening. The meat you buy isn’t labeled as dyed or glued together, or possibly contaminated with E. Coli. They just tell you to cook it thoroughly to destroy any bacteria that might be present.
But Going Vegan is Hard!
Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you don’t think you can fully commit to a vegan diet, don’t force yourself to. Start making mindful swaps that will help you reduce your dependence on the meat industry. Switch to plant milk in your coffee, and take meat off the menu for three days a week. If you don’t want to give up eggs, find a local farmer you trust and buy your eggs locally.
Doing something will always be better than doing nothing. Even if you’re only prepared to take small steps, you’re still making a difference. The things you learn in the process and the new foods you come to enjoy might make it easier to go vegan than you initially thought. Give your palette some time to adjust and invest in some plant-based cookbooks to help up your recipe game.
When you follow the process from farm to table, meat can rightfully be off putting. Luckily, there are so many alternatives to animal based foods that meat is no longer a necessity.
Snow Monkey makes some seriously delicious vegan ice cream that also happens to be nutritious.t. Our plant-based Anytime Desserts pack 20+ grams of protein in every pint. They also happen to be free from all major allergens. If you can’t have peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, eggs, or soy, you can have an entire pint of Snow Monkey.
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