The Argument for a Vegan Diet
Veganism is a hotly debated topic. People will say that humans are meant to eat animals and that a vegan diet is not nutritionally complete. Both of these statements can be shown to be false. A well-rounded vegan diet is nutritionally complete and is satisfying and delicious to eat. Eating a vegan diet has been proven to have many health benefits and is also something you can feel good about, as the diet is cruelty free.
Research shows that there are benefits to a well-rounded vegan diet. Vegan or plant based diets are beneficial to health as they are higher in fiber and micronutrients and lower in overall calories. Vegan diets aid in weight loss. And statistics show that vegans have a lower BMI (height-to-weight ratio) than meat eaters. The high fiber in a vegan diet helps your body to function optimally, by eliminating toxins.
While the health benefits and the animal abuse has historically been the foundation of a vegan lifestyle, more recently the severe environmental impact of animal farming has been having devastating effects. Not only do humans grow food to feed the animals, which uses valuable water and creates emissions, but the feedlots contribute to groundwater and air pollution. Methane from the large animal populations has been linked to the thinning of the ozone.
There is no question that large commercial animal farms have a devastating impact on the environment. Not only are many valuable environmental resources used to produce grains to feed animals, the animal farms themselves pollute the ground and surface water. It takes approximately 4000 gallons of water to produce 1lb of meat, vs 300-400 gallons of water to produce 1 lb of plant food. While many vegans chose a plant-based diet for health, there are ethical and environmental concerns to consider when choosing to be vegan.
Diets that do not include meat or dairy products contain less of the bad saturated fats, which are related to increased cholesterol levels and increased risk of heart disease. A properly planned vegan diet is appropriate for all stages of the lifespan. People will tell you that you won’t get enough protein or calcium, but that doesn’t have to be true. Plant based foods can and do meet the nutritional needs of humans. By trying a vegan diet or even by beginning to eat more vegan foods you will experience the health benefits of being vegan, just like millions of other folks have.
Eating a cruelty free diet means that you are not supporting the abuse and cruelty that animals experience when they are used for food. Animals feel and experience life. Because they don’t experience it the same way that people do, does not give humans the right to exploit animals or interfere by keeping them in feedlots and using them for food.
The ethics involved in keeping animals caged up and eating unnatural diets deal with human intentions, and they are very well established. By farming animals for food humans create pain, hardship and suffering for the animal. Commercial feedlots are notorious for the abuse they inflict on animals. The animals they farm are living beings, but viewed as products and treated that way.
While advocates of a meat-based diet will say that laws are in place to protect animals, reality tells a darker and much different story. Animals confined to small cramped quarters are forced to stand in their own excrement, leading to disease and illness. When an outbreak of disease happens in a feedlot, it can lead to the death of millions of animals. Animals are not allowed to live out their natural life cycle in their natural habitat; their young are taken from them at birth.
Eating animals is a multi-dimensional issue, while there are many people who will attempt to discredit a vegan diet or the ethics involved, reality is very different. Once you experience a vegan lifestyle you will begin to feel the benefits of eating plant-based foods, having less impact on the environment and have a clear conscience that no animals were abused or exploited because of you.
There is no doubt that animals raised for food and human use suffer severe physical and emotional damage. Even if people choose to eat animal products, they still have to accept that raising animals for food and exploiting them is wrong.