It’s highly likely, particularly if you live in a hip city, that you have a vegan friend. And while they’re your friends, they can be a bit of an annoyance, always praising their lifestyle choice and scorning you for ordering so much as an egg at a restaurant. The vegan lifestyle has become a cliche, overcrowded by hipsters with moustaches and telling you how amazing Burning Man was this year. In a sense, they’re the new hippie. They preach free love and care about the environment. In another decade, they’d be butrning draft cards.
There’s a major divide between the a vegan lifestyle and sticking to a vegan diet. There are plenty of ordinary folk who do it for a variety of reasons: health, ethics or just personal taste. We are fortunate to live in an age where eating meat is no longer a necessity for survival, and alternatives are in place should you choose them. It’s a diet that can even change your style, as many companies offer a line of vegan shoes, accessories or clothing.
If you are considering going full vegan, here are five pros of veganism that may convince you to make the switch:
1. It Promotes Weight Loss
The first and perhaps the most obvious reason is that adopting an plant-based diet is going to cut down a lot of fat intake. The fats in meat are eliminated, but they’re also absent from vegetarianism. Veganism also cuts out high fat dairy products. Fat has a lot more calories per gram – approximate nine.
However, one must carefully monitor their diet when switching, particularly first timers. Excessive weight loss is unhealthy, and the sudden lack of certain proteins to which the body has become accustomed will lead to a first-timer getting hungrier faster. Done right, however, the weight loss is ultimately a healthy benefit.
2. It’s Becoming Easier
One of the first concerns someone considering going vegan is going to consider is the lack of proteins and nutrients the body needs. B12, for instance, is only found in meats. But since the United Nations began promoting their awareness of the benefits of vitamin supplements in 2016, Pulses has come to the forefront of the conversation.
Pulses is a staple of food in agriculture and food security, ensuring that supplements and alternative protein alternatives are available to those who don’t eat meat or dairy. So while meats and dairy may offer the complete package, it’s becoming easier to replace what you need to remain healthy.
It takes 16,000 gallons of water to produce one single pound of beef. To put it in broader terms, it requires 100 times more water for an pound of animal protein than a grain protein. As our environment continues to be threatened – many scientists argue to the point of a global crisis – these statistics are starting to become more important. If you’re searching for a reason to turn vegan, there is no better than the idea you’re doing something for the planet.
One should not base their decision to go vegan on ethical or political principle alone, however. Your own health should always be taken into account whenever you’re weighing your carbon footprint.
4. General Health
The benefits of going vegan have been scientifically proven. A plant-based diet reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, obesity and even some forms of cancer including prostate and colon. Prostate cancer is extremely common in people approaching the third quarter of their lifespan, and anything that reduces the likelihood of contracting it is ideal.
A study by Nutrafit, an L.A.-based food delivery service, notes that those with type 2 diabetes who switched to veganism saw their LDL cholesterol drop by 21 percent.
Blood pressure is a common threat for North Americans given an individual’s high-stress existence. A study by the American Dietetic Association in 2009 showed a decreased risk of ischemic heart disease even in just vegetarians, let alone vegans.
5. Animal Welfare
One not need look far to see the abuses and poor treatment of animals on farms; chickens in cages so small they can’t turn their bodies, horses mercilessly slaughtered and forced to feed off their former species, thus recycling GMOs in their system. Factory farms in particular have been cited on numerous occasions for animal cruelty. Their cut rate prices on meat also means cut rate treatment.
More humane alternatives are there, but they’re being continually stamped out and overshadowed by larger, cheaper factory farms. It’s not just the animals that are mistreated, but the workers are also underpaid and undervalued. If it was enough to make Lisa Simpson turn at least vegetarian, then it should at least leave some sort of mark on your conscience.