I grew up with grandparents of the 19th century deeply rooted in an agrarian culture. They were the children of German immigrants who ate mostly grains, legumes vegetables, and fruit, meat was a small part of their diet.
Today things have changed. We eat way too much meat and it’s hurting us and killing the planet.
Many of the most brilliant and mindful souls I know live lightly and choose vegan diets and lifestyles.
Why did they transition to a vegan diet in the first place? What is it that drives them to make the choice every day and enjoy it?
I decided to ask a few of my vegan friends why they’ve adopted and love the vegan lifestyle.
Global Food Security
According to The World Population Clock, next year there will be 8 billion people to feed from diverse social and economic circumstances.
There is great worry that a global food crisis is coming. And it will be exacerbated by the resources needed to manufacture animal products.
The fact is we are planting too many acres for animal feed and not for direct human consumption.
Assuming a two-billion-person growth by 2050, there simply won’t be enough water to grow enough food to sustain that many people.
Agriculture consumes over 70 percent of all fresh water and meat production requires up to ten times as much water as plant-based agriculture for producing food.
A vegan diet has health advantages stemming from eating plant foods, including fresh produce, nuts, and whole grains.
In addition to providing energy, many of these meals also include fiber, antioxidants, and other vital minerals. With fewer animal products to consume, there is less of a chance of developing health issues due to a lack of saturated and trans-fat.
Eating more plants and less meat reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Even though you might be worried that you won’t get enough protein on a plant-based diet, you can get enough protein from foods like quinoa and almonds, so you don’t have to miss out on anything and can be extremely healthy consuming only vegan ingredients.
It’s Better for the Environment
Another reason to adopt a vegan diet and lifestyle is that it’s better for the environment than an omnivorous diet. The reason is simple; vegan food is more sustainable.
The UN tells us, “Animal-based foods, especially red meat, dairy, and farmed shrimp, are associated with the highest greenhouse gas emissions. Plant-based foods – such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, nuts, and lentils – use less energy, land, and water, and have lower greenhouse gas intensities than animal-based foods.
French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) compared the environmental impacts of meat-based diets to Vegan. They found vegetarian and/or vegan diets: produced almost 50% less greenhouse gas emissions and require less energy for food production.
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
— Albert Einstein
“I’m vegan, though not completely religious about it. While writing ‘Sapiens,’ I became familiar with how we treat animals in the meat and dairy industries. I was so horrified that I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.” –Yuval Noah Harari
“I’m vegan, though not completely religious about it. While writing ‘Sapiens,’ I became familiar with how we treat animals in the meat and dairy industries. I was so horrified that I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.” Yuval Noah Harari
Much of the meat we eat is produced by intensive industrial animal production, “factory farming”. It’s designed to maximize production while minimizing costs, but the animals suffer greatly.
Animals are kept in cages or crates or are crowded together in pens. Sometimes referred to as concentrated or confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), animals cannot move or live as they should.
Animals aren’t the only ones suffering because of these unnatural, inhumane conditions.
Consumers, rural communities, farmers, workers, and the environment are being hurt by the intensive farming systems employed on factory farms.
By adopting a vegan lifestyle, you aren’t causing harm or suffering from your diet.
It’s Easier Than Ever
It used to be that the lack of vegan options in stores and restaurants made it a challenge,
The good news is that things have changed, and today it is easier than ever to become a vegan and adopt the lifestyle full-time. Almost everywhere you go, you’ll find great vegan and plant-based options on the shelves and menus. You can even be vegan at Chick Fil A.
“If a wave of veganism washed over the land, in six months there would be Broccoli Kings, Taco Bell Peppers, and McTofu Drive-Thrus.” –Brian Wansink, ‘Slim By Design: Mindless Eating Solutions For Everyday Life.”
There are many compelling arguments for adopting a vegan lifestyle. You don’t have to compromise your beliefs and you don’t have to worry that you’ll go hungry. I think my grandparents would agree.
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, tell me why?