When you tell someone you're vegan, the inevitable question in response is "why?" Most people assume it's for one specific reason: for health reasons or standing up for animals. However, I have multiple reasons. I used to be (in the not so distant past) an omnivore who enjoyed my glass of skim milk, eggs, and bacon in the morning, and a steak for dinner. I ate cheese on a regular basis and loved my hamburger, chicken wings, and ribs as much as the next American. I have to thank my lovely friend, Jennifer, who went vegan and sparked my interest. She let me borrow a book called "Skinny Bitch." That's where it all started.
I wasn't looking to lose weight, but the book opened my eyes to the world of industrial animal farms. Ever since then, I've been hooked to watching documentaries, keeping up with current articles, and reading all sorts of literature related to how we treat animals, industrial animal farming, health and nutrition, and the environment. My reasons for not eating animals are: the treatment of animals in industrial farming, health reasons, the effects on the environment, and even the conditions of the workers in the slaughterhouses. There is so much to learn about all of these, and it is so important to seek the truth so we can know what kind of a system we are supporting when we buy animal products. This post is dedicated to the environment. Take a look at this article from Scientific American:
We can look at several damaging effects on the environment when it comes to industrial animal farming. The greenhouse gasses that are emitted into the air, the manure that gets into our water systems, the pesticides and toxic chemicals, the amount of fuel used for transporting the animals all the way to shipping out packaged meat, antibiotics that created antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the amount of water it takes to raise this many animals, the amount of food we use to feed the animals, and deforestation due to creating new cattle ranches. The use of pesticides on crops and on the animals, along with the manure that gets into our waterways are responsible for the "dead zones" in the Gulf and in the East. When someone asks, "How are we supposed to feed everyone if we don't have the current system?," let them know the number of people you would actually be able to feed if it weren't for our current animal factory. It would be about 800 million.
When it comes to your health, well, animals aren't good for you. Forget the old protein fad because you don't really need that much protein. Not to mention, you can get plenty of protein form several different types of plants, nuts, seeds, etc. Dairy? Not good for you either. If you want to listen to the American Dietetic Association, who is sponsored by the National Dairy Council, then that's up to you. You really like those milk mustaches? Really? We aren't meant to drink cows' milk. We are the only ones to drink another animal's milk. You can get calcium from soy milk, rice milk, almond milk (my favorite), and so many plants. You will even absorb more calcium by consuming it from a plant, like kale. We have increased our animal intake so much that it is no wonder you see the jumps in obesity, heart disease and cancer. If you look at studies of several other countries who are on a plant-based diet, their health is much better than the U.S.
By going vegan, you can help in so many different ways, including your own health.