There are many reasons one might be vegetarian. A prominent reason is for health concerns, as the vegetarian diet is often high in fiber while also being and low in sugar and saturated fats. Similarly, some adopt vegetarianism due to growing concerns about food safety when it comes to meat. Moral and/or political reasons are also common; for example, some have embraced vegetarianism (and veganism) for environmental reasons. Some religions, like Hinduism and Jainism, prescribe or encourage vegetarianism. Others, like some Christian sects, practice abstinence from animal products during Lent.
Either vegans nor vegetarians eat meat. However, while vegetarians tend to consume dairy products and eggs, a vegan avoids all animal products, including eggs and dairy, and often inedible animal-based products, such as leather, wool, and silk. Vegetarianism is usually a diet, while veganism is a lifestyle. Vegetarians often choose their diet based on its reported or for religious or political reasons. In general, vegans have much stronger political beliefs regarding their diet, with some believing animals should be protected under many of the same laws that humans are.
There are too many reasons why changing your diet to vegan or vegetarian especially nowadays when forests are still being felled, deserts continue to spread, species are disappearing, pollution is increasing, global warming is accelerating and fish stocks are collapsing. And is our diet that is at the heart of it all. The evidence is now overwhelming, the greatest threat to the global environment is animal farming.
Here are the five main reasons why you should stop eating meat or at least reduce the quantity of animal products in your diet.
IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH: Meat-eating has been linked with cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and many other devastating diseases. By eliminating meat from your diet you can take a crucial step towards a long life of health and happiness. Animal products, such as meat and eggs, are the only dietary sources of cholesterol and the chief source of saturated fat, the main causes of heart disease. Not eating these foods reduces the risk of heart attack by 90%. The fiber in vegetarian diets not only removes unneeded cholesterol and other cancer-causing agents, but helps in reversing atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries. A 1990 study demonstrated reversal of even severe coronary disease through the combination of a low-fat vegetarian diet, stress management, moderate exercise and cessation of smoking. Vegetarians overall are 20% less likely to die from heart attack than meat-eaters. A low fat vegetarian diet, combined with regular exercise, helps reduce blood pressure and can control, or even eliminate, non-insulin dependent diabetes.
MORE ENERGY AND ENDURANCE: A vegetarian diet improves your stamina, concentration, and sense of well-being. Nearly everyone desires more energy, yet few people make the connection between fatigue and eating meat! Most people, even health professionals, mistakenly believe that eating meat is necessary for good health and strength. In fact, eating animal flesh significantly reduces energy and contributes towards overall ill health. The complex carbohydrates found in vegetarian foods are gradually digested (and easily eliminated), providing a steady source of glucose to the blood. Conversely, flesh foods contain virtually no carbohydrates and are very high in fat and protein. The fat and protein in meat are very difficult to digest, and take energy away from the rest of the body causing people to feel tired and sluggish after eating meat. Difficult to digest flesh foods stagnate in the bowels for two to three days creating a toxic overload for the whole body, contributing to fatigue, headaches, a weakened immune system, and many long-term diseases, including cancer. One study found that vegans (no animal products whatsoever) weighed an average of 10 pounds less than the rest of the population. Another study suggested they weighed 30 pounds less, and a third found that these vegetarians had 30% less body fat than the non-vegetarian population. A vegetarian diet is the perfect source of nutrition for the human body. A vegetarian diet based on whole grains, fruits and vegetables is low in fat, a great source of fiber, and rich in energy boosting vitamins and minerals. The primary component of a balanced vegetarian diet is complex carbohydrates, which are the perfect source for maximum energy and endurance.
CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT : The raising of animals specifically to kill them and eat them has resulted in incredible waste and devastation of our precious resources, by improperly using animals for food, we are eating ourselves off the planet. 65 percent of agricultural emissions are related to cattle for two reasons: a lot of land has to be cleared for grass-fed animals, and because less than four percent of what animals eat goes into meat and milk production. The rest is released as methane, a high-potent greenhouse gas. There are varying results of studies on the environmental impact of diets. While no two studies arrive on the exact same conclusions, it is widely accepted that cutting down on meats and moving to a more plant-based diet would be more environmentally-friendly.
AVOID TOXIC FOOD CONTAMINANTS: In a society where the meat industry has become very big business, we are conditioned to think of “meat” (the flesh of slaughtered animals) as a wholesome, nutritious food. Most people don’t realize that meat products are loaded with poisons and toxins! Yet periodically, harsh “reality checks” alert us to the deadly dangers of eating meat. Every year tens of millions of people become sick after eating contaminated meat! Though some may think eating “organic” meat is the solution, the fact is that dead animal flesh is inherently full of toxins and thus poisonous to the human system. Flesh foods are loaded with dangerous poisons and contaminants such as hormones, herbicides and pesticides, and antibiotics. As these toxins are all fat-soluble, they concentrate in the fatty flesh of the animals. Not to mention the viruses, bacteria and parasites such as salmonella, trichinella and other worms, and toxoplasmosis parasites.
HELP TO STOP KILLING ANIMALS: Animals who are raised for slaughter needlessly experience incredible suffering throughout their life and death. Many people try not to think of the torturous experiences of the animal whose flesh ended up in their hamburger or on their dinner table. But if it is distasteful to think about, consider what it is like to experience it. The living beings temporarily encaged in animal bodies are not here for us to harm and exploit. We are meant to act as caretakers and protectors of animals and the planet, not exploiters and killers. Many world religions like Buddhism and Hinduism all teach that eating animal flesh is wrong, but nowadays eating meat is like drinking water.
Give the devastating consequences of meat eating on an individual, social and ecological level, as thinking, caring beings we should choose vegetarianism. Many great philosophers such as Plato and Socrates have taught the morality of vegetarianism, eating meat is bad for your health, bad for the environment, and bad for everyone. By choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can experience optimum health, and the happiness of living at peace with your friends in the animal kingdom.