By Diane Small
Veganism used to be the realm of hippies and Hindus but today, it’s taking over the world. From California to Calcutta, people are shunning meat for health, environmental, economic and ethical reasons – not to mention the fact that veganism is a great approach to new year’s diet resolutions, and of course, #veganuary. In fact, there are loads of great reasons to give up meat, dairy and eggs. But veganism isn’t just about your diet – why not give up wearing fur and leather, too?
If you’re still not convinced, we’ve come up with 12 reasons to go vegan. Check them out – you only need one good reason to change your lifestyle, and there’s no better time to start improving your health and increasing animal welfare than now! If you’re already vegan, why not share this article with someone who’s not? It may be just the nudge they need…
1. You’ll live longer
Plenty of studies have shown that vegans are less likely to develop the main killer diseases in the West: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Despite what many people believe, vegans can get all the nutrients that they need to be healthy from their diet, including protein, fiber, and minerals, without all the nasty stuff that meat has, like hormones, antbiotics and the bad kinds of saturated fat.
2. You’ll get slimmer (maybe)
Beyonce said even after going on some crazy diets (cayenne pepper and maple water, anyone?) she still couldn’t lose weight–until she went vegan, that is. Vegans are, on average, up to 20 pounds lighter than carnivores are. Just be careful: some people think going vegan is all about breads, rice, pasta, nut loafs and vegan ‘cheesecakes’. Be sure to watch the carbs and calories, and also ensure you’re getting lots of vegan proteins like tofu, hemp protein powder or quinoa.
3. It’s WAY better for the planet
Our new favourite movie, Cowspiracy, shows that eating meat and wearing leather is not green. These activities are actually wasteful and cause enormous amounts of pollution – what’s worse, the meat industry is also one of the biggest causes of climate change. Adopting a vegan diet is more even more effective than switching to a “greener” car in the fight against climate change – in fact, it’s the best thing you can do for the planet, full stop.
4. You’ll save the animals!
This one may seem obvious, but did you know that each vegan saves the lives of more than 100 animals a year? Also, some may argue that ‘if the animals are treated with kindness, then it’s ok.’ This is simply not the case for meat, and even organic dairy and eggs are still mass produced in a cruel manner. Just watch the video below to see proof. There is simply no easier way to help animals and prevent suffering than by choosing vegan foods over meat, eggs, and dairy products.
5. It’s yummy and easy
Veganism is definitely more mainstream now, and dairy-product alternatives are so common that even Starbucks has soya milk (and will be getting almond milk soon too). Pizzerias are offering vegan cheese pizzas, and there are tofu based burgers that taste like the real thing. Can’t find these in your town? Never fear! Bloggers like Madeline Shaw, Deliciously Ella and even PETA have great recipes you can try cooking yourself.
6. Meat is actually pretty disgusting
Meat is often contaminated with feces, blood, and other bodily fluids—no wonder animal products account for the top source of food poisoning in the United States. And by ‘meat’, we’re not just talking beef here. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tested supermarket chickens and found that 96 percent of Tyson chicken was contaminated with campylobacter, a dangerous bacterium that causes 2.4 million cases of food poisoning each year, resulting in diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever. Ewww!
7. Dairy is pretty disgusting too
According to Élise Desaulniers, author of Cash Cow: Ten Myths about the Dairy Industry, milk and cheese are full of hormones, antibiotics and even organic dairy will have pus and blood in it! Yuk! Plus, many people are allergic to lactose and will experience gas, bloating and tummy aches after eating dairy. Milk products also encourage the production of mucous in our bodies, which is kind of gross, right? Plus, despite what cheese lovers may tell you, dairy is NOT the best way to get calcium in your diet; leafy greens, almonds, broccoli and non-GMO soya products like soy yogurt are a great way to get this mineral.
8. Vegan fashion is getting way cooler
Call it the ‘Stella effect.’ Since Ms McCartney demonstrated beyond a doubt that vegan fashion can be super stylish, loads of designers have followed. Today, top brands like Beyond Skin, Freedom of Animals, and Sydney Brown are matching and surpassing the looks of mainstream designers who insist on cruel fashion.
9. You’ll help end hunger
According to PETA and Cowspiracy both, eating meat doesn’t just hurt animals—it hurts people, too. It takes tons of crops and water to raise farmed animals. In fact, it takes up to 13 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh! All that plant food could be used much more efficiently if it were fed directly to people. The more people who go vegan, the better able we’ll be to feed the world.
10. You’ll save money
Meat and cheese are always the most expensive things in the average person’s shopping basket. By swapping to vegan proteins, you’ll be saving a packet!
11. You’re in good company
Who’s gone vegan? More like: who hasn’t gone vegan?! Joaquin Phoenix, Natalie Portman, Ariana Grande, Al Gore, Flo Rida, Tobey Maguire, Shania Twain, Alicia Silverstone, Anthony Kiedis, Casey Affleck, Kristen Bell, Alyssa Milano, Common, Joss Stone, Anne Hathaway, and Carrie Underwood are just few of the hundreds of high profile vegans we know about. See our 15 sexiest vegan men here, and check out what newbie Kristen Leotsakou says about how going vegan changed her life, below.
12. It’s not a religion
If you go out with friends one night and they all order a pizza to share, and that mozzarella looks really tasty right now…eat it. Going vegan doesn’t mean if you have a pair of leather boots or eat a piece of cake that was made with eggs you’re going straight to vegan hell. The idea is to try to do the best you can, and to remember that every little change helps not only you and the animals, but the planet on the whole too.
Main image: Wikicommons