The benefits of being vegan are many. Everyone has their reason for going vegan in the first place, but each one of you knows there are more reasons than your own for doing so.
We all know why eating too much meat is bad for us, but how many people know that animal by-products are the leading cause of cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, heart disease and many more industrialised-country-related diseases? Of course going vegan does not guarantee perfect health, but it does eliminate many causes of illnesses. And, contrary to popular belief, veganism is not dangerous for children. If adults can live on a vegan diet, so can children. There are plenty of calcium sources out there and milk is not the only one that can give them strong bones. Moreover, although milk has the highest content, it is very low on the list of calcium absorption. Leafy green vegetables, soy and legumes are all excellent sources that are ingested much more easily.
Plants actually work together to absorb the different nutrients needed. Meat and other animal by-products counter the absorption of calcium, for example. The only food that is recommended to eat separately is fruit, which should only be consumed for breakfast.
Not only do we avoid many problems by going vegan, but have you noticed how glowing a vegan's skin can become? By getting much more natural nutrients, especially from vegetables, vegans' skin has a much healthier colour.
Vegans are less likely to be depressed, control anxiety and PMS, and have less hypertension problems.
A lot of land is required to grow the food that feeds an omnivore's food – the animals, that is. When we consider that the average American eats twice his weight in meat every year – and only meat – this amounts to an incredible quantity of farm animals.
The numbers are frightening. Today, the planet is inhabited by 1 billion pigs, 1.3 billion cows, 1.8 billion sheep and goat, and 13.5 billion chickens. The animals that feed us outnumber us on this planet, and only because we encourage them to breed at a much faster rate than they would if left to live naturally in the wild. This had led to ecosystem alteration and the use of vast amounts of resources to take care of them. Food, water and land are needed. For example, 16,000 litres of water are needed for only 1kg of beef.
Then, we have to consider the waste generated by these beasts. Only so much of it can be used to fertilize crops. Plus, the methane produced by these animals is the largest contributor to global warming on the planet.
Afterwards, we have to consider the impact of deforestation of land to meet the growing need of space to raise them. These are often virgin forests that are home to several species of animals, which in turn leads to a larger list of endangered species.
Not many people consider the impact of raising meat on social justice issues. First and most important is the amount of food needed to raise the animals that feed us. The beef eaten by Americans alone requires the same amount of grains that could feed the entire population of Africa. And, no need to speak of the injustice in price: a diet that includes meat is much more expensive, making it the rich people's food. Although not something I would encourage in anyone's diet, I still believe that there is a principle involved, similar to the desire of selling people water when it should be a right, and not the rich people's privilege.
Furthermore, the land that is needed to raise farm animals could be used by small farmers who only wish to feed themselves and their local community. Farm animals, especially cows, destroy land in a very short timeframe – land that could be suitable for growing crops for much longer periods of time – rendering it impossible to use in the future.
These are just a few of the benefits of a vegan diet. If you have any others to add, feel free to comment!
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