Veganism Is For More Than Just The Animals
The days of meat and dairy being a necessary staple in every household are coming to an end and making room for a much healthier option: veganism.
A vegan is an individual who chooses to not consume or use animal products of any form. To elaborate, meat, dairy, and eggs are completely out of the picture.
This topic may be familiar to those on TikTok because of a creator under the username “AliceandFern” and former creator “ThatVeganTeacher”. Due to these creators having more radical views, veganism has left a bad first impression for those who have been exposed to their content.
People commonly choose veganism for one or more of the following reasons: the animals, the planet, or their health.
By being vegan, no animal is harmed in the making of the food or products that you use on the daily. Most vegans find comfort in knowing that they could watch every step of their meal being prepared without having to witness a slaughtering.
“I feel lighter, I have more energy, and I feel more satisfied when I’m done eating rather than feeling ‘full’. I feel like my food fuels me rather than just filling me,” said vegan Alysen Donahue who transitioned to a plant-based lifestyle in January 2021.
A global survey conducted by Green Queen found that 90% of vegans chose this lifestyle because of their compassion for animals. That equates to 9 out of 10 of the 8,500 vegans who partook in the survey.
One animal that might sway you towards veganism is our arctic friend, the polar bear.An ongoing issue in the world currently is how the polar bears are being affected by climate change. You can’t open social media without seeing a picture of a pitiful polar bear laying in the puddle of their previously snowy habitat.
The Humane League (THL) discusses how plant-based diets could help fight the irreversible climate change in their article titled “14 Reasons Why Going Vegan Is The Best Thing We Can Do For The Planet”.
“What we eat is one of the biggest contributors to our individual carbon footprint, and going vegan can ease our diet’s burden on the planet. In fact, a study from Oxford University identified going vegan as the “single best way” we can reduce our carbon footprint, shrinking it up to 73%,” said THL.
For anyone who isn’t familiar, a carbon footprint is the amount of carbon emissions produced through fossil fuels from a singular person and/or group, and it plays an extremely important role in Earth’s climate. Basically, an individual’s regular habits that affect the environment negatively.
In addition to animal welfare, 64% of survey participants in the Green Queen poll chose veganism because of the environmental impact.
One environmental factor that non-vegans should keep in mind is the amount of space and grain it takes to produce their meat.
“In fact, 70% of the grain grown in the US feeds livestock, and, globally, 83% of farmland is set aside to raise animals. It’s estimated that 7 million tons of food that could be consumed by humans goes to livestock each year,” said the Global Citizen who argues that those 7 million tons could be used to combat world hunger instead.
Lastly, 53% converted for the health benefits.
For people with critical health issues, veganism can be a game changer.
According to Healthline, vegans have a reduced risk of contracting different types of cancers such as breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Overall, maintaining an average of seven servings of fruits or vegetables each day lowers your chance of having and/or dying from cancer by 15%.
For those who are interested in transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, a concern may be how they will go without their beloved meat and the protein it provides.
Luckily, vegan meat replacements such as BeyondMeat, Gardein, MorningStar Farms, and Tofurkey exist and are treasured by the vegan community.
In addition, many major food companies are also beginning to offer options for the vegan community. Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), a well known fried chicken fast food restaurant, now offers plant-based chicken through Beyond Meat. Another fast food place that supports vegans would be Chipotle, they offer sofritas (shredded tofu) and chorizo (pea protein) as choices of meat.
As for the protein part of veganism, protein is found in many things that you already see and eat everyday. For example, beans and lentils are excellent sources of protein, as well as nutritional yeast and tofu (for those who are open to trying it).
Just as you might catch yourself posting an Instagram reel about climate change’s effect on animals, maybe try tofu for dinner instead of burgers, that’ll help more.