I have recently transgressed (again) from being vegetarian to vegan. Since I was 12 I have been going through stages of being vegetarian and vegan and for about four years I was weak and went back to animal based food and products. However I am now 100% COMMITTED to being vegan and will never ever go back to animal based food or products.
Important! I am not writing this post nor will I be writing the subsequent Veganism posts with the aim of converting you all to being Vegan. Instead I am writing about veganism to share with you an element of my life and also to hopefully start a discussion / debate on GGG how our lifestyle choices can affect the planet and even our health (whether in negative or positive ways)
So you may be asking ‘Why vegan? Well I personally believe in the vegan principles and ethics. Also I am now 100% committed to being vegan because it is better for the environment and also my health.
Principles and Ethics
Some may argue that we are born omnivores (meat and veg) and that eating and using animal based products is only natural. But is killing any animal (including human) ‘natural’? Is exploiting any animal (including human) keeping them locked up in pain and suffering ‘natural’?
I don’t think that it is ‘natural’ at all. Yes in the animal kingdom and in the circle of life some other animals kill other animals for food and some even ‘fun’. But these animals do not have choice – as humans we have a choice to choose that no animal including humans suffer in order for us to survive as a species. We do not need to eat animals to survive. We do not need to exploit anyone or anything including animals, humans or the planet to survive.
For more information about vegan principles and ethics then please watch the The philosophy of Vegan Values: The practice of non-violence Youtube video, go to the Veganism article on Wikipedia, or go to The Vegan Society website.
Being a vegan is better for the environment compared to an animal based diet because fewer resources are used.
Here is a simple demonstration:
Land + Water + Energy = Crops
Land + Water + Energy + Crops = Livestock and dairy products
I could go into this in much further detail but the post would be far too long. However hopefully from the simple diagram you can see by eating meat or having dairy products additional resources are being used. So to me it makes sense to just eat the crops. Yes energy and land is needed to grow crops and I will write more about vegan farming / agriculture in another post.
If you want more information about the environmental benefits of being vegan then please check out an interesting online essay called ‘Logical Environmental Reasoning for a Vegetarian Lifestyle’.
Also some food for thought is, in “A 2006 study by Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin, assistant professors of geophysics at the
University of Chicago, found that a person switching from the average American diet to a vegan diet would reduce CO2 emissions by 1,485 kg per year.” Source: Diet, Energy and Global Warming study.
As the vegan society says “How many times have you been told to eat more fruit and veg? Contrast this with how many times you’ve been told to eat more burgers…” The typical vegan will eat more fruit and veg than the average meat eater! And who can deny that an increase of fruit and veg is bad? Also people who “avoid meat also tend to have lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, and higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, and phytochemicals” Source: “Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian diets (June 2003)
A well balanced vegan diet provides a range of health benefits compared to meat eaters and even vegetarians. For further details about the health benefits and for some recipe ideas etc, check out Super Vegans – Living proof vegan diets and nutrition.
My next veganism post will explore about how easy it is to be Vegan using organic and locally sourced food. But in the mean time feel free to leave comments about your experiences of being a vegan or your arguments for or even against the various benefits of veganism including environmental.