Imagine for a split second that all the slaughterhouses around the world had walls made of glass. Every cramped cage, every stench collected together in various mountains of excrement, and every helpless scream, being heard from the animals who spend their lives inside and waiting for their moment of individual extinction to arrive. Now imagine a mirror that had the ability to look inside of the human body, witness all of its functions and the capability to make those functions. On the outside, everything may seem okay; however, on the inside it is a whole different story. Clogged arteries, a weak heart pumping as hard as it would ever have to, and layers of fat cells clustering together in any area they can fit into beneath the skin. The sad truth of the matter is, these two things are holding hands. Yes, the consumption of any animal and the products they create such as cheese, milk, or eggs, have lead many americans in the path of obesity, diabetes, and even organ failure. This is because whenever one ingests these two things, they also ingest the high saturated fat content, high cholesterol, and anything else horrible that can come from eating animals. However, these risks can be lowered dramatically and the consumption of food that is dangerously high in these listed health hazards can be avoided if one switches over to a more plant based, whole food diet such as veganism. Even though there are a wide range of benefits that can be provided in a lifestyle that includes the consumption of meat and animal products, much of the world and the earth itself would benefit if more people went vegan because not only does it lower humanity’s overall carbon footprint on the environment, but it can also provide many health benefits, and could actually lower the amount of animal cruelty happening today.
Many doctors and critics would like to argue against a plant-based vegan diet and the need to either adopt one or continue on one because of a simple reason. That reason is there are already many health benefits included in a diet that does include the consumption of animals and animal products. A staff reporter from Medical Daily goes into detail as to how one of the many ways this is possible. They write, “Meat contains all the essential amino acids, it definitely ranks as one of the best sources of protein” (“3 Benefits of Eating Meat.”). It is a well known fact that if a person does include meat and possibly other products from an animal into their diet, then they are guaranteed all of the essential nutrients their bodies such as the amino acids that cannot already be created within their system. As a result, there is no need on whether to worry if one is getting all of what they need in order to stay healthy and not lack in certain areas of health. However, this reassurance of nutrients can be just as easily conquered even if one is living a plant-based lifestyle. One doctor, Michael Greger, M.D., who had participated in a study done between vegans and omnivores, explains his findings. He writes in his article entitled, “Plant-Based Diets”, “Contrary to popular myth, vegans have healthy bones and higher blood protein levels than omnivores. Most vegans get more than enough protein. In one study, within a matter of weeks, participants placed on the plant-based diet experienced improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin levels, insulin resistance, and C-reactive protein levels”. Even though many people may look at vegans as malnourished or follow the belief that most of them don’t get enough of what they need to survive, in reality it is actually the opposite when both diets are placed side by side. If people want to insure that they can can meet or even exceed their needed amount of protein in their diet, along with the many other positive side effects of adopting this way of eating, then they are most likely to succeed with a more plant-based focus rather than of plant and animal. Therefore, when in contrast to an omnivore diet, veganism shows to have a more nutritional support behind it and this is one of the many reasons why more people should follow it. Furthermore, veganism can do more than just provide enough support within one’s diet.
One of the many benefits a plant-based vegan lifestyle can provide is lowering one’s carbon footprint on the environment. One of the ways that this carbon footprint is reduced is by the means of greenhouse gasses; one source uses an example from the state of Iowa. An article written by the Farm and Ranch guide, a local publication run by farmers and ranchers for nearly three decades, cites a research center that has collected data of the amount of specific greenhouse gasses. They say, “The Des Moines Water Works suit cites data collected by the Iowa Nutrient Research Center – established by the Iowa Legislature in 2013 – that indicates 92 percent of nitrates and 80 percent of phosphorus entering Iowa streams originates from farms”. The farms that are responsible for these large amounts of emissions, and those the article are referring to, are ones that are of factory farm type. Switching over to a plant based lifestyle, such as veganism, would reduce the need of these farms and in turn would reduce the amounts of greenhouse emissions coming from them overall. Another environmental helper of this diet is the total reduction of water being used. According to one source, which happens to be made of a collection of many facts brought together by a professional culinary school, there’s a drastic amount in consumption of water. There is more of this within a meat eating diet when compared to a plant based one. One of the facts they posted state, “A vegan diet requires 300 gallons of water per day vs. a meat eating diet which requires 4,000 gallons of water per day” (Veganism and Environment by the Numbers 2). A diet that includes meat uses roughly thirteen times the amount that a plant based diet does. Most of that water is used just to produce the meat that is being eaten. Not only could the reducing of so much water cause less waste of something everyone needs to survive, but it could especially be beneficial to places of countries that live in constant drought. One example is California for the United States. Continuing, environmental benefit is just one way a plant-based diet is more beneficial than one of meat eating.
Another greatly beneficial outcome of adopting a vegan lifestyle is it can provide a variety of health benefits. One example of these said benefits can occur in the form of reduced risk on common, yet potentially fatal, diseases. One article in support of this fact goes into detail by citing a doctor, who specializes and studies plant based diets such as veganism or general vegetarianism. The article, “Why Turn to Vegetarianism?” written by Susan Traugh, mentions, “According to William Harris, a physician who produces educational material on vegetarianism, numerous studies have shown that a vegetarian diet reduces the risk for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, intestinal cancer, lung cancer, and lymphatic cancer”. A lot of the diseases mentioned have been the cause of death for many Americans each year. There has been evidence of the risk of getting any of these drastically lower whenever someone is on/has switched to a more plant, less meat diet. If people want a higher chance to live a longer, happier life, then veganism is a great way to go. Continuing, veganism can not only lower the risk of cancer and other diseases, but it can also lower other various factors in one’s body that could be hurtful if they are not kept to a healthy amount. The same article mentioned before once again goes into detail, now on a critical experiment done on two randomly placed diabetic groups. The study went over the span of twenty-two weeks; one group having a vegan diet and the other placed on the American Diabetic Association’s (ADA) recommended diet. Following the full twenty-two weeks, the article explains, “both groups had lost weight, but the vegan group had lost more than twice as much as the ADA group. Both groups had also lowered their cholesterol levels. Again, the vegan group's change was nearly double that of the ADA group. In addition, both groups had improved blood lipid (fat) levels and had better blood sugar control”. This is just one of the many studies done with the vegan diet that has resulted the same time and time again; those results include things such as decreased cholesterol levels, improved blood lipids and other very positive outcomes as listed above. If someone is a diabetic, pre-diabetic, or even just wanting to get certain areas of their inner health under control, then choosing veganism might be a better option. Furthermore, this would be better than sticking with a traditional American diet, or any diet at all, that includes the consumption of animals and animal products. Along with the improvement of one’s health, there is one more big reason that makes plant based diets better than meat eating ones.
A third benefit that is provided by a vegan lifestyle is a positive outcome that extends beyond oneself and more onto other living beings. Stated plain and simply, it helps to save lives of an enormous amount of other animal species. In fact, a change to a more plant based way of living is the main reason why animal slaughter numbers have been lowering drastically for over two years. One article, written by the Editor-in-Chief of a Vegan newspaper, Hannah Sentenac, compares the number of said slaughtered animals between the year of 2014 and this present year. She does so by quoting a member who happens to be a part of the Humane Society of the United States. She says, “According to Paul Shapiro, who is the vice president of Farm Animal Protection for The Humane Society of the United States, ‘In that year, for example, the U.S. raised and killed 9.5 billion land animals for food. As of 2014, that number plummeted by a whopping 400 million’”. If there was a 400 million decline in the total number of animals slaughtered, then means that the demand for meat has also declined; meaning, more people of the U.S. are deciding to switch over to a more of a plant based lifestyle and less animals have to die for the sake of consumption. Those who want to say they support animal rights should know of this and switch over to a more plant based diet rather than continue on eating meat and other animal products. Moving on, the impact that a group of people who are following a vegan diet is a big one. However, when looking at how much impact an individual has on the reduction of animal slaughter, that can also be very helpful in saving animal lives. A blog, run by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or otherwise known as PETA, focuses in on this specific impact one vegan has on the lives of many animals. They speak highly of one of its own members, Noam Mohr, a well-known mathematician who created a report. This report calculated how many animals are actually eaten by an average American. His calculations found that, each year, the average person consumes roughly 130 shellfish, 40 fish, 26 chickens, one turkey, nearly half a pig, and a little more than a tenth of a cow. (“Vegans save 198 Animals a Year”). If that was added all together, then that means someone who follows a standard american diet consumes almost 200 animals in over the span of one year. Because vegans do not eat any animals or their products, they are actually saving 200 hundred lives, each, just by making the switch to veganism. If someone wants to take advantage of saving many lives every year, then refusing to eat animal meat, or animal product of any kind, would allow them to do exactly that. Not only can veganism decline the rates of animal slaughter in bigger numbers, but it can also save the lives of many animals even from an individual standpoint.
Yes, many people have reaped the benefit of being on an omnivorous diet style and have lived their lives healthy and happy. However, even more health benefit is just an arm’s reach away when one decides to go fully plant based and start living on a vegan diet. Not only that, but it has been proven, along with health benefits, veganism also shares environmental aid and lowers overall animal cruelty rates. These three things have a huge impact on the world around us, and the many living organisms within it. Lower rates of animal slaughter means animals no longer have to be forcefully bred, tortured, or killed for something as barbaric as the flesh on their bones. A lowered carbon footprint could dramatically increase the amount of the clean air that we breathe, as well as prolong the amount of time of global warming impacts. Finally, health benefits from eating more greens will leave everyone more happier, energetic, and live much longer without the need for any medication, special surgeries or treatments of any kind. This, and no demand for anymore animal meat, will leave everyone’s wallets much fuller in the future. In order for this to happen, everyone must follow more of a vegan lifestyle, and with one person at a time, it will leave this much of a positive impact in the years to come.