Becoming Vegan for The Animals, The Planet, and My Health
In this post I will be sharing with you what it was that made me go vegan. Becoming vegan was probably the best decision of my life so far, and I want you to be able to consider becoming vegan yourself. My main three reasons for becoming vegan include (1) to show compassion and kindness to animals, (2) to help save the planet, and (3) to better my overall health and wellbeing. Keep an open mind and after reading this post I hope that you will have a small seed planted in your head that will make you question your habits and just maybe make a change that will benefit you, the planet, and every living being around you.
1. Becoming Vegan for the Animals
I became vegan to show compassion and kindness to animals. I have always been an animal lover. Dogs, cats, fish, bunnies, birds, you name it. I dreamed of having every pet imaginable when I was a little kid. However, I never attributed real living animals to the food that I put on my plate every single day. I never questioned why it was acceptable to eat some animals and not others. I never thought that maybe humans weren’t physiologically designed to eat other living beings. I was unaware and unknowingly detached from the reality of what I was eating.
One summer night after my freshman year in college, I was randomly watching videos on YouTube. I eventually came across some diet and lifestyle videos and one of them happened to be about veganism. At the time veganism was a foreign concept to me and I impulsively clicked the video to find out a little more. The video showed different vegan foods and talked about some documentaries worth watching. I was really interested at this point and ended up searching for the documentary Earthlings.
Little did I know, my life would take a 180 degree turn in the hour and a half film that I was about to watch. I have never been so angered, repulsed, upset, hurt, fearful, and sick to my stomach in my entire life. For the first time I had witnessed the truth about how animals were treated, what a factory farm was, what “grass fed” and “free range” really meant, how animals were slaughtered, how food got to my plate, what occurred on a dairy farm, and what I was putting into my body. Something switched inside of me, and after this night I never looked at meat or animal products the same again.
2. Becoming Vegan for the Planet
After my initial change to becoming vegan due to my newfound enlightenment and compassion for animals, I began to find other reasons as to why veganism was the right choice. One of those reasons was to help save the environment.
Like most people, I grew up being told that to save the environment I should do things like take short showers, not pollute, recycle, carpool to reduce carbon emissions, use less electricity, plant trees, etc. Little did I know that this was not really doing anything for the environment at all. I was hurting the environment 10 fold more by consuming meat and dairy products each day.
I did some research and some things I found out were:
- Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the total exhaust output from all transportation combined.
- Livestock and their byproducts (mostly methane) account for 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
- Livestock byproducts (Methane; a.k.a. poop) is 25-100 times more destructive to the environment than carbon dioxide.
- Cows produce 150 BILLION gallons of methane per day.
- Livestock is also responsible for 65% of all related emissions of nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of U.S. water consumption.
- 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of beef.
- 1,000 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 gallon of milk.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for 20-33% of worldwide freshwater consumption.
- Livestock covers 45% of the world’s available land.
- Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.
- A farm of 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste per day as a city of 411,000 people.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction.
- We are currently growing enough food on Earth to feed 10 billion people (very conservative estimate), but most of this food is fed to animals.
- The land required to sustain a vegan diet (1/6 acre) is 18 times less than a meat eater.
By becoming vegan I feel that I am helping the environment and the planet that I live on more than ever before. I truly feel that I am making a difference and am a true environmentalist by being vegan.
3. Becoming Vegan for My Health
Personally, my health has been a rollercoaster ride for most of my life. I struggled with multiple types of eating disorders during my childhood and teenage years, and I can proudly say that I am fully recovered in the present moment. I attribute much of my recovery and mental state surrounding food to veganism.
Veganism changed the way I felt and changed how I viewed food. When I stopped consuming animal products the first thing that significantly improved was my digestive health. I no longer felt sluggish and backed up. I truly believe that putting dead and decaying matter into your body makes you feel dead and decaying yourself.
I also began to view food as a way to fuel my body and I was no longer afraid to eat. Once I started eating whole foods that were nourishing and good for my body I realized what it meant to be full, how it felt to be hungry, and I didn’t associate food with the fat on my body. Veganism truly cured my distorted relationship with food.
In addition, after researching the health benefits of a vegan diet, I realized that I was bettering my health for my future. Perhaps the most astounding thing I learned was that through a vegan diet you can reverse heart disease, fight cancer, and reverse many other debilitating diseases that have become extremely prevalent in today’s society.
I hope that these few points have given you a little insight into veganism and how it can help you save the animals, the planet, and your own health. I hope that this sparks your interest and maybe makes you do some research into veganism and how it will benefit you! Listed below are some documentaries that may guide you on your quest into becoming vegan yourself :).
My Top 5 Documentaries:
- Earthlings (about the animals)
- Cowspiracy (about the environment)
- What the Health (about your health)
- Gary Yourofsky’s “Best Speech Ever” (veganism as a whole)
- Farm to Fridge (about the animals)
Other Documentaries Worth Watching:
- Forks Over Knives
- Food Matters
- Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
- Michael McGregor: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
- Food Choices