We have finally made it to the third and final Part of my Misconceptions about Veganism series, where I address the most common questions and misunderstandings about going vegan. If you missed the first two parts, you can read them here: Part 1 and Part 2.
Open your heart, and let’s continue!
The vegan diet is not healthy.
A properly planned vegan diet gives you all of the calories, vitamins, nutrients, and protein you need, along with health benefits. Research shows that vegans are less susceptible to heart disease and cancers, and outlive their omnivorous counterparts, too. The vegan diet even improves acne, eyesight, and arthritis!
Contrary to popular belief, plants are packed with protein. Beef gives 6.4 grams of protein per 100 calories. Broccoli delivers 11.1 without all of the cholesterol and fat. Clearly a win-win situation! Plenty of athletes and weight lifters have caught on and choose to power their bodies with plants.
If you are worried about Vitamin B-12, you can take a supplement or multivitamin. B-12 does not even come from the meat itself, it comes from the bacteria. Where would you rather get your B complex from: a cruelty-free vitamin supplement, or a bacteria-coated piece of flesh?
Going vegan is very difficult.
Knowledge is power. If you educate yourself about the horrors of factory farming, you will have the power to kick these products out of your life. Focus upon the benefits, not the sacrifices. The cruelty, suffering, and pollution you are preventing far outweighs the momentary pleasure of eating animal products.
Going vegan opens your eyes to a world of delicious foods that most omnivores ignore. There are many new and tasty things to try: faux meats, vegan yogurts and cheeses, vegan ice cream, countless tofu dishes, tempeh, quinoa, chickpeas, edamame, seitan…And of course, you can cook vegan versions of all your old favorites, too! Truly, when you go vegan, the only thing you have to give up is cruelty. Once you make a habit of it, eating vegan is easy.
Farming animal products is a billion dollar industry. What about the jobs it provides?
We cannot put the interests of those employed by the animal industries above the good of billions of animals, human health, and our Earth. Resolving critical issues such as heart disease, cancer, climate change, and pollution will benefit society far more than sustaining the animal industry. Producing animal products is not worth destroying our planet and people in the process. As consumers increase their demand for plant-based products instead of animal-based, the job market will also make this switch.
If we stop eating farm animals, they will overpopulate and overrun the earth.
Worldwide, 70 billion animals are farmed for food each year. Two thirds of these animals are factory farmed. Evidently, human demand for animal products is responsible for this enormous population of farm animals. To maximize profit, farmers prioritize raising large numbers of animals that mature quickly so they can go to slaughter sooner. Animals are artificially inseminated regularly, some kept pregnant for the majority of their lives. Obviously, the observed population growth of farm animals is unnatural and will return to lower numbers when human intervention ceases.
Additionally, the world won’t become vegan overnight. The switch to plant-based diets will be gradual. As people’s consumption of animal products decreases, fewer animals will be bred to supply their demand. A situation where of billions of unneeded farm animals overrun the earth is unrealistic.
I am just one person. Going vegan won’t make a difference.
Many underestimate the amazing power of going vegan. Just one vegan meal saves 3000 gallons of water, 16 pounds of grain, and 2.74 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Now multiply these benefits by 3 meals per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year…As you can see, a single person is capable of making an enormous difference in the world by simply switching to a vegan diet.
A vegan saves about 198 animals per year. Imagine a room filled with 198 animals, all with knives to their throats. Only you have the power to spare them from this death sentence. 198 may be a small number compared to the 59 billion animals slaughtered globally per year, but your efforts mean that less animals will be brought into existence with the predetermined fate of becoming your dinner. If you could thrive on a diet that does not contribute to this cruelty, death, and destruction, why wouldn’t you? Once you have learned the horrible truth about the animal industry, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. Changing the world begins with changing yourself.
I don’t care. I don’t want to have anything to do with veganism.
As we have discussed, continuing to consume animal products affects you, future generations, and the planet. Choosing to ignore this issue does not mean the consequences will disappear. Open your heart and look beyond yourself. The Earth gives everything to you. You breathe its air, eat its food, and your body is made up of its atoms. We owe our lives to this planet, but humans are destroying it day by day. The least you can do is respect the environment and the animals you share this planet with by minimizing your contribution to this destruction.
Could you really look into the eyes of a pig, chicken, fish, or cow and tell it that you don’t care? That its life, pain, and suffering mean nothing to you? If you didn’t have someone to kill these animals for you, would you be capable of slaughtering them yourself? If you consider yourself an intelligent, thinking, and moral individual, then stop condoning the suffering that occurs behind your back on your behalf. Veganism is based upon values you already believe in, such as peace, non-violence, kindness, compassion, and equality. Stop discriminating who your morals apply to. Choosing to not harm other sentient beings is a minimum standard of decency.
This concludes my Misconceptions about Veganism series! I hope this information has shed light on the pressing need to move towards a vegan world. Maybe you have considered or attempted a vegan diet in the past. Or maybe you have eaten meat all your life. No matter your background, this is your moment. Today, you can make a decision that will profoundly change your life, the lives of thousands of animals, the planet, and all of posterity.
I leave you with these words:
“Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now – always.” – Albert Schweitz
I hope you will embrace the power of today and begin making steps towards a life that causes no harm.