I decided to become a veggie on 1/1/20, so have recently celebrated my 1 year veggie anniversary! I can quite honestly say I feel happier, healthier and more energised since giving up meat. I had been thinking about it for ages, but finally put it into practice as one of my New Years Resolutions last year. I am glad to say that it is the ONE resolution that I have kept, (probably the ONLY one), and am likely to keep now for the rest of my life.
I love animals and buried my head for a long time about the processes that go on in raising and killing animals for human consumption, but before you stop reading, this post is not about that. There are plenty of other extremely good reasons to give up, or even cut down, on your meat intake., and this article is not about animal cruelty.
“Britain’s vegetarian population has doubled over the past 25 years, according to a report carried out by New Nutrition Business on behalf of the Linda McCartney brand. That makes 12% of the population veggie, and they predict that by 2041 one in four Brits will have bid adieu to meat.”
Firstly, you will very probably become more healthy! Did you know that about 75% of all diseases, including one third of all cancers, can be attributed to diet? A vegetarian diet reduces the risk of nasty diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, stomach, lung and oesophageal cancer. How? Because Vegetarian diets are naturally lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. Vegetarians have been shown to have a 24% lower risk of dying of heart disease than meat eaters. That’s quite a high percentage!
Next, you are likely to lose weight if you cut out meat. Since I have became a vegetarian, I have lost half a stone without trying. Veggies tend to have a lower BMI than meat eaters, due to a fibre-rich foods.
You won’t be ingesting any nasty toxins! Meat can contain a lot of toxic hormones, herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics. As these toxins are all fat-soluble, they concentrate in the fatty flesh of the animals. Not to mention the viruses, bacteria and parasites such as salmonella, trichinella and other worms, and toxoplasmosis parasites. Ugh!
Sticking with health benefits, for women of a certain age, (myself included) a vegetarian lifestyle can make for an easier menopause. Some plant-based chemical compounds mimic the behaviour of oestrogen. Maintaining a balance of oestrogen and progesterone levels, helps ensure a more comfortable passage through menopause. Particularly helpful foods for this time of life are soy, apples, cherries, dates, garlic, olives, plums, raspberries, squash and yams. Menopause is also a prime time for weight gain due to a slower metabolism, so a high-fibre vegetarian diet can also help ward off extra pounds.
A vegetarian is also likely to own a better digestive system: Eating a lot of vegetables means consuming more fibre, which pushes waste out of the body. Meat does not contain any fibre. Veggies tend to have fewer instances of constipation and haemorrhoids.
And its energy giving! Good nutrition generates more positive energy, energy to keep up with the kids, to tackle stressful work situations and even to sleep better when we go to bed. Too much fat in your bloodstream means that arteries won’t open properly and that your muscles won’t get enough oxygen. Cholesterol laden, artery clogging animal products can actually slow us down and make us feel sluggish and lethargic.
This is my favourite! It’s anti ageing! Not only did a British Medical Journal research study find found that vegetarians outlive meat eaters by up to 10 years, but a vegetarian diet is generally rich in fibre, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which in turn strengthens the immune system and slows down the aging process. YAY!
Its easy! Don’t use the excuse that its too difficult to turn veggie, like I did for years. Going veggie is easier than ever before. With the increasing availability of Quorn and Linda McCartney’s amazing range, (her rosemary ‘sausages’ are something else!), along with other meat alternatives, you can actually eat the same meals as you would when you were eating meat. I started last year eating a lot of meat alternatives, but when I discovered all sorts of veggie bakes, pies, and lasagnes were as tasty, satisfying and filling, I realised that I didn’t really need meat substitutes as much!
Becoming a vegetarian will help the planet! The raising of livestock creates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world, most of it from manure. You will also be preventing the extinction of species. Cultivating the feed needed to raise livestock is responsible for over 89% of Amazon deforestation:
“Deforestation is not only a key cause of climate change, but results in species extinction. Over half of the worlds animals live in rainforests and they are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, so when you combine those two facts, the effects of sustaining a meat-heavy diet are devastating to plants and animals alike.”
Becoming a vegetarian will also help reduce water pollution. Chemical and animal waste from factory farms is responsible for hundreds of miles of polluted rivers and streams in this country. Waste from farmlands is one of the greatest threats to water quality today. Agricultural activities that cause pollution include confined animal facilities, ploughing, pesticide spraying, irrigation, fertilizing and harvesting. Interestingly, it takes 3 to 15 times as much water to produce animal protein as it does plant protein, so as a vegetarian I also contribute to water conservation.
If there were more vegetarians there would be less world hunger: A study conducted by Oxford University’s Future of Food Programme, reported that becoming vegetarian could actually save millions of lives. Scientists found that if everyone went veggie, 7.3 million lives could be saved by 2050. Even by just cutting down on meat consumption, the number of deaths could be halved. Why? Because on average, 40% of global grain production is used to feed livestock, instead of people.
“If all food crops grown globally were fed directly to humans instead of animals, around 70% more food would be added to the world’s supply, which would be enough to feed 4 billion additional people…..that sudden surplus alone would be enough food to feed over half the humans on earth, let alone the 795 million who face hunger every day.”
It’s cheaper! A vegetarian diet is not only good for your body and mind, its also good for your bank balance! I spend approximately one third less on food now than I used to when I was buying meat.
Vegetarian meals can be tasty, fast, and easy and even those who don’t want to give up meat completely are considering eating less, with 59% of Brits looking to reduce their meat intake.
Finally, a last word for the animals. Animals in factory farms have no protection from cruelty that would be against the law if inflicted on our beloved domestic pets. A vegetarian lifestyle is a kinder gentler lifestyle which I am much more comfortable living than I was as a meat eater. It took me a long time to get there though, and I have laid out here just a few of the reasons that finally got me on board. Perhaps it may be time to do some further research on those points which matter most to you, if you have got this far. And, from that research, perhaps you may decide to make a choice. And it may be the best choice you will ever make.