“I am the change I want to see in the World”
1. Do it for the Animals
Originally, I decided to go Vegetarian because I love animals, why would I want to kill them and eat them. I started to make the connection between the cow in the field and the food on my plate. However as a society we are taught from a very young age that meat/poultry/dairy are all part of a healthy balanced diet. ‘We have always eaten meat’.
It’s time we opened our eyes to the torture that animals go through at our hands. We have created an out of control mass production system and a demand so high for (cheap) meat that we forget that they are living, breathing, feeling creatures just like us. We turn our backs on the reality of how the cow gets to our plate because it is too hard to face the truth. I figure when it comes down to it most people want to keep eating meat because they think it tastes good. Most haven’t even given a plant based diet a shot. They have already made their minds up. They don’t want to hear the harsh truth about the suffering animals endure before reaching their plate.
Each day animals are enslaved, beaten, tortured, neglected, skinned & mutilated for our own selfish reasons. Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on or to perform for our entertainment.
An incorrect assumption is that a Vegetarian/Vegan diet is boring and depriving, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I can healthily substitute anything I fancy into a Vegan diet whilst at the same time satisfying my taste buds. I often get asked if I miss it and honestly, I don’t, not one little bit. Once you allow yourself to truly accept the nature of the meat industry you will be so sickened by it that eating meat will never cross your mind again.
I have been told ‘it’s all propaganda, animals don’t all get treat that bad’. So what? What if it is all propaganda? Why do we still believe it is ok to kill something that doesn’t want to die. A cow feels pain, happiness & fear. Regardless of how it is treat during its life, I’m sure as hell it doesn’t want to die. If I killed another human, I would go to jail, it would be murder. But surely isn’t that what killing innocent animals is….murder?!
2. Do it for your Health
So, the animals didn’t tug on the old heart strings eh? What about you, do you want to die young, or do you want to live a full and healthy life?
Many health conditions have been extensively linked to consuming animal products.
Heart Disease & Diabetes
It’s been well documented that eating too much red meat is bad for us, it increases the risk of heart disease and increases your chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Red meats are known for having high saturated fats which raise your blood cholesterol and can result in clogged arteries and subsequently heart attacks. We are advised to limit our red meat intake and substitute with poultry. However, that is just because it doesn’t contain as much cholesterol as red meat. Why have it at all? Our bodies produce the perfect amount of cholesterol we need to function. Anything extra we consume goes above and beyond what we need and can cause us a multitude of health problems. All dietary cholesterol comes from animal derivatives.
Again, another attack on red meat. Cancer UK states that evidence has been around for decades which supports a link between certain types of meat and some forms of cancer (most notably bowel cancer). They also warn that this isn’t counteracted by the quality of the meat. It is in fact due to the chemicals within the meat itself, such as Haem (an iron-containing compound), which gets broken down in our gut and forms chemicals (N-nitroso compounds). These chemicals have been found to damage the cells that line the bowel. Our marvellous bodies use other cells in the bowel lining to replicate more in order to heal. When this extra replication happens, it increases the chance of errors emerging in the DNA which is the first stage of the development of cancer.
So, red meat is a no no. You think you are safe with poultry then?
Chickens which are bred for meat have been genetically developed to get bigger and bigger than ever before. Chickens and turkeys are getting so big that they are being crippled under their own weight. Do you ever think about how much your food is genetically modified? Chickens and turkeys are crammed into such small conditions that they can’t even spread their wings. Their muscles waste away and bones break through lack of use before being transported to slaughter for our food. Is this really the kind of nutrition you want to be consuming? Poultry is one of the biggest sources of foodborne illnesses due the filthy conditions they are forced to live and be slaughtered in, along with all the toxic chemicals they are soaked in. Welcome E-coli and Salmonella.
Antibiotics are great, aren’t they? Noun – a medicine (such as penicillin or its derivatives) that inhibits the growth of or destroys microorganisms, used chiefly in the treatment of infectious diseases. They can literally be a life saver. Antibiotics can also be used on animals.
When livestock become ill, they should not make it to our supermarkets, which would be a huge loss to the farming corporations. They therefore pump animals with antibiotics to keep them free from illnesses and diseases as much as possible. If one animal is ill, then they all get treatment. In the appalling conditions cattle are kept in there is no wonder they all just get pumped full of the stuff. Repeated use of antibiotics has been linked to Diabetes and a resilience produced in the human body against the drug itself, quite possibly when needed the most.
We are continuously being warned by the NHS not to use antibiotics for each and every ailment. Do you ever consider the vast amount you are consuming through your food?
3. Do it for the Environment
Let’s think about the bigger picture for a moment. What about the environment? The world we live in, the thing we can’t possibly live without.
Firstly, the employees who raise and ‘care’ for the animals are not well looked after. They do not get paid well and work in conditions that go against their own human rights. But we all need to make a living, right? It’s no wonder these people need to turn off their own humanity to carry out these tasks. I know there are some incredibly ‘well run’ family farms but these are becoming increasingly few and far between. They are becoming the exception rather than the rule. So, this little chick is born and raised in horrendous conditions, pumped with food to make it large enough to suit our appetites and if it survived long enough to be deemed edible, then it is killed. Shame we can’t possibly get our protein from a different source though (cough cough)?
Animal manure produces masses of Co2 and Methane which is incredibly bad for the environment. All this excrement is usually shipped away where a large amount of our earth is being turned into wasteland.
Animal Agriculture is big business and we know the world is run by money and greed. Do you think big corporations really want us to know what goes on behind the scenes? All the adverts we see on TV are of the happy chickens playing in the vast open fields, we are blinded by words such as ‘Organic’ and ‘Free Range’. We are being lied to and manipulated by the media, who are very clever. You can forgive yourself for being fooled by it for so long.
It takes many pounds of grain to produce one pound of edible meat. These grains would be far more economically used by being fed to humans directly, especially given the huge poverty crisis we face. We are destroying masses of forest land to make space to produce crops. These crops are used to feed the multitude of animals that we produce at an incredible rate (animals are forcibly impregnated by rape racks). Forests act as ‘sinks’ to take in all our Carbon Dioxide and we are cutting them all down! Far more agricultural land is used to grow crops to ‘fatten’ up our animals than to feed people.
I often hear that we need to eat all the cows to keep their population down. People seem ignorant of the fact that we are the ones producing that mass number in the first place!! Almost a fifth of the emissions that contribute to global warming come from livestock, more than cars, trucks and planes combined. The answer surely isn’t ‘lets eat all the cows then’ but to stop breeding them in such a way completely.
But what about the plants? Don’t they have feelings too? This old argument. We will save many more plants by not feeding them to the animals we are mass producing in the first place.
Plants haven’t been proven to be sentient beings and I worry if people can’t see the difference between cutting an apple in half and cutting an animal in half?!
Even considering some people’s arguments on this subject, does the fact we can’t stop all pain and suffering mean we shouldn’t stop any?
4. Cow’s Milk is for Baby Cows
We need milk to get enough calcium, right? But it must be cow’s milk! Not dog milk, rabbit milk, cat milk, no it must be cow’s milk. Most people I speak to shudder at the thought of drinking their dog’s milk but have no issues when it comes to drinking cow’s milk. Another well played media manipulation I think. It’s not even as if you are drinking milk from one single cow. Most dairy farms will combine milk from various cows, so the infection count is lowered, therefore less wastage. Combine milk from an infected cow with milk from a non-infected cow and you are good to go. But it’s all in the name of getting our calcium intake, so that’s fine.
Did you know that the following foods are extremely high in calcium and your daily intake is only recommended at 1,000 milligrams?
- Sesame Seeds (100g) – 94% RDV (think hummus)
- Soy Milk (250ml) – 45% RDV
- Almond Milk (250ml) – 35% RDV
- Orange Juice (250ml) – 35% RDV
- Tofu (100g) – 35% RDV
- Black Eyed Pea/Bean (100g) – 12% RDV
- Dark leafy greens such as Curly Kale (Cup) – 10% RDV
- Almonds (Handful) – 7% RDV
Female cows are artificially inseminated as young as 1 year old and can lactate for ten months. After this time they are artificially inseminated again. Once they give birth the calf, crying for its mother, is carted away to be fed on milk replacers so that we can benefit from the mother’s milk instead. Cows often develop mastitis in the dairy industry and can be sent to slaughter early if developed. Cows can usually live for 20 years and produce milk for around 8-9 years. However in the dairy industry this period only usually lasts around 4-5 years due to stress & illness. The cows are then sent to slaughter.
Turning our attention to the calves who have just been dragged away. The females are doomed to the same fate as their mother and will get inseminated shortly after their first birthday.
The males however, will be sent off to the veal industry. The calves are caged so tightly they can’t move around which causes their muscles to atrophy and remain tender. The calves are fed on a milk substitute which makes them gain 2 pounds (minimum) a day. This milk substitute is low in iron purposefully, resulting in anaemia so their flesh stays a pale white. Most will also suffer diarrhoea & pneumonia all while desperate to be reunited with their mother.
Dairy farming supports the veal industry is sad symbiosis.
Not to mention again that you don’t really know where your milk is coming from and what hormones and antibiotics it is being pumped with, the bottom line is cow’s milk is meant for baby cows.
A cow has four stomachs and is required to gain hundreds of pounds in a matter of months. It has much higher protein levels than human milk and more and more people around the world are becoming lactose intolerant. This means our bodies cannot tolerate cow’s milk. It causes us bloating, gas, cramps, vomiting, headaches, rashes, and asthma. I doesn’t sound like a healthy diet to me.
5. Being Vegetarian will help you lose weight.
I have found becoming Vegetarian helps to lose weight, and not because we are starving ourselves. Although I can only speak for myself here, becoming Vegan was the best ‘diet’ I have been on. I say ‘diet’ in the loosest terms here. Being Vegan is a lifestyle choice, not a diet restricting foods, but being conscious of the foods I am choosing to eat. Choosing Vegan means choosing health. I look up ingredients and nutritional information more now than I ever did. It helps me to make conscious choices about what I fuel my body with.
I used to be so fixated on getting the right number of calories, carbs, protein and fat in my diet, continually monitoring what I ate. Now I don’t have to. Occasionally I will check that I am still on the right track but most certainly don’t do it every day, and I never weigh myself. I can eat more freely now because I know the choices I make are based on healthy decisions. It is like my body is rewarding me for fuelling it correctly.
I have been into fitness for many years now and like most girls have dreamt about the day I have those washboard abs. Although I am more focused on health now, as soon I had been Vegan for a good few months my stomach started looking better than ever.
For anyone struggling with their health and fitness goals, I would highly suggest giving a Vegetarian based diet a shot. Done properly it will provide your body with all its essential nutrients whilst cutting out the fats and cholesterol from animal based derivatives.
6. It will open your Eyes
Before I became Vegetarian I thought I understood the meat industry, but I was so blind to it. I believed what the media and clever advertisements told me. I never really gave much thought to the process behind it.
Plenty of people say to me ‘oh don’t tell me about it, I don’t want to know what really happens’. We shouldn’t have to cringe at the thought of how our food reaches our plate.
We are big protesters when we see animal cruelty. The majority of us would never kill, skin and cook animals ourselves. We would never purposefully hurt an animal and would probably put our own pet’s well-being above our own. Why do we then let others do our dirty work for us? We pay for other people to be cruel to helpless animals and we are ok with this, if we don’t see it. Disassociating ourselves from it understandably. We think of no distinction between the chicken on our plate to the potatoes and veg. It’s just ‘food’.
When I ask people why they still eat meat most give me the same excuses time after time and when I explain the alternatives they then turn to ridicule me or turn it into a joke. I think this is just a self defence mechanism because they know what they are doing isn’t right.
We should be proud of the foods we put into our body, knowing that it is for the benefit of all living creatures, humans and animals alike. Our food is more chemically and hormonally altered than ever before, produced in such mass numbers it will baffle you.
Think of when the animal was slaughtered. Then how long it takes to prepare and get transported before it reaches the supermarket, to then sit even longer on the shelf until a customer buys it. Our food is getting transported the longest distance than ever before.
Once meat hits oxygen the red colour it has slowly turns a greyish colour. This is not very appealing and supermarkets know this. The meat is then treated with Carbon Monoxide to keep it the red/pink colour we associate with a fresh cut of meat. Yes, you heard me right, Carbon Monoxide! The very same chemical that we are told to be so careful about. The silent killer. The chemical that has no odour or smell, we therefore need Carbon Monoxide detectors in our homes. This is what your ‘food’ is being treated with.
Once you start looking into it your eyes are literally opened.
7. Organic and Free Range don’t really make a difference.
Some people are against the mass production of meat, so they choose to source Organic and Free Range. But let’s look at the actual meaning of that:-
Food produced without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Prioritises resources, ecological balance and to conserve biodiversity.
These reasons do not however benefit the animals in any way. Many organic farms keep cows and chickens in the same conditions as non-organic farms. To keep their ‘organic’ status animals are not allowed to be given antibiotics, even when they are ill and have infection. There has also been no evidence to support the belief that eating organic has any health and nutritional benefits over non-organic food. I wonder if the fact we think it tastes better is all just a placebo effect.
Free range farms, for chickens for example, only deem that they must have access to an outdoor area but do not specify how much time they spend there. They are still crammed into small sheds or mud filled pens, however just not in separate ‘battery cages’. The chickens still must endure the painful ‘debeaking’ and agonizing conditions that non-free-range chickens have to live in.
8. Our bodies are not necessarily ‘designed’ for it
I hear this argument a lot; We are meant to eat meat because we have canines.
Nearly all mammals have canine teeth and the mammal with the largest canine teeth, the hippopotamus, is in fact a herbivore. If you think the fact that we have canine teeth means we should eat meat, then take a look at the gorilla. The gorilla has a diet of foliage and fruit and occasionally tiny ants and termites (not that you would need canines to chow down on those tiny creatures).
Lets compare herbivores and carnivores. A carnivore such as a lion will use their huge canine teeth to catch, kill and tear apart the flesh of their prey. They also have large claws to help rip and tear through the meat. Lions have an acidic stomach which helps kill off any bacteria usually found in rotting flesh. Carnivores have short intestines unlike herbivores which have longer intestines (like us).
If we were to catch our own food, we would need tools and fire to help kill and cook it. If we eat slightly undercooked chicken we get ill and we most certainly wouldn’t be able to rip through tough skin with our ‘canines’.
Herbivores tend to have more flat molars for grinding and our jaws can make a side to side motion to help with this whereas a carnivore’s jaw has a simple hinge for slicing.
If after all the arguments we agree that we are in fact omnivores, we still have the option to choose. We are certainly not out in the wild where we need to hunt and kill food for our survival. There is an abundance of food to fulfil our nutritional needs without ever having to intake any animal products. We use justifications for eating animals and their by-products so we don’t feel guilty about the fact that we contribute to such a cruel and unnecessary activity.
9. It will save you money
When I first got into the fitness industry I was bombarded with the need for protein. We must buy chicken, steak & eggs. I remember one woman who owned a gym who didn’t even buy free range eggs stating: ‘do you know how many eggs I eat a day, I couldn’t possibly afford to buy them free range’. Then, on top of that, you have to buy the best whey protein powder and protein bars etc. etc. the shopping list got very pricey.
Now that I have converted onto a Vegan diet I’m amazed at the low cost of most foods. Lentils, chickpeas, beans, seeds, potatoes, porridge and most veg can be sourced for very little. A bunch of bananas, a pack of apples or pears can be bought for £1-£2. Even berries and nuts which are a little bit more expensive for what you get are still much cheaper than a steak! We have the freedom to shop around. Supermarkets are in a constant price war with each other and if you go to markets you will find better prices still (while supporting the local community, win-win).
10. You will feel Great!
Last but most certainly not least, converting to a Vegan diet will make you feel great! Knowing that you are giving your body the best possible fuel it needs, all while saving the lives of many animals, will give you a sense of pride & happiness which is priceless. Your energy levels will increase. Ailments will disappear and recent studies show that the Vegan diet is the healthiest diet to be on. What are you waiting for?