At Down to Earth, we strongly believe that the single most important thing an individual can do for their health, for the environment, and for the sake of the innocent animals is to adopt a vegetarian diet. In celebration of National Vegetarian Awareness Month (October) and World Vegetarian Day (October 1st), let us take a few minutes to reflect on why.
For Your Health
Leading health experts agree that going vegetarian is the single-best thing we can do for ourselves and our families. Healthy vegetarian diets support a lifetime of good health and provide protection against numerous diseases, including our country’s three biggest killers: heart disease, cancer, and stroke. The American Dietetic Association states that vegetarians have “lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; … lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer” and that vegetarians are less likely than meat-eaters to be obese.1 Well-planned vegetarian diets provide us with all the nutrients that we need, minus all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in animal flesh and eggs.
Scientists have also found that vegetarians have stronger immune systems than their meat-eating friends; this means that they are less susceptible to everyday illnesses like the flu.2 Vegetarians and vegans live, on average, six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters.3 In fact, studies have shown that people who switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet can prevent and even reverse many chronic ailments.
For the Environment
What we choose to eat is one of the most significant factors in the personal impact we have on the environment and the fastest path to reducing our impact on climate change. It is noteworthy that the United Nations and many leading environmental organizations—including the National Audubon Society, the WorldWatch Institute, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists—have recognized that raising animals for food damages the environment more than just about anything else that we do.
The negative effects of the meat industry are far reaching. Whether it's unchecked air or water pollution, soil erosion, or the overuse of resources, raising animals for food is wreaking havoc on the Earth. By going vegetarian you will help to:
- Avoid excessive CO2 production Reduce methane/nitrous oxide production
- Save large amounts of water
- Avoid further pollution of our streams/rivers/oceans
- Reduce destruction of topsoil & tropical rainforest
- Reduce destruction of wildlife habitats & endangered species
- Reduce the use of antibiotics, growth promoters and chemicals
For the Sake of the Innocent Animals
What makes it wrong to eat a pet that has a unique and lovable personality, but okay to slaughter other animals and put them on the dinner table?
Are the cows, calves, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and other animals we find cute and endearing in so many ways, not deserving of our compassion, too? Animals on today’s factory farms are subject to cruel and inhumane treatment including neglect, mutilation, genetic manipulation, subjection to drug regimens that produce results for selfish commercial gain, and gruesome and violent slaughter. They have no legal protection from cruelty that would be illegal if it were inflicted on dogs or cats. Yet farmed animals are no less intelligent or capable of feeling pain than are the dogs and cats we cherish as companions.
Each year in the United States, approximately ten billion land animals are raised and slaughtered for human consumption. Given the suffering these animals endure, and given that all our nutritional needs can easily be satisfied without eating these animals, vegetarianism is morally required.
A vegetarian lifestyle awakens our spirit of compassion and guides us towards a kinder, gentler society in which we exercise a moral choice to protect animals—not exploit them. Down to Earth’s slogan is “Love Life!”—based on the idea that it is better to love animals, not eat them.
We hope that you will join us in celebrating World Vegetarian Day by taking advantage of the huge 40% Off Sale on October 1st and consider adapting a vegetarian diet, even if it's just for one day, or week, or month. Every meatless meal makes a difference. Your body will thank you for it, the planet will thank you for it, and animals, if they had the voices to say it, would also thank you!
- Ann Mangels, Virginia Messina, and Vesanto Melina, "Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets," Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Jun. 2003, pp. 748-65.
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine with Amy Lanou, Healthy Eating for Life for Children, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2002, p. 49.
- John Robbins, The Food Revolution, Conari Press: Boston, 2001, p. 14.