If you asked for vegan food at a restaurant 20, 10, or even five years ago, you’d be met with an eyeroll or confusion. Fast forward to now, and times have definitely changed. Hawaii has been found to be the most vegan-friendly state, with the highest number of fully vegan restaurants per capita of anywhere in the country. Preventing the exploitation of animals used to be the primary reason for going vegan; however, today the health and environmental impacts are also leading people towards eating a plant-based diet. Here are the top reasons people are going vegan:
- For the animals — Did you know every vegan saves almost 200 animals per year? We’re taught to think of animals raised for food as faceless flocks and herds, but farmed animals have unique personalities and emotions, just like pets. They feel affection, joy, and pleasure, as well as grief, fear, and pain. Like us, they form emotional bonds and deep friendships, and like us, they want to preserve their lives. There’s just no easier way to help animals and prevent suffering than by choosing vegan foods over meat, dairy, and eggs.
- For the environment — Factory farming releases a huge amount of greenhouse gases, including potent gases like methane, which play a central role in global warming and climate crisis. Conservative estimates show that animal agriculture accounts for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions – more than trains, planes, and cars combined. According to Joseph Poore, a researcher at Oxford University, “a vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth”.
- For health — A vegan diet avoids many unhealthy foods, including red and cured meats, and eggs, which are strongly linked to cancers, diabetes, strokes, and heart disease. Vegans also usually eat more fruits and veggies than non-vegetarians. Research consistently suggests that people who eat more fruits and veggies tend to enjoy better health. These benefits are probably due to low saturated fat intake and the healthy compounds found in plant foods. Animal flesh is also a breeding ground for disease.
- For human welfare — Animal agriculture causes high levels of suffering to humans too. People who work in slaughterhouses and on factory farms suffer higher levels of PTSD than other industries. Animal farms and slaughterhouses are also hotspots for bacteria and viruses, injury, and other illnesses. Many times, people choose these extremely harsh working conditions out of desperation and are looking for any job to survive. Factory farm and slaughterhouse owners take advantage of this and employ them with low pay, unfair hours, and dangerous work conditions.
- For money — Eating a plant-based diet can actually be cheaper than eating animal products. Yes, you read that right! A study conducted by Kantar concluded that vegans spend on average 40% less on food than omnivores. With the enormous range of affordable vegan alternatives these days, vegans can thrive on their wellness journey without breaking the bank!
This article is for education only. Speak to your healthcare provider before making any major changes to your diet.