January is Veganuary, a month-long promotion to get you to consider going vegan, or at least to enjoy a few meat-free meals.
I’m a most unlikely vegan spokesperson because, while female, I am not young, blonde, or thin, and I don’t walk around in my underwear with PETA signs (you can thank me with money). But I do consume a vegan diet. In fact, of the approximately 1 million vegans in the US, almost 80% of us are women. I also buy cruelty-free beauty products and animal-free clothing. In the interest of transparency, I do have several pairs of leather shoes I’ve owned for over one year and I continue to wear them. I also feed my dog and cats a meat-based diet.
But back to Veganuary. Why should I consider a vegan diet (without mentioning any of the cruel things we do to animals because you may not read this if I do)?
Non-meat protein options are cheaper than meat. Despite the behind-the-scenes smear campaign by the meat industry to identify us as privileged white people, the truth is that the typical vegan diet consists of beans, lentils, rice, wheat, nuts and oats- all cheaper than meat.
A 2014 study of vegetarians and vegans found they have a 55% less chance of developing hypertension, between 25-49% less chance of developing type 2 diabetes, 8% reduction in risk to cancers, 23% risk reduction in cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, a 48% risk reduction of developing breast cancer, up to 68% less chance of death due to heart disease, and up to 75% less chance of developing hypertension.
It takes less water to produce grain protein. In fact, it takes 100 times more water to produce an equal amount of meat protein to grain protein. Did you know that in drought-stricken California, 47% of water used in that state is used by the meat and dairy industries?
Studies have shown vegans suffer less anxiety and stress than meat-eaters. While we don’t yet know why, it could be because consuming animal fat may activate inflammatory pathways in the brain. Or it could be that vegans tend to eat healthier and exercise more.
Eating meat is making us all sick. A 2013 report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations noted that 70% of the new diseases that have emerged in recent years are of animal origin and are linked to human desire to eat more animals and animal products.
A global transition from a meat-based to plant-based diet would decrease mortality by 6-10%. At the same time, it would reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70%.
These are just some of the many sound reasons to consider a vegan diet. Still not enough? Check out the Veganuary web site for info on vegan diets, recipes, tips on eating out, and more!
You see? There is plenty of scientific data (for those of you who actually believe in science) to support the benefits of a vegan diet.
So why is it you eat meat again?