Written by Zee Younus
For many people, veganism seems extreme, but there are many benefits of going vegan. Thinking of doing Veganuary? Read on.
January is always a month of trying new things and Veganuary is an excellent example of that. But before you do it, you need to know what it is and why it’s a good idea. Veganuary is a charity that promotes veganism, the idea is to pledge that you will try a vegan diet during January, some people try the whole month, some people try for a week or two just as a taster. The important part is raising awareness and giving it a try. A vegan lifestyle centres around the elimination of animal products from your diet including: meat, fish, eggs, milk, crustaceans etc. But, why do it?
(1) Animal Welfare
This is the biggest reason many people choose a vegan diet. Meat and dairy farming is an unnecessary practice in this day and age, so why do we continue to do it? Cutting meat out of your diet is a great way to start, but the egg and milk industries also fuel cruel methodology. In order to produce milk, female cows are kept constantly pregnant, never getting to see their babies, the male ones being slaughtered at birth for veal. It’s the same with egg production; male chicks are often ground to death at birth because they are not useful. Many people see this as contributing to animal cruelty, but it’s also often overlooked when we buy eggs and milk.
(2) Personal Health
Studies have shown an increase in the likelihood of suffering from heart problems in a diet that includes meat, as opposed to a meatless diet. People who have already inherited an added risk of heart disease tend to eat less meat, due to medical advice. Milk, on the other hand, is often praised as being good for us, however, most people are lactose intolerant. This is because the only time in our lives we require milk in our diet is as a baby, for growth and general health. This is evidenced by the fact that in most people, the enzyme that breaks down lactose is no longer active past this stage in development, so animal milks are much harder for our bodies to digest than plant milks. Human milk is designed for human development, cow milk is designed for cow development, and our biology is so different. All the minerals and vitamins required for a healthy diet can be obtained from plants, why not just go the whole way and become vegan?
(3) The Environment and Ethics
Factory farming is one of the biggest causes of carbon emissions, more so than every single car on the road. Cutting down on animal products can half your carbon footprint, so even if you drive and use a lot of electricity, you can still help the environment with a simple lifestyle change. The farming of animals requires far more water than their plant counterparts, globally accounting for about 70% of the worlds water, making it both wasteful and unsustainable. Furthermore, the water that is reused is often contaminated with animal waste, providing an environment where more diseases can be transmitted through waterways. In addition to this, all animals need to be fed, and animals on farms eat far more than the food they produce for humans, due to them being fattened up when most are naturally grazing animals. In reality, you could feed far more people suffering from hunger worldwide with plants if there were no factory farms.
More and more people are opening up to the ideas of veganism and making the change. It’s easy to do and together, we can really make a difference!