For as long as we can remember, modern medicine and university research told us that a diet rich in meat and dairy would give us healthy bones, muscle mass, and an overall stronger and more energetic version of ourselves. As this research has deepened and knowledge evolved, with time we have learned that in fact a lot of the problems we once thought to be solved by meat and dairy are actually caused by it. Unfortunately these problems extend much further than us and our health, and in reality this excessive consumption of animal products and by-products that dominates our society today causes economical, environmental, and moral problems too. Now is a better time than ever to educate ourselves on these issues and begin our journey towards a plant-based diet.
It’s true that our health should be our priority, and that what we put into our bodies is a direct reflection of our health. Unfortunately the animal produce that we are bombarded with in grocery stores today is not what it used to be. More often than not the meat we consume is pumped with antibiotics and growth hormones, and when we eat meat, we eat these additives too. The nasty stuff does not get lost somewhere in transit, it sits in our digestive system where it is not welcome, causing all sorts of health problems. It has come into light in recent years that with a reduction in meat consumption comes a significant reduction in the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity. It’s simple – everything we once thought about the benefits of consuming meat and dairy products is a myth. The real superpowers are not in the produce from the animals we walk alongside, but in the produce from the earth we walk on.
With climate change, population increase and excessive waste pollution unfolding in the way that they are, we cannot ignore the health of this planet we call home. The foods we choose to consume over the coming decades will directly and dramatically impact the planet and its available resources. With more people to feed comes higher demand, and a diet that resolves around animal products will see the inevitable exhaustion of food resources. It is also estimated that animal agriculture alone will produce more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation industry combined. It is said that the average vegetarian or vegan has half the carbon footprint than the average meat eater, reminding us that although we are only one person, we have the ability to make a difference. Steadily reducing or completely eliminating our meat and dairy consumption can have huge implications on climate change and the planet we leave behind for our heirs.
When meat-related diseases are on the increase as we have found they are, healthcare costs rise significantly as a result. Health problems have a ripple effect when it comes to the global economy, and it is estimated that when we take into account medical bills and lost working days, a change in diet towards plant-based may contribute to saving $700 million on a global scale. This goes for our planet too – repairing damage from climate change is not cheap and is already taking a toll on global economic resources whether we choose to admit it or not. Now is the time to put an end to the vicious cycle before the economical damage is irreparable. We can contribute by pouring our economic resources and our support into plant-based companies, therefore fuelling a growing revolution that benefits instead of harms.
While there are an endless amount of economical, environmental and health benefits of cutting down on meat consumption, there are still masses of vegans and vegetarians out there with one fundamental goal – to save the animals. Over 95% of the meat that we find in our local grocery stores comes from factory farms, where animals are mass-produced in cruel and inhumane conditions. While the demand for meat-based produce is high, so is the demand for these killing fields. Even outside of these factory farms where animals are free-run and grass-fed, the end result is still the exploitation of innocent animals for meat and dairy products that we simply do not need. By choosing compassion, we contribute towards saving the animals that were never ours in the first place.
We cannot deny the devastating effects of meat and dairy consumption, and we cannot remain ignorant in the belief that we are too small to implement positive change. Whether we are omnivores simply reducing our meat intake, vegetarians who have cut it out completely, or vegans who strictly refrain from using or consuming any animal products or by-products, we can all take part in this revolution. Together, we can promote a world with healthy inhabitants that is environmentally sustainable, economically secure, and cruelty free.