I still remember when I first decided to go vegan. It was January 2016, right after the New Years’. I had watched Cowspiracy, a documentary that gave me enough plausible reasons to not deny and ignore what was happening to animals, the environment, and public health.
Honestly, I was deeply touched by Cowspiracy.
More so because my father had died of cancer — one that originated in the small intestine. Most likely, a consequence of his terrible eating habits, and lack of a healthy, active lifestyle.
It actually didn’t take me that long to make a decision. In fact, my wife even helped me adapt, and I have to be honest, it was easier than I initially thought it would be. Being a gym freak at the time, a diet without meat didn’t make sense. I mean, where would I get my protein?
Well, it turns out some plant-based ingredients have about the same amount of protein as animal-based ingredients. Not to mention that plant-based protein powders are also available.
Fast forward to the present day, and I’m still vegan.
If I could have changed something earlier on, it would’ve been my ability to present the reasons that led me to go vegan. I don’t like debating, but it’s always more convincing when you can express what sparked the change within you without resorting to emotional responses. And that is why this blog post is important.
14 Reasons to Go Vegan and Never Go Back
Whether you’re a vegan that wants to fire at naysayers, or you’re someone hanging on the fence, not sure whether veganism is for you… then the following will help you decide.
It would be wonderful if everyone would at least try out the vegan lifestyle… but my goal, at the very least, is to create some legitimate awareness, so that you may at least drop bacon.
Even though we’re in the age of social media, where people are gradually becoming more desensitized, I still believe we’re trending towards a more compassionate society.
The power of sharing information shall sooner or later lead people to find more sustainable solutions, whether it’s by radically changing their diet or just a few things here and there.
I went vegan for the animals (mostly), so I’ll start with a reason that is close to my heart.
#1 – Farm Animals Are Soulful Creatures.
Animals are often portrayed as being happy and compassionate creatures in kids’ books, a notion that dies out as we grow, with maybe the exception of dogs, and cats.
Commercials also portray a positive image of dairy products, suggesting that the cows they’re exploiting are, in fact, happy slaves. However, behind the storytelling companies attempt to portray, lies a rotten industry that drives sentient creatures’ lives and emotions to the limit.
Farmed animals are not emotionless creatures that are happy to be serving as sustenance. Like humans, animals feel joy, affection, and pleasure, as well as fear, grief, and pain. Like humans, they can create bonds, and enjoy friendships.
Trust me, If you got to meet and hang around cows, or pigs, you’d soon understand that both are just big, affectionate dogs.
This is why I went vegan. How could I claim to love animals and eat their cadavers at the same time? It just didn’t seem congruent with my beliefs.
#2 – Dairy and Egg Production Also Causes Pain & Suffering.
Before I went vegan, I thought animals were not harmed in the production of dairy or eggs.
However, it turns out that the dairy (and eggs) industry is responsible for killing billions of hens and baby chicks, as well as millions of cows and calves every year.
Wild-grown chicks are designed to produce between 10 to 20 eggs annually. However, domesticated chicks are genetically modified to produce between 250 and 300 eggs in that same time period. Sadly, to mass-produce eggs a chicken’s reproductive system is exhausted, often resulting in serious reproductive disorders.
Not to mention the fact these egg-producing chickens are imprisoned in cages so small they can’t even see the light of day or even spread their wings. Some people think that eating “free-range” eggs is more ethical and acceptable. But the truth is “free-range” chickens are stuck in filthy, overcrowded warehouses without any hope for free future.
In addition, most egg-breeding chickens get their peaks partially cut off to prevent nervous pecking in warehouses such as the one above. At the hatcheries where new hens are hatched and sent to egg farms, millions of male chicks are also destroyed every year.
The Exploitation of Cow’s Reproductive Nature.
What happens to hens and small chicks also happens to cows and calves in dairy farms.
Cows are artificially inseminated by farmers to force the production of milk. After a cow gives birth, the baby cow(s) are taken away from their mother.
The reasoning is simple. Dairy farms are supposed to maximize the production of milk, so it’s not lucrative to have the calves thrive of their mothers’ milk.
Within hours of breeding, humans collect the milk that was intended for the calves. Sadly, male calves are immediately sent off to slaughterhouses for veal, and female calves are isolated in hutches for 2-3 months without proper nurturing.
In the end, hens and cows are slaughtered when their egg and milk production declines.
#3 – Animal Agriculture Is Responsible For 18% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
According to a report released by FAO (United Stations Food and Agriculture Organization), animal agriculture generates more greenhouse gas emissions than transport. An increasingly troublesome statistic, given how many people consume meat and dairy products.
These numbers combined with a steady rise in population, it is just bound to get worse.
Livestock emissions numbers are typically associated with:
- Feed production and processing;
- Enteric fermentation;
- Manure storage and processing;
- And processing and transportation of animal products.
What I found out as well is that 44% of livestock emissions are in the form of methane, 29% represent nitrous oxide (N20) and 27% are carbon dioxide (CO2). This is bad because methane is 25-100 times more destructive than C02 on a 20-year time frame.
Oh, and speaking of methane…
#4 – Cows Produce 150 Billion Gallons of Methane Per Day.
You’re probably aware of all this “climate change” talk in the political panorama. Well, a study on methane emissions found out that the U.S is producing 50% more methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times better at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
Several elements contribute to the accumulation of methane gas in the atmosphere, like the burning of fossil fuels, leaks from oil, and gas refining and drilling. However, there’s an element that exceeds the others in methane production: “cow farts”.
(It makes up for a good meme, but it’s actually true…)
A study on methane emissions found that cows lose 6% of their ingested energy as methane.
Furthermore, a study from 2011 reveals that cows predominantly fed with silage, a common food for cattle and sheep, produce more methane than cows whose diets are supplemented by concentrate feed.
In other words, forcing cows to breed (and multiply by the billions), and feeding them a corn and soy-based diet leads to more methane in the atmosphere.
#4 – Growing Feed Crops For Livestock Consumes 56% of Water in The United States.
According to National Geographic, 70% of the planet is covered by water, but only 2.5% is considered to be fresh, drinkable water. While many factors end up contributing to the depletion of fresh water, one of the main causes is animal agriculture.
About one-third of the world’s water consumption goes into creating animal products. It may sound crazy but it all makes sense when you look at the numbers.
According to data released by the Pacific Institute and National Geographic — it takes insurmountable amounts of water to produce animal products. For example, it takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef; 53 gallons of water for one egg; 468 gallons of water for one pound of chicken, and 880 gallons of water for a gallon of cow’s milk.
Animal agriculture is currently responsible for 20 to 33 percent of all freshwater consumption in the world. These are wicked numbers, especially when we consider the number of countries that have limited access to natural resources like water.
#5 – 70% of the World’s Soy Is Fed to Livestock.
Sometimes vegans are criticized for eating industrial grown soya, maize and grains.
Why? Because vast areas of forest and natural habitats are destroyed and replaced with monocrop farmlands for soy production. That is a huge concern because:
1 – Soy production releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that end up contributing to climate change (or global warming);
2 – Since it destroys natural habitats, it also leads to the potential extinction of certain animal species;
3 – The expansion of soy farmlands has created a huge upset in areas such as the Amazon, where indigenous people protecting those lands have been intimated, attacked and even killed.
A selected few people point the finger at vegans for eating too much soy, thus being responsible for all the aforementioned issues. But did you know that over 70% of the world’s soy is fed directly to livestock, and only 6% is turned into food products for human consumption?
Oh, and just so you know…
#6 – Male Vegans Won’t Get Man Boobs For Eating Soy.
Rumors suggest eating soy will bend your gender. So, if you’re a man and frequently eat soy, apparently you’ll eventually grow boobs. Frankly, I don’t know how long this “myth” has been about, but it still keeps some men from eating my favorite meat-substitute: TOFU.
However, sad as it is for some, there is no evidence proving that soy feminizes men.
In fact, according to Dr. Richard J. Santen, a medical professor at the University of Virginia with a focus on hormones —“there is no reason for any man who wants to eat a big pile of soybeans, or even eat a steady diet of soy-based foods, to avoid them over a fear of growing boobs.“.
Furthermore, in his lifetime of hormone research, his male test subjects never exhibited a connection between soy and feminization. “I have only seen one man where I suspected soy induced gynecomastia, but we measured the levels of soy products in urine in that patient and it did not support a causative correlation,” he told Vice.
But why do people believe soy feminizes men?
Soy contains a high concentration of isoflavones, a type of plant estrogen (phytoestrogen) that is similar in function to human estrogen — a group of sex hormones that promote the development and maintenance of female characteristics in the human body — but with much weaker effects.
As a result, some men think eating soy will lead to higher estrogen levels, and man boobs. However, as I’ve mentioned, there’s no definitive evidence that such is the case.
Here’s a video that will help you better understand this issue:
#7 – Animal Agriculture’s Impact on World Hunger.
While animal agriculture may not be directly correlated, we can’t deny that feeding farm animals may be wasteful and inefficient. In order to eat farmed animals, we have to feed them.
Unfortunately, that results in way more crops than it would take to directly feed humans.
For example, to create one pound of beef, you require between 1,800 and 2,500 gallons of water, 12 pounds of grain, 35 pounds of topsoil and the energy equivalent to one gallon of gasoline.
On the other hand, producing similar amounts of protein from beans requires just a fraction of the resources used to produce beef. In fact, one study found that compared to beef, beans require 1/20 of land usage per unit of protein consumed. In addition, Kidney beans only require 1/10 of the water used to produce beef.
So, in comparison, feeding farmed animals is considerably more wasteful and inefficient than cultivating plant foods for direct human consumption.
How is that tied to world hunger?
Well, an analysis of global agricultural yields found out that if we shift away from growing crops to feed animals and fuel, and instead focus on growing crops for direct human consumption, we could feed an additional 4 billion people.
If you want to learn more about how animal agriculture may contribute to world hunger, feel free to visit the website A Well-Fed World for more information.
#8 – Reverse The Leading Cause of Death In The U.S
The leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women is heart disease.
The most common form being coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis. This disease occurs when hard layers of plaque accumulate in the arteries, limiting the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. The accumulation of plaque in the arteries is also a leading cause for stroke, the fourth greatest killer of Americans each year.
While there are many factors that can impact heart disease and stroke (smoking, exercise, blood pressure, and body weight), one of the most relevant factors is cholesterol.
Now, as you might know, plant-based foods have no cholesterol, and quite interestingly, our body produces cholesterol on its own. While it’s not news anymore… a plant-based diet is thus far the only scientifically proven method of preventing (and even reversing) heart disease.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says:
Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage.
Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Low intake of saturated fat and high intakes of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds (all rich in fiber and phytochemicals) are characteristics of vegetarian and vegan diets that produce lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and better serum glucose control. These factors contribute to the reduction of chronic disease.
Vegans need reliable sources of vitamin B-12, such as fortified foods or supplements.Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Fortunately, the vegan diet (whole foods, plant-based diet) has moved beyond being a fad and is now approved by most nutritionists and dieticians (both vegan and non-vegan alike).
#9 – A Good Vegan Diet Will Keep You Slim.
According to studies on thousands of vegans, vegans are the only group of people who average a normal and healthy BMI. While there are different reasons for this phenomenon, the most common is that animal-based foods (more specifically, meat and cheese) are high in saturated fat, high in calories, and have a low fiber content.
On the other hand, a plant-based diet is typically low in saturated fats, low in calories, and high in fiber content. Why is this relevant?
Well, foods that are high in fiber content have more volume for the number of calories they have. Therefore, if you eat fiber-rich foods, the network of neurons wrapping your stomach literally sends messages to your brain announcing that no more food is required.
In hindsight, animal-based foods are high in fat and calories but low in fiber, so it takes much more to fill your stomach before the neurons are triggered and the message is sent.
So in other words, it all comes down to fiber and how much more satiating fiber foods are.
Just because you’re vegan, that doesn’t mean you’ll immediately get slimmer. It all comes down to HOW HEALTHY your vegan diet is. Are you eating crappy, unhealthy foods? Or are you doubling down on healthy, high-fiber foods? If you don’t know how to do that, consider learning how to follow a legitimate whole food, plant-based diet.
#10 – Wildlife Animals Are Also Killed Because Of Animal Agriculture.
We already know billions of farm animals are killed every year for food. What most people don’t know is that millions of wildlife animals are killed on behalf of the livestock industry, too.
According to Wild Earth Guardians, “Wildlife Services”, a secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture spends millions of tax-payer dollars to kill native predators (coyotes, wolves, bears, mountain lions, and many others — to prevent them from feasting on livestock.
The saddening part is that these animals are killed in horrendous ways. They’re poisoned, gunned down from helicopters, gassed, hunted by trained dogs, and more. Coyotes, in particular, are the most targeted, so tens of thousands die captured in traps because Wildlife Services is not obliged to re-check the traps. Naturally, if a coyote is trapped for days and weeks, it eventually dies.
It’s Not Only Carnivores That Dies.
Thousands of different species also die as collateral. Victims of the excessive poison and traps implemented by the “Wildlife Services”.
The victims include animal species such as:
- Snapping turtles
- Great blue herons
- Black bears
- Red-tailed hawks
- Domestic dogs
- And even cats.
The species targeted by the “Wildlife Services” are carnivorous animals that must eat other animals to survive. It’s a natural, instinctive behavior inherent to all carnivorous species.
Their behavior is very unlike humans that have no biological need to eat animals since given the easy accessibility we have to plant-based foods. In other words, we’re killing other animals who have no option but to hunt, and for us eating animals is merely optional.
#11 – Dude, The Joker Is Vegan. (Other Celebrities Too)
Damn it— I was impressed by Joaquin’s Joker role!
Tie that to his veganism and I’m even more of a fan. While this is not necessarily a good reason to go vegan, it’s an extra motivator for some people.
This being said, I believe your decision to go or remain vegan should come from deep within. My assumption is that vegans are overly-compassionate people, that feel a deeper connection with life, and ignore concepts like “food chain” even though they exist.
Not to brag, but I believe that the majority of people that go vegan (or consider and respect veganism) have a truly compassionate nature, and see themselves in a world that is truly diverse.
Other vegan celebrities include:
- Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange)
- Natalie Portman
- Venus Williams
- Woody Harrelson
- Lewis Hamilton
- Miley Cyrus
- Liam Hemsworth
- Peter Dinklage
- James Cameron
- Paul Mccartney
- Travis Barker
- Kevin Smith
- And more!
As I said, you must have a prior, genuine inner motivation to go vegan. Otherwise, I truly believe your vegan journey will be short-lived.
#12 – Vegan Gastronomy Has Evolved And is Now Filled With Delicious Dishes and Desserts.
Maybe 20 years ago I wouldn’t be able to go on about a vegan gastronomy rant.
However, so much has evolved since then (including the vegan movement, of course), that it propelled vegan gastronomy forward.
There are so many vegan substitutes, that you can turn a plant-based dish into a meat-tasting dish with the right ingredients and seasonings. If you think about it, technology is trending in that direction, especially when we consider the development of Beyond Meat.
However, that’s not always the right course, given that the magic of a plant-based diet lies in the high-carb, high-fiber, and anti-oxidant content. Fortunately, there are AMAZING plant-based diets without animal substitutes. And I quite frankly believe that’s the way to go if you wanna be healthy.
I still get the occasional “vegan food is bland, it has no taste”, but those words really come from people that haven’t gone to great vegan restaurants. If you really want to taste some amazing food, check out these vegan cookbooks!
In addition to that, you’re also free to visit websites such as:
All wonderful vegan recipe websites that won’t disappoint!
#13 – A Vegan Diet May Actually Provide You With a Healthier And More Beautiful Skin.
Apparently, an increasing number of studies are linking dairy to skin problems like acne. Dairy cows are treated with hormones, which researchers suggest may affect your hormones, and consequently, trigger acne. (Speaking about acne, I really suffered with it — and unfortunately, I still have scars left from when I had acne…)
What researchers also suggest is that the growth hormones present in milk naturally aggravate acne. In addition, there’s also a theory suggesting that milk-based products combined with high levels of refined foods and processed sugars in the Western diet, disrupt insulin levels and make your skin more prone to getting acne.
Needless to say, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting roughly 50 million people per year. (This is an estimate from the American Academy of Dermatology)
Now, is it a coincidence when you look at people like Jared Leto looks younger than he actually he is? What about Paul Mccartney? He’s 77 but looks like he’s in his late 50’s.
Eating more fruits and veggies does offer a range of benefits for your skin.
#14 – You May Actually Be Able To Save More Money.
Most people think that you have to spend a lot of money to be vegan, but I actually don’t think so. Vegan diets can be extremely economical, especially if you stick to legitimate, plant-based ingredients like grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, seasonal fruits, and veggies.
In fact, some of these foods can be bought in bulk and stored for a long time. Also, think about it, you’re investing in your health to avoid spending money on doctor visits or expensive medical treatments, as well as medication.
When you cut meat out of your diet and stick to a whole-food, plant-based diet, you are definitely able to save money. Sometimes you might hear, “yeah, but what about expensive B12 supplements?” — well, it turns out B12 supplements are cheap, too.
There are plenty of compelling reasons to go vegan and never go back. But even if you decide to stick to an omnivore diet, I hope that you at least understand the importance of reducing animal-based products. Reduction, although not the optimal solution, it should have some sort of positive impact, especially if everyone does it.
I’m not the sort of person that imposes my way of living on others, so I rarely attempt to convince people I meet to go on a vegan diet. In fact, I never announce my vegan status in front of others, unless a situation demands it. I do understand the importance of why vegan (activists) do it, and I truly feel like some are moving the needle in the right direction.
However, If you feel like switching to a vegan diet is too big of a move for you, remember that you can always follow your own pace. I’m still the only vegan in my family, although my mother and brother are now attempting to follow a (90%) plant-based diet.
1- Since my mom has arthritis, following a plant-based diet has helped reduce inflammation levels, and consequently the pain in her joints. (This was a recommendation from her doctor in the UK)
2 – My 38-year-old brother has accumulated too much fat in his liver (he’s also overweight/obese), so he’s giving the plant-based diet a try. (Again, I didn’t tell him to do it, but ever since he watched both Cowspiracy and Game Changers, I guess something stuck)
This being said, I still hate the fact they’re resorting to a plant-based diet due to pressing health issues. Fortunately, things are looking bright!
Thanks for reading this blog post!