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The Benefits of Switching to a Vegan Diet

written by Vidya Sury February 6, 2015
vegetarianism and veganism vidya sury

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Vegetarianism and veganism

have acquired a fair bit of popularity amongst certain circles nowadays, particularly amongst the trendy urban-types. Why exactly they decide to change their diet in this way varies from person to person.

For some it’s merely a matter of health and fitness, others are just uncomfortable with eating meat as a matter of ethics, others do it as part of their religious practices, while a small number do it because they can’t physically eat meat or dairy products.

There are even a growing number of people who were raised to be vegetarian or vegan. However, many nutritionists have found that there are a number benefits to switching to a vegan diet.

Rest assured, vegetarianism and veganism are not merely fads, or fashionable exercises. Nor is it merely about ethics or spirituality. There are tangible gains to be had from adopting a new diet. So if you are thinking of dropping animal products from your palate, then here’s a number of reasons why you may, in fact, be making a very smart decision regarding your eating habits.

An important caveat here though: this assumes you are eating a healthy planned vegan diet. Despite claims by some vegans, humans are not by nature herbivorous. A quick look at our digestive system, evidence from past human and pre-human remains, and the fact that vegans need to take certain supplements and alternatives to remain healthy quickly gives lie to that myth. That vegetarianism and veganism are viable today is more the result of increased access to broader varieties of fruit, vegetables, and fungi that can help balance one’s diet.

As such, should you decide to drop animal products from your diet make sure you talk to a nutritionist first to make sure you know what foods you’ll need more of to make up for the lack nutrients you mostly acquire from meat and dairies. In particular, you run risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. While vitamin B12 is found in plants, humans seem unable to make use of it. You’ll also need iron and vitamin D supplements.

You’ll Live Longer

While the study of it is rife with controversy, it has been shown that adopting a vegan diet correlates with an increased lifespan. Of course, correlation does not mean cause. However, it matches up with other studies that seem to link early deaths to heavy consumption of red meat, and increased lifespans in populations who adopted vegetarian or near-vegetarian diets.

Certainly switching to a vegan diet makes you more health conscious. Because your diet must be planned, and because you must seek plant-based alternatives to animal products, you are automatically eating more healthy greens and protein rich plants. Balanced by supplements and meat alternatives, this results in much healthier living.

Vegans Are Healthier

Running on quite nicely from this, switching to a vegan diet also makes you healthier. Again, being a vegan means you need to plan each meal to make sure you are getting enough of what you need. This often results in a varied, organic, and highly nutritious diet that neatly covers the essential vitamins and minerals essential to a healthy system.

You will not be invulnerable to disease, of course. You’ll catch colds and ‘flus just like everyone else, because healthy is not the same as invulnerable. However, you’ll notice that you’ll bounce back faster than other people and will fall ill less frequently.

It Helps the Environment

One of the lesser known problems with animal-based agriculture is the impact it has on our environment. Ranching animals takes up much space, as browsing herbivores need plenty of pasture in order to keep themselves fed. The result is that countries that rely a lot on ranching as a main source of income, such as Brazil, will engage in massive deforestation campaigns in order to increase the amount of grazing area their cattle and flocks have access to. This disrupts local ecosystems, makes the soil less fertile and more susceptible to erosion, and decreases the amount of trees removing excess CO2 gases from the atmosphere. Overgrazing is also listed as one of the principle causes of desertification.

Further, to protect their farm animals, farmers and ranchers often aggressively hunt down any potential predators in the area, such as wolves or jaguars. The loss of apex predators also results in an explosion of population growth from their former prey animals, causing overgrazing of plant life and even more destruction of the ecosystem.

Switching to a vegan diet, therefore, allows for more sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices. Agrarian farming uses a third of the land that animal agriculture does, and encourages the growth of green plants and the development of fertile, arable soil.

It’s Ethical

A natural consequence of not eating meat is the cessation of an industry that necessitates the death of animals, which is responsible for the killing of billions of farm animals each year. It does not help that conditions on such farms are seldom pleasant, and animals are frequently raised in abusive, traumatic environments. It is a well-established fact that animals can feel pain, fear, loneliness and even grief, so as moral creatures we have a duty to ensure that such suffering is rendered entirely obsolete and abolished.

Vegetarianism does not go far enough, either. The dairy and egg industry, likewise, comes with barbaric and cruel actions. Male calves, for example, are usually culled because they are of no use to the farm. The same goes for male chicks in egg farms. Likewise, cows and hens that can no longer produce product will be prematurely killed. This is before we get into the ethical tangle that is battery farming, and even free-range animals do not necessarily live in comfort. Only veganism can satisfy the moral duties that humanity has towards its neighbors in nature. We are stewards and caretakers of the Earth, not masters.

About the author

The writer, Christian Mills, himself switched to a vegan diet not long ago, and has been living a healthier and happier lifestyle as a result of the switch. While he encourages it, he also recognizes the consequences of not getting the right nutrients, and so he supplements his diet by consuming Moringa Zinga dietary supplements. If you wish to learn more you can visit on Google+.

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