What is Vegansim?
The Vegan Society describes Veganism as follows:
"Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose"
Being vegan is not just a diet change, it is a lifestyle change, but for now, the diet is what I will focus on. This is because going to a plant-based diet alone is the biggest positive impact one person can make for animal welfare, the environment, and their health.
On a plant-based diet you can't eat animal products such as meat, dairy or eggs (alongside some other animal-based ingredients). From this, people have their reservations for reasons such as they would struggle to cook different food, socially being ridiculed by what they eat, feel it would be more expensive and they would not be getting all the nutrients they need.
With a little education on the subject you will learn that there are only good things to come from a plant-based diet! Sometimes, just educating people on where the animal products come from and how they are made is enough to turn someone vegan!
If you have these thoughts, taking the plunge and committing to a plant-based diet might not be as hard as you may be thinking. Initially, the idea of a diet change may seem hard as you are surrounded by animal products, and may have grown up to eat particular foods, and it doesn't feel like a social normality, but times are changing because more people everyday are turning vegan and the demand for animal-free foods are!
As more people are becoming educated on the impact that their eating habits have on animals and the planet, people are becoming their own activists and adopting the Vegan lifestyle. The increasing demand for all varieties of vegan food is generating huge business for companies that also make the change, therefore, great tasting vegan food and recipes are becoming more readily available everywhere! Making it super easy to become Vegan!
Now, let's learn some facts as to why adopting this lifestyle makes a difference to the animals, the planet and yourself.
"We only have one life, one planet, one chance"
Adam Layzell, Vegan Fitness Coach
To get an understanding of the scale of animal agriculture, across the globe over 1 trillion fish and other marine life are killed for food and other consumption every year, along with 60 billion animals on land.
It's scary the volume of animals, humans are able to hunt and farm for animal 'products' and slaughter. Not only this, for the biggest profits and best yield from each animal many are used, abused, confined, tortured, mutilated for just days, weeks or months before finally being slaughtered prematurely.
Here is some information on some of the biggest livestock used globally:
Normal lifespan of 18-22 years
Cow reared and killed for beef, are slaughtered between ages of 18 months and 3 years (as the meat is the best quality at this time)
Cows used in dairy industry are slaughtered before 4 years of age (as milk production starts to decline)
Often male calves are killed just a few days after birth, with 3,000 killed in the UK each week
Intensive farming inseminates cows as soon as possible, with often just a month or two between pregnancies. They are milked continuously between pregnancy, and separated from the calf immediately which causes udder infections (mastitis), stress and lameness
Typical lifespan of 10-15 years
Pigs bred for pork meat killed at 4 to 6 months (once they have reached a certain weight)
Organic farms still slaughter pigs under one year
Can live to 10 years old naturally
Egg industry male chicks killed after just one day
40 million one-day-old chicks killed in UK each year
Egg laying hens are allowed to live 18 months
Chicken raised for meat are killed between ages 5 to 7 weeks.
Even organic farming is not typically great, barely exists and is even on the decline. In the UK:
Only 3.6 percent of sheep are farmed organically
Less than one percent of pigs are farmed organically
Only 2 per cent of animals sold in stores and restaurants is organic
Problems with organic farming include:
Animals will suffer during handling and transport
Animals outside in fields can suffer and die from hypothermia
Animals can still be put in ‘gestation crates’, small metal enclosures, for some of the pregnancy within the EU. Other countries, animals may remain in gestation crates for the entire of their pregnancy.
These animals are sentient beings, same as us, that think and feel, and it edges on sadism that many will make them suffer just for the pleasure of taste.
Not only are the animals that are being hunted and farmed suffer, but due to the large amount of land needed and the huge amount we fish, wildlife habitats and ecosystems are being destroyed to make room for it all, driving forward the extinction of huge numbers of animals globally, and once they are gone, they are gone forever.
Researchers form the university of oxford conducted an analysis of how various agricultural industries affect the environment, investigating 400,000 farms across 119 countries and looking at water pollution, air pollution and climate change emissions.
Lead researcher, Joseph Poore from the oxford study, states
“a Vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet earth, not just greenhouse gasses, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use”.
The analysis found that an individual can cut their carbon footprint by 73% by cutting out meat and dairy from their diet. Far bigger than buying an electric vehicle or cutting down on air travel would have.
The study showed that sustainable farming methods can pose environmental problems. For example, the conversion of grass into meat is like converting coal into energy. It produces a lot of emissions and is not a environmentally sound choice.
The study found if the world went vegan, there would be 75% less farmland used around the world. This would lead to
An area the size of china, the US, the EU and Australia combined being claimed back as wild land.
A significant reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions – the production of dairy and meat is thought to be responsible for 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by agriculture, even though it is responsible for less than 40% of dietary protein produced and less than 20% of dietary calories produced
The halting of extinctions of various types of wildlife.
Climate change is happening at a alarming rate and we are the cause that accelerates it faster and faster. It is not enough to assume that governments have everything under control, as they don't, they are failing to meet targets to combat global warming and businesses will follow the demand we create as consumers. It is up to us as individuals, to push for change and make all the difference we can for the better... and becoming vegan is the ultimate tool for environmental change!
We know the massive impact that one person can create by changing to a vegan diet, but if everyone did it, we would be effectively be saving the world with all it's wildlife including us. So be a superhero and adopt a plant-based diet!
Not only does the plant-based diet help the animals and the environment, but it will also benefit your health!
To start with, you can access all your dietary needs through a a plant-based diet! Also, a well-balanced Vegan diet is supposed to have more nutrients than your typical western-diet of animal products and by-products. These nutrients include:
It also benefits your heart health, various studies have shown:
Vegans have 75 per cent lower risk of developing high blood pressure
Eating fibre, legumes, vegetables and fruit reduces heart disease
Vegan diets are more effective at lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels
Vegans have a 42 percent lower risk of death by heart disease
In addition, it reduces the risk of cancer, a review of 96 scientific studies estimated that vegans are 15% less likely to develop or die from cancer than people on an omnivorous diet.
Legumes can reduce risk of colon cancer by 18 per cent
7+ portions of fruit and vegetables a day can reduce the risk of death by cancer by 15%
Soy products are thought to protect against breast cancer
Many athletes have adopted vegansim and have reported many benefits as a result including:
Increased muscle metabolism
Increased muscle strength
Reduced muscle soreness
Reduced recovery time
Reduced injury occurrence
With so many benefits to your health, you will be protecting yourself from a variety of health issues, but not only this, if everyone adopted a vegan diet, the stress on healthcare systems would drop dramatically. Saving the country and yourself a lot of money!
There are a tremendous amount of benefits from adopting a plant-based diet, from helping many animals, to saving the environment, and promoting your health.
There are really no excuses (in a 'western' world) as it is to be cheap, tasty, healthy and easy option all in all! So be an activist, by taking the plunge into veganism and help look after everything our planet holds.
If you want to make the change to a plant-based diet, but are unsure how to go about transitioning, or want some extra guidance alongside your fitness. Then click the button below and choose one of my plans that'll get you from A to V-egan in no time, meanwhile meeting your fitness goals.