Whether you’re thinking about going vegan or just reducing your meat consumption, there are many reasons people are choosing to go plant-based. Here are just a few!
For the animals
From factory farming to animal testing, there’s no doubt that going vegan reduces animal exploitation. In fact, many people have vowed to go vegan after watching Cowspiracy for this very reason. We generally think of dogs and cats as pets but pigs, cows and chickens as food. For some vegans, there’s no difference – they believe that all animals have a right to life. The only way to really prevent cruelty is to abstain from all animal produce.
For the environment
Farming animals requires a huge amount of resources. Not only do they require land, food and water, but their waste creates pollution too. That’s not to mention transport and factory processes involved in meat and dairy production. Crops grown to feed animals also contribute to deforestation. Some argue that the grain used to feed livestock would be better used to feed people directly – about 70% of grain in the US feeds animals, which could feed 800 million people! A huge amount of man-made pollution comes from the meat industry – so cutting down consumption greatly helps the environment by lowering our carbon footprint.
Some research suggests that veganism reduces risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is probably since vegans are statistically leaner and much less prone to obesity than the general population, but of course, there’s more to it! What is certain is that we could all use more veggies in our diet. Studies show that people who eat the most fruit and veg have better health. It can be tricky to get all your nutrients from plants alone, but it is possible if you plan carefully. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits are naturally low in fat and cholesterol and rich in fibre, magnesium, potassium and many vitamins. Many people feel great after cutting meat and dairy, but it’s important to focus on adding more good stuff to your plate rather than replacing meat and dairy with convenience or processed substitutes. Going vegan is a great opportunity to get cooking, learn about nutrition and improve your diet.
For your wallet
Going vegan can save you a lot of money! Meat can be expensive, so replacing it with beans, lentils, and more vegetables can be great for your wallet. Cooking plant-based foods from scratch and avoiding replacement ‘meat’ products will cut down your food bill dramatically – in fact according to a study, in 2018 cutting out meat saved British consumers about £2.8 million! Not only that, but staples like oats and grains often keep for a long time in the pantry – meaning less waste, and the opportunity to bulk buy (even better if it cuts down packaging waste!).
Whatever your reason, reducing your consumption of animal products has never been easier – with supermarkets and restaurants offering more vegan options, plenty of online resources and a huge community of likeminded individuals for support!