4 Reasons Why More People Are Going Vegan
An increasingly popular lifestyle, veganism involves abstaining from eating any animal-based products or by-products, such as meat, dairy, and eggs. Despite being challenging, a vegan diet has its rewards. From health benefits to environmental sustainability claims, these are the major reasons why so many people choose to go vegan.
Long-Term Health Benefits
Because vegan diets focus primarily on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, the health benefits are plentiful. Many of these foods offer fiber, antioxidants, and several essential nutrients. The lack of animal-based products also means a decrease in saturated and trans fat, resulting in a reduced risk of health-related problems. Research has shown that a vegan diet can protect against heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. While the lack of meat might cause concern that you won't get any protein in your meals, there are actually healthier plant-based sources such as quinoa and almonds you can include in your diet.
Many people adopt a vegan lifestyle because it's better for the environment. Meat-based diets use more resources, including land, water, and energy, to produce food while vegan diets require less cropland. And according to a UK study, the production of animal-based foods creates twice as much greenhouse gas emissions than the production of plant-based foods.
Besides health benefits and sustainability, many people go vegan because of its ethical implications. In 2015, 4.6 billion animals were raised and slaughtered for food worldwide. Several articles and documentaries (such as Live and Let Live and Food, Inc.) have detailed the often pain-filled journey animals go through in order to become food, including crowded, filthy conditions which can lead to serious disease and injury. Factory farming produces the majority of America's meat supply, and these large-scale farms have been shown to cause animals severe distress.
Global Food Demand
There are over seven billion people in the world, and our global population is only expanding. There's concern that the global demand on the resources required to produce meat products will cause a worldwide food shortage.
It's estimated that the world's population will increase by two billion people by 2050; however, there won't be enough water to grow the amount of food required to feed them. About 70% of available water is used for agricultural purposes, and animal-based food production uses up to 10 times more water than plant-based food production. Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet allows farmers to allocate resources more efficiently in order to produce enough food for our growing population.
As you can see, many reasons compel people to follow a vegan diet. For some, it's about maintaining a longer and healthier life. For others, it's about preventing unnecessary animal cruelty. Or they may be motivated by all of the reasons listed above. In the long run, the vegan lifestyle offers promising benefits.
Photos: Jaroslaw Pawlak / Shutterstock.com, Anna_Pustynnikova / Shutterstock.com, Deyan Georgiev / Shutterstock.com, Ewais / Shutterstock.com, Yavuz Sariyildiz / Shutterstock.com