If you cringe when someone says “I’m vegan”—you’re definitely not the only one. The unfortunate reality is that veganism has gained a negative stigma because people who choose to refrain from eating two of the most popular food groups—meat and dairy—are disrupting social conventions and calling attention to issues to which most people would rather remain blind.
Most people don’t know that the meat and dairy industries are actually linked to various chronic health conditions, global warming, and the grotesquely inhumane treatment of animals that are 100% sentient and 100% dismissed by society.
A vegan lifestyle can literally reverse symptoms of chronic conditions, prevent cancer, end world hunger, and stop global warming in its tracks. Still skeptical? Then check out these 15 insights that demonstrate just how a vegan lifestyle will save not only your own life, but also the future well-being of the entire planet!
1. You’ll lower your risk of getting cancer.
Scientific studies indicate that a vegan diet reduces your risk of developing all cancers because fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins, and dietary fibers strengthen your immune system and fuel your body naturally.
Processed animal products like bacon, pepperoni, and deli meat are group 1 carcinogens, which is where cigarettes, asbestos, radiation, and other toxic chemicals are categorized.
2. You’ll stop supporting the inhumane treatment of livestock.
The meat and dairy industries’ bottom line is profit, which means the animals that produce their products are crammed into tight spaces where they often don’t even have room to turn around or lie down.
Many factory-farmed animals are genetically modified to produce more eggs or milk than what’s natural, and so they often die from dehydration or starvation because their legs are too weak to support their enlarged bodies, preventing them from reaching food and water.
Animals that are raised to be eaten endure a very short lifetime filled with fear, physical abuse, over-exertion, stress, and chronic depression.
3. You’ll reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular diseases are linked to high cholesterol, and plant-based foods naturally contain no cholesterol. In comparison, animal products contain high amounts of cholesterol and fatty acids that are difficult to break down, which increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.
In fact, a red meat eater’s risk of heart disease is 1,000 times greater than that of a purely plant-based eater!
4. You’ll reduce your water footprint.
Fresh, unpolluted water is a limited natural resource, and the meat industry produces 1 billion tons of phosphorus and nitrogen-rich waste every year. This impact translates to the pollution of 1 million acres of lakes and 145,000 miles of rivers and streams every single year.
In addition to the negative impact animal products have on the Earth’s fresh water supply, their water footprint is also greater than that of plants. Plant-based foods require roughly 5% less water than animal products. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, and some nuts require a fraction of the amount of water needed to produce foods that originate from animals. For instance, 1 kilogram (roughly 2.2 lbs) of broccoli takes about 75 gallons of water, whereas 1 kilogram of butter takes more than 1,400 gallons of water.
5. You’ll reduce your risk or symptoms of diabetes.
Veganism will not only lower your risk of diabetes; if you have diabetes already, it could even reverse your symptoms altogether. Many drug treatments for diabetes increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, whereas a plant-based diet will both effectively treat diabetes symptoms and lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and countless other chronic conditions.
In fact, individuals who increase their intake of fruits, vegetables, and nuts for 20 years will lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 60% more than those who don’t.
6. Your skin will be healthier and livelier.
Dairy products are linked to acne because they contain both growth hormones and artificial hormones that can actually interfere with your hormone production system, which is what triggers breakouts!
A plant-based diet benefits your skin because fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which protect the skin against fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation.
7. You’ll contribute fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
The meat and dairy industries contribute 14.5% of all the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) every year; that number is about the same for every single car, truck, airplane, and ship on the planet. Beef and lamb have the largest carbon footprint, whereas all plant-based foods have the lowest carbon footprint.
The top five meat and dairy corporations produce more GHGs than the largest gas companies, and that 14.5% is expected to rise to 80% by the year 2050. What’s worse is that many meat and dairy corporations either under report or do not report their GHGs!
8. Your metabolism will speed up.
A plant-based diet is naturally low in fat, and a low-fat diet speeds up your metabolism. In fact, many studies prove that vegans have a higher metabolic rate and a lower body mass index than non-vegans.
Fats consumed from vegetables and nuts boost the metabolism, which in turn allows your body to burn more calories while you rest.
9. You’ll be in the best shape of your life.
Because animal proteins are very dense and take longer to digest than plant-based proteins, the body expends a lot of energy digesting those foods. Vegetable proteins are packed with fiber and are very easy to digest, which means you generally have more energy to fuel your body throughout the day.
A plant-based diet also improves blood flow, which helps you benefit the most from your workouts. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables help your muscles recover after exercising, and many vegan athletes claim to be stronger, more energetic, leaner, and generally happier than they were when consuming animal products.
10. You’ll contribute less to deforestation.
Forests are regularly cleared to create pastures for cattle. Remember how riled up everyone was last year when the Amazon was burning? Well, guess what: those fires were intentionally made to clear space to grow food for cattle. In fact, more than 90% of the Amazon rain forest cleared since 1970 has been used for grazing and growing food for cattle.
This destruction of some of the world’s most abundant natural resources not only evicts and endangers the wildlife living there; it also contributes 10% of all yearly carbon dioxide emissions.
11. Your blood pressure will be regulated.
High cholesterol and high body weight are both linked to high blood pressure, which can eventually lead to chronic health conditions and stroke. Since plant-based foods contain no cholesterol, are low in fat, and are easy to digest, you’ll never have to worry about your diet contributing to high blood pressure.
Many fruits and vegetables actually actively lower blood pressure, including berries, bananas, beets, and kiwis.
12. You’ll stop contributing to plastic deposits in the ocean from fishing nets.
While environmental activists swear that plastic straws are the main contributor to plastic pollution in our oceans, they really only account for 0.025% of all plastic that enters the ocean every year. One of the main contributors to plastic pollution is actually fishing nets, which account for 46% of all plastic in the ocean.
This number means that nearly half of the plastic pollution that’s killing marine life occurs during the act of catching and killing more marine life for consumption. Let that sink in.
13. You’ll reduce or eradicate your arthritis symptoms.
Dairy products and foods high in fat increase inflammation, whereas vegetables, fruits, and whole grains reduce inflammation.
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis are often lacking the good bacteria that fight against the painful and chronic inflammation associated with the disease, and eating certain types of plant-based foods can help restore those bacteria.
14. You’ll help end world hunger – seriously.
Perhaps the most tragic fact about animal agriculture is that all the grains and soybeans fed to livestock in the US alone could effectively feed every hungry person alive today. This means the end to world hunger has been discovered, yet it will never be implemented because the meat and dairy industries are so inherently selfish that they will never sacrifice their profits for the greater good.
In fact, half of all the world’s grain is fed to animals that are raised for meat, eggs, and milk, which is a massive waste of fossil fuels, water, and land. Unfortunately, the global production of meat is expected to double by the year 2050.
15. You’ll lose excess weight and reduce bloat permanently.
Although veganism often initially results in more bloating than usual, once your body gets used to all the new good bacteria in your gut, you’ll see a significant decrease in your overall bloat. Some foods that reduce bloating are asparagus, avocados, cucumbers, and potatoes.
You’ll lose any excess weight your body is clinging onto once your arteries are drained of all that excess plaque contributed by fatty meats and processed animal products. You’ll also see a noticeable drop in excess weight after a few weeks of omitting animal products once your metabolism speeds up and starts redistributing the natural fuel provided by all those nutrient-rich plant-based foods!
Have these 15 insights convinced you to adopt a vegan lifestyle to save your life and contribute toward healing the planet? Comment your thoughts below!
Featured image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BkqFxYCA3Lw/?hl=en
Jamie graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is an aspiring writer, professional editor/proofreader, and piano player. In her free time, Jamie enjoys reading classic literary works, composing music, and playing Xbox with her husband!