I’ve been eating a predominantly plant-based diet for a while, but recently I decided to go vegan. My motivations are for the environment, my health and animal welfare. Although, since my diet was already over 90% plant-based, I don’t expect it to make a significant difference for my health.
Health: There is enough evidence that beyond reasonable doubt, humans in our society can thrive on a well-planned vegan diet. A whole-foods plant-based diet has even been shown to be advantageous in preventing nearly all of our top killers.
- Can prevent and even treat heart disease (the #1 killer in the Western world).
- Associated with lower igf-1. High IGF-1 is linked to an increased risk of prostate, breast and colon cancer.
- Reduces risk and can treat type 2 diabetes.
- Predominantly plant based diets are associated with greater longevity.
That said, there are a few nutrients that require special attention. It is recommended that vegans supplement with vitamin B12 (which can only be produced by bacteria) since there are no reliable plant sources. In addition to supplementing with B12, I am also taking an algae-based EPA/DHA supplement and Vitamin D during the winter.
Animal agriculture is one of the top contributors to climate change.
- A vegan diet uses 1/3 of the land of a vegetarian and 1/18 of the land of a meat eater.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for half of the water use in the US.
- According to a 2006 FAO report, livestock is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions.
- According to a 2009 World Watch report, livestock accounts for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions.
- A recent USDA Dietary Guidelines report made recommendations to eat a more plant-based diet for sustainability.
- Over 70% of the world’s fish species are overexploited or depleted. This is threatening to both marine life and the food security of those in developing countries who are dependent on it.
- Animal agriculture is also one of the top contributors to deforestation. According to a 2004 World Bank report, 75% of deforested areas of the Amazon are used for cattle ranching.
Animals are sentient beings that feel pain. I personally do not want to contribute to the suffering of sentient beings if I don’t have to to be healthy.
When it comes to non-vegan clothing/ cosmetics, etc., I plan on using them until they wear out.
Forks Over Knives (available on Netflix)
Earthlings (Warning: graphic)