Veganism as a Green Plate: Health and Environmental Benefits

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Table of Contents

  • General Benefits of Veganism for Human Health
  • Environment Protection Through Reducing Greenhouse Emissions and Natural Resources
  • Final Statement
  • References

Veganism was first introduced in the United States in 1944, but its origin traces back to the ancient Indian and eastern Mediterranean societies. The idea was created around 500 BCE by a philosopher named Pythagoras who described animals as having well-meaning and kindliness. Religions such as Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism followed his words and believed it was immoral to make animals suffer. Veganism is a slight variation of vegetarianism. While vegetarianism is the practice of a diet without meat, here veganism in this essay is presented as practice of avoiding the use of animals entirely. Veganism has picked up in popularity in recent years, partly due to the use of the media; the internet allows information to be shared quickly which has sparked people’s curiosity for where and how their food is produced. As people learn the impacts of meat on health, vegans want to stop eating, wearing, abusing, experimenting on, and using animals for entertainment. In light of this, there has been a five percent increase in the number of U.S. vegans over the last five years. However, there is more to veganism than simply boycotting animal related goods and services. Veganism has developed into a philosophy that influences a different way of life. Whatever one’s opinion on eating meat might be, veganism is generally healthier, more ethical, and friendlier for the environment than carnism.

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General Benefits of Veganism for Human Health

Plant-based diets provide health benefits to people who stop eating meat. Studies show that veganism reduces chronic illnesses and major diseases, such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. Additionally, according to a study conducted by the University of Oxford who analyzed 48,000 British people, vegans were 22% less likely to get heart disease than meat eaters. However, while they were 22% less likely to obtain heart disease, they were 20% more likely than meat eaters to get a stroke, which could be due to a lack of nutrients and vitamins from vegans. While this study suggests that veganism is slightly less dangerous than carnism, the World Health Organization believes the removal of meat consumption on earth could prevent the loss of eight million lives per year and save thirty-one million dollars from health care and climate change from now until 2050. This organization has found a connection between eating meat and cancer, which is persuading people to eat more plants and making eating plant-based foods more mainstream on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. The United States is increasing the use of a plant-based diet in the fast food market. For example, a new and growing restaurant called Plant Power Fast Food labels its fast food as a “healthier version.” Additionally, popular fast food chains like McDonald’s and Pizza Hut are now supplied with more vegan food alternatives.

Athletes in particular might be intrigued by how easily veganism can provide protein, and whether it could affect them physically. Because athletes typically require more calories to feed their active selves, they wonder if veganism would be a nutritionally adequate alternative to carnism. Athletes are starting to prove that eating animal protein is not required for performing well. Arnold Schwarzenegger says, “Commercials [are] selling [the] idea that real men eat meat. But you gotta understand, that’s marketing. That’s not based on reality.” An example of an athlete breaking the odds of veganism is Kendrick Farris, who broke two American records for weightlifting while eating a plant-based diet. While eating plant-based diets, athletes are recovering better and are getting less sore. Plant-based diets have been proven to increase athletic performance. Numerous professional athletes are reporting the benefits of their plant-based diets. Superstar athletes such as quarterback Tom Brady, point guard Kyrie Irving, and linebacker Derrick Morgan say that meatless diets have supported their everyday lives with higher energy levels, less aching, and clearer minds.

Environment Protection Through Reducing Greenhouse Emissions and Natural Resources

Some people become vegans in support for the environment, and these people are known to practice one of the most productive ways to sustain the environment. According to researchers at the University of Oxford, limiting meat consumption reduces people’s carbon footprint by up to 73 per cent. Furthermore, the same article states that the animal industry is responsible for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions, but the animal industry provides only 18% of the total amount of calories and 37% of the total amount of protein on Earth. The ratio between the nutrients animals provide and its global total amount is less than the ratio between the nutrients other sources of food provides and its global total amount. This statistic shows the inefficiency of animal food products, and it allows environmentalists and others to understand how a habitual change in diet can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Vegans are indirectly environmentalists because However, the argument that you are an environmentalist if you are vegan is justified, even without your identification as an environmentalist. Vegans are people who make a difference to the environment by excluding themselves from the problem, even if they do so unknowingly.

On the contrary, a counter argument can be made that plant eaters require a greater demand for transportation than do their counterparts. Importing non-local foods to the United States, such as avocados, bananas, pineapples, apples, honeydew melons, blueberries, cantaloupe, mangoes, nectarines, and lemons, can be environmentally taxing. To make matters worse, according to a New York Times article by David Karp, there has been a steady rise in imports of fresh fruits via ground transportation from countries like Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Peru over the last four decades. While this may seem true, the transportation of food accounts for 11% of greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, it seems transporting plant-based foods is worse than animal-based foods because they require less production emissions. The argument that it takes more gasoline to transport plant-based foods than animal-based foods is true, but only at a slight margin. In fact, the transportation required and its contribution to carbon emissions for both products is almost the same. Nevertheless, transportation is seen worse when transporting fruits because it accounts for around 17% of its carbon emissions. On the other hand, transportation for animal-based foods accounts for just over 3% of its carbon emissions because its carbon emissions cost for production and processing is more than 7 times that of plant-based foods. This being said, you can help the environment by eating local foods and growing your own food in your backyard. This will allow you to build a balanced diet that encompases reduced meat, more vegetables, and a better understanding of where the food you are eating comes from and the impact that transportation has on the environment.

If every single person on Earth were to stop eating meat, up to 75 percent of the land that is used for farming animals would no longer be needed. The effect of gaining the land lost to animal agriculture on the environment would be substantial; wildlife would get their land back and hopefully thrive in those areas once again. However, the law of supply and demand implies that a decrease in animal agriculture will increase demand for other food and call for the increased production of plant agriculture.

Final Statement

Whether you are an animal lover, an energetic athlete, a person trying to get into shape, or an environmentalist, veganism provides a positive alternative to meat-based eating. It has the power to influence the activities you go to, the clothes you wear, the foods you eat, the moods you feel, the energy you have, and the person you are.  


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