So, why vegetarian then? What leads people around the world - some estimates around 10% - to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet?
There are no hard and fast answers, but many people find their reasons for vegetarianism fall into one of the following - often overlapping and in no way mutually exclusive - categories:Why vegetarian? Because of the animals!
Literally millions of living, sentient beings are conceived, raised (often in appalling conditions) and executed, all over the world, solely to provide food for humans to eat.
Demand for ever cheaper food means the methods by which such animals are reared are becoming less and less humane, with new ways to increase profits meaning ever crueller scenarios are developed year on year - from routine use of antibiotics meaning more crowding and ever reduced quality of life, to genetic modication and growth hormones to maximise revenues from body fat of animals that can barely walk.
Many vegetarians find their behaviour evolving to veganism, on learning of the horrendous conditions of factory farming in the dairy and egg industries, and whatever anyone's reason for giving up meat it is hard to avoid the suffering this evokes.
But animal welfare is not the only reason...
Why vegetarian? Because of the planet!
So many people are fearful and frustrated about the impact of mankind's activities on the planet we live on. going vegetarian, or better still vegan, makes a powerful statement and a real difference, if you care about the quality of the air you breathe, the water in our seas and rivers, world hunger and energy consumption, the depletion of topsoil...
One acre of farmland can produce either 40,000 pounds of root crop in a year... or 250 pounds of meat. In a world where children die every day for lack of food to eat, often in countries where their land is used to raise and kill animals for people in rich countries to eat, this is a statistic to make anyone stop and think before their next forkful of flesh. Animal agriculture (raising plants to feed animals to feed people) consumes 1/2 the water and 1/3 of the petroleum used in the United States. 18 % of greenhouse gasses are released from animal agriculture - more than all other forms of transportation combined. Whilst the world leaders trade off their carbon emissions at their summits as the world temperatures rise, all anyone has to do is... STOP EATING MEAT..!
Why vegetarian? Because of my health!
Vegetarians and vegans statistically live longer, have lower risks of cancer, heart attack and other degenerative diseases, cardiovascular disease, and are generally healthier and happier. Being vegetarian is a fine, selfish choice to make that will benefit you fantastically...
A study in The International Journal of Cancer concluded that red meat is "strongly associated" with breast cancer. Women who eat meat every day are nearly four times more likely to get breast cancer compared to those who don't. By contrast, women who consume at least one serving of vegetables a day reduce their risk of breast cancer by 20 to 30 percent, according to the Harvard Nurses Health Study. A study from the Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg suggest that this is because vegetarians' immune systems are actually more effective in killing off tumor cells than those of meat eaters.
Studies have also found a plant-based diet helps protect against prostate, colon and skin cancers, and cholesterol levels are 14 per cent lower for vegetarians than for meat eaters.
You will also ingest far less in the way of environmental toxins - pesticides, pollutants, preservatives - just look how many carnivores explore the benefits of a Detox Diet!
And weight loss? Well, as a vegetarian you are likely to eat less saturated fat, and fewer calories. We all know it's not quite as simple as that, or the rest of this website wouldnt exist! But you do have a great advantage already in that there are so many low calorie and low fat food choices available to you, and you are also far less likely to suffer from weight-related disorders such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes."Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." -- Albert Einstein
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