The two most common phrases I hear when I tell someone I am vegetarian is “I could never give up meat” and “Why should I become vegetarian?” My answer to the first is “That’s nice” and my answer to the second is “Maybe you shouldn’t.” Personally, I think both people are looking for me to get all righteous about being vegetarian. I am not looking to convert anyone to vegetarian, but if someone is really interested, I am willing to talk about it. There are three main reasons anyone should consider a vegetarian diet.
Why Should I Become Vegetarian? Your health.
The first reason to take up a vegetarian lifestyle is your health. The Standard American Diet (with the accurate acronym SAD) is extremely unhealthy. There is an overemphasis placed on meat. Our bodies are not designed to be fueled primarily by meat. Our digestive track more closely matches a herbivore’s, not a carnivore’s. Meat used to be a “once in a while” thing, not a “3 times a day, build your whole meal around the meat portion” thing. There is a lot of evidence now that protein from meat in high quantities is a major factor in many types of modern disease, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
In addition, we are not eating enough fruits and vegetables in our diet. Vegetables are a great “go to” food for snacking because they have low calories, are full of fiber to fill you up quickly, and are loaded with micronutrients and phytochemicals that protect your body from all kinds of disease. Even if you don’t become vegetarian, building your meals around a vegetable instead of meat will show you great health improvements.
Why Should I Become Vegetarian? The animals.
What happens to animals in most food production facilities is cruel by most people’s standards. There are reasons they build the meat processing plants in buildings with no windows and don’t offer tours. There is nothing humane about the way animals are handled prior to their death.
And that is just end of life. The way in which livestock is raised and force-fed is far from humane. Forced to eat a diet they were not meant to eat and given hormones and antibiotics so they grow fast enough that their diet won’t kill them outright, the animals are far from happy or healthy when they are finally taken off to slaughter.
Why Should I Become Vegetarian? The environment.
The environment is not meant to handle the massive scale meat production we undertake. Because of the diets they are fed, the animal waste is toxic to plants, so even if we wanted to turn it into fertilizer, we can’t. The cows take up far more resources in water and power to produce and bring to market than an equal amount of fruits and vegetables. And a lot of the food they are growing for animal consumption isn’t fit for human consumption. So instead of our farmers growing healthy food for humans to eat, they are growing unhealthy food for animals, that the animals were never meant to eat.
Why Should I Become Vegetarian? All of the above.
There are three reasons for you, but the people that have the most success with a vegetarian diet are the ones who hold all three of them in their heart. A vegetarian diet treats yourself better, treats the animals better, and treats the environment better.