October is National Vegetarian Awareness Month. There are a myriad of benefits to a vegetarian diet. Check out some below:
Meat often has lots of toxic chemicals. To hit the market faster and stay on shelves longer animals are pumped with chemicals and hormones to speed up maturation and prevent disease. More toxins are then used to preserve the meat for an extended shelf-life.
Fruits and veggies have more nutrients, water and fiber. This helps your body digest them which leaves excess energy for other processes.
The vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients in a vegetarian diet can help strengthen your immune system.
According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, when compared to nonvegetarians...
- A vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease
- Vegetarians appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (i.e., the “bad” cholesterol)
- Vegetarians have lower blood pressure
- Vegetarians have lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes
- Vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index
- Vegetarians show lower overall cancer rates
Commercial farming uses inhumane techniques to raise animals for meat.
From Dr. Walden Bello, executive director of Food First, Institute for Food and Development Policy, “The fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world's food and land resources are tied-up in producing beef and livestock-food for the well-off, while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation.”
It saddens me to think of how much meat is literally disposed of. This happens at farms and in slaughterhouses. Meat that is not sold in grocery stores is disposed of. And meat in kitchens across the country that is either raw or cooked and not eaten is routinely thrown away. These are animals lives that could be spared if we as humans made major changes to the demand we create for meat.
If you are ready to truly know what it’s like for animals to be raised for food I recommend the documentary Earthlings, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. Be warned, this is a very graphic documentary, however I believe we should all be aware of where our meat comes from as I believe we deserve to know where all our food comes from.
According to the Vegetarian Society
- A vegetarian diet has 2.5 times less carbon emissions than a meat diet
You could fill your bathtub 6.5 times with the amount of water (542 litres) it takes to produce a chicken breast
- Eating a vegetarian diet for a year could save the same amount of emissions as removing a small family car off the road for six months
And one of my favorite guides to find veg-friendly restaurants when traveling, Happy Cow, reports
- Up to 5,000 gallons of water is needed to raise one pound of beef
- One acre of land can grow 20,000 pounds of potatoes OR can produce less than 165 pounds of beef
While it was not the original reason I chose to move to a plant-based diet my choices of how I take care of my body through the food I eat have grown very intertwined in my spiritual walk. As a Christian I know my body is a gift, it’s a temple, and it was created to be well and used to make the world a brighter place. See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I desire to do my part in keeping this one body I’ve been given well to serve the world in anyway God may call me.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” - 1 Corinthians 10:31
Whether or not you eat fully plant-based vegan, vegetarian, or just try to be vegetable forward, any step away from an animal-based diet is a good one. The planet and your body will thank you!