Veganism: Is It Good For You?Consuming meat, milk, and other animal products are essential for a nutritious diet and an overall healthy life, right? That’s what most Americans are engrained to believe, at least; from their parents, television, social media, and just about everywhere else. Well, that would be false. Veganism, as most people have heard of, is the abstainment from the use and consumption animal products.
To the majority of the world, this probably sounds impracticable, and, frankly, crazy. But is it really? Many health experts would actually recommend the vegan diet to everyone. Other than the vast benefits to general health, there are multiple other reasons why the vegan diet is rising exceptionally in popularity; notably for ethics and morals.To start off, animal products are not, in fact, good for human health.
It is true that meat and dairy contain protein and necessary nutrients to the human body, but the claim that these are hard or impossible to get without animal consumption is wrong. Meat has actually been proven to cause obesity, stroke, heart disease, and many other health issues. In fact, the leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease; most commonly atherosclerosis (American Journal of Cardiology). Atherosclerosis occurs when cholesterol deposits accumulate in the arteries and begin constricting flow of blood and oxygen to the heart.
The single most significant causes of heart disease is dietary cholesterol from, you guessed it, consuming animal products. Animal products are also loaded with saturated fats, causing the liver to produce more cholesterol. A vegan diet is the only treatment that has been scientifically proven to reverse heart disease (American Journal of Cardiology). Moreover, The China Study examines the relationship between animal consumption and chronic illnesses, concluding that “People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease” (Campbell).
The study found that people who ate a diet that excludes all animal products can avoid, reduce, and even completely reverse the development of numerous illnesses. In addition, a leading U.S. health care provider published a medical science article in 2013 noting, “Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods… Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.” (Permanente). With doctors and health experts continuously finding that a vegan diet can help those struggling with their health, it is rather peculiar that many continue to claim that a meat and dairy based diet is the best for humans.
Not only, of course, does veganism help health. It also reduces the enormous amount of animals tortured every day. It was found that the consumption of animal products result in an estimated 10 billion animal deaths each year (Capps). Animals are living creatures with unique personalities and emotions, just like the common pet dog or cat. They feel joy, affection, and pleasure, as well as fear, grief, and pain. They form friendships and emotional bonds and obviously seek to live their lives, which they cherish, just like us humans.
How are your dogs and cats, that you love so much, so different from chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows? Disregard for farmed animals persists because few people realize the ways in which these individuals are mistreated, and even fewer actually witness the abuse. If aware, most people would be horrified and outraged because they know that all animals feel pain and that morally decent human beings should try to prevent that.Although this lifestyle is gaining popularity and many are starting to realize the immense benefits of this diet, many certainly wouldn’t agree. Probably the biggest anti-vegan argument is that humans are omnivores and need to meat, and that animal consumption is necessary to get all of the nutrients a human needs.
It is true that there are many ingredients which are essential for nutritionally balanced diet (vitamins, oils, fats, and proteins) that are easier to consume with a animal based diet (DiMarino). Yet, science has irrefutably demonstrated that humans do not need meat, dairy or eggs to thrive. Eating animals is not a requirement for good health, but only nutritious plant-based foods. In fact, the American Dietetic Association stated that well balanced vegan diets “are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases,” and that they are “appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”A vegan diet is not unhealthy, but actually a way to cure diseases and numerous health problems in people of all ages and stop the amount of innocent animals being tortured every minute of every day. You can even reduce or cure potentially fatal health illness by switching to a plant-based diet.
Furthermore, if the world were to become vegan, it would save billions of animals from being murdered annually. Unlike animals who kill other animals for food, we have a choice. There is a vast moral difference between killing from necessity and killing for the pleasure of “yummy” food. It is in fact possible to live a nutrition filled, healthy life, without the consumption of meat or dairy.
When we have a choice between sparing life or taking it, there is nothing humane about killing happy, innocent creatures, just because we like the taste. Every day, we have the opportunity to live our values through our food choices. If we value compassion and love over murder and violence, and our own health over a good tasting burger, then veganism is the only way.Works CitedCapps, Ashley, The recipient of a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.”A Closer Look at the Claim ‘Some People Just Need Meat’.” Free From Harm, 22 Mar. 2017, freefromharm.
org/health-nutrition/catching-up-with-science-burying-the-humans-need-meat-argument/.DiMarino, Anthony. “A COMPARISON OF VEGETARIAN DIETS AND THE STANDARDWESTERNIZED DIET IN NUTRIENT ADEQUACY AND WEIGHT STATUS”.
School Of Health And Rehabilitation Sciences Of The Ohio State University, 2013.McGrath, Emma. “The Politics of Veganism.” Social Alternatives, vol. 19, no. 4, Oct.
2000, p. 50. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aqh&AN=3995958&site=ehost-live.
“Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets.” The Permanente Journal – KaiserPermanente, www.thepermanentejournal.org/issues/2013/spring/5117-nutrition.html.”Veganism In A Nutshell — The Vegetarian Resource Group”.