Crudites

Why You Should Go Meat-Free

In 2020, plant-based diets like vegetarianism and veganism are more popular than ever. These movements have grown as supporting research and media coverage of the truth behind animal products continue to be revealed. Scientists and activists alike agree that removing meat from your diet, even intermittently, is good for both the planet and the animals inhabiting it- including us. 

I’ve been a vegetarian for almost six years. This decision was health-based, mostly because I wanted to stray away from my diet of junk food and takeout. While I can’t say this is what happened (we’re all human, right?), my introduction to the plant-based community helped me learn more about why going meat-free was the best decision I could’ve made for my health, the planet and animals. Now, I want to share why I continue to leave meat off my plate. Keep reading if you're curious about whether or not you should adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. 

 

  1. 1. Your Health

    While it’s common to believe that meat is good for you because it is a protein, its disadvantages outweigh its benefits. Most meats actually contain high levels of cholesterol and fat, which increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health conditions. This doesn’t even include processed meats, like hot dogs and deli meats, containing cancer-causing carcinogens. Most meat consumption can ensure health issues later in life, but some instant negative repercussions in the form of food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses like E.Coli. 

    Considering these health risks, substituting meat for other sources of protein like tofu, nuts or beans is a great option. A vegetarian or vegan diet is often richer in nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. People who follow a healthy meat-free lifestyle are less likely to suffer from health problems like heart attacks and diabetes as a result of avoiding the toxins and fat found in these products.

  2. 2. The Planet

    One of the biggest factors for adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet is the impact the meat industry has on the environment. The livestock industry is one of the leading causes of deforestation, as forests are destroyed to make room for cattle and agriculture to feed these animals. The meat industry even contributes as much greenhouse gas emissions as cars, trucks and airplanes combined. Not to mention the air and water pollution that results from factories, slaughterhouses and transportation. 

     

    A meat-free diet, in comparison, helps slow climate change one person at a time. It takes significantly less water and land to sustain vegetarianism than meat consumption. Vegetable and fruit agriculture does not contribute to deforestation as severely as livestock and cattle agriculture does. Choosing to cut out meat helps the planet just like the decision to recycle or take shorter showers.

  3. 3. The Animals

    One of the most obvious factors for a meat-free lifestyle is animal rights. Cows, pigs, chicken and other animals used for meat production endure abuse in slaughterhouses and even on dairy farms. The details of this are hard to stomach, but there are plenty of websites and documentaries to look into if you are considering a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

     

Disclaimer: Cutting meat from your diet has countless benefits, but it also has some drawbacks. If vegetarian or vegan lifestyles aren't practiced responsibilities, it can lead to health issues like vitamin deficiencies and malnourishment. Vitamins and a high calorie diet can prevent these problems and sustain a healthy plant-based lifestyle. 

While it is intimidating at first, going meat-free is one of the best dietary decisions a person can make. If going cold turkey is too much, beginning to follow "Meatless Mondays" is a great option to ease into it. And there are endless Pinterest recipes to spark inspiration. 

If you decide to try any meatless meals, make sure to tag @hckentstate in your IG posts!