Let's Leave Animal Products in 2017

It’s 2018! New year, new you, right? Let’s leave some of the animal products behind in 2017. Maybe you don’t want to take the full plunge to being vegetarian or vegan- that’s cool. If you’re on social media, you know that swapping out some of those animal products in your diet for more plant-based options is super popular right now, and for good reason.

1. Studies have shown being a vegetarian reduces your risk of heart disease.

According to an article published by Harvard, recent studies have shown that being a vegetarian can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 25%. With heart disease being the #1 killer of Americans, this is an incredible benefit of not consuming meat.

2. Other studies have found that high consumption of meat is associated with breast cancer.

The British Journal of Cancer published a study in 2007 where they found that women who ate a lot of meat had a higher risk of breast cancer. Specifically, they found more of an effect when they were eating high amounts of processed (ex: things like hot dogs or deli meat) and red (ex: steak, hamburger) meats.

3. Save the planet!

We are often told that driving less is important to reduce our carbon footprint. I’m not saying to completely disregard this advice, but cutting your meat consumption can make a big difference. Animal agriculture creates 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than is created by all transportation methods combined (source). In addition, providing water so that feed can be grown for livestock makes up 56% of the water consumption in the United States (source). According to the documentary Cowspiracy (with sources cited on their website here), animals in the United States that are raised for food produce 7 million pounds of waste every minute.  

 

4. Think of the animals.

Animal abuse is a real thing, and animals are treated terribly every day in factory farms. I’ll spare you the sad, horrible pictures and videos in this article and just instead tell you briefly that these animals are kept in horrible conditions and are not treated like living beings. If you want to learn more about the details, there are plenty of documentaries and resources floating around the internet (Mercy for Animals, PETA, documentaries such as Food Inc. or Cowspiracy on Netflix). It’s not just the meat industry, the dairy and egg industry are pretty guilty, as well.

 

It’s important to note that making some of your food choices more plant-based is so much better than nothing. According to the Consumer Reports website, “In one recent preliminary study of more than 450,000 adults, those who followed a plant-based diet that was 70 percent plants had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease or stroke than those whose diets centered on meat and dairy.” Regarding the environment, the more people who reduce their intake of animal products, the smaller the industry becomes. If you’re upset about animal welfare but don’t want to completely cut out meat from your diet, try finding more local, sustainably sourced options. You’ve been told your whole life to eat your fruits and veggies, so why don’t you use the new year as an opportunity to replace some of those animal products with good, whole plant foods?

 

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