Why My Family Is Moving To Clean Eating #Vegan

Going Vegan—What’s Your Motivation?

Ready to ditch that fattening, life-shortening, heart-choking, cholesterol-laden, hormone-soaked red meat in favor of healthier, happier, plant-based “meats”? Congratulations—and as isolating as the concept might feel right now, understand that you’re certainly not alone in your quest. Vegetarianism and veganism is spreading like wildfire throughout the world, and with very good reason. Not only has a plant-based diet been scientifically proven in numerous medical studies to be healthier than a carnivorous diet, but you’re also helping save the environment in the process.

I try to make every meal with at least two fruit or veggies from my garden.  It's so important that I teach my son yummy food comes from the ground, not a box!

Between the cost of animal and meat transportation, fossil fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, toxic waste and pollution created by factory farming, and many, many other environmental issues, the impact that we as a carnivorous society have on planet Earth is substantial and heartbreaking. A single pound of beef can waste up to 2,500 gallons of water to produce! Think of all the good we could do for our planet if we all made the shift to a meatless diet. And today, it’s easier than ever to create satisfying, nutritionally sound meatless meals. If you’re worried you’re going to miss the taste of meat, there are dozens of meat replacement products on the market today. The best of the bunch nearly perfectly replicate the look, taste, and texture of real meat. Sometimes, the resemblance to actual meat is so striking that meat-eaters can’t even taste the difference.

Compassionate Meals

We as a modern society have been taught to physically and emotionally disconnect ourselves from the food we eat. That pre-packaged, mass-produced container of red meat you find under plastic wrap in your local grocery store bears no visual resemblance to the cow it originally came from, making it remarkably easy to forget that you’re eating something that used to be walking around. The meat industry often perpetuates this mental disconnect, either directly or indirectly; deliberately placing their slaughterhouses out in the middle of nowhere, shielding them from public view. This is because the meat industry knows that when directly faced with the reality of large-scale meat production, most people might reel back in horror and decide to abstain from eating meat altogether.

If you aren’t convinced, take a few seconds now to search for an image of a cow online. Now, while looking at that picture, ask yourself honestly if you could take the steps necessary to slaughter and eat that cow as a part of your day-to-day routine. If the answer is “absolutely not” or “not without getting upset or sick from doing it,” then you have taken the first step towards acknowledging the harrowing reality of the meat you eat. When coupled with the knowledge that you don’t need to eat meat to be healthy, this newfound reality can be empowering. Soy and pea-based meat alternatives to the rescue!

Dairy, Too

The dairy industry isn’t excluded when it comes to animal mistreatment. Dairy cows are typically artificially inseminated and kept perpetually pregnant in order to stimulate milk production. They are injected with hormones to produce more and more milk, and injected with antibiotics when they become ill. These chemicals can pass right through to the milk they produce. Any female offspring of dairy cows tend to become milk cows like their mothers, while male cows are usually slaughtered almost immediately to become veal. Typically, newborn calves spend little or no time with their mothers after birth, which is extremely stressful for both mother and baby. Egg production can be similarly unpleasant, with chickens pumped full of chemicals to produce more and more eggs. When a chicken stops producing eggs due to older age, they are typically slaughtered for meat.

Environmental Hazards of Meat Production

The bottom line is that massive factory farming has grown out of control, polluting the environment each and every day, squandering precious resources to feed and water these animals, and wasting thousands of acres of land that could be used for growing vegetables. The worst part is that all of this is unnecessary—medical studies have proven time and again that not only is eating meat not required for optimal health, but a diet with substantial amounts of fruits and vegetables and little to no meats or dairy can vastly improve your health.

Weight loss, lowered blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and a variety of other health benefits have all been directly attributed to a purely plant-based diet. Furthermore, the conditions that the majority of factory-raised animals endure are certainly less than ideal, and in many cases are absolutely deplorable. Even “free range” animals are often kept packed together by the thousands in dark warehouses that never see the light of day. Just because the animal isn’t kept in a cage does not mean it gets to live a happy, stress-free life before being slaughtered.

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com