Plant-based diets have increased by 30% in the past four years, and continues to be the fastest growing food sector in Australia. Meat-free trends like ‘Meatless Monday’ and 'flexitarian' diets are also on the rise, attracting the attention of vegetarian, the ‘veg-curious’ and even the most skeptical self-proclaimed 'carnivores' as more information on the benefits of a plant-based diet.
In the past few years, many books have been written, studies done and documentaries made on the animal agriculture business worldwide, with focus on a number of different issues. But why is veganism getting so much attention and positive reviews? Why are we taking over the world? We discuss some of the reasons below.
Eating meat and other animal products have been linked to a number of serious and life-threatening diseases including cancer, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and obesity. Plant eaters live an average of 10 years longer than their meat-eating counterparts, and have show to lower their risk of the above diseases, as well as diabetes. Meat and other animal products are high in saturated fats, carcinogens, hormones, antibiotics and cholesterol.
A plant diet can easily meet all our human needs for nutrition, despite some skeptics who think iron, protein (made up of amino acids), calcium and B12 only come from animal products. Animals eat plants to get these nutrients themselves, so plant eaters are getting their required vitamins, minerals and amino-acids straight from the source! It's a common misconception that meat-eaters get all their required nutrients, when in reality, meat-eaters can suffer from iron deficiency and other undernourishment problems too. B12 is often considered the most 'important' vitamin that vegans miss out on by not consuming animal products as
As for any food-consuming human (everyone), some thought should be given when making your meals to ensure you get the right balance of carbohydrates, fats, amino acids and nutrients to thrive, and vegans are no different. Leafy green vegetables, quinoa, beans and lentils, tofu and tempeh, nuts and seeds are all fantastic ways to consume iron, protein and other nutrients as a vegan. Studies have shown that per calorie, vegetables and vegan foods have the ability to be just as nutrient dense as meats are, without the negative health affects mentioned above.
Obesity is another huge health problem around the world at the moment, with most developing countries spending millions of dollars a year on obesity-related health issues. A vegan diet is a fantastic way to lose weight. Dairy products (made from cow's breast milk) are naturally designed to fatten up a baby cow and grow them into a huge and heavy animal - yet human's consume so much cheese, milk, ice cream, cream and other dairy products and wonder why our waistlines are expanding.
Another extremely dangerous health issue arising from such high animal product consumption around the world is antibiotic use in animal agriculture. Due to the high intensity of factory farming, and the fact that keeping so many animals in poor conditions (limited space with no separation of fecal matter and living quarters), means diseases between animals spreads quickly. To combat these diseases affecting livestock, farmers give animals antibiotics in their food. This can, and has, led to a dangerous antibiotic resistance in many places around the world and in some cases resulted in human deaths as antibiotics prescribed to them to beat infections didn't work due to overconsumption of antibiotics via animal products.
nutrients (protein, iron, vitamin b12)
antibiotic use in agriculture
Greenhouse gas emissions:
Livestock and their byproducts account for 32,000 MILLION tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide per year, accounting for a huge 51% of all harmful greenhouse gases worldwide! Not only this, but emissions from agriculture are expected to increase by 80% by 2050 as the world’s population increases and consumes more meat and animal products. Meanwhile, energy related emissions will increase by only 20% in the same time frame. However, some experts believe by 2050 it will be too late.
It takes almost 9,500 litres of water to produce just under half a kilo of beef.
green house gases
pollution from factory farm run off
GMO crops , pesticides
animals consume more food than they produce
What the Health
Forks Over Knives
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Fryer
Making a Killing by James Ashcroft
Why Love One and Eat Another?
Omnivore's Dilemna by Michael Pollen