If you went vegan for January, don’t make the mistake of going back now

Why would you give up something that will help you live longer, protect the planet and be kind to animals?

Dawn Carr
Sunday 28 January 2018 13:02
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It's never been easier to go vegan for good
It's never been easier to go vegan for good

A record number of people – more than 120,000 – pledged to go vegan for the month of January. No doubt, they’re already reaping the benefits, such as clearer skin, increased energy and better sleep, and 97 per cent of people who took the Veganuary pledge last January reported that they felt their health had improved.

Why, then, would anyone choose to go back to feeling worse – and harming the environment and animals – once January is over? It would be like quitting smoking for a month only to light up again as soon as your lungs start to feel clearer.

It has never been easier than it is today to kick your meat addiction for good and go vegan for life. Here are three reasons for sticking with your vegan pledge all year long:

1 You’ll get to celebrate more New Year’s Eves (and Christmases, birthdays, anniversaries and so on)

It’s true: vegans live longer. Not only do they have lower rates of obesity, coronary heart disease, and high blood pressure, according to the British Medical Association, they also have a significantly lower body mass index (BMI) than meat eaters. So, instead of resolving to lose weight every year, people who stay vegan can make resolutions that are fun – like going on more holidays.

One study found that vegans’ BMIs were lower even when they ate the same number of calories as meat eaters. Plant-based foods tend to be nutrient-dense and low in saturated fat. Cheese, for instance, typically derives 70 per cent of its calories from fat, and cream cheese is 90 per cent fat – that’s so greasy, it’s basically the nutritional equivalent of eating Vaseline.

Instead of clogging their arteries with every meal, vegans reduce their risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks because they get plenty of fibre and don’t consume any cholesterol, which is found only in animal flesh and bodily secretions. Not eating meat cuts your cancer risk, too – by at least 40 per cent.

Introducing the realistic vegan burger by Moving Mountains

2 You’ll stop trashing the planet

Eating meat is like dumping a truckload of manure on the Earth three times a day – literally. The billions of animals around the world that are raised for food produce methane during digestion, and the acres of cesspools filled with their waste create a staggering 65 per cent of the world’s nitrous oxide emissions, a major contributor to climate change.

It’s no wonder that at least 51 per cent of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide can be attributed to “livestock and their by-products”, according to The Worldwatch Institute, and that a UN report concluded that in order to stop the worst effects of climate change, the whole world needs to shift toward a vegan diet.

The meat industry also uses up massive quantities of the Earth’s finite resources. When you consider the enormous amount of water that animals drink and that are also needed to grow crops for feed and to clean filthy factory farms, it’s easy to understand why it takes more than 15,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef but only 287 litres to grow a 1kg of potatoes. Likewise, a 10 acre farm can support 60 people by growing soybeans or 24 people by growing wheat – but only two by raising cattle.

3 You’ll save animals with every meal

Many people say they love animals but eat their corpses at every meal. A bit inconsistent, isn’t it? Stay vegan, and you’ll feel good knowing that you’re not condemning smart, sensitive beings to miserable lives and painful deaths.

Every vegan saves approximately 100 animals a year from intensive confinement on filthy factory farms and a terrifying and painful death in an abattoir. Vegans also spare fish the ordeal of being painfully hooked or netted and then slit open while still conscious or left to suffocate.

Keep on being vegan, and you’ll also sleep well at night knowing you’re not supporting the cruel egg and dairy industries, which confine hens to cages that are barely the size of an A4 piece of paper and repeatedly and forcibly inseminate cows only to tear their beloved calves away from them shortly after birth so their milk can be sold to humans. Mothers and calves cry out for each other for days. Males are either shot or sent to veal farms, and females are doomed to the same miserable existence that their mothers endure. Is an omelette or ice cream cone really worth all this suffering – especially when delicious, much healthier vegan versions of nearly every food are available?

Today, companies are investing billions in innovative vegan foods, even meat-free burgers that “bleed”, which are set to hit supermarkets this year. The list of exciting, animal-free dishes on restaurant menus is expanding by the day to meet demand, and the number of vegans has increased by 350 per cent in the UK in the last decade alone.

Going vegan isn’t just for January – it’s for life: yours, animals’ and the planet’s.

Dawn Carr is the director of Vegan Corporate Projects at Peta

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