Which are the main reasons why people stop eating meat and switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet? What is it that makes the plant-based diet the ultimate choice? We will discuss what are the most common and influential motivations that make people go vegan.
Why do people switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet?
- Health reasons
- Ethical reasons: to stop the suffering of animals
- Environmental: sustainability and climate change
- Due to spiritual or religious beliefs
People go vegan for health reasons
The vegan diet is the healthiest diet according to numerous researches. There is growing evidence that a plant-based diet has favorable health effects and positive results in the long term.
If you are skeptical and your mind still whispers “yes, but…” then please, just keep reading:
- Humans are herbivores by nature and plant-based diets are more favorable to our health. Our ancestors were not hunters by profession, but vegetarians and sporadically scavengers in their need to survive. Meat consumption is not in our true nature.
- Protein deficiency is not an issue in the Western culture and there is plenty of healthy protein in plants that comes packed with healthy fats and antioxidants.
- The meat diet is full of cholesterol and saturated fat, and it has been proven that both are harmful to human health, while plants contain mainly healthy monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats and no cholesterol.
- B12 is not a valid reason to eat meat because the meat itself, according to its production way, lacks B12, and farm animals require supplementation. So why all the killing when we could just take these supplements ourselves?
- Plants are a great source of amino-acids as well as meat (quinoa has all 9 essential amino-acids, mushrooms contain 17 amino-acids, legumes, leas and beans, lupins and soybeans are a great source of high-quality protein, rich in the essential amino acids.
- More and more diseases are linked to the consumption of meat and age as an influencing factor is no longer the main reason; there is an increased number of diseases in young adults due to an unhealthy diet.
And one more thing – we heard so much about the healthy diets around the world but if we go deeper, we will notice that none of them was based on regular meat consumption. For instance, the famous Mediterranean diet was for the locals “the poor diet” because it lacked meat and butter and it contained mainly fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, beans, nuts, and olive oil and only sporadically meat (not even once a week).
Vegan diet is the healthiest from two perspectives and both must be met to support this:
- What you don’t eat: meat, dairy, and eggs
- What you do eat: healthy fats, plant-based protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, legumes and beans, grains and cereals, nuts and seeds.
Obviously, if you stop eating meat and switch to all-day pasta (increased gluten intake) and fried chips (maintaining the unhealthy fat), processed sugars, and processed food, then you are not going to see any benefits. It is that easy. Full stop.
The vegan diet is healthy not only because you stop eating meat but also because you replace it with something better. And this is crucial.
You might still be skeptical to go vegan due to all the pesticides and herbicides that fruits and veggies contain nowadays. Well, don’t forget that the farmed animals are fed mostly with GMO grains that are widely sprayed with glyphosate (this is why they are genetically modified: to withstand the killing weed pesticide called Roundup). So nope, that poison does not evaporate in the slaughterhouse. If pesticides are of your concern, choose organic. This choice will not only boost your health, but also help the honest producers to survive and save our planet from deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, and so on.
And don’t worry about anemia – there is spinach and lentils and so much more for that. Do your own research and keep your eyes open. The farm industry is a huge player and there will be many trying to keep it alive.
Ethical and moral reasons to go vegan
There are no humane ways to kill. Killing itself cannot be humane. Keeping a cow pregnant all year long just to take her milk and kill her baby for meat cannot be humane. Having a pregnant pig in a metal box not bigger than its size cannot be humane. A slaughterhouse has nothing humane in it. Gas chambers are not humane. Hanging a chicken by its leg and sending it to the knife that will cut its throat in the air is not humane. Leaving the fish and whales and other sea creatures to suffocate to death after capture is not humane.
Taking the skin out of a crocodile while the animal is alive (to maintain elasticity) is not humane. Torturing millions of monkeys, mice, and dogs for cosmetics testing is not worth it. The fur belongs to the mink and the skin to the cow. The sheep are not ours to cut their hair and use it for wool. We can go on and on here.
Do you have a pet? Where is the difference between your dog or cat and a lamb? Can you look in the eyes of that small baby lamb and decide that your appetite is more important? Pigs are more intelligent than dogs, as studies show. I see people feeding the pigeons daily and I wonder – why don’t they see the whole picture? Why feed the pigeons and then go home and eat spicy chicken wings with fried chips? Where is the logic and the common sense behind it? Why worship one animal and kill the other? Who decides who has the right to live and who doesn’t?
So yes, a big part of the vegans became vegans because they saw the horror in the eyes of the suffering and could no longer accept it.
What about you?
Vegan lifestyle to stop environmental destruction
- 37 percent of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are coming from the meat and dairy industry;
- 10 percent of GHG are from the fashion industry;
- Animal farming uses 30 percent of the world’s freshwater;
- The livestock sector is the biggest source of water pollution;
- The meat and dairy industry is the leading cause of deforestation and it is responsible for up to 91 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction;
- Animal products are a leading cause of soil erosion;
- Animal farming uses 30 percent of the world’s ice-free land and 45 percent of the world’s total land;
- Livestock uses 80 percent of the total agricultural land out of which 60 percent is used for beef only;
- 82 percent of starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals that are then eaten by Western countries;
- Researches show that there will be no fish in the oceans by 2050;
- Study shows the vegan diet is the most sustainable of all diets;
“What we decide to eat, as individuals and as a global society, is one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against climate change and environmental destruction,” Bunny McDiarmid, Executive Director of Greenpeace International
Sources (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7)
Religion and culture for vegan lifestyle
Another reason why people choose a vegan or vegetarian diet is their religion or culture. Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism are pleading for non-violence and the followers of these beliefs will generally abstain from eating meat. The holy books advise the Christians to have 180-200 days of fasting per year, usually related to big holidays and every Wednesday and Friday. Islam strictly forbids the consumption of pork and products made from pork.
A recent research conducted by Vomadlife in 2019 shows that 68.1 percent of the people who took the survey went vegan for the animals. 17.4 percent did it for health reasons, and 9.7 percent for the environment, and 4.8 percent chose “Other”. The data came from countries all over the world and most of the participants were female.
Another global survey organized by Vegan Food & Living in 2019 showed that 71% of the participants went vegan for animal welfare. The results are based on 8300 people who completed the full survey.
Veganz conducted a survey in 2019 that again outlined the fact that the main reason to go vegan is animal protection (95%) followed by environment and sustainability (83.9%) and 55.9% health. A total of 24000 people from 15 different countries took part in the survey.
The research made by Triconsult in Austria showed that conscious consumption is important for vegetarians and vegans, especially when it comes to nutrition but also cosmetics. Vegans and vegetarians are willing to pay more for sustainable products. The main reason why they avoid meat is mainly for moral and ethical reasons.
What will be your motivation to go vegan?