Ho ho ho! The season to be merry is upon us but right after Christmas comes the season when we tend to ponder life’s bigger questions and ask ourselves what changes we should make to live our best lives. We might ask ourselves How do I become a better person? How can I help protect our planet? What do we need to do to safeguard our children’s futures? There is a lot to chew over here but the tl:dr answer is pretty simple: go vegan.
And if the above is ts:wm (too short: want more), read on…
1. More Compassion
Brain scanning shows that vegetarians and vegans appear to have more of an empathetic response to both human and animal suffering. But which comes first, the diet or the compassion? We don’t know but they seem to be interlinked. Many compassionate people see animals suffering on farms and in slaughterhouses and decide not to support it. But there are also people who become vegan for their health who often say that they unexpectedly developed more compassion as a result of this dietary change. In reality, the order of events does not matter. Eating plant-based is compassion in action, and whatever our motivation for becoming vegan, it can have profound knock-on effects for the rest of our lives, too.
2020 was quite the year wasn’t it? And one thing we have learned is that our destructive relationship with animals and the environment can unleash some powerful global consequences. This time, it was a wet market in China. Next time, it could just as easily be a factory farm in the USA. When we tear down animals’ homes, capture, cage and trade them, cram them together inside filthy factory farm sheds or on mink farms, we allow pathogens to cross from animals to people with deadly outcomes. We could prevent the next outbreak by Taking Pandemics Off The Menu. #TPOTM
3. Fight Climate Change
The way many of us live our lives – particularly in wealthier countries – is driving climate breakdown and the signs are all around us in the floods, forest fires, droughts, soaring heat, melting ice caps, seas rising, coral bleaching, and ocean dead zones.
Animal agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to human-generated greenhouse gas emissions and every time we eat meat or other animal products, our own carbon footprint grows. Switching to plant-based is the “single biggest thing” we as individuals can do to reduce our climate impact. These are not our words, but those of Joseph Poore, researcher at Oxford University, and after the incredibly detailed work he has conducted, he should definitely know. We can fight climate change with diet change if we switch to eating plant-based.
4. Health & Wellbeing
Eat fewer vegetables, said no one ever. When we crowd our plates with fruits and vegetables, berries and legumes, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and herbs, we are giving our bodies the tools they need to keep us fighting fit now and in the future. It’s no wonder that vegans suffer less from obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and some cancers, and that they also live longer. And don’t worry, it’s not all salad and beans! There are plant-based versions of all the foods you love – from steaks to fish to cheese to ice cream. If you want to know what optimal health feels like, watch some of these incredible stories of people who have transformed their lives through diet and let their journeys inspire your own.
5. Athletic Performance
If you’re one of the few people on the planet who hasn’t seen The Game Changers documentary, we’d recommend you make some time to settle down with some popcorn and check it out. The film examines the effect that a plant-based diet has on athletic performance, and it is POWERFUL. Increasingly, people who are active – from Saturday night club dancers to Sunday morning elite ultra-runners – are discovering the benefits of eating plant-based: increased energy, less inflammation, quicker recovery, faster speeds, better endurance, and all with no loss of muscle mass. For those looking for an edge, or for those who just want to do what they love for longer, eating plant-based could be the answer.
6. Future of our children
We have just one planet. It is beautiful and hospitable and it provides for all our needs. It is, in short, the perfect home. So, why are we treating our penthouse condo like a dumpster? We pollute it, cut it down, take its valuable resources and turn them into junk we don’t really want. We raze forests that absorb damaging gases, we pollute the oceans that provide us with oxygen, and we kill off the inhabitants so we can eat, wear or otherwise use them. We’re behaving like the very worst house guest, and yet small changes can have big consequences.
Eating plant-based requires less energy, land and water to create the food. That means there is a lot more space for nature to thrive, and if nature thrives, we will thrive, too, and our children will inherit this wonderful home.
7. End Factory Farming
No one likes factory farming, right? No one looks at images of animals locked inside cages or lying lame on the floor of vast barren warehouses – all of them sentient beings – and think well, it looks pretty nice to me.
Deep down we know. On top of this, the appalling conditions we subject farmed animals to means we rely on massive doses of antibiotics just to keep those poor creatures alive long enough to kill them, and this is driving antibiotic resistance that is already killing people. We must end factory farming but we cannot do that while we all still eat meat.
8. Easy & Delicious
OK, maybe not on Day 1. On Day 1, those who have not prepared for their vegan adventure, may open the refrigerator and wonder what they are going to make out of a pot of jelly and some asparagus. Changing long-held habits can be challenging and that is why we have produced the resources you need to make the experience simple and fun. And we recommend two further things: first, set yourself the goal of eating vegan for just those 31 days and don’t worry about what happens after that.
And second, throw yourself right in! Right. In. Do your research, watch those documentaries, open your eyes in the grocery store and pick up the delicious produce you normally walk past. Search online for recipes, and go on this adventure with curiosity, positivity and an open heart. After all, there are so many reasons to give this a try. Eating vegan is an act of kindness to yourself, your family, the planet and animals. It will soon become second nature, your culinary horizons will expand dramatically, and you will develop a whole new relationship with food. And from there, who knows what it might do for you?
So go ahead. Jump right in.
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