Going vegan is a lifestyle choice that excludes any product that involves any form of animal cruelty or exploitation. There is no one size fits all when it comes to going vegan as it can come in various shapes. However, vegans have a lot of things in common like following a plant-based diet that avoids animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs and refusing animal-tested products and animal-based entertainment. Nowadays, there are a lot of speculations about what vegans can and cannot eat. According the UK Vegan Society, "A vegan diet is richly diverse and comprises all kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans, and pulses, curry, cakes, pasties to pizzas, all your favourite things can be suitable for a vegan diet if they’re made with plant-based ingredients."
There are 3 key benefits of living a vegan lifestyle. Vegans believe that animal-free alternatives are better for animals, humans and the environment.
Benefits to Animals:
The UK animal rights organisation Animal Aid explains that going vegan "is one of the best things you can do to help end animal cruelty." Saying no to animal cruelty and exploitation has always been fundamental to vegans’ way of thinking. It comes from the belief that animals should enjoy their right to life and freedom. For example, cows in dairy farms live approximately for 3-4 years before being shot, while outside dairy farms they can live up to 20 years. Another aspect that vegans stand against is using animals in research, testing and education. It’s estimated that more than 100 million animals are used for such things. Vegans reject these practices and argue that they are ineffective, painful and expensive. Thanks to new technologies and hard campaigning from vegans, many new researches now avoid animal testing.
Benefits to Humans:
It is believed that plant-based diets revolve around healthy ingredients that contain all the nutrients the human body needs. The UK Vegan Society mentions that “The British dietetic association and The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognise that they are suitable for every age and stage of life. Some research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.”. Plant-based diets contain ingredients such as fruits and vegetables which are very rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins that improve wellbeing and overall health.
Benefits to the Environment:
Going Vegan can contribute massively to reducing carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. Avoiding animal-based products is extremely beneficial to protecting the planet and living a sustainable life. Every stage of animal-based product production consumes a huge amount of resources that affects the environment negatively. Meat and dairy production involve using huge amount of grain and water and can lead to some species extinction and deforestation. In Brazil, an area size of 5.6 million acres is being used to grow soya beans to feed animals in Europe. Some studies show that living a plant-based diets uses around a third of the land required for meat and dairy diets and significantly lower amounts of crops and water.
Rethink your lifestyle:
The 3 key benefits mentioned above highlight why vegans choose to live a plant-based diet. The most important benefit for all of us is protecting the environment and tackling climate change crisis. Unfortunately, most people think that going vegan is mainly beneficial to animals and humans and to less degree the environment. One of the latest UN reports on climate change shows that human activities affect around 70% of land on planet Earth and switching to plant-based diets has the potential to contribute 20% of the effort required to keep global temperatures from increasing by 2 degrees.
We definitely need to rethink our lifestyles, especially when going vegan is now easier than ever, if we are to live sustainably with humans and animals alike enjoying our planet.