By Paul Baynham
Have you ever thought that Veganism is just a fad, or merely for tree-hugging types that merely do it for animal welfare purposes! There are lots written about it and we think that the real benefits of it are lost in translation.
Well, the benefits on a personal and global scale are huge and it’s amazing to see how they all link into each other.
Most of us think that the biggest impact to our environment are fossil fuels, fracking etc. But little do people realise, it is actually agriculture (and it is not just from the methane the cows produce!).
The carbon footprint left by it dwarfs the effect of industry and the vehicles we use. This fact is little advertised or talked about.
Think about it:
The population is growing at an unsustainable rate. Animals are reared to support this increase. To feed these animals, we have to grow more and more crops. To get the land to grow these crops, huge swathes of deforestation have to occur. The very trees that are the lungs of the world are destroyed. This adds more and more to global warming, as a result CO2 is not removed from our atmosphere and replaced with oxygen. Water is becoming our scarcest natural resource. You only have to look at what is happening in Cape Town. They are so close to “Day Zero”, where the reservoirs have run dry and there is no water left. Yet, it takes 1,300 gallons of water to make one McDonalds Quarter Pounder! The water to grow the crops, hydrate the cattle, process the carcass etc. How much better would that water be used, growing crops for humans to eat and how much less of a carbon footprint would we make! Trying to convince us alternative methods of farming, such as “Grass Fed”, are better and more ethical, is again a misnomer. The cattle used in this method, require more land to graze upon and longer to mature, to reach the desired size and weight. Therefore, putting more pressure on the earths dwindling resources.
There is buzzword, relative to this industry, namely “Sustainable Fishing”. The very words are very much an oxymoron. The notion of catching hundreds and thousands of aquatic species each year is very noble, but modern methods of fishing, mean that vessels merely bottom trawl. The result of this means that non – targeted species, such as sharks, dolphin, turtles etc, are caught and then thrown back to die. Moving from one species to the next, in the name of sustainability, results in the devastation of that species. It then goes full circle, and we move onto the next one.
So, there you have some brief facts about the environmental impact of an omnivorous diet. Just think what benefit turning vegan will have on the planet as a whole!
But how will the change in diet benefit me, I hear you say? Well, following a Vegan/Plant-Based diets will have countless health benefits.
Consuming animal fats is linked very heavily to the following health problems:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Heart Disease
- Various Cancers
- High Cholesterol
In addition, it has been proven that following a vegan diet leads to a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) and a significantly reduced risk of obesity. Even a vegetarian continuing to consume dairy products, has an increased risk to these two modern day issues.
Think about the indirect benefit this will have on the likes of the NHS. A healthier society, means less call on this already overstretched service.
Added benefits, which I know the Rejuvage community, will welcome, include:
- Increased energy levels.
- Younger looking skin.
- Eternal youth (well that might be wishful thinking, but scientific research shows significantly proven benefits, when compared to an average western diet).
Turning to a Vegan diet is not something that should be taken lightly and you have to consider getting balance to your diet, to ensure that you continue to receive vital daily nutrients. Having said that, it is so much easier these days to buy vegan products, in everyday supermarkets. You don’t have to go searching for specialist health stores.
A well planned vegan diet can be very rich in protein, iron, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. As well as being high in fibre and packed with anti-oxidants.
Supermarkets have wised up to the growing number of people turning vegan and see this as one of the fastest growing areas for their business. You can now even get Vegan Quorn products.
There are also a plethora of Vegan cookbooks and recipes online, so don’t think it is difficult to source ingredients or find suitable recipes.
Eating out is starting to get easier for Vegans. Restaurants are also starting to realise the growing trend and are therefore catering for vegan diets. Specialist vegan restaurants, are also opening up.
The Sporting World:
Good testimony to the benefits of turning Vegan, can be found in the sporting world.
Across the sporting spectrum the following athletes are vegan:
- Venus Williams – Tennis
- Lewis Hamilton – Formula 1
- Jermaine Defoe – Football
- David Haye – Boxing
- Tia Blanco – Surfer
- Meagan Duhamel – Ice Skater
- Kendrick Yahcob Farris – Weightlifter
- Jack Lindquist – Track Cyclist
- Patrik Baboumian – Strongman
- Neil Robertson – Snooker
Some of these names may not be familiar, but the list does highlight the broad spectrum of sports, where athletes understand the benefits of a Vegan/Plant-Based diet. You might be surprised to see weightlifters and strongmen in the list, but it goes to prove, that animal protein is not required to build muscle mass.
The next time you tuck into your “grass-fed, 28 day hung matured, organic 8 oz fillet steak”, have a think about how it got on your plate or trendy slate, and the impact it has had on the planet. Then think about the alternative diets available to you. Diets that will not only bring you untold health benefits, but will help to ease your conscience and give you a sense of pride, that you are helping to protect the planet and animal welfare.