If you are Vegetarian, then the chances are that you have chosen not to eat foods which require an animal to lose its life.
You have already taken the biggest, boldest step, and that was the shift in mindset needed in order to change your diet.
However, today we see wave after wave of vegetarians taking the next step in their lifestyles and food journeys by adopting a Vegan Diet.
Going vegan is in main stream media, as we see top celebrities and sports stars adopting plant based diets.
But why become Vegan, if you’re already “doing your bit” as a Vegetarian?
Reason Number 1 - For Your Health
Dairy consumption has been strongly linked to most chronic health conditions such as autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, prostate cancer, colon cancer, type 1 diabetes, and reproductive cancers such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer. It has also been found that dairy proteins increase the level of IGF-1 in our bodies, a cancer-promoting growth hormone involved in the acquisition and progression of malignant tumors.
Contrary to what we are taught to believe, dairy consumption does not necessarily benefit our bones! Countries that consume the most cow’s milk and its by-products, also have the highest bone fracture rates. And believe it or not, dairy is also the number one source of saturated fat.
But what about eggs? They are harmless, surely? Not quite! Its been discovered that eating eggs can decrease life expectancy, since eggs contain significant amounts of fat and cholesterol, and, therefore, contribute to the leading killer, heart disease. In fact the USDA itself says that eggs cannot be legally labelled as ‘nutritious’, ‘part of a balanced diet’, ‘healthy’ or ‘safe’.
Contrastingly, doctors such as Dr Michael Greger and Dr Michael Klaper believe a vegan diet can reverse or prevent 8 of the top 10 major diseases that are our most common causes of death. According to new research released by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), reducing consumption of red meat, processed meats, and dairy can dramatically reduce the risk of cancer.
Study after study uphold what is becoming a widely understood and accepted truth – which is that a diet rich in whole plant based foods, and largely or fully absent of animal based foods, is the most health protective lifestyle overall.
Reason Number 2 - To Avoid Suffering
As vegetarians, most of us are opposed to animal cruelty and the killing of animals for food. But many of us are unaware of quite how inhumane the dairy and egg industries are, and the loss of life they cause.
For example, the dairy industry involves continuous impregnation of female cows, typically by artificial insemination. In order to produce milk, a cow has to be pregnant and give birth to her baby. Within hours or a few days, her baby is taken away which is believed to cause both mother and baby immense distress; just so that we can consume that calf's milk.
Furthermore, selective breeding has led to cows producing 2 times the volume of milk that they naturally would and 33% of dairy cows suffer from the painful condition of mastitis.
Note that the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency has even said that it’s legal to refer to milk as inhumane.
In the American egg industry, 95% of chickens spend their lives in battery cages so small that they cannot even stretch their wings. The beaks of young chickens, which are more sensitive than our fingertips, are frequently cut off without the use of pain-killers or anaesthetics.
By eliminating dairy and eggs from our diets, we no longer financially support or encourage this suffering. Instead we can enjoy a huge variety of non-dairy milks, creams, ice-creams, yoghurts, cheeses and egg substitutes which all meet our needs and which are increasingly widely available.
Reason Number 3 - To Save More Lives
Every year, around 1 million dairy cows are killed when their milk production begins to diminish. The natural lifespan of a cow is upto 25 years, but in the dairy industry they are sent to slaughter at the young age of between 4 to 6 years old.
The male calves that are born are “waste products” of this continuous reproductive system to generate milk, and therefore they are either killed at birth, or sent to the veal industry to live short, miserable lives and then killed for food.
In the egg industry, there is no use for male chicks whatsover, and so every year hundreds of millions of male chicks are killed immediately after hatching. They are either suffocated or ground up alive in machines called macerators – both accepted industry practices. Sadly, this even happens with ‘cage-free’ and ‘free range’ eggs.
Unbeknown to us, consuming dairy and eggs does involve killing animals. The true manifestation of the vegetarians philosophy to not kill animals for food, is to live vegan. A vegan diet can save at least 1 animals life, every single day of the year.
Reason Number 4 - To Quit Being An Addict
The most common exclamation of vegetarians, when contemplating going vegan, is “I cannot possibly give up cheese!” But have you ever wondered why cheese is such a seemingly impossible obstacle for many of us?
Well, its not just that we love the flavour and / or texture of cheese! We are also physiologically addicted to it.
According to internationally acclaimed physician, speaker, research and author Dr. Neal Barnard, cheese is addictive because the dairy proteins inside can act as mild opiates. Fragments of cheese protein, called casomorphins, attach themselves to the same brain receptors as heroin and other narcotics. As a result, each bite of cheese produces a tiny hit of dopamine.
He calls it "dairy crack."
The good news is that these days, there are many non-dairy cheese alternatives available, or alternatively, its both fun and simple to make our own non-dairy cheeses at home. Now is truly the easiest time in our history, to kick our cheese addictions once and for all!
Reason Number 5 - To Lose Weight
Cheese is fattening, according to Dr. Neal Barnard. Believe it or not, 1 cup of milk delivers more energy than a can of sugary soda. So what about 1 cup of melted cheddar cheese? A monstrous 986 calories.
Interestingly, cheese consumption has risen steadily since the early 1970s, a trend that tracks alongside the rise in obesity.
Research conducted by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) shows that animal fats tend to slow down our metabolisms, so increased dairy consumption could be linked to weight gain.
Vegetarians who avoid dairy products weighed 15 pounds less, on average, than vegetarians who keep consuming dairy.
The Adventist Health Study data of more than 60,000 participants, gave us valuable insight into the relationship between Diet and Weight. In adults, a BMI under 25 is normal healthy weight and the results of this highly comprehensive study, showed that vegetarians, pesco-tarians, flexitarians and the meat eaters all had BMI’s considered to be overweight. The ONLY group out of 60,000 participants found to be the ideal weight were the vegans, whose BMI averaged at 23.6.
Ditching dairy and eggs seems to be a sure-fire way to trim down our waistlines, shed extra kilos and help us reach our ideal, health weight goals.
Veganism is the fastest growing lifestyle movement, and as more of us adopt plant-based living, dairy and meat sales diminish whilst vegan product availability has never been better.
As a Vegetarian, you’ve already done most of the hard work in changing your lifestyle, and switching to vegan is the last small step to a truly healthful and compassionate lifestyle.
So if you’re interested in exploring this change to a vegan lifestyle, but have questions around “How” to transition or “What” is the healthiest food to be eating, we have a fabulous FREE PLANT BASED NUTRITION VIDEO SERIES which answers these questions and many more.
Its your Personal Vegan Guide. Its accessible any time, and free of charge.
For a better, healthier, happier you, planet and animals…
The medical and/or nutritional information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please seek medical advice before using diet to treat disease.