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Veganism; good for you, good for the earth

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There are different reasons for being a vegan, and there are a lot of benefits that go along with it, whatever that reason may be – the resulting boon of a plethora of studies has revealed this to us.

For your Body
A diet that is based in the richness of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and substitutes to meat (in example, soy), has revealed a reduction in mortality rates resulting from heart disease1 as well as that of the occurrence of high cholesterol2,3 and diabetes as well4. As a result of the elevated measure of fiber that is resultant in diets based on the consumption of plants, such as those aforementioned, it is also beneficial in helping maintain ones weight as the fiber not only aids one feel full, but that feeling lasts over a prolonged dearth of time.

For the Earth
An exorbitant measure of the earth resources go into raising and sustaining animals for consumption; exponentially more than that which cultivating plants necessitates. For example, based on a water footprint assessment administrated by Silk5; producing only a half-gallon of milk involves four times more water than that of producing a half-gallon of soymilk. As well, factory farms are one of the largest contributors to environmental (water, land and air pollution). In addition, over 40 diseases can passed from the high levels of disease carrying pathogens found in animal waste.

For Animals
Hundreds of thousands of animals every year are raised in abhorrent conditions; crammed into infinitely too small spaces that prevent mobility, pooled with their own excrement, and only ever knowing the breath of bacteria riddled air; fed drugs to increase their weight and keep them alive. They are treated inhumanely to the very definition of the word, by those responsible for their care, for the duration of their lives. Not only do these conditions cause disease (such as respiratory and metabolic disease) but they also result in severe deformities. They are transported hundreds of kilometres on trucks through blistering heat or unbearable cold without food or water where not all survive the trip, and end up in a role call that ends in their lives through equally inhumane means; often while they are still conscious. Some examples: Calves are chained and kept anemic, piglets tails are removed sans anesthesia, female chickens are de-beaked, also without anesthesia, (these are both methods implemented to prevent fighting due to stress induced aggression) and forced to molt (a process that entails starvation and dehydration while living in darkness lasting for 18 days and results in many dying) while the males are instantly culled via gas.

Whatever your reasoning behind being a vegan, one thing is for certain – not only are you benefitting your body, but you are also benefiting those you share this earth with, including the earth itself. What better motivation could there be? So give yourself a pat on the back – you deserve it!

For further information on pollution from livestock farms:
http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/ffarms.asp
For more detailed information on animals in livestock farms: http://www.lcanimal.org/index.php/campaigns/other-issues/factory-farming

1 Key TJ, Fraser GE, Thorogood M, Appleby PN, Beral V, Reeves G, et al. Mortality in vegetarians and non-vegetarians: a collaborative analysis of 8300 deaths among 76,000 men and women in five prospective studies. Public Health Nutr 1998;1(1):33-41.
2. 2 Fu CH, Yang CC, Lin CL, Kuo TB. Effects of long-term vegetarian diets on cardiovascular autonomic functions in healthy postmenopausal women. Am J Cardiol 2006;97(3):380-3.
3 Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Faulkner D, Vidgen E, Trautwein EA, Parker TL, et al. A dietary portfolio approach to cholesterol reduction: combined effects of plant sterols, vegetable proteins, and viscous fibers in hypercholesterolemia. Metabolism 2002;51(12):1596-604.
4 Tonstad S, Stewart K, Oda K, Batech M, Herring RP, Fraser GE. Vegetarian diets and incidence of diabetes in the Adventist Health Study-2. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2011.
5 Silk conducted their study implementing the Water Footprint Network methodology and the average annual consumption of Silk by U.S. households.

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