Propaganda

So as you may have guessed, I’m no longer a vegan. But I still think it’s great to reduce your meat/dairy content in life. Why? Because it’s delicious. Well I think so. And while you’ll find a bunch of reasons folks go veg, (some crazy and other not so much) the three that connect for me and most folks have to do with Animals, Health, and Environment. I started thinking seriously about vegetarianism when I heard about how eating meat affects the environment. For another friend it was when she saw Meet Your Meat. For others it is the only way to effectively reverse (yes I said reverse, not just prevent!) high cholesterol, diabetes and more. Whatever reason you decide is up to you, and hopefully through this information you’ll be able to find your own reason. Don’t believe me? Do some of your own reading, you’ll be surprised by what you find!

1. Animals.

Whether you believe animals were put on this earth by the baby jesus and you worship Santa or are a firm atheist and believe everything is the result of evolution–I bet you a batch of vegan cupcakes that if you saw how we are killing our animals for food, you’d say it was wrong. The majority of the animals we consume are born and raised in factory farms. Which means that these animals probably never see the sun and only experience sickness and a life of sadness. I could go more into detail but sometimes words are not enough so I recommend you check out Meet your Meat. It’s a brief video that shows some footage of how the meat on your plate came to be. Beware you might lose your stomach if you just ate a cheeseburger. It’s rather gruesome, but I’m afraid that is how most of our dairy and meat industries are. No being big or small should suffer in the terrible grotesque ways that 99% of livestock animals do.

2. Health

While the milk and meat industries like to insist again and again that eating animals and their by-products are necessary for health, the truth is they’re actually more of a detriment. What are the first three leading causes of death in the US? Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke. All of which believe it or not are strongly correlated to meat and dairy filled diets. Does this mean eating one piece of steak a year is going to cause heart disease. No, of course not. But the problem is we’re eating meat and dairy at levels our bodies were never ever intended to handle. Meat and Dairy were once considered luxuries, not staples to a diet. It’s no wonder then that our bodies are feeling the effects.

Don’t believe me? Ask the Doctors! First off the American Dietetic Association (ADA) agrees that a well planned vegan diet is good for folks at any age and “can help prevent and treat chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.” Want to watch some videos ’bout why exactly this is so? I’d recommend this one and this one.

That all said let’s make something clear: Is a vegan diet necessarily healthier than a nonvegan diet? No. Oreos are vegan, and if your diet is mostly made up of them, guess what, it’s not healthier. Like any other person, vegans should attempt to have a well balanced diet with lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains, and proteins, (and b-12 supplements or fortified food). A low-fat vegan diet is recommended by many doctors including the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Check it out in Diabetes Health. Also I’m not making any claims that the recipes on this site are “healthy” (though I imagine most are better than burger king, at minimum) but if you are looking for something yummy and healthy I’d really recommend fat free vegan.

3. The Environment

“In a 2006 report, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) concluded that worldwide livestock farming generates 18% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions — by comparison, all the world’s cars, trains, planes and boats account for a combined 13% of greenhouse gas emissions.”(http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1839995,00.html#ixzz0nADTBWLO)

UPDATE: Worldwatch Institute now believes that this 18% is actually highly inaccurate and is closer to 51%! Can you imagine? Whomever is right, the percentages are too high and global warming is something we can control just by changing what we eat.

To reiterate what all of this means: you could stop using cars, planes, and trains, and only travel by your bike and by foot and you still wouldn’t make as big of a dent as a vegan (although it’d still be a pretty big one, so good for you!) So remember your ecological choices are not really limited to whether you buy a Hummer or an electric car, but by what’s on your dinner plate.

How is this the case? Well here’s the deal. When you are raising animals you need to feed them lots and lots of food so that they grow big, fat, and juicy. With the majority of the animals we produce in the United States that means feeding them subsidized corn and other grains (which they aren’t supposed to eat). So while a human might only need to eat x amount of grains to be full for a day, an animal has to eat 100x (I’m making up the ratio for now until I get a more accurate number) in it’s life time for a human to eat it to be full for that one day, see how this works? If you cut out the middle man (or in this case animal) you’re making the most of the very limited resources we have on this planet.

Some will then of course argue but if we just feed our animals grass and the natural stuff that grows on its own and that they are supposed to eat then we won’t have this problem. Certainly grass fed beef is better than grain fed, it probably tastes better too. Unfortunately it’s still not as eco friendly as a delicious mushroom burger. The problem is cows fart, A LOT. I know this seems ridiculous but it’s true. Methane is no good, it’s yet another green house gas which our world can’t handle in such large quantities. Also they poop a lot. More ridiculousness, I know, but again true! Their poop gets into the water since we’ve yet to figure out appropriate ways to deal with this waste, and it also hurts the environment. These animals also over graze, and turn green grass lands into deserts.

Cutting meat and dairy out of your diet will reduce your carbon footprint like woah. For more on this from people who actually know a thing or two about science (rather than just how to make the best vegan lasagne), you can look here, here, here, here, here, here, and here!

That said of course there’s always more we can do to reduce our carbon footprint, and just eating vegan doesn’t guarantee anything unfortunately. Earth Balance, which is a super delicious and convenient butter substitute is no good for the environment. And GM soy based prepacked processed fake meats and cheeses does not equal Eco friendly (not to mention expensive like woah). But if you’re eating as locally as you can with REAL whole, unprocessed simple vegan foods, you’re doing great. Not to mention, it’s probably healthier and more affordable. I’m going to try to post recipes that reflect these values, but of course I’m not without my vices and some of these recipes call for things like earth balance or tofu or whatever.

100% or more “shmegan” than vegan?

The evidence I present to you should not be taken without salt. There many people who are very insistent and tell me in ways that are quite compelling that a whole foods plants based diet is the only way to go. I’m here to say it can be hard to be a purist. But you already knew that. Maybe what you didn’t know is that it hasn’t been hard to significantly reduce my animal consumption. I admittedly love the taste of cheese and these days eat it once a day (but I’m working on it). I also love the taste of bacon but have successfully avoided it for about 4 years without feeling deprived. I’m not here to argue what you should do. I think we should come to our own conclusions and find what works best for our desires, our bodies, and our convictions. For me that’s striving to live more plants based, but not freaking out when I don’t. Guilt and shame never get us anywhere, let’s celebrate whatever’s on our plate, I hope mine might inspire your own!

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One Response to “Propaganda”

  1. 1 Alene

    I love this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So well-written.


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