People decide to become vegetarian for a number of reasons. It could be to live healthier lives, help pollution or merely because they’re ethically opposed to eating animals. Whatever the reason, they will always face questions, sometimes even criticism.
When I was younger I tried my hand at becoming vegetarian because the thought of eating an animal was, and still is not one that sits well with me. However at that time I was a fussy individual who didn’t like vegetables, cheese (I still don’t and I struggle to understand why anyone would like such a nasty food), nuts or anything healthy for that matter. Long story short I became ill and received a number of lectures from the parents – I had to eat meat again for my health. Don’t get me wrong I like the taste of meat, I just hate the idea of eating a pig, cow, chicken or any creature for that matter.
Scrolling down my newsfeed recently I came across a PETA post talking about a 30 day vegetarian pledge and it caught my eye. Basically, you sign up to make a 30 day pledge – you can choose a vegan or vegetarian plan. They give you endless recipes, shopping lists and ideas that actually make it very easy. From foods such as Chinese takeaways, pizzas, mock meats and more, you’re sure to find foods you love (find all that here: http://features.peta.org/how-to-go-vegan/). They even tell you where to find the ingredients you need and for those really needing help, they offer a free starter kit in which they send to your house. Now that I’m older and my taste buds have matured (slightly, still not enough to tolerate cheese) I thought why not! I eat a wider variety of healthier (healthyish) foods now so it shouldn’t be too difficult.
Many people have said to me “you being a vegetarian isn’t going to stop animals being killed” and that’s true it isn’t, but I’m taking myself away from any involvement in helping aid these slaughter houses/practices. I don’t want to support that trade so by not eating meat, I’m removing myself from it and I’m happy knowing I haven’t contributed towards it in any way.
There’s always people questioning/criticising vegetarians on their decision to stop eating meat for animals’ benefits and I struggle to understand why. If someone has made a choice to stop eating meat then why must it concern anyone else?
Questions I hear a lot are “why go vegetarian? What good will it do? It won’t benefit anything” – it actually benefits a number of things. A vegetarian diet is a lot healthier than those including meat; it helps in preventing, treating or reversing heart disease and reducing the risk of cancer. This is down to the fact that vegetarians consume less animal fat and cholesterol (vegans consume no animal fat or cholesterol) and instead consume more fibre and more antioxidant-rich produce.
Not only is it healthier, but becoming vegetarian actually helps the environment by reducing pollution. Many people don’t realise that chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams. You’ll also avoid toxic chemicals – The EPA estimates that nearly 95 percent of the pesticide residue in the typical meat-eating diet comes from meat, fish and dairy products. Heavy metals such as mercury and lead are often found in fish and cannot be removed through cooking or freezing.
Looking even closer at the issues, it’s argued that vegetarianism could help reduce famine. 70 percent of all grain produced in the United States is fed to animals raised for slaughter. David Pimentel, professor of ecology at Cornell University stated that if all the grain currently fed to livestock were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million.
Whether you eat meat or not, it’s an individual choice – no one should judge you either way. Many people have told me they couldn’t go without Nandos or McDonald’s chicken nuggs and that’s understandable, I used to love a good nug, but I feel too strongly about the cause so I have to say goodbye to such treats!
So, if you fancy giving the 30 day pledge a go I will post the link underneath this article. Give it a try, you might surprise yourself…
(P.s. The video attached to the PETA webpage is very graphic and some people may find the content upsetting.)