By Guest Blogger Chloe Spencer, young internet entrepreneur and Huffington Post Writer and Speaker at BlogHer, SMX West, Ypulse, DMA, BlogWorld & New Media Expo, SES, BlogPaws, and SMOC.
Becoming a vegetarian was one of the most important and life-changing decisions that I've ever made; and I made it at age 14. And I have not eaten meat since then, which has been around 6 years now, and I don't plan to for the rest of my life.
Many people ask me "How did you do that? I could never give up meat!" What a lot of people don't realize is that over time your body's unnatural craving for meat disappears, and a healthy body will get sick from meat if eaten again after a period of a vegetarian diet. This is because meat is filled with toxins, uric acid and fecal bacteria. And frankly, the human body should always reject meat, but we are feeding it to our toddlers and convincing them as we have been convinced that it is natural and normal to eat meat. But consider this, do natural carnivores have to cook their meat to not get sick and season it so it can taste good to them? Would a baby kill and eat raw a live chicken out of instinct as for example a baby lion would? No.
The only reason the human race started to eat meat was back when cavemen had to survive in the wild, and berries and vegetables were scarce and killing animals was their only way to survive. Well, I would say we have definitely advanced since then, and everyone can survive on a vegetarian diet if they have other options. We have whole grocery stores of food to shop at and farmer's markets and co ops—the list goes on! So it really comes down to choice. That's all it is. It is making a decision to not only improve your health and extend your life, but contribute to saving our planet and natural resources, and our animals who deserve to live a free and happy life as much as we do.
So I put together a list of the top 5 reasons why you should go vegetarian. And if you already are, then share this with friends and family and help promote not only one of the healthiest things you could ever do for yourself, but one of the top solutions to saving our planet and the number one solution to ending animal cruelty.
But listen to this; according to the New York Times, meat consumption in the United States has doubled in the last 50 years. And since then, haven't other problems increased? Cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity: these have all increased drastically over the past 50 years. Any connection? Why yes, they go hand in hand.
1) Vegetarianism drastically improves your health.
A vegetarian diet not only reduces your risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases, stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, stomach cancer and ovarian cancer, but also osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. According to the Yale College Vegetarian Society, experts say 80% of cancer is preventable through healthy diets that contain low amounts of fats and oils and high amounts of fiber—the model vegetarian diet.
Meat is also covered in pesticides and chemicals that are harmful, and after extended consumption, fatal, to humans. Every bite of a beef/pork hotdog contains 7 cancer-causing pesticides. And shocking enough, the primary source of nuclear radiation contamination in humans is from beef and dairy products. (Living Healthy In A Toxin World – David Steinman).
And here's some food for thought; meat is so high in iron that it can CAUSE cancer. All the iron you need can come from broccoli, bok choy, kale, figs, whole grains, enriched cereals, and other plants. And all the protein you need comes from consuming a healthy percentage of organic lentils, beans, whole grains, tofu, eggs, kale, spinach, and other plant sources. Vegetarian diets supply more than adequate amounts of protein according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the World Health Organization, and Food and Nutrition Board, and the National Research Council.
2) Becoming a vegetarian saves our planet.
Not only does living a vegetarian lifestyle reduce massive deforestation, it saves our drinking water. 1 meat eater 1 day = 4200 gallons of water. 1 vegan 1 day = 300 gallons of water. If you want to help save our water, going vegetarian is the number one way and the biggest thing you could possibly do on your own to save our drinking water.
Listen to this: all the grains and corn that are wastefully fed to the mass amounts of livestock in the United States could be fed to starving children and families all over the world. It is a well-known fact that if Americans alone were to reduce their meat consumption by only 10%, it would end world hunger. Every single one of the millions of humans who die of starvation every year all over the planet would be adequately fed.
The livestock in the Unites States also creates an unimaginable amount of waste and toxic emissions, and the fertilizers and chemicals used contaminate and poison the earth, our water and surrounding people, and many people who consume meat.
3) You aren't against animal cruelty unless you are a vegetarian.
Most people know somewhat of what is going on in slaughterhouses and cow, pig, chicken and turkey farms. They know that animals are bred for murder in these places so they can be killed and eaten for the pleasure of
humans. But what some people may not know are the disgusting conditions and inhumane treatment of these innocent animals behind their closed doors. Animals are practically tortured in slaughterhouses, and are forced
to live in conditions that are full of feces and flies and are kept together in crates where they are so crowded they can hardly move. Their natural habits are taken from them, such as dust and dirt baths, foraging, socializing, nesting, creating families and raising their babies, fresh air, fresh food, sunshine, wind, the feel of grass... It is hell on earth in these places. And the last hours of each animal's life are usually full of fear, terror and pain.
Chickens for example are kept in tiny wire cages as big as file cabinets—packed with about 10 or more chickens. These cages are stacked up on top of each other, with wire mesh floors. The chickens are constantly in a state of panic and fear so that they peck at each other out of frustration, so their beaks are removed with a hot knife to prevent them from killing each other. This is done to each chicken awake and with no painkillers. Their breasts are so heavy from injected growth hormones that they can't even stand, and their legs are often broken from not being able to walk on the wire mesh with so many other chickens on top of them and all around them. The air is dusty and filthy and the cages are covered in feces. Many cages house dead chickens that have died from disease and illness because of the conditions. There is no sunshine, only harsh artificial light and shortened artificial days made by dimming and brightening the lights to make the chickens lay more eggs.
The treatment of hogs and cows are just as terrible, often still alive and struggling as they are hung upside down and taken down a belt to have their throats slit or beheaded by an automatic machine. Many times the animal is not dead because their throat had only been nicked as they get hacked into pieces or boiled alive.
4) We aren’t meant to eat meat.
Natural meat eaters have claws, pointed front teeth to tear raw flesh, and no pores on the skin so they perspire through the tongue. Plant eaters perspire through pores on the skin since they are searching for food during hot hours, not hunting at sunrise, sunset or under cover of darkness as meat eaters do. Herbivores also have flat back molars to grind plant-based foods.
Meat eaters have very strong hydrochloric acid in the stomach to digest animal muscle, whereas plant eaters have well-developed salivary glands needed to digest plants and grains, and stomach acid many times weaker than meat eaters. Meat eaters have a shorter intestinal tract than plant eaters so rapidly decaying meat in the stomach can pass out of the body quickly. And plant eaters have an intestinal tract that is several times their body length since plant foods don't decay as quickly. The human intestinal tract is about 25 feet long. Everything both internal and external to the human body points to the fact that we are meant to be natural plant eaters.
What has become of us, turning our race into unexcused murderers of innocent creatures who share the Earth with us, with no remorse?
"A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral."
- Leo Tolstoy
5) Most of the smartest people on Earth are vegetarian.
Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Albert Schweitzer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Ford, William Wordsworth, George Bernard
Shaw, Martin Luther; only to name a few of the world's most influential and inspirational people who are vegetarian and vegan.
"The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men."
- Leonardo Da Vinci
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
- Albert Einstein
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
- Mahatma Gandhi
"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian."
- Paul McCartney