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Three Reasons To Stop Eating Meat

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More and more people are becoming aware of the downsides of eating meat and are moving away from it. International celebrities like Lewis Hamilton, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Liam Hemsworth and Ellen Page are a few of the many celebs who have adopted a cruelty-free diet. Closer to home, celebrities like Kangana Ranaut, Shahid Kapoor, Richa Chadda, Ayesha Takia,  Rupali Ganguly are vegan.

Like them, millions around the world are choosing to leave meat and other animal products out of their diet for a variety of reasons. Read on to find out the three major reasons that are fuelling this paradigm shift away from meat.

  • It’s healthier!

“Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. They recommend well planned meatless diets for optimal health. So does the World Health Organisation, the Harvard School of Public Health and the World Cancer Research Fund.  
  • On the other hand, numerous studies are reporting that eating meat is linked to a host of health problems, such as cancer, heart disease and even the decline of semen quantity and quality in men.

Cancer

  • The World Health Organisation released an intensive report which concluded that processed meats cause cancer.
  • The study also observed that red meat, such as mutton, pork, lamb and beef, may increase the risk of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer.
  • But a high-fibre vegan diet can prevent cancer and even promote healing. A study found that women following a vegan diet had 34% lower rates of cancer than women who ate a non-vegetarian diet.

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular diseases accounted for around one‐fourth of all deaths in India in 2008. These diseases are expected to be the fastest growing chronic illnesses in India; between 2005 and 2015 the growth rate was spotted 9.2% annually.

  • Studies have shown that eating meat can increase your cholesterol levels, lead to clogged arteries and other heart related diseases. In general, meat and dairy products are high in cholesterol and saturated fat, which may contribute to heart diseases.
  • By contrast, plant foods are low in saturated fat and contain no cholesterol.
  • On top of that, cholesterol-lowering nutritional components such as soluble fibers, unsaturated fats and phytochemicals, are found almost exclusively in plant foods.
  • A vegan diet can reduce the risk of developing heart disease by up to 32%.

Diabetes

  • There is a growing body of research connecting meat consumption to diabetes.
  • Researchers believe that sodium, nitrites and heme iron are the three main components in meat that increase diabetes risk.
  • One study concluded that choosing plant-based proteins can actually help prevent diabetes.
  • A vegan diet can also improve kidney function.

Antibiotics

Nearly 70% of antibiotics are sold for use in meat and dairy production.

Normally, a chick takes months to naturally reach the weight of an adult chicken. But at farms, they’re routinely given feed laden with antibiotics to grow their bodies unnaturally fast. This massive use of antibiotics results in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. That means when you are sick and have to take antibiotics, it will not work.  Due to the antibiotics birds put on weight at an accelerated rate. Their delicate legs can’t handle the weight and they get crippled.

  • The World Health Organization released a report warning about the danger of antibiotic overuse in India and the subsequent phenomenon of antibiotic resistance.
  • Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to health today.

Today, it’s much easy to find nutritious and delicious vegan alternatives to meat. Tofu, lentils, quinoa and various beans are all rich in protein. Amaranth(rajgira), is another super food that is packed with protein along with numerous other vitamins and minerals.

There is a growing list of vegan athletes whose physical performances actually became better, including ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek and MMA competitor Mac Danzig. You can visit the SHARAN India’s website for more information on eating a healthy meatless diet.

2) It’s better for the environment.

There are a host of direct and indirect environmental problems associated with raising livestock for meat.

GHG emissions

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the production of meat and dairy is one of the biggest contributors to global warming due to the emission of greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide (CO2).

  • According to FAO 14.5% of all human-caused global greenhouse gas emissions are due to animal farming.
  • This is higher than the combined emissions from the entire transportation sector- including road, rail and ship.
  • India’s emissions of the GHG methane from livestock, is larger than any other country constituting 63.4% of the total GHG emissions from agriculture in India.

Water Use

Meat production uses an enormous quantity of water.  

Water being used on a dairy farm. Old and unproductive dairy animals are eventually sent to be slaughtered for meat.

  • Water is used to grow the crops which are fed to the animals, instead of people.
  • Meat production, particularly if based on intensive grain feeds and irrigated forages, requires 10-50 times more water than crop production.
  • Water is used to maintain the animals and to keep their bodies cool.
  • It is also used in abundance in the slaughterhouses.

Water Pollution

The meat industry is also responsible for polluting water. Animal faeces and other pollutants are diverted into nearby water bodies and groundwater.

The crops grown to feed the animals are treated with massive doses of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, which seep into the groundwater. Antibiotics also find their way into the water systems.

Land Use

  • Keeping livestock for meat uses a lot of land, which can include ecologically important areas like prairies, wetlands and forests.
  • Forests are cut down to make space for pastures and fodder extraction.
  • At present, 26% of the planet’s ice-free land is used to graze farmed animals, and a third of all croplands are also used to grow feed for animals.
  • Slightly more than one-third of the total global surface area is being wasted on industrial animal farming.

 

 

3) It’s kind to both- animals and human beings.

For People

Hunger is one of the most prevalent issues that affect impoverished Indians on a large scale. The 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report ranked India 15th, amongst leading countries with hunger situation. Then why do we end up feeding a huge amount of global soya and corn crops to animals instead of feeding people who are suffering from hunger or malnutrition?

The world population has reached 7.5 billion, but if corn was distributed equally around the globe an additional 3 billion people could still be fed.

Water scarcity is also a pressing issue in India, yet we are still using a significant amount of water in meat production. Lack of clean drinking water is often lethal for impoverished people, especially children. The World Bank estimates that 21% of communicable diseases in India linked to not having access to safe water.

For Animals

It’s common knowledge that animals feel pain as they possess a central nervous system. Science has also confirmed that farmed animals too are sentient beings, who, just like us, have the ability to feel various emotions.

Like humans, animals form strong emotional bonds with each other.

In India, 1.2 million farmed animals are killed for food every hour. More than 180 million male chicks are killed every year because they can’t lay eggs. In 2014, more than 372.3 million cattle were exploited for their milk and later slaughtered for their meat.

In 2017 we released nationwide studies exposing the cruel egg, chicken and dairy production of India.  If animals can feel pain and emotions like fear, should we still be eating them? More importantly, is there any need to?

Vegetarianism and veganism are not new concepts. Nikola Tesla and Leonardo Da Vinci were vegetarian, as were many other noted thinkers and leaders throughout human history. Avoiding meat has been an integral part of Indian culture. India has the world’s highest percentage of vegetarians in the world.

Animal rights started in India with King Ashoka. He brought about a number of changes in favour of animal protection. Like him, many great Indian leaders, including M.K Gandhi, didn’t eat meat.

APJ Abdul Kalam was a vegetarian

Today, it’s much easier than ever before to thrive on a meatless diet. Mock meat brands like Veggie Champ, Vezlay, Vegeta, Vegitein and Good Dot have entered the Indian market and sell their products across India at affordable prices. There are lots of easy recipes available online, too.

Mock meat by Good Dot

So what are you waiting for? Take a pledge today to choose veg.

 

 

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