Let’s admit it, we all have a friend who seems like a blatant vegan extremist. They’re a growing breed. And with the mobile accessibility and instantaneousness of social media, they’re going viral and expanding in numbers, and good on them. I’m dedicating this blog to salute all my vegan and vegetarian friends out there. You’re doing the right thing and more than I can manage at the best of times.
I love animals. I’ve grown up around animals all my life and as long as it doesn’t have eight legs and isn’t going to jump on me without warning, I love it. People who hurt animals deserve torturous and longstanding punishment. Harming a defenseless and vulnerable being is despicable. I actually can’t think of any words that illustrate how deplorable this is. So you can imagine my dismay when a very close friend (and vegan) ‘jokingly’ called me a killer for being a meat-eater.
But he was right. I was eating meat, dairy and other animal products that are all the result of mass production and that would eventually be slaughtered because I’m contributing to creating a demand. Humane or not, these animals are being bred to be killed. Now before you go thinking that humanity evolved to eat meat or that eating meat is natural, you should consider some facts that I found interesting…
1. Humans were originally plant eaters and have physical traits representative of herbivores, not carnivores. We don’t have claws, we don’t have sharp teeth, we perspire through our pores, we have longer intestines, our bodies are alkaline, and we have well-developed salivary glands for plant processing. Carnivores are the opposite. They have razor sharp teeth for killing their prey and they mostly swallow meat whole. They also have no perspiration pores because they cool down through the tongue and their intestines are only three times their body length.
2. Animal products have been linked to a range of serious health issues including high cholesterol, bowel cancer and hindrances to overall health and longevity. That’s right, vegans and vegetarians have actually been proven to live longer than meat-eaters. As for sickness, the reliance on animal products in our diets means we are missing out on important nutrients from plants and grains. Although the evidence on red meat causing cancer isn’t substantial enough to justify not eating it, the Cancer Council recommends only eating small portions of red meat up to three times a week and not eating processed or heavily cooked meat at all – that has to be saying something.
3. Global hunger has been linked to the mass production of animals for human consumption. We’re feeding our grains to animals so we can eat the animals. So where would the world be if we dedicated more grains and seeds to malnourished rural towns in Asia and Africa? For communities that are dependent on agriculture, the generation of mass animal production by wealthier countries throughout the rest of the world surely doesn’t help.
4. Just because animals can’t speak, does that mean they don’t think either? And does that mean we should kill them? A little food for thought (pardon the pun)…
Now is probably a really good time to mention that I’m not vegan. I’m not even vegetarian. I eat white meat about three times a week, I rarely eat cheese and eggs and I almost never eat red meat. Everything else you can think of, I don’t consume. No milk, no butter, none of that. So I class myself as an omnivore with an open mind to what my vegan friends have to teach me, now that I’ve allowed them do so. Which brings me to my next point…
I’m the first to admit that I was resistant to the messages of the vegans around me. I felt like they were shoving their animal-loving bullshit down my throat and I didn’t want to hear it because a) I already know what happens to the animals, b) Let’s be real, I didn’t want to overhaul my entire lifestyle and stop eating animal products, and c) The problem is so entrenched in humanity that there’s nothing I can do to help the cause.
Bingo. There’s nothing I can do about it. That’s where the key to the movement of veganism lays and where I started to find more respect for my vegan counterparts, rather than dismissing what they’re trying to do as extremist preaching.
And this is because if I could do one thing to help, whether it’s cutting out red meat, cutting out dairy, or writing a blog… I’m helping. I don’t have to stop driving a car with a leather interior, or stop buying leather shoes, or stop wearing my leather clothes. As long as I’m doing what I can, it helps.
Someone very close to me has recently adopted a pescatarian lifestyle where he only consumes fish and cuts out all other animal products. This is someone I look up to when it comes to health and fitness, someone who is rational and someone who operates off the facts. So because he did this to live a healthier and longer life, it really struck a chord with me. And that’s all it takes, insight from one person you look up to to help create a positive change.
Be the positive change and embrace those crazy vegans! And if you want to see what I saw that changed my mentality on veganism, check out this video below.
Posted: 7.18pm, 5th March, 2014