Five good reasons for a vegan diet
1. Vegan for health
Those who live vegan often also live more healthily. Many studies show that vegans are less likely to suffer from the typical widespread diseases (e.g. diabetes, obesity and heart disease) than people who frequently consume meat, eggs and the like. Many animal foods are also suspected of being carcinogenic - such as milk and red meat. Others, according to research, may clog our blood vessels, encourage strokes and reduce our life expectancy.
Admittedly, even among friends of the plant-based diet there are people who primarily rely on sweets and fast food - this should be clearly avoided. A balanced vegan diet, however, proves to be healthy, is good for our body, our skin and, last but not least, our mind and on top of that it should also increase our life expectancy. It is also considered an effective remedy for obesity.
Even with the prejudice that as a vegan you don't consume enough nutrients and protein and you quickly suffer from deficiency symptoms, it has now been cleared up. The most important thing is a balanced diet - if you pay a little attention to what you put on your plate, hardly anything can actually go wrong. The only thing that needs to be supplemented in a plant-based diet is vitamin B12. Aha! That clearly speaks against a purely plant-based diet - one or the other may now think. I was one of them, admittedly, for a good while - until I was informed at some point: Even the animals that eventually end up on the plate are supplied with vitamin B12 during fattening. I see! So either way, it's a supplement.
And again on the ever-popular thesis meat is important in order to consume sufficient protein and build muscle mass. I can only throw the following name into the room: Patrik Baboumian. Take a look at the nice gentleman - he is considered the strongest man in the world and now watch out: he is vegan. Just like many other high-performance athletes, by the way. Because in fact, the vegan diet can provide more than enough protein.
2. For the sake of the animals
The natural life expectancy of a cow is around 20 years - that of a dairy cow, on the other hand, only 5.5 years, that of a breeding bull around 3 years, a fattening cattle just 18 to 24 months and a calf 8 months. For other fattening animals, the comparison between natural life expectancy and life expectancy in intensive animal husbandry looks similar.
And then there are also the animals that are killed shortly after their birth because they are considered a waste product and no longer have any use. Many people do not even know that in Germany, for example, around 45 million day-old chicks (that is 126,000 chicks per day) are shredded each year. I also recently read an article and learned that around 200,000 calves are killed and disposed of every year in this country, some of them using illegal methods. The reason: sick young animals are worth too little and a doctor too expensive or they are simply a surplus product of the dairy industry and can no longer be used. That was new to me and it shocked me all over again.
In addition to the low life expectancy, the poor conditions in fattening farms are an argument for consuming less animal food. Perhaps you have also seen pictures from such mass operations (from which unfortunately the majority of the animal products we consume come from). For my part, I had to admit to myself: beautiful is something different. Animals huddle together, stand in their own excrement, get bad food, and harm themselves or each other because they are hungry and go insane. Animals that are processed into meat often have to go to the slaughterer for several days without food and water before they are finally slaughtered.
3. Sustainability & Environment
However, it is not only the animals that suffer from excessive consumption of meat, milk and the like - this also has serious consequences for our planet. Soy is one of the main animal feedstuffs used in factory farming. This, like other animal feed, is grown in incredible quantities in South America - more and more rainforest, the green lung of our planet, is being cleared for this. And that, also in an uncontrolled and illegal manner, which leads to enormous and devastating fires. Of course, the thought quickly occurs: But tofu is also made from soy! - At least that's how I felt some time ago, but I was also able to learn something new: Soy, which is used for tofu and similar products (which, by the way, only accounts for a fraction of global soy utilization), also grows wonderfully here and is used in Usually from Germany and Europe.
Further consequences are the threat to biodiversity on our planet, waste of resources and the pollution of water. The transport of feed is also not without it, because it entails enormous amounts of CO2 emissions, which damage our climate.
Speaking of wasted resources and CO2 - did you already know the effects, for example, of one kilogram of beef? I did some research: this requires around 15,000 liters of water. In addition, this creates around 22 kilograms of CO2e (CO2 and equivalents, primarily nitrous oxide and methane, which are even more harmful than CO2 itself). Factory farming is therefore one of the main sources of CO2 and has worse effects than all vehicles in the world combined. Around 37 percent of global CO2e emissions are said to come directly or indirectly from animal husbandry in the agar industry. Those who rely on a vegan diet are also declaring war on climate change.
4. For our fellow human beings
Due to the large-scale cultivation of feed in South America, as well as in Africa and other parts of the world, people are repeatedly forced to leave their previous home so that fields can be built on their land. It is not uncommon for them to be indigenous peoples and people who already live in poor conditions. And not only that: drinking water and soil are often polluted by the cultivation of animal feed and the associated fertilization. In this way, many people not only lose their homes, but also their livelihoods.
On the other hand, factory farming and the production of animal foods consume an incredible amount of water and feed. Around 60% of the grain is fed to animals in German agriculture. But you put in a lot more than you get out of it: to produce one kilogram of beef, you need between 4 and 9.5 kilograms of grain. In my opinion, this is a fairly large and possibly unnecessary minimization of food. Especially when you consider how many people in the world are hungry.
5. It's fun & tastes good
So, now let's, last but not least, go into a very wonderful point. What else speaks for a vegan diet? Quite simple: eating vegan is tasty and great fun. Because, although it is often said, I can tell you: eating vegan is absolutely not boring. But on the contrary!
When I changed my diet, I first discovered all the great vegan foods and how diverse the alternatives to animal products are. Veganism definitely doesn't find its limits with tofu and lettuce. The variety of plant-based products is actually almost infinite and I'll tell you: trying things out a bit, trying out new recipes or creating new ones is simply a pleasure. Of course, you first have to find your way around a bit and find out what is available - but once you have done that, there are no longer any limits to your culinary needs. Promised!
And what is still nice even after many years of vegan and conscious nutrition: you never stop learning and there is always something new to discover and taste. Chickpea tofu, rice milk chocolate and cashew yogurt are just a few examples of my favorite discoveries. And would you have thought, for example, that ice cream can also be made wonderfully without animal ingredients? No? Then you'll be surprised at how many ice cream parlors already offer pet-free options. At IceDate, the entire range is even vegan. And damn tasty too. I would say: anything is possible with a plant-based diet!
Vegan diet - a conclusion:
There are many good reasons of all kinds in favor of a vegan diet. That's why I can only recommend you: just give it a try. Try a new and purely plant-based recipe, stop by a nice vegan café or just buy a few new vegan ingredients and tinker with them a little. What do you have to lose? It's easier and so much more diverse than you might initially think. And last but not least, you are doing something good for yourself, your environment and the planet.
Author: Christine Hierer
Christine lives in Berlin and works as a freelance writer. She prefers to write about sustainability, vegan food, minimalism and the good life.