I never ever thought that I would become vegetarian. I loved the taste of meat. There’s nothing like a buttery bacon butty after waking up with a hangover, or a big juicy tender steak with fries. But in 2015, I had an overwhelming realisation as I was eating a 3-meat paella in Granada, Spain.
Since then, I stopped eating meat as well as dairy on most days and pretty much everyone I know has either tagged me in vegan memes on Facebook or asked me, “but why?”
So, here they are. The reasons why I’m already vegetarian and want to live on a plant-based diet:
1. I made the emotional connection
It hit me in the face that I was eating animals that didn’t want to be killed or caged for their produce. I faced the fact that these living beings felt fear and probably suffered pain to feed me. It just didn’t feel right for me to eat animal products anymore.
2. Everything is connected
“Energy can neither be created nor destroyed”. Everything in the universe is energy. Humans are energy, and so are animals. When an animal is scared and being killed for food, that negative energy is transferred to us. I still notice how much better I feel emotionally and mentally since I became vegetarian.
3. I feel healthier
Yep, I feel physically better too. I thought I wouldn’t intake enough protein. It turns out that’s a myth too. There are a lot of athletes who have said they perform better even on a vegan diet!
Many academics interviewed on Food Choices revealed that a good diet without meat and dairy can also reduce obesity, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, some kinds of cancer, as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
4. The mass production of meat and dairy is catastrophic for the environment
More and more documentaries such as Before The Flood, Cowspiracy and Food Choices are coming out with information on just how disastrous the production of meat and dairy really is for our planet. Although big corporations try to hide it from the mainstream media, agricultural production is the worst cause of pollution. As cowspiracy revealed, cattle produce methane which is 286 times worse for the ozone layer than CO2 from all transport.
Agrigculture is also a major factor of desforestation. Cows use 28 times more land than other animals and there simply isn’t enough grazing land to sustain the demand for beef in the US. Acres of the Amazon rainforest are cut down just to create more land for grazing. Not only that, producing animal products uses more water than plant-based foods. For example, one beef burger requires 660 gallons.
5. Making meals is easy
People always say to me that humans have been eating animal products for centuries, and that’s true. I ate meat and dairy since I was a child because I thought it was normal. But just because the generations before me did it doesn’t justify my actions.
Fun fact: Ancient Egyptian civilisations were mostly vegetarian.
We no longer have to produce our own food. There are supermarkets everywhere and most of us live in a first-world country where food is so readily available to consume. At first I thought, what am I going to eat? Yet forgetting just how privileged I am. There are hundreds of tasty vegetarian and vegan recipes on the Internet! I got creative too and discovered plant-based foods I never even knew I liked.
6. Meat and dairy aren’t necessary for a balanced diet.
I remember reading that meat and dairy food groups were included in a healthy balanced diet. Yep, my Homeconomics textbook lied to me. In fact, we don’t have any nutritional need for animals products. Most humans are lactose intolerant! Our digestive systems aren’t even meant to process dairy. It makes sense when you think about it. After all, milk is baby formula for cows, not humans.
I don’t even need the research anymore, I am my own proof. I feel the positive difference and know that my balanced diet, which consists of a good range of plant-based foods, keeps me in the healthiest form possible.
I’m glad I chose to follow my intuition after that day in Spain. I feel like I have more energy than I did, even my skin looks better too.
People have told me that they could never give up meat, and that’s OK. We all have the right to choose our own lifestyle. If you are thinking of turning vegetarian or vegan, remember that it doesn’t happen overnight. I slowly made the change to just eating fish and dairy, then no meat at all, and now barely any dairy too (although chocolate is my weakness).
Another question people ask me is “do you think you’ll ever go back?” and the answer is no. Even though sometimes that chargrilled chicken burrito in your hand smells deliiicious, I know deep down that it doesn’t serve me. I’ve learnt that you can sustain yourself and even thrive off a diet without animals in it.