In the last four years, the number of vegans in the US alone increased from 0,5% of the population to 3%.
Worldwide there are about 75 million vegans, and that number is continually growing as well, which is so exciting. 😃
In addition, the number of plant-based options in stores and restaurants is continually increasing, making eating vegan a lot easier.
Slowly, it is also becoming more acceptable in society to be vegan.
But why do more and more people every day decide to switch to a vegan diet? What motivates them to make this significant lifestyle change?
Continue reading to find out because, in this post, we’ll cover the 10 most convincing arguments to go vegan that have inspired so many people worldwide to change their eating habits.
1. A vegan diet is one of the best ways to minimize the risk of chronic diseases
There is a well-known quote by Heather Morgen that goes, “Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”
I believe this quote very well sums up how strongly related the food we eat and our health are.
A healthy vegan diet is considered one of the best ways to improve health and well-being as well as reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
This is because most vegan food is low in calories and fat and rich in health-promoting nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, complex carbohydrates, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
Additionally, it is low in or free of potentially harmful substances such as cholesterol, saturated fatty acids, hormones, antibiotics, and purines.
What is also amazing is that physicians have been able to treat and even reverse chronic diseases with a healthy plant-based diet. How cool is that?
Common chronic diseases that can be prevented with a healthy vegan diet include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Coronary heart disease
- Some cancers
- Dental diseases
- High cholesterol levels
- Alzheimer’s disease
If you want to learn more about the health benefits of a vegan diet, I encourage you to check out this article.
Moreover, if you want to take a dive deep on this topic, I recommend you read How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger.
2. Eating animals causes a lot of suffering
One of the strongest arguments for veganism is the ethical argument.
In modern agriculture, animals are treated like machines rather than sentient beings. The conditions on factory farms are physically and mentally traumatizing for the animals.
Instead of growing old in large meadows, they are crammed into overcrowded staples, small crates, or tiny cages.
They live among their own excrements, are not given species-appropriate food, are mutilated without pain medicine, and receive antibiotics just so they don’t die in the inhumane and unsanitary conditions.
And this was just a small glimpse into life on a factory farm!
To learn more, I recommend you check out this article on being vegan for the animals. You could also watch one of the following documentaries:
(Warning: the footage you see may be disturbing, but if you think you can handle it, I encourage you to watch one because it is so important to see what is going on behind closed doors).
But what about organic, free-range, cage-free, and grass-fed animal products? Aren’t these better?
Sadly no. These terms usually don’t mean a lot and are often used to trick consumers.
For example, cage-free usually only means that instead of being crammed into cages, chickens are stuffed into a large room.
But they are still not able to move around freely or spread their wings.
3. We don’t need to eat animal products to survive & thrive
There is a common misconception that humans need animal products to survive, which, of course, is not true.
But if you grew up in a meat-heavy household and meat was a part of every meal, it makes sense that you grow up believing you need meat to survive. You simply can’t imagine a meal without it.
After all, most of us eat what we eat because we grew up eating it and because it is what is acceptable and encouraged by our environment to eat.
But that doesn’t mean it is necessarily the best or healthiest way for us to eat.
Actually, the myth that we need to eat animal products to survive is a bit ironic.
After all, a diet high in animal products can promote the development of chronic diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, etc.), which are the leading causes of death in the Western world.
Often people believe that they are overweight or have a high risk of getting certain chronic diseases because it runs in their family.
Yet, a lot of the time, it’s not the inherited genes that put them at risk but the inherited lifestyle.
Fortunately, more and more dietary organizations worldwide are starting to recognize that a healthy and well-planned vegan diet is suitable for all people and ages.
Also, they believe that it is possible to meet all your dietary needs on an entirely plant-based diet without taking a lot of supplements.
So, hopefully, this myth that we need animal products to survive will soon be a thing of the past.
4. The consumption of animal products is one of the leading causes of global warming
We have all been affected by global warming, and through the media and politics, we are encouraged to take actions such as fly less, take more public transportation, carpool, walk instead of drive*.. to reduce harmful carbon emissions.
However, what is often not talked about is the impact animal agriculture has on global warming.
For example, animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector (18% vs. 13%).
The production of beef and milk causes ⅔ of these emissions due to the methane cows release.
Methane is much more potent regarding its effect on global warming than CO2 from cars.
Animal transport also contributes largely to the emissions because breeding, rearing, fattening, slaughtering, packing of animal products all take place in different plants.
An Oxford University study showed that not eating animal products can be one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
*This is not to say that these measures aren’t necessary but that there is more that we can and should do.
5. Understand that veganism isn’t a huge sacrifice
Another common misbelief about the vegan diet is that it is very restrictive.
From the outside, it may appear that you have to give up a lot to be vegan, but that doesn’t have to be the case at all.
Really, anything others do, you can do as a vegan.
For example, it may seem that there are a lot of things that vegans can’t eat. However, nowadays, you can veganize almost any recipe.
Moreover, there are so many incredibly delicious vegan dishes out there just waiting to be tried out. Vegans also tend to eat a lot more varied than many meat-eaters.
Further, you don’t have to restrict yourself lifestyle-wise either. You can be vegan and still travel and go out to eat with your friends and family, for example.
Of course, you’ll experience minor inconveniences at times, such as someone criticizing you for being vegan or only eating a salad at a restaurant because there is no other vegan food available.
But with all the fantastic benefits you’ll enjoy as a vegan in addition to helping to reduce animal suffering and protecting our planet, these small potential inconveniences are well worth it.
6. Animal agriculture is a primary cause of rainforest deforestation
Every second 1-2 acres of our beautiful rainforest are destroyed, resulting in a huge biodiversity loss as well as the death of the many unique plants and living creatures that inhabit it.
The rain forest also plays a crucial role in climate protection by reducing greenhouse gases and slowing global warming.
91% of rainforest deforestation occurs to make room for animal agriculture or to grow grains and soybeans for animal feed.
You can learn more about how animal agriculture harms the environement in this post.
7. Producing animal products requires more energy and resources
Rearing animals for food requires enormous amounts of water.
For example, the production of 1 kg of beef requires 15400 L of water and 1 kg of pork 6000 L. In comparison, 1 kg soybeans require about 2200 L and 1 kg potatoes 290 L.
So choosing plant foods instead of animal products can be an essential measure to help preserve our freshwater resources.
Moreover, the production of foods made from animals requires a lot more energy than is later available in the form of calories.
For example, to produce 100 kcal of meat, you need to put in 3500 kcal of energy. Plant foods only require a little more energy than they provide (except when grown in greenhouses).
Another reason eating animals is inefficient is that a lot of energy is lost when “inferior” plant foods are processed into animal products.
For example, humans can eat grains directly (f.e. in the form of rice). But if we feed grains to the animals and then eat the animal, we lose a lot of valuable energy.
To illustrate: you need 7 kg of grains to produce one kg of beef. With one kg of beef, a four-person household (depending on the dish) can cook 1-2 meals.
But 7 kg of grains can serve the family as food for weeks.
So eating grains directly instead of using them as animal feed results in more food being available for consumption while requiring fewer resources.
8. Eating vegan makes it easier to archive and maintain a healthy weight
A vegan diet is one of the best and easiest ways to archive and maintain a healthy weight.
This is because plant foods are usually low in calories and fat, while at the same time, they are rich in fiber.
So you can eat plenty of food without taking in a lot of calories. Plus, the fiber will help you stay full.
Further, to lose weight as a vegan, there is no need to follow a restrictive diet or count calories.
As long as you eat a variety of healthy and minimal processed plant foods, you’ll be good to go.
You won’t lose all the excess weight overnight, but you’ll have a healthy and gradual weight loss that will be easy to sustain without starving yourself.
9. We don’t really know what kind of animals our ancestors ate
One of the most common justifications to keep eating meat is that because our ancestors ate meat it’s necessary and only natural for us to eat meat as well.
Although it is true that our brains evolved the way they did because our ancestors ate meat, there are a few problems with this argument.
First of all, we don’t really know what kind of meat our ancestors ate. It believed that they ate anything they could find.
So, while it may have been cows, pigs, and poultry, they very likely also ate insects, carcasses (YUM!), and other forest animals.
Moreover, our ancestors lived totally different lifestyles.
Back then, humans were active most of the day running and moving around, which is the total opposite of our sedentary lifestyle today, so of course, our nutrition requirements have changed.
Further, back in the day the food options were very limited, so to survive our ancestors couldn’t afford to be picky.
But now that we have so many food options available that we truly don’t need to eat animal products to survive and thrive.
Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that the nutritional composition of animals living in the wild is vastly different from the ones of farmed animals, even if they are “free-range,” “organic,” and “grass-fed”.
10. Veganism takes a stand against speciesism
Isn’t it interesting that the majority of the population is totally fine with killing and eating a cow, whereas the thought of eating a dog grosses them out?
This concept of grouping animals into “food” vs. “pets” is called speciesism.
In speciesism, the life of an animal from one species is considered more valuable that the life of an animal from another species.
But what factors decide which animal goes into which group?
Well, it’s not “rational” factors, such as intelligence (f.e. pigs are smarter than dogs) or an animal’s ability to feel pain (all animals, including fish, feel pain), but cultural ones.
Speciesism is instilled in us as children and society and advertising strengthen these beliefs even in adulthood.
Animals that are considered food in one part of the world, may be considered pets in another.
A simple and common illustration is that in China, among other countries, it is totally normal to eat dogs. The thought of doing that upsets many people in different cultures.
Still, it’s totally normal for the Chinese because they grew up with the belief that it is okay to do so.
Alright, we just covered the 10 most convincing arguments to go vegan. Which of these arguments impacted you the most?