10 Reasons to Go Vegetarian
Even if you’re not a full-on vegetarian, there are plenty of reasons to eat less meat in your diet. If you’re concerned about the environment or animals or just want to improve your own health, read these 10 great reasons to go vegetarian today.
1) It can help with weight loss
According to a 2013 study in Nutrition Research, vegetarian diets may help higher-weight individuals lose more weight than diets that contain meat. And while a 2010 review of studies published in Nutrition Journal found no association between plant-based diets and reduced mortality, it did find that vegetarians are less prone to certain chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
2) It’s better for the environment
Think about how much grain and water it takes to make a pound of beef. Multiply that by billions of animals around the world, and you’ve got a pretty significant drain on natural resources. In addition, raising animals for slaughter generates more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined. It’s not a stretch to say that livestock production is bad for our planet.
3) Vegetarian meals are more nutritious
Vegetarians tend to be slimmer than meat-eaters, but it’s not because of all that extra running around they do chasing bunnies. It’s because they eat more fiber and less saturated fat (the kind in animal flesh and butter). Fiber keeps you full, so you naturally eat less—good news for those looking to drop pounds. And plenty of fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that fight diseases like cancer and heart disease.
4) Meat production causes global warming
A 2006 UN report on climate change said that 20% of man-made carbon dioxide emissions come from beef production. Raising animals for food production also requires a lot of land and water, which contributes to deforestation and water pollution. You can save more than 2,000 gallons of water annually by going vegetarian! It’s also cheaper: One meal at McDonald’s costs about $8; you can buy a veggie burger for less than $4 at many grocery stores.
5) Animals suffer in factory farms
Farm animals have been engineered to grow faster and larger than ever before. What’s more, they are kept in crowded conditions that make it easy for diseases to spread. And because of their weight gain from eating so much high-calorie food, they are often unable to walk without assistance. Worst of all, millions of cows spend their lives chained up inside dark barns with no access to sunlight or fresh air—where they stand in manure and breathe ammonia fumes throughout their lives.
6) Vegetarian food tastes great
It’s no surprise that vegetarians say their food tastes better than meat eaters. There are more and more restaurants catering to vegetarians, making it easier than ever before for non-vegetarians to enjoy meatless meals. Not only does vegetarian food taste good, but it also contains valuable nutrients that help your body function at a high level.
7) More people have gone vegetarian than you think
Here are 2 reasons that might just do it for you: 1. Reducing meat consumption helps preserve natural resources. 2. It takes 8 times more land and 11 times more water to produce 1 pound of meat than it does to produce 1 pound of wheat.
8) The health benefits are pretty amazing too
If you go vegetarian (or at least cut out meat one day a week), your risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes will decrease. You’ll also likely lose weight, make less of an impact on climate change, and have a lower chance of contracting food-borne illnesses—all wonderful side effects.
9) The world is getting healthier, so why aren’t we?
The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change is finally telling us what we should have known a long time ago: beef production is one of our most significant contributors to global warming. If we want to save humanity and reduce our ecological footprint, we should eat meatless meals more often. And not just every once in a while—we need it to be a regular part of our diets.
10) Everyone else is doing it
1 in 3 adults in America are now eating a vegetarian diet, which means you’re now outnumbered 2-to-1. Even more staggering: 7% of Americans, or 13 million people, claim to be full-time vegetarians! So if you think your friends and family will be outraged by your decision to go vegetarian, think again: Most of them are already there. (Source: Vegetarianism in America)
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