One of the questions I’m asked on a regular basis is why I don’t eat meat. It seems to be a curiousity for a lot of people so I have decided to share my reasons for eating a wholefoods plant-based diet.
1. I was raised that way
The first reason I have chosen to eat the way I do is because it is something I am used to. As I have written before, my parents became vegetarian before I was born and so our household was meat free. Not only that, but my mom had a passion for feeding us healthy, balanced meals so even though we still ate eggs occasionally and drank milk, all our food was made from scratch. My mom even baked a sprouted wheat bread. Of course little kids don’t always appreciate the healthy food and I remember wanting to trade my nutrient rich, tasty sandwich for a friend’s white bread sandwich. However, my mom persisted and we grew up eating nuts, legumes, lots and lots of fruit and vegetables with plates looking colourful and interesting at meal times. Even to this day I make sure my plate has something green, something yellow and something orange or red on it.
2. I love animals – all animals
Since I can remember I have loved animals passionately. As a little girl I would rescue beetles, frogs and any other creature that looked like it was in distress. The thought of an animal being killed for me to eat was incomprehensible to me. As more and more people are standing up to the cruel and inhumane ways animals are being raised and killed for our consumption it has made my conviction even stronger. It doesn’t take much digging to find evidence of the cruel practices of factory farms and abattoir – animals being thrown away like garbage while still breathing, being scalded, manhandled and taken away from their mothers at a very young age just to be slaughtered. The soft, wet nose of a cow or the antics of a little billy-goat are special experiences for me reinforcing the beauty of every living creature. I cannot, in good conscience, be a part of that life being snuffed out just to have dinner.
3. It has incredible health benefits
The health benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet is well documented. Documentaries like Forks over Knives, Hungry for Change and Vegucated have shown the connections between health and diet. The China study is an expansive research study done in China that found connections between animal protein and cancer.
As an athlete and bodybuilder it is important for me to be as healthy as I can be. Some of the benefits of eating this way are lower cholesterol, a healthy body weight and lower blood sugar levels. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/amazing-health-benefits-of-embracing-a-plant-based-diet/
4. I want to do my part for the planet
Meat production is the single highest cause of methane gas emission into the earth’s atmosphere. Between the waste of the animals and the fuel it takes to transport feed etc. it is a big part of the cause of global warming. Not to mention the impact farming animals has on native vegetation and subsequently on the native animals. http://www.takeextinctionoffyourplate.com/meat_and_wildlife.html
I realise that it is not necessarily an easy choice. I have been fortunate to have my lifestyle instilled at a very young age so it has been easy for me. Even if you are not ready to be vegan, consider the food you eat carefully and make choices that are healthier and more sustainable for you and your children.