Here are three popular reasons why we adopt a vegetarian diet. Go through them…and then I will tell you the only reason why you should become a vegetarian!
REASON 1: Being a vegetarian is healthier for your body
Even as a junkie I stayed true [to vegetarianism] – ‘I shall have heroin, but I shan’t have a hamburger.’ What a sexy little paradox. ― Russell Brand
Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. ― Jim Davis
This is probably the number one reason most people take to a vegetarian diet – to lose weight, to become healthier, to reduce cholesterol and so on. They equate a vegetarian diet as healthier than the non-vegetarian one.
HERE COMES THE VEGETARIAN DIET CAVEAT:
Are all vegetarians healthy? I would be the first one to admit – not really! But then good vegetarian food is not deep fried vegetable pakoras and bhajis, paneer and vegetables sautéed in oil beyond recognition, pooris and baturas. Nor is it syrupy gulab jamuns and death by chocolate desserts! Good vegetarian food is wholesome, juicy, and consists mainly of grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and dairy products with very little or no oil, ghee or sugar.
The FACT OF THE MATTER THOUGH? No matter what you eat, if you eat more than what your body needs, your diet is not healthy. However, there is no research that proves conclusively that eating meat (or not) is healthier. From only a physical view point, it is impossible to conclusively prove that one diet is better than the other. There are just way too many variables that go into this equation – personal health restrictions, climate, availability, environment, culture, societal norms, taboos etc.
However, a vegetarian diet is less hard on your body: digestion, metabolism and processing is faster, smoother and gentler. A vegetarian diet is also proven to improve your mood, reduce your stress and make you happier.
REASON 2: Being a vegetarian is better for the environment
By eating meat we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet. ― Thich Nhat Hanh
Eating meat is bad for the environment, claim multiple studies. Here are a couple of the more popular ones that are quoted often in online media.
- A 2009 study found that four-fifths of the deforestation across the Amazon rainforest could be linked to cattle ranching. (Source)
- Analysis of the production and distribution of 20 common agricultural products found that red meat such as beef and lamb is responsible for 10 to 40 times as many greenhouse gas emissions as common vegetables and grains. (Source)
- Study shows red meat dwarfs others for environmental impact, using 28 times more land and 11 times water than for pork or chicken. (Source)
- University of Oxford scientists and found that meat-rich diets – defined as more than 100g per day – resulted in 7.2kg of carbon dioxide emissions. In contrast, both vegetarian and fish-eating diets caused about 3.8kg of CO2 per day, while vegan diets produced only 2.9kg. (Source)
The FACT OF THE MATTER THOUGH? For each of these studies, there is a counter study that states the opposite. While there is no conclusive proof that being a vegetarian is better for the environment, simple logic states that farmland dedicated to growing fruits, grains and vegetables feeds more people more efficiently.
REASON 3: Being a vegetarian is merciful/compassionate
For remaining staunch to vegetarianism a man requires a moral basis – Mahatma Gandhi
I would never give a human the fine distinction of being called an animal, because an animal may kill to live but an animal never lives to kill. Humans have to earn the right to be called animals again.
― David Duchovny, Holy Cow
I made the choice to be vegan because I will not eat (or wear, or use) anything that could have an emotional response to its death or captivity. I can well imagine what that must feel like for our non-human friends – the fear, the terror, the pain – and I will not cause such suffering to a fellow living being. ― Rai Aren
I usually ask why when someone mentions that he or she is a vegetarian. One of the more popular responses? Compassion towards animals. Their reasoning is that as intelligent and moral human beings, if we do not have the ability to be compassionate towards lower beings, there is no point in calling yourself humane.
The fact of the matter though? While compassion is a noble sentiment, there is no compelling research or body of science that has proven that being a vegetarian means you are more compassionate. Case in point? Hitler was supposed to have become a vegetarian around 1938….just before the Holocaust. Just saying!
So why should you become a vegetarian? Here goes the only reason why you should go down this garden path. (Pun intended!)