Why Go Veg? By Vegetarian Times Editors

Learn the reasons to change over to a vegetarian diet, and start eating less meat today—or none at all!
Why Go Vegetarian

Alexandra Anschiz / Shutterstock

Why are people drawn to vegetarianism? Some just want to live longer, healthier lives. Others have made the switch to preserve Earth’’s natural resources or from a love of animals and an ethical opposition to eating them.

Thanks to an abundance of scientific research that demonstrates the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, even the federal government recommends that we consume most of our calories from grain products, vegetables and fruits.

And no wonder: An estimated 70 percent of all diseases, including one-third of all cancers, are related to diet. A vegetarian diet reduces the risk for chronic degenerative diseases such as obesity, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer including colon, breast, prostate, stomach, lung and esophageal cancer.

Why go vegetarian? Chew on these reasons:

You’ll ward off disease.

Vegetarian diets are more healthful than the average American diet, particularly in preventing, treating or reversing heart disease and reducing the risk of cancer. A low-fat vegetarian diet is the single most effective way to stop the progression of coronary artery disease or prevent it entirely. Cardiovascular disease kills 1 million Americans annually and is the leading cause of death in the United States.

But the mortality rate for cardiovascular disease is lower in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians, says Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. A vegetarian diet is inherently healthful because vegetarians consume less animal fat and cholesterol (vegans consume no animal fat or cholesterol) and instead consume more fiber and more antioxidant-rich produce——another great reason to listen to Mom and eat your veggies!

You’ll keep your weight down.

The standard American diet—high in saturated fats and processed foods and low in plant-based foods and complex carbohydrates——is making us fat and killing us slowly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a division of the CDC, the National Center for Health Statistics, 64 percent of adults and 15 percent of children aged 6 to 19 are overweight and are at risk of weight-related ailments including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

A study conducted from 1986 to 1992 by Dean Ornish, MD, president and director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, found that overweight people who followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet lost an average of 24 pounds in the first year and kept off that weight 5 years later. They lost the weight without counting calories or carbs and without measuring portions or feeling hungry.

You’ll live longer.

If you switch from the standard American diet to a vegetarian diet, you can add about 13 healthy years to your life, says Michael F. Roizen, MD, author of The RealAge Diet: Make Yourself Younger with What You Eat. “People who consume saturated, four-legged fat have a shorter life span and more disability at the end of their lives. Animal products clog your arteries, zap your energy and slow down your immune system. Meat eaters also experience accelerated cognitive and sexual dysfunction at a younger age.”

Want more proof of longevity?

Residents of Okinawa, Japan, have the longest life expectancy of any Japanese and likely the longest life expectancy of anyone in the world, according to a 30-year study of more than 600 Okinawan centenarians. Their secret: a low-calorie diet of unrefined complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and soy.

You’ll build strong bones.

When there isn’t enough calcium in the bloodstream, our bodies will leach it from existing bone. The metabolic result is that our skeletons will become porous and lose strength over time. Most health care practitioners recommend that we increase our intake of calcium the way nature intended——through foods. Foods also supply other nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D that are necessary for the body to absorb and use calcium.

People who are mildly lactose-intolerant can often enjoy small amounts of dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and lactose-free milk. But if you avoid dairy altogether, you can still get a healthful dose of calcium from dry beans, tofu, soymilk and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collards and turnip greens.

You’ll reduce your risk of food-borne illnesses.

The CDC reports that food-borne illnesses of all kinds account for 76 million illnesses a year, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), foods rich in protein such as meat, poultry, fish and seafood are frequently involved in food-borne illness outbreaks.

You’ll ease the symptoms of menopause.

Many foods contain nutrients beneficial to perimenopausal and menopausal women. Certain foods are rich in phytoestrogens, the plant-based chemical compounds that mimic the behavior of estrogen. Since phytoestrogens can increase and decrease estrogen and progesterone levels, maintaining a balance of them in your diet helps ensure a more comfortable passage through menopause. Soy is by far the most abundant natural source of phytoestrogens, but these

READ MORE HERE:  https://www.vegetariantimes.com/health-and-nutrition/why-go-veg-learn-about-becoming-a-vegetarian

Meet your meat!

Please, please care about their feelings. 

The Most Laid-Back Guide to Going Vegetarian You’ll Ever Read by Matt Frazier

It went well and I had a great time, but in hindsight, I realize the topic I chose was a tough one.

I spoke about the “no-pressure approach” to vegetarianism that I take with No Meat Athlete. Instead of trying to persuade people that they should go vegetarian (and now, dammit!), I’d much rather just set an example that people can choose to follow or learn from if they’d like. I’ve just never been one for confrontation, and I hope my writing here reflects that.

But after I was done speaking, I thought to myself: Boy, that would have been so much easier if I had just talked about the same stuff I write on the site. 

And so I got to thinking — what’s the gist of my message?

That’s when I got the idea for a series of posts that I should have written long ago. This is the first post in that series, the heart of the message I want to spread about vegetarianism (future installments will be about running and healthy eating, I think).

And as it turns out, it’s pretty much a demo of what I talked about in NYC. So that works out. 🙂

“Should” you go vegetarian?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want you to go vegetarian or vegan. Compassion for animals was big part of my reason for doing so, and so I’d love it if nobody ate them.

But I’m not going to tell you what’s best for you. That’s for you to decide.

Is a plant-based diet healthier than an omnivorous one?

Tough one.

I believe I’m a lot healthier now that I’m vegan. It forces me to avoid fast food and countless other convenient, but unhealthy, foods that I used to eat. So in my mind, there’s no question that a well-planned plant-based diet is healthier than the standard (terrible) American diet.

But how about compared to a whole-foods diet that happens to include a small amount (say, 10% of calories) of meat, maybe a little dairy? Honestly, I’m not convinced that one is clearly healthier than the other.

There’s a lot of science that says a plant-based diet is better. And there are plenty of people who claim that this science is bunk.

To me, it’s not clear that one diet is necessarily healthier than the other. I’m fine to call it a tie. I just know that passing up a McDonald’s is way easier for me now than it was before I was vegetarian, and as a result, I make so much more of my own food than I used to, and eat so many more fruits and vegetables than before. For that aspect, I like it.

Is a plant-based diet better for sports?

I got faster when I went vegetarian, so much so that I took over 10 minutes off my previous marathon and qualified for Boston on my first attempt after I changed my diet.

But I also changed the way I trained, so I can’t say for sure how big a role each change played. I can say that I lost 5-10 pounds when I went vegetarian, and I believe that was a huge factor in getting faster.

Brendan Brazier and Scott Jurek have both told me they believe they recover from workouts better on a plant-based diet than on

READ MORE HERE:  https://www.nomeatathlete.com/relax-2/

Animal cruelty facts and stats By: Hayden Fowler

Caged hens before being rescued from cockfighting raid

The shocking number of animal cruelty cases reported every day is just the tip of the iceberg—most cases are never reported. Unlike violent crimes against people, cases of animal abuse are not compiled by state or federal agencies, making it difficult to calculate just how common they are. However, we can use the information that is available to try to understand and prevent cases of abuse.

Who abuses animals?

Cruelty and neglect cross all social and economic boundaries and media reports suggest that animal abuse is common in both rural and urban areas.

  • Intentional cruelty to animals is strongly correlated with other crimes, including violence against people.
  • Hoarding behavior often victimizes animals. Sufferers of a hoarding disorder may impose severe neglect on animals by housing far more than they are able to adequately take care of. Serious animal neglect (such as hoarding) is often an indicator of people in need of social or mental health services.
  • Surveys suggest that those who intentionally abuse animals are predominantly men under 30, while those involved in animal hoarding are more likely to be women over 60.

Most common victims

The animals whose abuse is most often reported are dogs, cats, horses and livestock. Undercover investigations have revealed that animal abuse abounds in the factory farm industry. But because of the weak protections afforded to livestock under state cruelty laws, only the most shocking cases are reported, and few are ever prosecuted.

Organized cruelty

Dogfighting, cockfighting and other forms of organized animal cruelty go hand in hand with other crimes, and continues in many areas of the United States due to public corruption.

  • The HSUS documented uniformed police officers at a cockfighting pit in Kentucky.
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has prosecuted multiple cases where drug cartels were running narcotics through cockfighting and dogfighting operations.
  • Dozens of homicides have occurred at cockfights and dogfights.
  • A California man was killed in a disagreement about a $10 cockfight bet.

The HSUS’s investigative team combats complacent public officials and has worked with the FBI on public corruption cases in Tennessee and Virginia. In both instances, law enforcement officers were indicted and convicted.

Correlation with domestic violence

Data on domestic violence and child abuse cases reveal that a staggering number of animals are targeted by those who abuse their children or spouses.

 

READ MORE:   https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/animal-cruelty-facts-and-stats

 

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Let’s Face It: There Is No Such Thing as Humane Meat By: Ingrid Newkirk

Looking at online menus for a restaurant to take a visiting friend, I read “humane meat” and had to do a double-take. This bizarre concept, already seen on labels in upscale grocery stores, is invading eateries so that anyone who wishes to order the chicken can feel sort of OK or even really good about it. What are we thinking? That the animals were blown away in the middle of the night while dreaming sweet dreams after a life of comfy straw and the sun on their backs in lush green meadows, like in the fantasy cheese commercials that PETA sued to have removed from the airways, the ones that failed to show the real misery and muck in which California’s dairy cows languish until the truck comes to take them to you-know-where? Or maybe you don’t know where.

One hates to be absolute, but in my view, there is no such thing as humane meat. Perhaps if we were being asked to consider roadkill, which at least would not be cruelly raised or even killed by us (someone else’s non-commissioned vehicle doesn’t count) if we scraped it up off the tarmac and ate it, but that’s not what we are being asked to consider. Rather, it is being suggested that we actually find it acceptable to eat the flesh of animals who were very much alive, had friends and family — or, more likely, were deprived of them — and went through enormous trauma despite some small courtesies, such as perhaps 2 inches of additional space in their jam-packed prison cells. Yes, kicking the dog six times a week instead of seven is marginally better, but that doesn’t mean that we should go around suggesting that people kick the dog, just not as often, does it?

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Calling this sad flesh “humane” is like calling Britney Spears an opera singer. Yes, “Baby One More Time” may be easier on the ear than fingers on a blackboard, but it’s hardly Wagner’s “Ring Cycle,” is it? I could go along with SLCBSU, or “slightly less cruel but still unacceptable,” meat, but it’s definitely still not humane by a long shot.

There’s nothing humane about the flesh of animals who have had one or two or even three improvements made in their singularly rotten lives on today’s factory farms. Perhaps they are allowed outside into a patch of mud if they can fight their way out through the 10,000 other hens competing to get through the hatchway. Perhaps they are allowed to share a box in which to lay their eggs. Perhaps they are not kept in iron maidens or sow stalls in which they can never turn around. But the rest of their lot in life and the manner in which they are otherwise treated outside these reductions in abysmal treatment are still an abomination.

By being asked to support meat from living beings who are marginally less cruelly treated, we are being encouraged to support animal breeders, the people who bring our fellow animals into this world for the sole purpose of putting them through the wringer — causing them stress, trauma and pain — and then, because we’ll pay for those body parts, pronouncing, “Off with their heads!” In asking us to endorse humane meat, we are also being asked to endorse artificial insemination (a hideously terrifying procedure carried out on what farmers themselves call “rape racks”) and to support mutilations such as castration, dewattling, decombing, and ear-punching — all without painkillers. Being asked to support humane meat means being asked to support the suffering of animals in transport, to approve of treatment that causes them palpable fear, their bodies shaking and their eyes wide as saucers, as they are slung by their legs into crates that are slammed onto the back of a truck. And we are being asked to find acceptable and humane their experience of barreling down the highway in the freezing cold and sweltering heat. How can we accept any of that if we are against cruelty to animals? It’s simple — we can’t.

By being asked to endorse this grossly misnamed “humane meat,” we are being asked to endorse the ways in which the animals are killed, the final moments that culminate in the fear and the stench of the slaughterhouse. For most meat is obtained from the slaughterhouse, a place of blood and offal and struggles and screams. If that is so humane, why don’t we take the kids and make a day of it? Because it isn’t humane, that’s why.

All of us in society are supposed to believe that cruelty to animals is wrong and that it is a good thing to prevent needless suffering. So if that is true, how can meat be acceptable under any but the most extraordinary circumstances, such as perhaps roasting the bird who died flying into a window? The pig or hen’s misery

 

READ MORE:  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/humane-meat_b_2765996

 

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