A vegetarian diet is worth following for so many reasons. It takes some commitment, of course, but a vegetarian diet is healthier, cheaper and, above all, better for animal welfare. It?s not difficult to eat a varied and interesting diet without meat, so if you?ve ever thought about turning vegetarian, here are some of the excellent benefits of a vegetarian diet …
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Perhaps the greatest benefit of a vegetarian diet is its ethical stance. Many vegetarians give up meat because they are disturbed by the cruelty of the meat industry. Everyone is free to make their choice as to what they eat, but turning vegetarian means that you are reducing the slaughter and suffering of animals. Logically, if you become vegetarian for ethical reasons, you should give up all animal products, but giving up meat is still a positive step.
The environmental impact of the meat industry is considerable. We?ve all heard how land used to grow animal feed can actually feed far more people if used to raise crops for human consumption. Vast areas of rainforests are cleared to graze cattle or grow feed for them, then there?s the emission of greenhouse gases, pollution of water supplies …
Many studies have shown that following a vegetarian diet is healthier, and can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Of course, cutting out meat doesn?t automatically mean eating well; it?s just as easy for a vegetarian to eat high-fat foods and too much sugar. However, much of the meat on the market is not of high quality, and the conditions the animals are kept in makes them prone to illnesses, for which they are given antibiotics. This has an impact on human health, as we become resistant to antibiotics.
Food prices seem to be rising almost every week these days. Good-quality meat is expensive, and even cheap meat costs more than most sources of vegetarian protein. Cutting out meat can cut your food bills noticeably – for the price of enough meat for one meal, you can buy enough dried beans to make several meals.
Perhaps you have thought about turning vegetarian on compassionate grounds, but wondered if one person can really make a difference. Well, each person who does so adds up! Giving up meat is making a statement, and saying that you will no longer support the meat industry and the exploitation of animals. It is very satisfying to know that animals won?t suffer because of you.
Many people lose weight when they adopt a vegetarian diet. As I mentioned above, care needs to be taken to ensure that you are eating healthily, but all that is needed is some research and common sense. Vegetarians tend to consume much more vegetables and fruit, which are low calorie and high in fibre, and fill you up.
Studies suggest that following a vegetarian diet may lead to a longer life span. Of course, it is difficult to prove a definitive connection, but it seems that vegetarians can likely expect to live several years longer, and that their risk of an early death is significantly reduced.
A vegetarian diet has so many ethical and health benefits that it?s really worth considering. Of course, each person must choose for themselves, but it?s worth at the very least cutting down your meat consumption. You may then find that you don?t miss meat and want to give it up altogether. What tips would you give someone wanting to switch to a vegetarian diet? And I don?t mean ?don?t do it? …
Top Photo Credit: Elle-Epp
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