There are many ways to maximize your health, and most of them include revamping eating habits. With tasty recipes for meatless meals and improved veggie substitutes on the market, you might be on the fence about going vegetarian. It’s a well-established fact that healthy-eating regimens include limiting red meat in the diet. If you are considering cutting out all meat from your eating plan, there are several benefits to embracing the vegetarian lifestyle:
Being a vegetarian can have long-term, positive health benefits. Eating a diet high in meat has been shown to increase blood pressure, and also contribute to heart disease and cancer. A steady diet of meat raises cholesterol, and builds up plaque in the arteries. Fresh fruit and vegetables not only taste good, but they give you energy and vitality as opposed to the weighed down and sluggish feeling that often comes from eating meat. They also raise the good cholesterol levels (HDL), which is an important health objective.
Meat is pumped with hormones. Let’s face it, the beef industry is a money-making business, and its goal is to get the most profit from each animal. Consequently, adding hormones and antibiotics to cows, pigs, and chickens results in larger animals that won’t succumb to disease. However, the same hormones being forced into the animals go directly into bodies of those who consume the meat — particularly our kids. Many experts blame the excess of hormones on the earlier onset of puberty in children. Hormones in beef and milk have recently been directly linked to reproductive and childhood cancers.
You’ll save money. Simply put, meat is expensive. For the same $10, you can get either one steak or a whole bagful of fruits, grains, and veggies that could very well give you enough ingredients to make meals for a few days. Farmers’ markets are plentiful around the country and offer good deals for fresh produce. If you have a green thumb and a small outside space, you can easily grow your own fruits and vegetables to save even more money.
It’s humane. The conditions of beef, chicken, and pig farms are cruel enough to make even hardened meat eaters reconsider their position. Farms are extremely overcrowded and animals basically live their short lives in packed and filthy conditions waiting to be killed. Many animals live their entire lives crammed so close together, they can barely turn around. Countless animals become crippled or lame from lack of movement.
Going vegetarian helps the environment. Meat consumption has been linked to serious negative environmental consequences and even global warming. Simply put, there are great areas of land around the world that are destroyed to make room for livestock farms for the sole purpose of profit. Furthermore, mass amounts of water are necessary to raise farm animals. According to “The Food Revolution” by John Robbins, it takes about 5,000 gallons of water to produce just one pound of meat. Yet, to grow one pound of wheat requires just 25 gallons of water.
Danielle Sullivan is a writer living in New York City. Follow her on Instagram @Deewrite.