I was raised on a diet that included fresh vegetables from the garden with a serving of meat on the side for every meal. Somewhere along the way I lost my love for the vegetables and meat started taking over my plate. It was a couple of years ago that a suddenly realised what was going on and decided things had to change. Unfortunately, it’s a worldwide epidemic and one that’s not doing our health or the planet any good.
The primary reason for my decision to ditch meat was concern about my own future health. The fact that I’d be helping to save the planet is an added bonus. One other reason for my change in eating habits is all to do with animal cruelty. As humans, we really aren’t all that good at rearing animals in a smart and caring way. Some of the programmes I’ve watched on TV and YouTube would put most people off their roast chicken dinner, bacon butty and grilled steak.
Thoughts about becoming a vegan entered my head. It appears to be really trendy right now, however, I just can’t see myself giving up eggs and cheese. To counter the environmental effect of this decision, we have a flock of backyard chickens, and I have to say the eggs they produce are far superior to anything ever bought in a supermarket. I also try to buy cheese produced locally, preferably made using sheep or goats milk, rather than cows.
I seriously recommend giving vegetarianism a try, or if you can’t take such a bold step think about becoming a reducetarian. In other words, reduce the amount of meat in your diet. Instead of eating it as part of every meal cut it down to once or twice a week.
If you’re still sitting on the fence, here are some facts that might make you change your mind.
- Animals in factory farms are confined to spaces that are so small they can’t turn around, lie down or even stretch their limbs
- Processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs are put in the same category of cancer risk as asbestos and cigarettes, according to the World Health Organisation
- More greenhouse gases are emitted by the meat industry that all forms of transportation combined
- Research has found that long-term vegetarians live on average 3.6 years longer than a meat eater
- It takes 2,400 gallons of water (50 full bathtubs) to produce 1 pound of meat
- Around seven football fields of land are bulldozed worldwide every minute to create room for farmed animals
These scary facts might make you think about what you’re putting in your mouth. Here are 5 more reasons why you should ditch meat, starting today.
You’ll have more energy – your body has to work much harder to digest meat than it does plant-based foods. How often do you feel like taking a nap after eating a hearty Sunday roast? Swap for wholefoods such as leafy greens and legumes and you’ll have much more energy. I have to concur that I’ve felt much lighter and more energetic since giving up meat.
It’ll help you stay slim – replace the processed meats in your diet with wholefoods and you’ll find it much easier to maintain a healthy weight.
To avoid disease – meat eating is linked to a variety of cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. Red meat can also increase the risk of a stroke.
To save money – embrace a wholefood diet and you’ll actually save money. It’s a refreshingly cheap way to eat. If you have the opportunity to buy local produce it’s even better, or why not grow your own?
I hope I’ve managed to convince you to change your eating habits. But even if I haven’t, there’s no going back for me of that I’m certain.