Veganism and its Effects
The local coffee shop is always occupied with that one person who never fails to remind the baristas and surrounding customers that their extra soy non-dairy milk espresso with added hazelnut syrup is better for the environment than the usual black coffee with a splash of milk purely because it does not contain an animal byproduct. With the current situation of global warming, and the never-ending increase of Earth’s population, more and more people are turning to veganism. Trying to keep the environment undamaged for as long as possible, saving the lives of countless helpless animals, and to obtain a healthier lifestyle are just a few reasons people all over the globe have chosen to go vegan.
Saving the planet by eating all its plant life may seem like an oxymoron to most, but the science behind it has something different to say. The term global warming has been used for decades to describe the current temperatures of earth and how they are constantly rising, especially compared to centuries ago. Ice caps have been melting with the increased use of fossil fuels and decrease of care for the carbon dioxide release produced by gas sustained vehicles, along with the overpopulation of the earth. When someone decides to go vegan, it means they choose to live a lifestyle of eating foods that do not contain animal byproduct such as milks, cheeses, meats, or wear animal made clothing like wool coats or fur jackets. Their main intentions are to help the environment and bring into fruition rights and better treatment for animals. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are three main chemicals responsible for global warming. According to a study done by Andrea Ramirez and Dr. Martin Patel of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, which lasted over the span of fifteen years and finalized in March of 2017, the meat packaging industry is responsible for over 65% of all nitrous oxide gasses released into our atmosphere, which is three hundred times stronger at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. If all Americans simply substituted one chicken serving per week, the outcome would be equivalent to removing half of a million cars off the roads in carbon dioxide emissions.
Animals have been known to be sentient creatures for as long as humans have walked the lands next to them, some smarter with bigger personalities than others, but all with emotions nonetheless. Even as the fictional character Wilbur befriended a spider in the fictional tale Charlotte’s Web, he was still a show pig, which leads to one fatal ending: death for food. There are many free range, cage free farms for animals specifically bred for feeding humans and other carnivorous animals, but even more factories with cages stacked to the ceiling with little to no room for the animals to move about before they are sent to the slaughter house for a rough death. The care for animals meant for food is a new concept to farmers and ranchers since vegans have taken a stance on animal rights within the last decade. Milking cows in itself does no harm to the animal and gives the beneficial outcome of vitamin rich milk and the delicacy of veal, although some say having to have the cow constantly breeding and going through the risks of childbirth every few months is unfavorable for any being to have to be put through.
Constantly consuming fatty meats smothered in cheese with no vegetables in sight is the average go to meal in many households worldwide particularly because it is quick, cheap, and filling. In the 2004 documentary film Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock took the challenge of eating fast food for thirty days straight, for all three meals each day. While gorging himself on cheap burgers and oversized milkshakes, Spurlock managed to not only gain 24 pounds in just one month by consuming 4,000 calories over the daily recommended intake for a man of his size and stature, he also suffered from higher cholesterol, mood swings, and other detriments to his health, which took a toll on him longer than the experiment was ever intended for. Tofu, on the other hand, is a healthy substitute to meat, containing twice as much protein in half a cup than one pound of ground beef. It is flavorless on its own, but readily absorbs any flavor it is submerged in, so making it taste like chicken or shrimp is not an issue one will encounter. Roughly the same price as ground beef or chicken per pound, both can be found in the meat department of most grocery stores, so access to both are equal. While tofu has its benefits, soy has its own downfalls. With more vegans eating soy to battle the dairy intake, it is taking a less than pleasing effect on men and women alike. Although soy can reduce the chances of breast cancer and lower cholesterol, it also contains a mixture of estrogen-like compounds that when consumed in mass quantities can decrease the chance of fertility in women and interrupts the puberty chemicals and testosterone balances in men.
A nice burger sizzling on the grill covered in melting cheese on a cool summer night might sound like the perfect to any day to some, but to vegans it is the worst nightmare they could ever endure. The population of earth will only grow by the millions over the next few decades, which means there would be more and more mouths to feed every minute. Keeping in mind the effect the meat industry has on our planet’s wellbeing, the golden rule of treating all sentient creatures how one would like to be treated, and managing a healthy lifestyle to live a full and fruitful life, veganism might be an obvious choice for some while a steak that is still pink in the middle with a side of baked potatoes smothered in sour cream, cheese, and more shredded meat may be enough to convince someone else to not try a single vegetable in their life. Whether a person eats real meat or tofu shouldn’t be a judgment of their character, but just another component affecting their medical charts.