Why we shouldn’t all be Vegan
A persuasive piece intended to present the findings and belief on how veganism is not the only way to stay healthy. This paper would be published in the New York Times health and fitness section and will be directed to those who believe that the only way to save the world, and your health is to be vegan. The New York Times has a wide audience as the range of ages are from millennial (ages 18-29) to generation X (ages 30-49) who might be interested in alternative ways to improve their health.
Veganism has been quite the trend as it has grown quite significantly over the past ten years and you wouldn’t need credited data to tell you that, but is there anyone who is vegan because they want to be? Or is it because they believe it may be the dietary plan they need or the positive change it will implement on the environment. Imagine going to your fridge or your pantry feeling hungry looking for a light snack or preparing for dinner and you realize no meat, no eggs, no dairy, no fish, no artificial sweetener and wonder what am I allowed to eat?
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There has been an ongoing argument about living a vegan lifestyle and the long term health effects. While you may think that cutting out these animal products will automatically make you healthier and can save the environment, it does quite the opposite. Having these diet constrictions will not do much of a difference to your health and in reality is very hard to maintain and to keep being healthy due to cutting out the food that has natural vitamins that are beneficial to our bodies. Some argue that being vegan is the only way to be healthy and due to that belief, they also believe that being vegan can benefit the environment in many ways.
The first reason behind this statement is that while being a vegan can have some health benefits, for the most part being a vegan is not the only way to stay healthy and you can still be unhealthy on a vegan diet. According to the the American College of Cardiology there was a medical study in which a medical team evaluated health similarities when a subject ate a plant based diet and the risk of coronary heart disease (Brody, par 6).
Over the course of two decades, over 200,000 health professionals observed their findings and submitted their results on the subject every two years (par 6). The study claimed that the subjects who were more conscientious and had more of a plant based diet were less likely to develop a heart disease and those who had a less healthier diet had a 32% more likely of a chance to develop a heart disease (par 9).
Although, there was a similar study at Harvard which points out that a subject did not need to stick to a vegetarian diet to keep your heart healthy and that even if it was just slight, a “lower intake of animal foods combined with a higher intake of healthy plant foods was associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease” (par 10). This translates to: you do not have to stick to a vegetarian diet to keep you or your heart healthy, but by reducing your intake of meat in an animal based diet and food high in fat can be extremely helpful (par 11).
It has been found that animal fats that we generally eat have been linked to illnesses and conditions and by cutting meat out of your diet it can possibly eliminate health risks and reduce the amount of cancer-linked chemicals and toxins found from their surrounding environment (Nordqvist, par 7). However those who advocate for a vegan lifestyle and others who believe that being vegan equals slimming down and that meat is the underlying cause for the obesity epidemic, is not an accurate statement. Many people believe that the route to becoming more slender is by being vegan and more and more people are becoming vegan due to this reason (Mangan, par 2).
This was acknowledged through a yearlong medical study that was conducted where a subject’s diet consisted of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. This major dietary change led to only around five pounds being lossed. It is entertaining that vegans insist the cause of obesity is due to eating meat, but we humans have been eating meat for “quite literally for millions of years” (par 3). Advocators who have declared this belief include John A. McDougall, an American physician and author who is the co-founder, chairman, and board member of Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods Inc.
However, it is the debate that states “meat alternatives are healthier than meat” that isn’t quite the truth. Many meat alternatives have an increase in sodium which leads to increased blood pressure which can cause a stroke, vision loss, heart attacks, kidney disease or even heart failure. The American Heart Association has reported that the recommended to limiting sodium intake to no more than 1500 mg per day and most meat alternatives have about 600 mg of sodium per burger (Cassetty, par 6).
What vegans are too scared to admit; being vegan does not help the environment as much as people think and in some cases, can harm it. A big part of what people believe when they are thinking about living a vegan lifestyle is how it will make a positive change on the environment, but social media today is making veganism a trend rather than people actually being concerned about the environment. Veganuary, a month to test and see if you can adjust to a lifestyle as being vegan can be seen as a “thinly cloaked healthier way of life” (Henderson, par 2).
With over 220,000 tags on Instagram along with articles where it’s contents are focused on the recommended people to follow on social media for veganuary, it then becomes a matter of veganism being how pretty your food is rather than a concern for the environment (par 2). With veganism skyrocketing at an extreme rate we need to look at how these dietary needs are impacting the environment and the damage it might be causing to foreign countries.
For example, Kenya a big time supplier of avocados for the entire world, has banned the exportation of avocados due to the high exportation and low production rate. It has been western demand that has caused prices to be raised at all time highs and that they are now too expensive for those in Kenya and in the end “it’s the consumer who benefits, while those at the source can be left high and dry” (par 5).
However there can be some refutations made about my points. For one, it can be said that there are dietary benefits to being a vegan and a “well-balanced vegan diet contains all the protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals you need” (Viva Health, par 1). Apparently some vegans hastily declare in defense that “Compared to meat-eaters vegans have lower cholesterol, blood pressure and rates of type 2 diabetes as well as having a 30 per cent lower risk of heart disease and lower cancer rates, which to a degree is true.
Secondly, those who endorse the “vegans weigh less”(par 1) claim that can not be supported by any medical evidence other than if you were working out while you were barely eating anything and the dietary changes a vegan makes has been proven to only shave off a mere 5 pounds. Thirdly, those who would want to live a vegan lifestyle could help the environment would be to just “lower their carbon footprint is to avoid all animal products” (Vegan Society, par 1). The production of meat and all sorts of animal products results in harming the environment heavily, to the crops and water needed to feed the animals and the process of which the animal is killed and turned into something humans can eat.
The amount of feed itself required for meat production is significant by itself but it also is a large contribution to deforestation, habitat losses and mass species extinction. All over the world the land that is required to grow soya beans for animals all over Europe is environmentally catastrophic. The land that is used for s contributes to world malnutrition by driving populations of poverty to grow cash crops for animal feed rather than for themselves (Vegan Society, par 2).
In a world where society is hanging by a thread and the world is being destroyed environmentally, what you may think about veganism being the only way to to be healthy and environmentally friendly is simply just not accurate. While I agree that being vegan has a few health benefits and can sometimes be helpful and/or positive for the environment there are just some things a vegan diet can not accomplish.