Well, I could come up with more fun facts, but I think that 10 is more than enough to start with. There are the universally known facts and the ones I discovered myself on my vegan journey. Let me list them here first, and after that I’ll explain. Trust me, I’m sure that some will make you want to know more. So, here it goes 🙂
- My health has improved since I became vegan
- Vegan foods are free of all animal products
- You can save forests by being vegan (Yep, I’ll explain, don’t worry)
- Vegans lower the impact of pollution (I’m going to explain that too, no worries 🙂 )
- Supermarkets carry many products that are accidentally vegan
- Veganism is not just a diet, it’s a lifestyle
- Vegans live longer
- Vegans save water.
- This is no fun fact, but still a fact: ONLY in the United States 500,000 animals are killed PER HOUR for meat. And other countries …?
- Veganism is now a human right
1. My Health has improved since I became vegan
Throughout my life I have always had a strong health, but there were a few instances in my life where I got seriously ill. When I was 21, I was overworked, and my body broke down. I was in bed for a week, could hardly eat, vomited the little food my mother brought me, and in that week alone I lost 10 kilos (approx. 20 lbs). I am slim, so losing 10 kilos is disastrous for me. I ended up looking like a walking skeleton …
In general though, I have not had severe health issues, just the occasional colds. When I made the decision to cut animal products out of my life, I didn’t do it for health reasons, I did it for the animals (see fact nr. 9). One of the first things I noticed though was my increase in energy and improved health. I was definitely more energized at work and in my free time. I felt happier, especially when I dabbled into raw vegan food (there are some serious energy bombs among raw vegan meals and desserts). I am no raw vegan though. I love cooking my meals, it is such a beautiful and creative process.
OK, that’s me, but what about studies? Anything scientific to prove my point?
Yes, of course 🙂 Studies have also shown that a plant based diet considerably decreases the risk of many diseases such as colon and prostate cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes 2 … According to the ADA (American Dietetic Association), people on a vegan (or vegetarian) diet tend to have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol – I have never had high cholesterol in my life, it’s always been great. Plant based foods are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Antioxidants soak up free radicals, consequently preventing chronic inflammation. And if you worry about a lack of protein, there is in fact an abundance of plant based protein.
More studies have proven that there is a direct link between milk and breast cancer, but there are several articles that are trying to disprove that theory, mostly written by people who promote dairy and meat, or sponsored by the meat industry.
Professor Emeritus T. Colin Campbell has done extensive research on the link between breast cancer and dairy. His studies have even been shown on Oprah. A great source for this information is The China Study, Professor Campbell’s book that offers excellent information on nutrition. It is definitely worth perusing if you are interested in learning more.
2. Vegan Foods Are Free of All Animal Products
Yes, well, that’s a no-brainer, right? No beef, pork, fish, chicken, lamb, shrimp, or any other animal for that matter. No dairy, which means no cow’s milk, no yogurt, no cheese, no butter, certain ice creams, or any other dairy product. Now comes the inevitable question: but what do you eat???
Aha, many delicacies. You see, I still eat cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream, chocolates, and I drink milk, but they have no animal sources. Daiya has tasty vegan mozzarella, cheddar, and other types of cheeses. Well, even before I was vegan I never liked cheese anyway, except for mozzarella. So vegan mozzarella is basically the only kind I buy 😉
I’ve had vegan crab cakes, burgers, pizzas, shrimp, barbecue, you name it. What do I eat? A lot of healthy, delicious food 🙂 And I love it!
Yogurt made of almond milk, store bought or homemade vegan butter (yep, I know how to make that 😉 ), then there are the following delicious milks (well, the dairy industry doesn’t want us to call it milk anymore, so let’s call it drinks 🙂 ): almond milk (sorry, drink), rice, amaranth, coconut milk (I think it’s allowed to use the word milk here 😉 ), cashew drink (Oh, I love that one!), and there’s more …
As a non-vegan I didn’t eat much meat anyway, perhaps once or twice a week. So, I never had any desire to replace meat. Nonetheless, there are some incredible plant based meat substitutes on the market, such as Field Roast, Beyond Burger, Tofurky, Daiya, Loma Linda, etc. As for sausages (which I absolutely love), I learned how to make them, and I have had some delicious store bought ones too.
3. You Can Save Forests by Being Vegan
No, not by hugging trees.
The meat industry needs large areas to raise the animals that are used for food. So, forests are cut down, every single day, to sate the ever-growing demand for meat. Areas as large as football fields are cut down in the Amazon every day, to raise more and more animals for consumption. If you think about it, this is crazy. How many people are there on the planet? How many billions consume the unhealthy Western meat and potato diet? How many billions of animals need to be killed for that, and how many millions of acres do we need to satisfy these cravings that are basically not even good for you?
How about some numbers?
According to Peta, an acre of rain forest is mowed down for animal agriculture (cattle farming) EVERY six seconds … Every minute, areas that are approximately the size of seven football fields are cut down, to raise more farm animals for the meat industry. In 2004, 2.9 million acres in the Brazilian rain forest were bulldozed to grow crops that were used to feed farm animals. All the information in this paragraph comes from Peta. Regardless of your opinion about Peta (there are many mixed opinions), we can count on them getting their facts straight. And these numbers are alarming.
The counter argument is, what about soy? Aren’t large fields used to grow soy and grains for vegans and vegetarians? Basically, if the crops that we grow ended up on our plates and were not used to feed farmed animals for our meat diet, we wouldn’t need to destroy so many forests. The problem is not only in the Amazon, rain forests and forests are cut down everywhere around the globe …
4. Vegans lower the impact of pollution
Oh, here comes the vegan talking about cow farts, right? Nope, sorry, that’s not it. But here are a few interesting facts.
The burning of fossil fuels and animal agriculture are the biggest causes of pollution; fossil fuel being in the lead, and animal agriculture following close behind. The meat industry produces a large amount of greenhouse gases. Cattle produce methane. About 37% of human produced methane emissions and 65% of human nitrous oxide (comes from manure) is caused by the livestock sector. (source: skepticalscience.com)
To produce beef land, water, and fertilizer are needed. You see where this is going? Greenhouse gases …
Entire forests are cut down (see previous point), laying bare enormous areas which add to our current problem ==> global warming.
5. Supermarkets carry many products that are accidentally vegan
Yes, for example low cholesterol products naturally carry no animal sources. Some cookies have no dairy (such as Oreo and Ritz, but always check ingredients to make sure what kind). Some breads are also accidentally vegan. The flax seed and rye breads at my local grocery store contain no dairy or eggs. There is a lot of stuff that is plant based and not advertised as such. 🙂
6. Veganism is Not Just a Diet, It’s a Lifestyle
There are different types of vegans. A lot of people adopt a plant based diet for health reasons, but still purchase products that come from extreme animal cruelty, such as leather, fur, cosmetics and household products and kitchen/bathroom products that were tested on animals.
Ethical vegans adopt a vegan lifestyle, meaning that they do not consume animal products, nor do they use anything made of leather and/or fur. When I buy shampoo, I always check if it has been tested on animals. If the answer is no, I buy it. If the ingredients are vegan, even better. The same goes for cosmetics, creams, shower gels, etc.
I realize that as vegans we cannot always completely eliminate our impact, but we can certainly decrease it enormously. And adopting a vegan lifestyle makes a huge difference, for animals, for your health, for the environment, for people, and for many more aspects which I will explain in another blog, because this one is getting a little long 🙂
Bear with me just a few moments 😉
7. Vegans Live Longer
While some people may claim that they don’t see the point of getting old or living a long life, I am pretty sure that many do want to live a long and healthy life, watch their kids grow up and get married, spend time with their grandchildren, travel, and do everything that a long life leaves room for.
Studies have concluded that vegans indeed live longer. Loma Linda University has observed people over a course of six years, dividing them into groups such as vegans, non-vegetarians, semi-vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarians, and pescatarians. They came to several conclusions, one of them being that mortality rates were lower for people who followed plant based (basically, meat free) diets.
There’s of course always the option of returning as a ghost to haunt and pester the ones who have wronged you in life 😉 but wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a chance to add more years to your life? To enjoy more time with your loved ones?
8. Vegans Save Water
Don’t worry, we take showers. That’s definitely not how we save water.
So, how do we save water? To answer this question, we must look at the amounts of water that are used to produce a pound of beef, pork, or chicken. Beef, pork, and chicken come from animals that used to be alive, and that needed space, food, and water. Water is also needed for production after the animal is killed.
- Eggs: 395 gal/lb
- Pork: 718 gal/lb
- Sheep: 1248 gallons per pound
- Beef requires 1847 gallons per pound
I’m going to add the numbers for soy, just to compare.
- Soybeans: 257 gal/lb
(source for these numbers: Huffington Post)
In the case of soybeans, that’s still not a low number, but it is considerably lower than the animal sources. Beef needs the most water … If you think about it, the water that is needed for the production of beef is equal to hundreds of showers, meaning, several months of showers … What to do? Cut out the beef or the showers?
So, how about continuing the showers (yes, please do!) 😉 and lower your water impact in the meat department?
9. In the US Alone, 500,000 Animals Are Killed Per Hour For Meat
Yes, in the US alone … So, what does that mean for the rest of the world? Well, more than 150,000,000,000 animals are killed for food worldwide per year. More than 150 billion … This number does not even include the millions of dogs and cats that are euthanized in shelters, animals that are killed in laboratories or in the leather and fur industry. This is the meat and dairy industry alone …
Enough said, the numbers speak for themselves.
10. Veganism is now a human right
Yep, article 9 of the Convention of Human Rights states that veganism is a human right. Why, would you ask? That is a good question. Why indeed?
Let’s list a few facts here.
- There have been cases of discrimination against ethical vegans. That will no longer be the case.
- Vegan students can no longer be forced to dissect animals
- Schools, employers, and hospitals must provide vegan meals upon request (It took me years before my employer finally started ordering vegan food for me at Christmas dinners or other staff lunches – they just told me I was on a “strange” diet)
Recognizing veganism as a human right basically means that vegans now deserve more respect and consideration. I think that is a great breakthrough.
- The work in a slaughterhouse is brutal. Workers come from poor backgrounds and can usually not afford to decline this kind of work. Cold temperatures, blood and entrails on the floor or on their aprons, repetitive work, killing animal after animal.
While I have seen slaughter in a slaughterhouse up close and personal and I watched some workers enjoy the killing process – they even laughed at the terrified screams of the animals and had fun hurting them – there are also slaughterhouse workers who do not sink to those levels. I have read about plenty who quit, because they could no longer face it.
- In the dairy industry, workers are expected to take the cow’s calves away after birth, so that the calf’s milk can be used for milk production for humans. While the calf is left in a dumpster to die an agonizing death, the mother cries for her baby for days. Imagine having your newborn stolen from you … I can’t imagine anything worse. Just because it happens to a non-human animal doesn’t mean that she doesn’t suffer. I think that there is nothing worse than a mother losing her child.
Sometimes, these calves are fattened for a few months, to be used for veal.
The dairy industry is just as cruel as the meat industry … And I am sure that no one can deal with those pitiful cries in the long term. Slaughterhouse workers and animal industry workers in general do not last long. The staff turnover is fast. Wonder why…?
- Animal violence is related to human violence. How can we condone violence to certain species but be outraged when it is done to other species? We are quick to point the finger at China (and some other Asian countries) and condemn them for their cruel ways of slaughtering dogs and cats before eating them, but is what we allow (what we even pay for) to be done to cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, turkeys, fish, etc any better? No, it isn’t. Not by far …
It is a mistake to see animal rights as a separate issue from human rights, for we are all interconnected. If we permit animal cruelty, then how can we stop human cruelty? Violent crimes, discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation … There isn’t much difference between racism, sexism, and speciesism (the belief of human superiority which leads to exploitation of animals), they all are based on one thing: discrimination.
Here are 2 quotes by Leo Tolstoy. He couldn’t have said it better.
“As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.”
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
And here’s one from Paul McCartney: “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” (or make that vegan 😉 )
11. Vegans Look Great
I know, I said, 10 facts, not 11, but I always like to keep a surprise up my sleeve. And honestly, I didn’t want to depress you either. While the above mentioned facts are certainly true, here is a real fun fact. Vegans look great and have younger skin. The other day I was browsing profiles on a vegan dating site, and oh boy, there were many photos of people in their sixties and fifties that looked a lot younger. I would recommend that you sign up for that site, but they do prefer vegans or vegetarians for dating … Perhaps it is time to make a change in your lifestyle, and get a hot date? There, maybe that will convince you 😉
Thank you for reading! If you have any comments or questions, please let me know in the comments.