5 true facts about veganism
When my vegan journey started there were certain relevant topics I stumbled across which helped me to reflect and overthink some of my eating habits I had in the past. A habit is a routine behavior which has settled in the daily life while done on a regular base. As habits become a fixed part of your daily routine, it is just normal that we stop thinking about the action but just execute it. Everything else would simply not be very efficient. As habits become unconscious patterns, most of the times we don’t even realize that we are doing them. If you want to read more about habits, why we do what we do and how to change it, I strongly recommend to read Charles Duhigg’s book “The power of habit”.
But today I want to focus on 5 true facts about veganism. I will put some light on topics we might already know or heard about but forgot, because it isn’t part of our common daily mindset. Hope this article helps you to reflect and overthink some of your general eating habits, too.
In my last article I talked about 5 good reasons why living vegan makes totally sense. I talked about health, ethics, the starving part of our world and the environment. In this article you are reading about the related facts you might not have been aware of – until now! Let’s start!
1. Processed meat is proven to cause cancer (and other sicknesses)
The Word Health Organization (WHO) stated based on sufficient evidence from epidemiological studies that eating processed meat (include hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces) causes colorectal cancer. Most of the meat produced nowadays is processed meat from mass production, which means that meat has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation.
Media is transferring a message which influences us to believe eating animal products is healthy and doesn’t harm our bodies. The reality is so much different. Unless you haven’t raised and slaughtered an animal by yourself you can never be sure about the food quality. This is valid for all food provided to us. Don’t be fooled by nice labels you see on a package. This is pure marketing strategy. Watch this video from Kate Cooper, a marketing consultant to the food industry where she explain the secrets of food marketing. I strongly recommend to start consuming more information about what kind of food you are putting in your body every day. It might saves your life!
2. Eating a vegan diet (almost) provides all nutritions your body needs
At this point, I want to mention that I am not a nutritionist and my advice does not replace a doctor’s opinion. Also, every body is individual and works a little different. If you are not sure, please ask a doctor or a certified nutritionist for an opinion. I only can share MY own best practice and lessons learned with you.
I recognize that many people are not willing to change to a plant based diet because they are afraid their body will lack of necessary nutritions. From my 5 years experience being vegan consuming a balanced plant-based whole food diet which excludes any animal products works totally fine for me. Once a year, I am doing a blood test. Last one I did in January 2019 and it shows that everything is totally okay with my body.
Besides a balanced whole food diet, I am taking D3 in combination with K2 vitamins to balance the lack of sunlight. Sunlight is the most important source for D3 and even if you are eating meat you will not get more sun than a vegan does, unless you are taking off your clothes and let the sun directly shine on you naked body every day. K2 is important to transport D3 to the right places in your body. Additionally, I am taking vegan B12 capsules. I recommend to EVERYBODY checking the vitamin B12 level from time to time. Even if you are eating meat and consuming other animal products, it doesn’t mean that you got covered. Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies can cause irreparable serious damages to your body. So better make sure not lacking super important vitamins and minerals. Caring about these elements and gaining more knowledge on how your body works can help you to keep your body fit and strong.
3. Every day more than 150 million (150 000 000) animals are killed worldwide
A number which is hard and crazy to imagine. And these are just the animals on land and slaughterhouses. 25 million farm animals are killed each day which makes around 4000 animals per seconds worldwide. I am linking you an animal slaughter kill counter to make this incredible huge number more concrete and visible. This website makes me really sad and does not need any more words, right?!
On this point, I want to insert a quote from Sir Paul McCartney:
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian”. He asserts, “Animals raised on modern factory farms and killed in slaughterhouses endure almost unimaginable suffering”.
4. A cow need to constantly be pregnant to produce milk
Did you know the production of milk requires that a cow need to be pregnant and give birth to a calf? A cow is a mammal which means the animals have the same premises as humans for milk production. Humans females only produce milk if they are pregnant. Consequently, this also means a cow needs to be pregnant all the time being able continuously producing milk.
As soon as the cow gives birth, the calf will be separated from the mother and fed with milk substitutes. As dairy farms depends on female cows to produce milk the male calf either is killed and disposed or sold for veal and beef. Animals shot on a dairy farm can’t enter the food chain. In most of the cases disposal of the calf is cheaper as selling it for beef or veal. The cow’s milk which normally designated for the calves is taken for human consumption.
When humans interfere in nature
A dairy cow’s life span is 4-6 years compared to a natural life span of 15-20 years. This means humans are taking away the milk and reduce their life span dramatically by exploiting the animals for their own consumption. By the way, it is a fact that milk from mass production also contains hormones, antibiotics and pus which does not sound very delicious and healthy to me. The logic consequence for me was stop supporting the industry.
If you are as shocked about these facts as I was 5 years ago I recommend to try some plant-based milk alternatives like soy, oat, almond or coconut milk only to mention a few options. I bet by trying different products you can find an plant-based alternative with which you like and can live with! If you try a product and you don’t like it, don’t toss it, use it for baking instead! Pay attention that these products are unsweetened. And another hint for all products out there: the shorter the ingredient list the better the product!
5. It takes around 15 000 liters water to produce 1kg meat
15 000 liter are around 50 bathtubs full of water if you take a standard bathtub which holds roughly around 80 gallons (302 liters) of water. Compared to this fact, it only takes around 1500 liter to produce 1kg wheat. Wow!!! This means we could feed much more people with planting wheat and legumes as with meat. So eating meat is a privilege and a water monster at the same time. Using the farming areas for planting veggies and legumes could help to reduce the world hunger. This fact is important considering that we waste 50% of all food produced (and the water which is used for production) every year. This actions taken by the industry doesn’t sound very economical to me.
Facing the facts I just mentioned in this article made me think about the habits I had in the past. I realized that I made mistakes but also that I gained something very important: AWARENESS!
I know changing habits isn’t easy. You are doing a great job if you start eliminating an animal product by a time (e.g. milk this week, egg next week,…). Observe, what it does to your body see how you feel. Doing something 50%, 60%, 70% is already better than being ignorant for 100%. The change in a diet is a journey in your own speed. The way is teaching you lessons and if you are willing to learn you will reach a point where you recognize what your body needs. Start listen to your body again!
Making a change
Switching to a balanced plant-based whole food diet can improve your health and reduce animal exploitation and world hunger. In a world where it is all about consumption and profit we should take a step back, slow down and ask ourselves if this way we choose the past decades is really the way we want to continue in future.
I understand that continue living this lifestyle will destroy our environment, our health and our kids future. This place called planet earth will not longer exist how we know it today. Please take a minute or two to gain as much knowledge as you can. Then decide if the price we are going to pay is worth the life we are living now.
To be continued…
Do you want to know, how this series continue? You can read about 5 tips how to start a vegan diet in the next article.
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