Vegetarian Explains Reasons for Diet Choice

Katherine Seed, Editor

When evaluating the diet and lifestyle of a vegetarian, many questions appear–specifically, “Why don’t you eat meat?” As a vegetarian for about two years, I have countless answers to the single question, but there are three key reasons that stand out.

I’ll briefly explain the treatment of animals since this rant often goes in one ear and out the other. The yummy food comes from factory farms that operate with inhumane practices causing distress for the animals that live and die there. Take the beef industry, for example. Cattle raised for those adored, greasy burgers are regularly dosed with an abundance of hormones to make them grow bigger and keep them alive longer in the miserable conditions. They’re either brutally slaughtered, or they simply collapse from exhaustion. Either way, the burgers still taste good, right?

Twenty 20 percent of the human body is made up of protein and since the body doesn’t store it, it is important to get enough from your diet each day. It is widely believed that we need meat for protein and, yes, meat consumption provides your body with iron, magnesium, B-vitamins, and amino acids needed for growth and good overall health. The meat industry feeds the public these juicy facts so they believe that we must have meat in order to have a healthy, balanced diet. However, they neglect to mention the heart disease, high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and overall cancer rates linked with eating meat. Well-planned meatless diets provide us with all the nutrients that we need, minus all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in animal flesh.

Quinoa, for example, is full of fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Rice and beans have seven grams of protein per 1 cup serving. My personal favorite is hummus which has seven grams of protein per one whole wheat pita. And if your concern is a balanced weight, avocados contain healthy fats, including other vitamins and minerals.

I am a firm believer in global warming and how there are some in denial of its reality worries me. Without accepting its existence, people will shut down at the surprising fact that meat-eaters are responsible for almost twice as many dietary greenhouse-gas emissions per day as vegetarians and about two and a half times as many as vegans. It’s true!

A study had indicated that the dietary greenhouse-gas emissions among meat-eaters were between 50-54 percent higher than those of vegetarians and between 99-102 percent higher than those of vegans. Animal food production produces more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry and even the electricity generation.

The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide alone associated with the warming effect on Earth was 30percent from 1990 to 2015. Burning fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide and since it takes close to 11 times as much fossil fuel to produce a calorie of animal protein as a calorie of grain protein, it’s pretty clear that the production of meat has a negative effect on our Earth heating.

I’m really not trying to persuade people to cut meat from their diet since that task would be virtually impossible. The purpose of explaining all of this was to answer the common question vegetarians get. But the answers differ for everyone.