All around the world, more and more people have chosen to adopt a vegan lifestyle, excluding all animal products from their diet, including some incredibly commonplace foods such as dairy, eggs, and honey. Although the transition from an omnivorous to a plant-based diet can be trying for many, the benefits of it are unparalleled. Veganism as a lifestyle is beneficial not only to the wellbeing of livestock animals, but to the environment, world hunger, and your own health.
Veganism involves a lot more than just protesting animal cruelty, it also heavily promotes environmental sustainability. The carbon footprints of the meat, dairy, and egg industries are massive. Current mainstream farming methods do not employ renewable resources and are contributing a disproportionate amount to pollution and climate change. It has been estimated that the production of meat and dairy products contributes approximately 30 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions around the world and is responsible for 70 percent of global freshwater consumption as well as 38 percent of total land use.
The production of grain feed for animals in the meat industry has also contributed massively to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. The industries involved in the production of meat and dairy cause as much damage to the environment as the burning of fossil fuels.
The use of fertile land to grow crops for animals also worsens the problem of hunger in developing countries, as communities grow cash crops to feed animals rather than themselves. Food scarcity is becoming an increasingly dire issue in the world today, with one in nine people reportedly being chronically undernourished.
Perhaps the most enticing aspect of a vegan diet, however, is its ability to nurture some very healthy habits with pleasant results. Plant-based diets should contain plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. The nutrients found in these plant-based foods tend to be higher in vitamins and minerals and have been shown to be packed more with fiber and antioxidants and less with saturated fats than their animal-based counterparts. This has proven to be useful in warding off health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Vegan diets, planned properly, are very likely to result in younger looking skin and increased energy. Vegans also lean towards consuming more servings of fruit and vegetables during the day, which helps reduce chances of premature death. Studies have shown that consumption of red meat, whether processed or unprocessed, can be linked to raised early mortality rates – just one more thing that vegans need not be concerned about. Moreover, on average, vegans tend to be up to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters.
Some people begin their shift to veganism by looking for replacement foods. Although this can be a big step to take in Western societies, considering their emphasis on meat-centric dishes in traditional meals, Sri Lankan cuisine only needs to be tweaked very minimally – if at all – to be vegan. Oftentimes, meat is only one of many curries gracing our breakfast, lunch, and dinner tables and is not likely to be missed considering the myriad of options available to substitute it with. Our vegetarian curries, in addition, have a coconut milk base (completely plant-based), so they tend to be vegan already.
As Sri Lankans, we would be relinquishing very few of the foods and dishes we know and love when adopting a plant-based diet, which would make the transition incredibly smooth indeed. However, even in Western societies, as veganism has gotten ever more popular, more and more companies have come out with delicious vegan food products to meet the increasing demand. There is very little sacrifice to be made in going vegan, especially considering its many benefits.
You can visit www.organicoguru.com to find a wide array of vegan-friendly products and treats.