As an avid meat lover, writing about the benefits of going vegetarian was not something I ever thought I would find myself doing – let alone advocating for the meatless lifestyle. One of the biggest reasons I think everyone should at least consider going meatless once a week is the environmental toll our agricultural system has on the environment. If you haven’t heard about the negative impact the agricultural system is having on the environment, a great place to start is watching Cow(spiracy) – a great documentary that highlights some of the reasons why you should consider going all meatless and the many benefits of going vegetarian.
So, let’s hear some of the going vegetarian benefits that I’ve compiled!
Benefits of Going Vegetarian (even if it’s just for one day a week)
Fiber is great for you. Beans and lentils will more than likely substitute the meat you won’t be consuming which are nutritionally sound and super affordable power foods! Beans delivery healthy doses of fibre, have a low glycemic index, and provide a great source of protein and other nutrients. Added bonus, fibre keeps you regular and feeling full. Plus there are so many great vegetarian recipes.
Save money. Meat tends to be expensive so building meals around vegetables, beans, and grains instead of meat tends to be less expensive. So, going meatless even once a week can help you save money!
Live Longer. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables while limiting red meat intake can help increase longevity, whereas consuming processed meats is associated with death due to cancer and cardiovascular diseases. As mentioned by HuffPost, “Vegetarians live on average almost eight years longer than the general population, which is similar to the gap between smokers and nonsmokers.”
Great for the environment. Pound for pound, plant sources of protein take a lower toll on the environment. Overall, the research shows the fuel and water required to raise livestock is having a much heavier toll on the environment than you might expect. The meat industry alone is responsible for almost a fifth of manmade greenhouse gases worldwide according to the UN (which is much more than transportation).
Fossil Fuel Reduction. Did you know that 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed for beef in the U.S. To give you a comparison, fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein is 2.2 calories. So, it’s plain and simple meat-based diets require more energy, land, and water resources than the vegetarian lifestyle.
Help Reduce Fossil Fuel Dependence: On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Reducing meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
Have you ever tried to go meatless? What are your thoughts on the vegetarian lifestyle? Are you pro or against? Do you have going vegetarian benefits that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!