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Health Advantages

There are many health advantages associated with a plant-based lifestyle for human beings.  Plant-based foods do not have saturated fats, which is a major health benefit.  The British NHS recommends taking 5 portions of vegetables and fruits a day.

Other benefits include lowering body mass index, reducing blood pressure; reducing risks for heart disease, diabetes, cancer; and improving longevity.  Vegans often report a clearer mindset, having more energy and a feeling of well-being even when faced with personal life’s challenges.

The public health issue nowadays is that people consuming a regular diet of meat-based food, especially red and processed meat, can experience serious health discomforts.  Additionally, people are dying from antibiotic resistance.  

Industrial livestock farming relies heavily on antibiotics to accelerate animal weight gain and controlling infections.   In the US, 80% of all antibiotics are fed to livestock and not to people.   In this circumstance and in the US alone, 23,000 people die from resistant bacteria every year.   This figure is rising around the world and reaching dangerous threats for both young and old. 24

The United Nations recommends 80-90g of meat intake for people living in high-income countries.   In reality, people in these wealthier counties are eating 200-250g of meat a day, far exceeding the recommended portions.  

We could be saving up to 8 million lives a year worldwide by 2050 if we made the switch to a plant-based diet.   This would naturally lead to related savings in healthcare and at the same time avoid climate change damages of up to $1.5 trillion. 

Vegans and Nutrition

There is no problem for vegans to get their daily nutrition. Markets all over the world offer a rich variety of food that scintillates the palate in their textures and flavours.  These include many types of vegetables, fermented, pickled, curries, and stir-fries.   A vegan diet consists of a variety of fruits and vegetables, pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, etc) whole grains, nuts and seeds. 

 

These foods are easily available, and there are numerous tasty recipes from different countries to show how to make delicious vegan meals.  Many people who have tried such meals say they would gladly convert to being vegan if meals taste so good!

 

 

 

 

Delicious vegan dishes from around the world

It is important to note that vegans and vegetarians alike, need to pay attention to getting enough protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega–3 fatty acids.  These can be obtained from many natural and fortified food sources. 

Vegan meals are much cheaper on the whole, and vegan chefs are strongly committed to their art of cooking.  Numerous celebrities and athletes around the world are vegans, and they will testify to their preference for a meatless diet. 25

Prize-winning sports icons insist that their ability to perform at peak endurance, speed, and flexibility, is made possible by a plant-based diet. They say that as vegans, they have all the energy they need and do not miss or want to eat meat. 26

 

Said to be the world’s most popular celebrities, Beyonce and Jay Z, work hard advocating a plant based diet

 

 

 

Len Hin Chun Chui, Hong Kong’s champion body builder with Jessenia Soto and Maritsa Corté are convinced that a vegan diet gives them strength.

Elderly citizens, pregnant women, lactating mothers, and babies from conception to infancy, also benefit from a plant-based diet.  Mothers report their babies do not suffer from colic, a common babyhood condition.

 

Hidden and unnoticed

One tricky point is that many people adopting a vegan diet may not be aware that some of these listed items below are not actually vegan, and in some cases, not even vegetarian.

  • Beeswax and Honey.
  • Casein or Milk By-products.
  • Confectioner's Glaze on Candy.
  • Gelatin and Gelatin Products.
  • Isinglass in Beer and Wine.
  • Cysteine in Bread Products.
  • Whey in Bread and Sweets.

 Nonetheless, the vegan markets have substitute ingredients for all of these.

 

Changing One’s Diet

Different approaches suit different people who wish to become vegans.  Some are born as vegans, some convert to a plant-based diet quickly, while others do so step-by-step.  Whatever is the case, it is laudable that an increasing number of people are mindful of their eating habits, and understand the importance of diet in relation to health.   

 

Different ways for different folks

  • Semi-vegetarians are those people who still eat animal products, but more selectively. Many semi-vegetarians eat chicken and fish but not red meat. 
  • Flexitarians are people who are mostly vegan/vegetarian but who on occasion do eat meat. 
  • Pescatarians are those who avoid meat and poultry but still eat fish and seafood. 
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians are those who skip all meat, fish, and poultry but include dairy and eggs in their diet. 
  • Vegans are those who eat solely a plant-based diet, which is the strictest form of vegetarianism. Vegans do not eat any animal products at all—not even eggs or dairy products.27

 

In Conclusion

Change starts with the individual.   All advocates for a better world must concentrate on changing their own lifestyles.   The quickest, most effective way is to avoid over consumption in general, especially consumption of meat and diary products. 

The world’s resources are finite.  If we do not curtail our habits of over eating, drinking, shopping, and relentlessly chasing after goods and wealth that are out of line with an ecologically friendly philosophy, we will soon deplete our planet’s natural recourses and will be unable to compensate for our losses.

Efforts must be spent on our own education and awareness, while at the same time, building community support and calling for health and welfare enhancing government policies on environmental issues.   We urgently need to: 

  1. Open our minds to making changes in our lifestyles
  2. Reduce carbon emissions
  3. Invest in renewable energy
  4. Prevent deforestation
  5. Reduce shopping, especially for fashions and food
  6. Support developing nations
  7. Learn how to sustain the earth’s resources
  8. Surveil diseases
  9. Pay attention to our responsibilities towards future generations who will live with the legacy we leave behind

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Reference

20 WHO report Impact of Climate change on health 

21 The Paris Agreement

(French: Accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, starting in the year 2020

On 1 April 2016, the United States and China, which together represent almost 40% of global emissions, issued a joint statement confirming that both countries would sign the Paris Climate Agreement. 175 Parties (174 states and the European Union) signed the agreement on the first date it was open for signature.

22 Effluent wastes (22)

Effluent is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as "wastewater - treated or untreated - that flows out of a treatment plant, sewer, or industrial outfall. Generally refers to wastes discharged into surface waters". ... Effluent only refers to liquid discharge.

23 Stock free farming  

Stock-free organic farming is a system of cultivation that views farms as part of the wider eco-system and excludes artificial chemicals ('agrochemicals': 'pesticides', 'herbicides', 'chemical fertilizers'), livestock manures, animal remains from slaughterhouses, genetically modified material and anything of animal

24 Anti biotic resistance 

25 Vegan athletes 

26 Len Chiu

27 Different phases of veganism

 

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Acknowledgment for the photographs:

 

Germany’s Decision to Affirm Legality of Male Chick Shredding Shines Global Spotlight on Practice A Meat and Dairy Industries

 Animal Cruelty

Cows with Mastitis are in great pain causing them to stand unnaturally.

Caged pigs in China

Unimaginable misery in Mexican slaughter houses

Drought in New South Wales

Deforestation

Soil Erosion

California Experience Extreme Weather Events

Vegan Food Pyramid

Beyonce and Jay Z

Hong Kong body builders

Further Reading/Viewing

What the Health: Documentary on veganism, available on Netflix.

Conspiracy: Documentary on the cattle industry, available on Netflix.

21 Things the Egg Industry Doesn’t Want You to See

Hog Hell:  How Pigs are Raised and Killed for Meat

Hong Kong farmers give antibiotics to healthy chickens ... and raise supervision concerns

Fork over Knives: Documentary on plant based diet

What you eat mattersH.O.P .E

Let us be Heroes

Podcast Dairy Scary by Tim Samuel