I was 11-years-old when I decided vegetarianism was for me.
At that time, my sole reason for the conversion, after the last 10 years of an omnivore-based diet, was that I refused to be the reason for the suffering of any animal. That reason still remains the focus, but the health benefits of vegetarianism are a huge bonus that is often overlooked.
Most of the animals used for consumption are living in horrid conditions, often confined indoors, locked in tight cages with other animals, with little, if any, room to move or stand to maximize production at minimal cost, otherwise better known as factory farming.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, over 95 percent of farm animals in the U.S. reside in factory farms. The animals in these farms live their entire lives in unspeakable conditions to then be slaughtered for consumption, solely as a for-profit gain at the expense of animals’ welfare.
If it isn’t considered OK for dogs or cats to endure this treatment, it shouldn’t be OK for farm animals who share the same feelings and emotions as those you consider “pets.”
Keeping farm animals’ welfare as a top priority is the most important part of converting to vegetarianism, but the health benefits are a huge plus, too.
According to studies conducted by Harvard Medical School, vegetarians were, on average, 25 percent less likely to die of heart disease. They also found that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, and vegetarians usually have lower levels of potentially carcinogenic, which is capable of causing cancer in living tissue, substances in their colons.
By converting to a vegetarian-based diet, I’m not only saving animals’ lives, I have lessened my chances of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, and I could have lower levels, if any, of carcinogenic substances in my body.
While a vegetarian-based diet can require more thoughtfulness when buying groceries to ensure you’re purchasing enough proteins and maintaining a healthy diet, the benefits far outweigh the few extra minutes one must devote to shopping or prepping their food.
Don’t be that person who believes they can’t make a difference by converting to vegetarianism– you may only be one person, but many more have already taken that leap, and many more will. The numbers add up faster than you may believe. You can make a difference.