Why Eat Plants?
The many benefits of choosing a plant-based diet can be life-changing. Whether you make that choice based on helping the planet, healing yourself, or having a respect for animal life, there are game-changing benefits to choosing plants over meat. What will yours be?
Health & Wellness
Our Home, Planet Earth
Disease & Pandemics
HEALTH & WELLNESS
For decades, medical and nutrition experts have touted the myriad benefits derived from eating a plant-based diet. Plants, not meat and not dairy, provide the body the tools to fight off infection and build your immune system, which is crucial in reducing your risk for diseases such as cancer.
In addition, research shows that people who eat red meat are at a higher risk of death from heart disease, stroke and diabetes (Mayo Clinic). Eating a diet that revolves around plants can also help you maintain a healthy weight, lower your Body Mass Index (BMI) and blood pressure, and keep your cholesterol at a healthy level as well (Healthline).
For decades we were told that we needed to drink milk for strong bones and consume meat for protein but studies have shown that a diet rich in beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains are rich in protein. In addition, those who eat plants can get enough calcium in their diet by simply adding foods like tofu, almonds, broccoli and spinach.
Global population figures sit at an estimated 7.88 billion and as we have seen far too frequently with heartbreaking stories of drought and famine, it is becoming impossible to feed that many people. 130 national academies of science and medicine from around the world agree that the global food system is broken, plunging billions of people into hunger and poverty and inflicting irreparable harm on our planet.
A seismic shift away from meat and dairy is essential to be able to feed everyone around the world. According to researchers from Oxford University, meat, dairy, egg, and fish farming use 83% of the world’s farmland, yet provide only 18% of its calories. Without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% and we would still be able to feed the world. In the U.S. alone it is estimated that we could feed all 331 million Americans—plus an additional 390 million—by focusing solely on plants (Los Angeles Times).
OUR HOME, PLANET EARTH
Factory farming is often overlooked as a climate crippler but a recent study showed that animal farming contributes 58% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, 57% of its water pollution, and 56% of its air pollution, while only being responsible for 37% of its protein. (The Guardian). Factory farms emit methane and nitrous oxide, which are up to 300 times more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
The devastation of the Amazon rainforest for cattle ranching is the most glaring example of the environmental damage inflicted upon essential forests and wetlands. Factory farming on all levels causes catastrophic wildlife decimation, displaces local communities, and upends entire ecosystems.
And the destruction shows little sign of abating. As disposable incomes rise in parts of the world such as Asia, per capita meat consumption is also increasing. It is estimated that by 2050 global meat consumption could increase by as much as another 150 percent (The World Counts).
Every day, 23 million land animals are killed on factory farms, roughly 266 every second. (Animal Equality). That is a staggering, nearly incomprehensible number. The lives of animals such as pigs, chickens and cows on factory farms can only be described as barbaric. 99% of all farm animals never get the chance to express natural behaviors. A battery chicken, for example, spends its entire life in a space no larger than an iPad and 90% of all broiler chickens are unable to walk properly due to the way they are bred and housed.
Watching a calf taken from a dairy cow at birth so she can produce milk for dairy products is heartbreaking to watch and knowing it occurs every day on factory farms around the world is just one example of the cruelty we as humans inflict upon the sentient beings with whom we share this earth.
What impact could you have? A recent estimation based on figures from the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations indicated that a person would save 105 animal lives per year if they switched to a plant-based diet.
DISEASE & PANDEMICS
Many scientists have labeled factory farms a ticking time bomb for global health with the possibility of the spread of zoonotic diseases between animals and humans (Euronews). It is a widely held belief that the recent COVID-19 pandemic began in live animal markets and as the amount of close contact between humans and animals on factory farms increases so does the risk of allowing pathogens to jump from species to species, thereby propelling the risk of another deadly global outbreak.
The recent avian flu epidemic among chickens led to the death of over 52 million birds in the U.S. alone, the deadliest bird flu outbreak in history (NPR). The risk of epidemics such as avian flu affecting humans is currently minimal but viruses that result in these types of diseases could transform into one that affects human tissue in the very near future and we need to be prepared.
It is imperative that we limit the close interaction between humans and animals if we want to ward against future pandemics. These animals were never meant to be confined in so microscopic of a space and relying on factory farms to take appropriate biosecurity measures to prevent these types of pandemics is wishful thinking indeed.