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15 Reasons You Should Go Vegetarian in 2015

01.26.2015 · Posted in Health Articles

I love meat. 

Sirloin steak. Beef nachos. Beef chili. Beef brisket. Roast beef. Chicken wings. Chicken strips. Chicken bites. Fried chicken. Pulled chicken. Turkey dinner. Turkey sandwiches. Pepperoni pizza. I love meat, pretty much all of it.

And I’m not alone in my love for meat – the world’s total meat supply is estimated at close to 300 million tons.

Like many Americans, I’m a typical western overweight bearded male carnivore. But then something strange started to happen.

I stopped eating meat.

I literally quit cold turkey. I wasn’t sure why, at first. As the weeks progressed, as I read and thought about it, the reasons became more and more apparent. I don’t know if you’ve ever considered vegetarianism, but here are 15 reasons to go veg in 2015.

1 Longevity
Fast forward to the day of your death. Would you have given up all your years of meat eating in exchange for another few years with your friends and family? You can tack on an extra 3-7 years if you quit meat. Make the investment today, and it’ll likely pay off in the long run. 

2. Heart Health
My grandfather died at age 65 from heart issues. My great-grandfather died at age 65 from the same thing. My blood-pumper is a ticking time-bomb, and I don’t want to overload it. More than 17 million people died from heart-related issues last year, so I think we should all ease off the throttle. Vegheads have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, resulting in lower rates of coronary heart disease. Beat on, sweet heart of mine!

3. Cancer Prevention
Vegheads may enjoy a 40% less likelihood of developing certain types of cancers. One of my dear friends got cancer a few years ago- in his late twenties- and I don’t care what kind of cancer it is… I don’t want it.

4. Diabetes Prevention
My grandmother has had diabetes for many years, and I’ve watched her stab herself with needles countless times since I was a child. Becoming vegetarian lowers your risk of obesity, which lowers your chance of ending up like thin-but-diabetic Grandma.

5. Weight Loss
Here’s a stunner: Americans are projected to eat 52.2 billion pounds of meat in 2015. The average vegetarian loses 22-24lbs in the first year and keeps it off for 5 years. How many fad diets can make that claim?

6. Biodiversity
Animals eat a ton of food, and it’s cheaper to mono-crop staples like corn and soy instead of providing a wide range of edible options. This in turn leads to disease susceptibility, which leads to the rise of GMO seed and massive pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide usage. And then we eat it.

7. Deforestation
Tied to mono-cropping, it takes massive swaths of land to feed all those animals- 30% of the earth’s entire ice-free land mass, and over 260 million acres of America. Now we’re creating more farmland by chopping down seven football fields of oxygen-creating trees each minute.

8. Stewardship
Vegetarians save $4,000 per year compared to meat eaters. Four thousand meat-free bones! Invest it wisely and you’ll retire a meatless millionaire. Or, you could go all-organic and take a trip to Tahiti to boot.

9. Environment
Vegheads decrease their carbon emissions by a full 33% versus meat-eaters. Cars or cows, take your pick. 

10. Hormones and Chemicals
Warning: Gross factor. As Michael Pollan says, “you are what you eat eats,” and animals these days especially eat garbage- shredded newspapers, GMO corn, and now possibly bugs. Animals are pumped full of hormones and steroids (by comparison, a human growing at the same rate as a modern chicken would weigh over 600 pounds at two months old) and antibiotics (80% of all antibiotic use in America is on animals) in order to make them highly profitable products, and all those lovely chemicals can work their way onto your dinner plate.

11. All the Cool Kids are Doing It
Vegetarians are in good company, including Thoreau, Gandhi, Daniel, Einstein, Tolstoy, da Vinci, and many more. 

12. Honesty
I’m a writer, and I don’t like the abuse of words. I was tired of lying to myself. It’s not “crispy applewood-smoked bacon,” it’s flavored pig belly. It’s not “beef brisket nachos,” it’s ground-up cow chest. It’s not “deep fried chicken wings,” it’s birdflesh boiled in oil.

13. Water Consumption
It takes 2400 gallons of water to produce one pound of hamburger beef. The average daily water consumption of a meat-eating person is 5000 litres of water per day. Vegetarians use half that amount. Over an average lifetime, that’s two Georgia Aquariums!

14. Economy, Democracy, and Science
My wife and I run a charity to fight human trafficking, and we recently finished a 96-city driving tour around North America. We passed hundreds of feedlots, and it’s scary- thousands of cows packed into cramped manure pits. In addition to how they treat their animals, the beef industry is a tough bunch who’ve even hired ‘scientists’ to ‘disprove’ any claims that their product might be anything short of a superfood.

Then there’s the meat monopoly. Tyson lobs the heads of almost 6 million chickens every single day. The industry has consolidated, and they use their power to lobby Washington. They’re hijacking democracy (and nutritional charts the world over) in favor of fatter wallets for the nation’s handful of meat producers.

15. Life
Last year I helped some friends slaughter a whole truckload of Christmas turkeys. This year I’ve watched jihadists do the same thing to people. Honestly, I think I just got tired of pain and death. I don’t wish it on anyone, or anything. Now I have a great reverence for all life. 

I know this is strange, but I’ve always felt like going veg was the right thing to do. I’ve kept a ‘Someday Vegetarian’ file for more than five years. I knew meat-eating wasn’t in any way justifiable or sustainable, but I kept putting it off. I guess there came a point where I just couldn’t keep ignoring that inner voice.

So I guess it comes back to love. 

I love meat. But I also love animals, my environment, my planet. I love trees and fresh water and organic diversity. I love my health, my family, my friends, my local community, and everyone else in the world who I’ve never met but for whom I desire the best that life has to offer. If eating only vegetables helps make the world a better place for everyone, then perhaps it’s a worthy 2015 resolution.

Jared Brock is the author of A Year of Living Prayerfully, an exciting and entertaining new book about prayer. Follow JB on FB.

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