Monday, March 5, 2012

Why I'm a Vegetarian

     
Now that we are getting to know each other better, I thought this would be the appropriate time to mention that I am a vegetarian. You may or may not know this already. I haven't eaten red meat since the summer of 2009, but I became a full vegetarian last October after seeing a movie with graphic images of a cow being killed for meat. Anyways, I try not to think about it, so I will spare you the details. I already think my stuffed animals have feelings so, really, this was coming...

There are many benefits to a plant-based diet, both for the health of our population and our earth. I'm not going to try to tell you what to do, God knows I hate being told what to do. I'm just here to share with you how I live along with little bits of why. 

why:
I never want to stop surfing because of some disease that could be avoided like obesity, heart disease or a stroke. Plus, I want to be in shape enough to rip, not just float around. 
I'm a control freak. I want as much control over my destiny as possible, which means I am going to do everything I can to live a long, healthy, active and full life. I've lost my paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather to cancer and my maternal grandmother to heart disease. If I'm going out, I want it to be God's choice, not mine.
I love animals, and while I understand the circle of life, I just can't even bring myself to kill ants (yes, I know I'm a little crazy) let alone cute cows, happy chickens and my fish friends. I truly enjoy co-existing with them. I think they have a lot to teach us. 
I love the earth and I want to use what it naturally gives us consciously and gratefully.


Here are some other things about a plant based diet that I find convincing
  • Vegetarians and vegans are far less likely to get cancer, heart disease, diabetes or osteoporosis (The Vegetarian Guide). 
  • Mortality from heart disease is positively associated with estimated intakes of total animal fat, saturated animal fat, and dietary cholesterol (The Oxford Vegetarian Study, 1999).
  • 1/3 of all cancer deaths in the United States can be attributed to nutritional factors (World Health Organization). 
    • One study compared cancer rates of vegetarians and meat-eaters in 34,000 Americans. The results showed that those who avoided meat, fish and poultry had dramatically lower rates of prostate, ovarian, and colon cancer compared to meat-eaters (PETA).
    • A study comparing the dietary habits of men in 32 countries found that the highest risk factors for prostate cancer mortality were meat and dairy products. By contrast, another study of men diagnosed with prostate cancer showed that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains can slow or even halt the progression of the disease (PETA). 
    • A 2007 study of more than 35,000 women published in the British Journal of Cancer found that women who ate the most meat had the highest risk of breast cancer. 
  • Meat contains absolutely nothing that the human body cannot obtain from a vegetarian diet (Food for Thought)
  • In the US alone 500,000 animals are killed for meat every hour (Food for Thought). 
  • Eating vegetarian saves more land, energy and water than any other choice you can make.
    •  It takes ten times as much land to produce food for an average American compared to a pure vegetarian (The Vegetarian Guide).  
  •  U.S. Livestock produces 20 times the amount of waste as the American Human (250,000 pounds per second!) (The Vegetarian Guide). 
  • I like this quote by Eliot Coleman: "As a vegetarian I do the least possible harm to the least number of other living entities. Recognizing that all forms of life are worthy of respect, I disturb the life process as little as I can" ~Eliot Coleman (This Life is In Your Hands).
Some charts from the documentary Forks Over Knives (I wrote on the first one, in case you couldn't tell). 



When the Nazi's took over Norway in 1940 they took away all of their cows and chickens and the Norwegians were forced to eat a plant based diet. What was remarkable in all of the surrounding tragedy was the fact that death from circulatory diseases like heart, artery diseases and blood clots decreased significantly until the war ended and they began eating meat again. 

Amazing, right? What that says to me, besides the health benefits of plant based eating, is that it's never too late to make a positive change. 

Well, that's all I have for now. You can see some of the sources I used below. I highly recommend watching Forks Over Knives and Food Inc.  

Oh yeah, and here's a vegetarian food pyramid.



As you probably know, if you are going to become a vegetarian, you need to do your research. It's important once you eliminate meat that you still get the appropriate amount of protein and vitamins such as B vitamins. That being said, after being a vegetarian for two years, I have received great health reports from my doctors and have only been sick once (and I work with kids). My nails and hair are strong and growing better than ever. I have increased energy and I feel really at peace because of my choice.

If you don't agree, does it mean we can't be friends? No, of course not. I know I don't need to say it, but choosing to be a vegetarian is a personal decision for me that I have been very pleased with and if you don't feel the same way I wouldn't want you to feel like I was judging you (something that has never gotten me anywhere). 


my sources:
I learned a lot about what I know about nutrition from documentaries like Food Inc. and Forks Over Knives.
And I used these websites to present the facts above
21 Reasons to be A Vegetarian website whose information came from the book Food for Thought by Dr. Vernon Coleman

9 comments:

  1. One thing you didn't mention is that the ocean's eco-system is expected to collapse in 30-50 years due to the over-consumption of marine life. NO JOKE. Even if YOU are healthy, you may not have an ocean to surf in!

    Also, neither of us has children, but I loved this read today:

    http://www.healthytippingpoint.com/2011/12/will-we-or-wont-we-raising-vegetarian-children.html

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  2. woohoo!! watching forks over knives truly changed my husbands way of thinking! i've been the sole vegetarian member in my family since i was 10, and just last year both my mom AND husband decide to stop eating red meat and only eat fish... and now BOTH are limiting even that!

    it's so cool to see how many people want to take control of their lives and their health..

    makes me happy (:

    have you seen fat sick and nearly dead?? that's what prompted my juice fast (:

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  3. Hey Dev!

    I love this post :) I've been vegetarian for 8 years and never looked back! My hubby eats meat, although he became vegetarian for 1 year to try it. So, yes, we can peacefully co-exist.

    You hit the nail on the head with the health and environmental benefits.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

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  4. Excellent post! I have definitely been encouraged to eat less meat after reading your thoughts and points. Thanks! I love how positive your posts are. Even if people don't agree, you are totally ok with that and seem to just enjoy sharing what you've learned.

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  5. Awesome post Devon! I'm a newly converted 'pescetarian' (in that I still eat fish) but this post made me question that as well. Will definitely be thinking about it and sharing your info. xxx

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  6. Love this post! I'm still eating meat (not daily) but like the idea of leaving the meat out too. My sister is vegetarian, so I could lean from her,too. The thing is, I find my special diet already hard as I'm allergic to many foods. Still, even not fully vegetarian I do belive that everyone should eat less meat.

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  7. this is an amazing post! so glad i found you over on tammy's blog. that raw meal looks amazing. i'm starting a cleanse on april 1st that is vegan and it is amazing. i try to do it twice a year and i dont know why i dont do it all the time. you feel so much better!

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  8. I watched Forks Over Knives at the end of last year and it completely changed my life. I was eating meat about 3-5 times a week before watching and haven't consumed any meat since. I've seen such a positive change in my skin, mood, digestion, etc. It's been such a great change for me. I never did it for weight management and haven't seen too much of a change with that - but the other benefits have just been amazing.

    I'm glad to hear there are others out there! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. love love love this. seriously, i get asked all the time why i am vegitarian. my mother is against me being veg but its a personal choice and i believe it to be healthier. forks over knives was a great movie!

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