It seems that everywhere you turn, people are cutting meat out of their diet. If they arent looking for organic meats, then they are avoiding it altogether. They revert to diets that exclude pesticides and other chemicals. Some people stop at the vegetarian level. More often than not, however, people are choosing to adopt a vegan lifestyle. This means that they abstain from any ingredients, primarily when it comes to the foods that they eat, that use animal products or by-products.

There is no one reason why people are choosing to go vegan. Most people make this choice due to a variety of reasons, and the reasons might seem unrelated.

Going Vegan Is Easier Than You Think

While a vegan lifestyle might seem like a difficult choice, in truth it is easier than you might think. When I went vegan, the biggest challenge was overcoming the mental hurdle of giving up meat. Could I really give up a medium-rare steak on the grill in favor of a grilled portabella mushroom? Yes, and I also found alternatives for dairy products. Here are some of most popular reasons that explain why so many people are going vegan.

  1. Health Eating a diet that includes a lot of cooked meats is not healthy. Your body has to work harder to break down these foods, which prevents your immune system from fighting bigger issues, like cancer and Alzheimers. Vegans can eat unhealthy foods, like ones loaded with trans fats or sugars, but for the most part vegans and vegetarians do have overall healthier diets than other people. Vegan-based diets also offer extra fiber, magnesium, and other nutrients not found in meats.
  2. Environment A vegan diet is a huge step towards protecting the environment. Raising livestock that is butchered into meat takes an unreal amount of natural resources, like grain and water. For every one pound of meat, you can grow 100 pounds of plant-based proteins with the same amount of natural resources. Vegan diets also help reduce the amount of methane that comes from livestock and contributes to the problem of global warning.
  3. Ethics Some people care so much for animals that they cannot bring themselves to eat foods that contain meat. The fact that some creature had to die for their nourishment weighs too heavily on their conscience. They feel that exploiting animals for the purpose of consumption, or any other reason such as wearing animal by-products, is akin to enslavement.
  4. Food Shortage There is a food shortage going on in the world today. Animals consume more than one-third of the worlds grain products, according to the Vegan Society. Can you imagine what would happen if everyone stopped eating meat, and began eating plants instead? Future generations would only know the term food shortage as a part of their history, and would not have the global problems that we have today.
  5. Weight Loss Both cooked and processed meats are traditionally higher in trans fats, complex carbohydrates, and other things that contribute to extra pounds. Obesity is a major problem for countries like the United States, where 64% of adults and 15% of children are classified as overweight. Going vegan not only helps you maintain a more desirable weight, but it also helps you reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other weight-related diseases or illnesses.
  6. Save Money Meat makes up about 10% of food spending. For the same price of what you pay for meat from the grocery store or farmers market, you could stock your kitchen with a plethora of grains, vegetables, and fruits that provide the same nutrients as well as many others. Some vegan families report that since cutting meat from their diet, they have, on the average, saved in excess of $4,000 annually.

Additional Health Benefits of Going Vegan

Did you know that people who adopt a vegan lifestyle live longer? I was not surprised to learn this, as since going vegan I have more energy. Vegans enjoy stronger bones as well. Personally I enjoy the option of having a more colorful carte du jour. My dinner plate is so colorful, and as I pile on foods such as bright orange carrots and sweet potatoes, leafy green vegetables, and bright red and yellow peppers, I can just imagine the carotenoids, amino acids, and other vitamins and minerals that will help me stay healthy.

The biggest challenge of going vegan is taking the first step. In a world where so many people are becoming more conscious about the foods they eat, going vegan is easier than ever. Take my advice, and just make the leap. Even restaurants, especially ones that serve ethnic food, often offer options for special diets, whether its for allergies or gluten-free, or vegetarian and vegan diets. Instead of asking why so many people are going vegan, the real question is why havent you joined them?