Why I Went Plant Based
For most of my life I followed a traditional meat-based diet, and my journey towards veganism began after I learned about the health benefits of a switching to a plant based diet.
I found that a plant-based diet provided me with all the necessary nutrients for optimal athletic performance and recovery.
As I learned more about the cruelty of factory farming and the inhumane treatment of animals in the food industry, I began considering the ethical implications of my food choices as well.
I then became more aware of the devastating environmental impact of meat production, and realized that the production of animal products requires far more land, water, and other resources than plant-based alternatives. By eliminating animal products from my diet, I was able to significantly reduce my own environmental impact.
My goal is to be an advocate for veganism and use the platform pickleball has given me to help spread awarenes that a plant-based diet can lead to improved health, a reduced environmental impact, and a compassionate stance towards animal welfare.
Roughly the Number of Vegans Worldwide in 2023:
Average number of animals needed to be raised or captured each year per person to support a meat based diet (not including bycatch):
Reduction of animals needed to be captured or raised for meat this year thanks to vegans:
If everyone shifted to a plant-based diet we would reduce global land use for agriculture by:source
Gallons of water needed for a beef based burger:Source
Gallons of water needed for a plant based burger:Source
My Counter to the Most Common 9 Vegan Objections
It's not healthy
The argument that a vegan diet isn't healthy is a common misconception. Here are a few points about what I've come to understand regarding a vegan diet:
- A well-planned vegan diet can provide all the necessary nutrients: A balanced vegan diet that includes a variety of whole plant foods can provide all the essential nutrients necessary for optimal health, including protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12.
- Vegan diets have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases: Studies have shown that a vegan diet can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. This is due to the high intake of fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial nutrients found in plant foods.
- Many athletes and bodybuilders successfully follow a vegan diet: There are plenty of vegan athletes and bodybuilders who have successfully built muscle and achieved their fitness goals on a plant-based diet.
- Many health organizations recognize the benefits of a vegan diet: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the largest organization of nutrition professionals in the United States, states that a well-planned vegan diet is appropriate for all stages of life and can provide health benefits and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- The environmental impact of animal agriculture on health cannot be ignored: Eating a vegan diet has been shown to have a significantly lower carbon footprint than a diet that includes animal products, which can have a positive impact on the environment and, in turn, human health.
Remember, any diet, whether vegan or not, can be unhealthy if it's not well-planned and balanced. It's important to consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare provider when making any significant dietary changes.
Not enough protein on a vegan diet
The argument that vegans can't get enough protein is a common misconception.
- Many plant-based foods are high in protein: There are plenty of plant-based sources of protein, including beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, seitan, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
- Protein requirements can easily be met on a vegan diet: The recommended daily intake of protein for adults is around 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (or 0.36 grams per pound). This can be easily achieved on a vegan diet that includes a variety of protein-rich plant foods.
- A balanced vegan diet can provide all essential amino acids: It is true that some plant-based protein sources may not contain all of the essential amino acids in the same proportion as animal-based protein sources. However, by eating a varied diet that includes a variety of protein sources, vegans can easily meet their amino acid needs.
- Plant-based protein sources are often more nutrient-dense: Many plant-based sources of protein are also rich in other nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are important for overall health.
- Many vegan athletes and bodybuilders successfully build muscle on a plant-based diet: There are plenty of vegan athletes and bodybuilders who have successfully built muscle and achieved their fitness goals on a plant-based diet.
A vegan diet kills more animals
The argument that a vegan diet kills the same or more animals in agriculture farming is a common one, but it is based on a flawed understanding of how animal agriculture and crop farming work. Here are some points to counter this argument:
- Animal agriculture is the leading cause of crop farming: Animal agriculture is the largest user of land, water, and other resources, which are primarily used to grow crops to feed farmed animals. By reducing the demand for animal products, we can reduce the overall demand for crops and the number of animals killed in crop farming.
- Veganism reduces the overall number of animals killed: While it is true that some animals are killed in the process of crop farming, the number of animals killed in this way is far less than the number of animals killed in animal agriculture. In addition, by reducing the demand for animal products, veganism ultimately reduces the overall number of animals killed in agriculture.
- Veganism promotes sustainable agriculture practices: Many vegan farmers use sustainable agricultural practices, such as crop rotation and no-till farming, which minimize the impact on the environment and reduce the number of animals killed in crop farming.
- Veganism supports the preservation of wildlife habitats: By reducing the demand for animal products, veganism can help reduce the encroachment of animal agriculture on wildlife habitats, which can lead to the displacement and killing of wild animals.
By reducing the demand for animal products, veganism can reduce the overall number of animals killed in agriculture and promote sustainable and ethical farming practices.
Going vegan won't make a difference
The argument that there will always be people who eat meat, so going vegan doesn't make a difference is a common one I've seen over and over. However, this argument overlooks the significant impact that individual actions can have on larger social and environmental issues.
- Every individual action matters: While it's true that going vegan may not change the world overnight, every individual action matters. By choosing to go vegan, you are reducing demand for animal products and supporting a more sustainable and ethical food system.
- Veganism is a growing movement: The number of people who identify as vegan is increasing every year, and this is having an impact on the food industry. As more people choose to go vegan, companies are starting to offer more plant-based options, which in turn makes it easier for others to make the switch.
- The impact of individual actions adds up: While one person going vegan may not have a huge impact on its own, the impact of millions of people making the same choice is significant. Collectively, our individual actions can create a ripple effect and lead to larger social and environmental changes.
- Eating vegan is a statement: Choosing to eat vegan sends a message to others that we value the lives and well-being of animals, and that we care about the environmental impact of our food choices. This can inspire others to make similar choices and contribute to a larger cultural shift.
- Being vegan is about aligning our actions with our values: For many vegans, the decision to go vegan is about more than just the impact on the environment or animals. It's about aligning our actions with our values and living in a way that feels authentic and ethical to us.
- As of 2023, there are an estimated 88 million vegans worldwide, comprising approximately 1% of the global population. When we realize that meat eaters consume an average of 300 animals annually, it becomes apparent that adopting a vegan lifestyle results in a reduction of 26.4 billion animals that do not need to be raised or captured to meet human dietary needs each year.
Remember, every individual action matters, and choosing to go vegan is a powerful way to make a positive impact on the world. Small changes can add up to make a big difference.
Lions eat meat, so we should too
I have come across this flawed argument countless times as a way of defending eating animals and contributing to their suffering.
- Lions are obligate carnivores, meaning that they must consume meat to survive. Humans, on the other hand, can thrive on a plant-based diet and have the ability to make ethical and environmental choices about what we eat.
- The fact that lions eat meat does not necessarily mean that humans should too. Just because something occurs in nature doesn't necessarily make it moral or ethical.
- The vast majority of animals raised for food are factory-farmed in inhumane conditions, which isn't found in nature.
- A plant-based diet can provide all the nutrients necessary for optimal health, and has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
It's okay to eat meat because the animals were not domesticated
The argument that it's okay to eat meat because the animals are raised purely for meat and not domesticated is a common one, but it overlooks several key issues. Here are some points to counter this argument:
- Animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions: The production of animal products generates significantly more greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based foods. This is a major contributor to climate change and has significant negative impacts on the environment and human health.
- Bycatch in fishing is a significant problem: When commercial fishing boats cast their nets, they often catch many other species of fish, birds, and marine mammals in addition to their target species. This "bycatch" often includes endangered or threatened species and results in the deaths of millions of animals every year.
- Animal welfare is a major concern: Even if animals are raised specifically for meat, they can still experience significant suffering and poor living conditions. In addition, the practice of factory farming, which is prevalent in the meat industry, often results in cruel and inhumane treatment of animals.
- The production of animal products requires significantly more resources than plant-based foods: Producing animal products requires significantly more land, water, and other resources than plant-based alternatives. This puts significant strain on the environment and contributes to deforestation, water scarcity, and other environmental issues.
The argument overlooks several key issues related to the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, animal welfare, and human health. Additionally, the significant problem of bycatch in fishing results in the deaths of millions of animals every year, further complicating the argument.
It's irresponsible to raise children as vegans
- It's possible to raise healthy vegan children with proper planning and attention to nutrition. There are many resources available that provide guidance on how to raise vegan children, such as consulting a registered dietitian who specializes in vegan nutrition.
- There are many unhealthy foods that are not vegan, and children can be just as likely to develop deficiencies on a standard diet that includes meat and dairy.
- It's important to ensure that children get all the necessary nutrients they need to grow and develop, and that this is true for any diet, not just a vegan one.
- It's ultimately up to each family to decide what diet is best for them and their children, and that there are many vegan families who have raised healthy children.
It's too expensive to be vegan
There are many ways to follow a vegan diet on a budget, and studies have shown that it can be cheaper than a meat-based diet. Here are 5 arguments that people might use to claim that it's too expensive to be vegan:
- Meat substitutes and specialty vegan products can be expensive.
It is true that some meat substitutes and specialty vegan products can be more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts. However, these products are not necessary to follow a vegan diet, and there are many affordable plant-based options available.
- Organic produce and specialty vegan foods can be pricey.
While it's true that organic produce and specialty vegan foods can be more expensive, it's important to note that not all vegan foods fall into this category. Choosing conventionally grown produce and focusing on whole, unprocessed foods can help reduce costs.
- Veganism can require more time and effort in meal planning and preparation.
Some people argue that being vegan can be more time-consuming and require more effort in meal planning and preparation. However, this can be true of any diet, and there are many resources available, such as meal delivery services and online recipes, that can make meal planning and preparation easier and more affordable.
- Eating out as a vegan can be challenging and expensive.
It can be more challenging to find vegan options at restaurants, and some vegan restaurants or specialty cafes may charge higher prices. However, with the increasing popularity of veganism, more and more restaurants are offering vegan options at affordable prices.
- Veganism can require purchasing additional supplements to ensure adequate nutrient intake.
While it's important for everyone to get adequate nutrients in their diet, some argue that vegans need to purchase additional supplements to ensure they are getting enough protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, this is not always the case, and many vegans can get all the nutrients they need from a well-planned vegan diet that includes a variety of foods. Additionally, supplements are not always expensive and can be a cost-effective way to ensure nutrient adequacy.
Plants feel pain
The argument that plants feel pain and therefore people should not be vegan is a common counter-argument used by some to justify the consumption of animal products. However, this argument is flawed and does not hold up under scientific scrutiny. Here are a few points to consider:
- Lack of a central nervous system: Pain perception in animals is associated with the presence of a central nervous system, which includes a brain and a network of nerves. Plants, on the other hand, lack a central nervous system. They lack the specialized structures necessary for the transmission and processing of pain signals.
- Nociception vs. pain: While plants do possess certain mechanisms to detect and respond to stimuli, such as changes in light, temperature, or touch, this is different from experiencing pain. Plants have nociceptors, which are specialized receptors that allow them to respond to potential damage or threats. However, this response is not equivalent to the experience of pain as animals perceive it.
- Ethical considerations: Even if plants were to possess some form of awareness or sensitivity, choosing a vegan lifestyle would still be a more ethical choice. Livestock agriculture involves immense suffering and harm to sentient beings. By opting for a plant-based diet, individuals can significantly reduce the overall amount of harm inflicted on animals.
- Ecological impact: Animal agriculture requires vast amounts of resources, including land, water, and feed, contributing to deforestation, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. By adopting a plant-based diet, individuals can help mitigate the environmental impact associated with animal agriculture, leading to a more sustainable future.
It is important to base dietary choices on the best available scientific evidence and ethical considerations. The consensus among experts is that plants do not possess the capacity to feel pain in the same way animals do. Therefore, adopting a vegan lifestyle remains a compassionate and environmentally responsible choice.