“By signing up for Veganuary in 2021, you have nothing to lose and so much to gain”.
In the spirit of Veganuary, let’s usher in 2021 with a brief overview of the benefits of a vegan diet.
It can improve your health and extend your life
Whole plant foods such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables are naturally high in fibre, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. These components are the foundation of a healthy and long life. The Adventist Health Study is a study that observed a large group of Seventh Day Adventists, who follow a vegetarian diet as part of their religion, over the course of 25 years. In this study, researchers found that vegetarians live about 9 years and 6 years longer than their meat eating counterparts, for men and women respectively . Out of the same group, vegans had a significantly lower chance of dying from cardiovascular disease than non-vegans, especially men. In another study in the UK, it was found that vegetarians have as much as a 50% lower risk of suffering from some types of cancer .
The earth can breathe easier
Not only is a vegan diet a healthy diet for you, but it is good for the environment as well. A comprehensive study done by researchers at the University of Oxford concluded that a vegan diet is likely the single biggest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, global acidification, land use and water use .
Save the lives of animals and reduce their suffering
Many South Africans have pets that they love and cherish. If you ask a pet owner, they would likely tell you that every pet has a distinct personality. What many don’t realize, is that there is no difference between animals raised for food and animals kept as pets.
Literature on the psychology of cows demonstrates that they are able to recognize and distinguish between different humans and cows, possess complex emotions, have distinct personalities, exhibit social learning, and enjoy playing . Similar results were found for pigs and chickens [5-6].
Every year 1.47 billion pigs, 545 million sheep and 300 million cattle are slaughtered worldwide . By switching to a vegan diet, you can save more than 100 animal lives per year .
It is good for your soul
Many people report feeling a sense of inner peace, lightness and a shift in consciousness after making the switch to a vegan diet. A tenet that many religions have in common is mercy, compassion and benevolence toward all sentient beings. Eating animals may cause inner distress because it is not in alignment with one’s beliefs.
I made the switch to a vegan diet for health reasons. Shortly after, I watched a few vegan documentaries highlighting the cruelty of the animal agriculture industry. I was horrified by how the animals are treated, and it was such a relief to realize that it is in my power to make the choice to no longer support this industry. Finally, my actions are aligned with my beliefs.
Sign up for Veganuary
By signing up for Veganuary in 2021, you have nothing to lose and so much to gain. Remember that there is no right or wrong way. You can simply start by reducing animal products and increasing plant foods in your diet at a pace that suits you. Your health, our environment, and the animals will thank you for it.
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 Dr. Michael J. Orlich et al., “Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Mortality in Adventist Health Study 2,” Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine 173(2013): 1230-1238.
 Paul L. Appleby et al., “Mortality in Vegetarians and Comparable Nonvegetarians in the United Kingdom,” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 103(2016): 218-230.
 Poore, Joseph & Nemecek, Thomas. (2018). Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science (New York, N.Y.). 360. 987-992. 10.1126/science.aaq0216.
 Marino, L., & Allen, K. (2017). The psychology of cows. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 4(4), 474-498. https://dx.doi.org/10.26451/abc.04.04.06.2017
 Marino, L., & Colvin, C. M. (2015). Thinking Pigs: A Comparative Review of Cognition, Emotion, and Personality in Sus domesticus. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 28. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/8sx4s79c
 Marino, L. Thinking chickens: a review of cognition, emotion, and behavior in the domestic chicken. Anim Cogn 20, 127–147 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-016-1064-4
 PETA Australia. 2016
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