Top 3 Reasons Why People Choose Vegan or Vegetarian
Recently, I engaged my friends on the internet in a conversation about judging other for what they eat. While this conversation was both frustrating as well as heart warming, it really opened my eyes on how many people judge dietary decisions due to a lack of understanding. Rather than stomp my feet and get pissed off, I decided to do what any well intentioned- commonly judged- person would do: inform. Over the next few blogs I will go over the common reasons for different dietary decisions and de-bunk some popular myths.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a world expert on ALL the reasons and ALL the myths so if I miss something PLEASE add to the conversation in the comments. I would love to make this a place for those with questions to find answers. Less of a lecture and more of a conversations.
With that said, lets dive in. Here are the top three reasons that I have heard of people deciding to be vegan/vegetarian/pescetarian/gluten-free/local only/<insert yours here>.
I'd love to hear what you think.
There are several good books, articles, movies and documentaries on the environmental impacts of mass production of animal/animal products/fish (asked a group of people for a few suggestions).
Some quote the methane gas contribution of large dairy farms, cutting down rain forest sections to make way for grazing pastures, over-fishing -almost to extinction, and the harm done by certain fishing techniques to other marine life (e.g., sea turtles dying in fishing net) as reasons for deciding to not eat fish, not to eat meat, or even stop eating animal products all together. Many veggie-eaters worry for the future of the earth and thereby don't support that industry in an attempt to reduce the impact on the environment. Similarly, some still see the value of animal/fishing products but at smaller levels and therefore only support local farmers. These people tend to eat much less meat/fish and all of it comes from small local farms- usually with free-range animals. While some may respond with 'one vegan doesn't save the ozone' the same argument can be made for not voting. Don't use this as a reason to belittle or put down others please.
I just can't harm another innocent life and therefore don't feel right with other people doing it for me instead.
Basically, several veggie-eaters that I have talked to can not stomach the bad treatment of another animal (i.e., small confined quarters, poor treatment through life, in-humane killing, etc) at the same time they don't feel comfortable buying it already killed and processed for them. Even though they don't have to kill the animal themselves they don't feel comfortable with others doing it either. Because of this they decide not to eat animal products. On the other hand, some are ok with the natural processes (i.e., milking a cow, using the milk to make cheese, using eggs). and therefore choose vegetarian rather than vegan.
Just like other types of diets (gluten free, sugar-free, etc.) some people simply have an intolerance for animal products. Some can't eat dairy (lactose intolerance) or red meat (meat-intolerance). Some people with blood sugar issues have a spike in blood sugar reaction when eating meat/animal products. Some simply feel better (body) with an all veggie diet. Some emotionally feel better. Regardless, for these people it's a health reason.
Even thought I presented each of these as three separate reasons, many people fall into several- if not all- of the categories. I have met many people that stopped eating read meat for environmental reasons and soon started to see a health benefit. A big take away for anyone that is on the fence is 'do it for your own reasons.' If you decide you just like the taste of veggies more than meat focused meals, that's all that matters. Also, you don't have to go full-boar to support any of these causes/reasons.
For anyone who felt veggie-eaters were simply following a fad diet, being a hipster, were 'scared of food', or any other mis-informed judgement, I hope this helped to clear things up a little. :) Information is always the first step in tolerance and acceptance of things/decisions that are not like you/yours.