After Reagan’s recent blog post on her experiences with a plant-based diet, we received many requests for my input as well. Since this is an issue that she and I both hold close to our hearts, I’m excited to offer my perspective.
I’m frequently asked why I’m so committed to a plant-based diet, and how my choices could actually ever make a notable difference. One of my least favorite excuses to hear is the justification that since the animals are already dead, why would choosing not to eat them matter.
It’s devastating to me that anyone would believe that their choices do not make a difference. As consumers, we actually hold all the power when it comes to the meat industry (or any consumer based industry…we speak with where we put our money). Everyone’s “little” bit adds up to a lot. Contrary to the fundamentalist approach exhibited by select vegetarians/vegans, compassion really isn’t all or nothing. Adopting this simple, compassionate mindset even for as little as a single day a week makes a huge difference. We can all play a part in our own ways and take pride in being part of such a holistically healthy way of life.
For example, here are some of the many benefits of participating in simple and easy meatless Mondays:
-Reduces heart disease and stroke
-Limits cancer risk
-Fights diabetes
-Curbs obesity
-Increases lifespan
-Minimizes water usage
-Reduces greenhouse gases
-Reduces fuel dependence
-Saves many helpless, tortured animals
If all Americans did meatless Mondays, 1.4 BILLION animals wouldn’t have to endure a life spent in devastatingly torturous factory farms.  That is powerful!
All of that from cutting meat out just one day a week. It’s hard to imagine, even with an open mind, how that’s not a reasonable and easily attainable proposition.
Factory farms and the meat industry as a whole exist and thrive simply because there is a market demand. The marketing of meat is heavily promoted, from illiterate cow characters painting “eat mor chikin” on billboards, to half-naked women eating juicy double layered, bacon drenched burgers in slow-motion. The advertisers never tell you about the process, the deplorable health and global consequences, or any of what truly goes on behind the scenes. Instead, they cash in on the ignorant bliss that our culture accepts and even welcomes. The meat (including all animal products) industry is an incredibly powerful master of deception, and we are the ultimate willing fools.
I know that I, alone, will not be able to change this as a whole. I know that I can’t shut down factory farming. I wish I could, but I can’t. I accept that. However, knowing that I’m making a small difference by not financially supporting and such a horrific and globally destructive industry is ample reason for me to choose a plant-based diet.
That small difference grows overtime. 3 meals a day, 1,095 meals a year, 5,475 meals in the time I’ve been vegetarian, all slaughter-free meals. The average American consumes roughly twice his/her body weight in meat annually. That’s roughly 1,000 pounds of meat and 1,200 animals I haven’t eaten.
I’ve also felt amazing and so healthy while doing so!
Speaking of health, I literally can’t remember the last time I was sick. Having a plant-based diet has drastically strengthened my immune system. Living guilt-free, knowing that I’m making small differences daily, and focussing on the infinite number of plant-based deliciousness our earth offers has improved my mental and physical health. Overall, I’m a very healthy, happy person, and I attribute a great portion of that directly to my plant-based diet. Also, let’s face it, healthy is sexy!
For those of you who are unaware of the cruelty that goes on in factory farms and wish to be enlightened, information is a simple search away. I personally found the documentary “Earthlings” to be incredibly powerful (viewer discretion advised). I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know about the destructive nature of not only the food industry, but the entertainment, clothing, and breeding industries, as well as cosmetic and medical testing.
Thank you to all of you vegetarians, vegans, and those of you considering joining this compassionate movement in any way you feel possible. It’s absolutely amazing to see so many people making a conscious effort towards a better, healthier, and more compassionate world. Whether it’s one day a week, or everyday for the rest of your life, you have the power to make a difference.  Empower, educate, and enlighten yourself!  Together, we can make a difference, one meal at a time.