If I had a dime for every time someone asked me:
“Why did you stop eating meat?”
And then follow up with a statement that sounds very similar to this:
“HUMANS ARE SUPPOSED TO EAT MEAT. That’s why cows and pigs EXIST. If you don’t eat meat, you’re not living your life to the fullest!”
I would have 3 billion dollars.
Okay first of all – never again tell me that what i’m doing is not what I am supposed to be doing. Secondly, don’t ever tell me I’m not living my life to the best of my abilities because I refuse to eat a hunk of beef that frankly, will never appeal to me. If you can guess – this entire transaction really pisses me off.
I stopped eating meat from the age of 13 because a) my mother also did not eat meat and b) it is cruel to kill animals. Those were the reasons of 13 year old Beverley. I continued to eat fish/seafood (cue: “well fish are animals too! fish is meat!” from all the nay sayers), because I was playing a lot of sports, and if I stopped eating seafood I would be getting almost no protein in my diet.
That first year of cutting out meat was the hardest. I actually travelled to China with my father and ate meat dumplings without realizing it. I had to cut out all my favorite snacks and meals, but I was determined to stick to it. Now I am 24 years old and have not eaten a piece of chicken, ham, bacon, turkey, beef, pork, or duck for 11 years.
For many years my sole answer to why I stopped eating meat was ‘because it is cruel to kill animals.’ I still 100% stand by that belief, but in 2016 I now have a few more updated and important reasons to add:
Reduce Climate Change
The livestock sector creates about 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions each year. This is more than all cars, planes, ships and trains combined. If something doesn’t change in the way we process and consume meat, it is highly unlikely that global temperature rises can stay below 2 degrees Celsuis. The majority of people are also unaware of how the livestock sector affects climate change, and believe that the transportation industry is the main contributor.
Here is another insane fact – 40% of the entire land surface is used for FARMING. We are literally living on one massive farm, broken up by cities and oceans.
Reduce risk of cancer/heart disease/diabetes
Articles and research papers have flooded the internet recently, showing how harmful red meat can be on our bodies. A daily serving of red meat was found to increase the risk of adult onset diabetes by 19%, and processed red meat was associated with a 51% increase! The World Health Organization reported that eating about 50g of processed meat a day, increase the chances of developing cancer by 18%. That is less than 2 slices of bacon a day.
And just an FYI, processed meat includes bacon, sausages, hot dogs, beef jerky, or any meat based sauces.
What with the health and fitness industry making a MASSIVE comeback, and every female you know entering a bikini competition, the main thought going through everyone’s minds are “protein, gainz, protein, gainzzzz, MUSCLE.” Well here’s a thought for you – we are eating too much protein. Obviously the amount of protein you require depends on the amount of exercise and activity you’re engaging in, but we may be eating up to 1.5-2x the required amount. And all that extra protein? It’s gone to waste – flushed out with your pee.
Are you aware how much of your grocery bill goes to meat products? Next time you go shopping, have a look. I would estimate that nearly 1/4 of your bill accounts for meat (obviously it varies from person to person), which is a fairly high percentage. My grocery bill is usually around $40/week, and that includes TONS of protein sources – beans, lentils, tofu, eggs, salmon. Going out to restaurants is cheaper as well, as the meat options are almost always more expensive than the vegetarian ones.
I don’t want to delve too deeply into this one, even though it is my number one reason why I stopped eating meat. Factory farms, poor animal welfare, caged animals, mistreatment… it’s horrifying, shocking, and unfair. We should not be the ones to help foster this kind of inhumane treatment, yet we do it every day. If you do plan to eat protein when you go out, buy it from places such as Chipotle, who actually stopped serving one of their most popular menu items because they found out their suppliers were violating their animal welfare standards.
Interestingly enough, Mcdonalds also made an incredible commitment to switch to 100% cage-free eggs. This is an enormous step in the right direction, saving millions of chickens from mistreatment.
This was a looooong post, with lots of sources and research and information. I really glossed over some of the main points of my arguments to keep this as concise as possible.
Since I was 13 years old I have had people ask me the same question day in and day out “why don’t you eat meat?” (Really, I just wrote this article so I can give them the link and not have to talk to them).
Some of you are just obsessed with steak, and I get that (but no I really don’t). However, don’t be so quick to turn down the idea of reducing your daily meat intake. It’s really not that ‘hard’ or ‘miserable’ as you may think. Trust me; i’m like the happiest person ever 🙂
What About You?
- Are you a meat eater?
- Have you recently cut down on how much meat/protein you eat?
- What are some of your favorite sources of protein?
- Any other reasons why we should cut out/down on eating meat?