READING

Why I Stopped Eating Meat (& Why You Should T...

Why I Stopped Eating Meat (& Why You Should Too)

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:

Why I Stopped Eating Meat (And Why You Should Too)

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.

Why I Stopped Eating Meat (And Why You Should Too)

Save $$

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.

Why I Stopped Eating Meat (And Why You Should Too)

Ethics

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.

DJQ2OZTZTE

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?

Other posts you might like:


  1. I’m not a meat eater, for reasons similar to yours. When I lived on the West Coast it was a non issue – there are so many vegetarian restaurants and people just get it. The ones who had the hardest time were my husbands family. They just didn’t understand what being vegetarian meant to me (they assumed I ate seafood and I don’t). Thankfully, they’ve listened and learned a lot (they totally get it now).

    • beverleyc

      21 March

      Ahhh that would be so tough to move from such a veggie-friendly area to the opposite. Glad that they learnt and can respect your choices 🙂

  2. Ivanna

    21 March

    Everyone is allowed to make the choices they want in what they eat I don’t know what people don’t get about that. I went vegan for 3 weeks and I slowly started eating meat again. I don’t eat a lot of meat but I do eat it and enjoy it. I try to get local humane processed meat as much as possible. I say to each their own and to use moderation and common sense.

    • beverleyc

      21 March

      I agree!! Some people just think they have the right to criticize your choices (so i decided to fire back haha!)
      That’s great that you try to get the locally farmed stuff as well. Always makes a difference

  3. I am a meat eater, but I don’t absolutely need it all the time. I actually often order meatless meals when eating out (mainly because the way restaurants handle meat aka the fact that I don’t know how they handle it, freaks me out). And I often go without meat at home, too. I actually love vegetarian meals (and I love seafood). I grew up in a traditional Cuban family. We roasted (still do) a pig every year on Christmas Eve. I feel like it’s a cultural thing for some. It’s always interesting to see both sides! Thanks for sharing.

    • beverleyc

      21 March

      I find that a lot of people who eat meat like to choose the vegetarian options most times. I can appreciate traditions though as well!

  4. Britney

    21 March

    Love this post Beverley! There’s so many reasons to cut down on meat consumption! This year I decided to eliminate red meat from my diet and put a focus on plant foods, eating other animal meat like chicken only occasionally. It’s a step in the right direction for sure 🙂

    • beverleyc

      21 March

      Thanks Britney! That’s awesome, I think every small change makes a massive difference

  5. Diana

    21 March

    Love this post. I eat meat but have been highly considering giving it up for awhile now. My stomach just has not been digesting it well and the more I read the more I am realizing just how awful it can be for you.

    • beverleyc

      21 March

      I definitely think that it would benefit you (and your stomach!) in the long run. thanks for reading Diana!

  6. This was a really great read and I really admire you for having written it. One thing I am having ethics-related internal arguments about is becoming vegan. I was vegetarian for years, but started eating meat in the last few. Now I am thinking I want to go back to being a vegetarian, mainly for the ethics reasons you touched on. However, the dairy and eggs industries are also pretty terrible to animals, but going full-on vegan is also a huge commitment. What are your thoughts on this?

    • beverleyc

      21 March

      Hi Amy!
      I totally agree – On a similar note, I have wanted to cut out fish/seafood for a long time. I hate thinking that our oceans are being overfished the way they are. But at the same time I have to be realistic and know that I need to think about my body and how much I work out. Protein IS necessary and seafood and eggs are a big contributor to my requirements.
      I think that being a pescetarian or vegetarian is also a huge commitment, and no matter whether you decide to become a vegan, you’re already making a huge change in society and our environment 🙂

  7. Kendra

    21 March

    I really enjoyed reading the time article you posted about the environmental impact of meat production.

    As someone who was raised on a cattle farm with a single father until I was an adult, I definitely ate a lot of meat growing up. In fact, if what you were eating didn’t have meat, it was not a meal, it was a side dish haha.

    But now that I’m well into my 20’s my lifestyle has changed and I have probably cut my meat consumption by 80% over time. Very rarely I eat red meat, and when I do, it’s usually from the family farm where I know how it was fed and that it was treated well (basically pets).

    I agree with you that reducing meat consumption is a huge health gain that should be considered by everyone. I feel that I have more energy and better digestive health when eating a more plant based diet. Taking up a completely meat free lifestyle is very difficult but I think everyone could agree that it is doable to eat more vegetarian meals! 🙂

    • beverleyc

      22 March

      Hi Kendra!
      Thanks so much for sharing your story, it’s interesting to get a different perspective of upbringing.
      Love that you have changed your diet and from what meat that you do eat, you get it locally and well treated! That’s amazing!

  8. Love this post. Nothing gets people worked up and prodding into your choices like avoiding meat! I was vegan for several years and now eat eggs and seafood, and the judgment from other people is bizarre and obnoxious. Suddenly even your least healthy friends start preaching to you about nutrition… 😉 and there are so many cultures that eat little to no animal products very healthfully, there’s no “supposed to.”

    • beverleyc

      22 March

      Hey Leslie!
      So glad you can understand where I am coming from haha.
      And I totally agree, especially in places such as India where their food is unbelievably delicious anyway!

  9. This is a great post Beverly! I actually was a vegetarian for several years, but when I went to college and got way more involved in fitness, I found myself fatigued all the time. I just wasn’t getting enough protein at all. I added poultry back in my diet and felt 100x better. Now I eat a LOT of meat (mostly turkey, chicken has been really grossing me out lately IDK why), simply because I love it so much lol, but I would like to cut back. I limit my red meat intake to about 1x every week/two weeks. For me, the meat fills me up the quickest when I’m in a hurry and need a healthy meal and leaves me full for hours, which other protein sources just don’t do for me. And when I’m out to dinner nothing beats a juicy burger. However, I do know the consequences on the environment and animals. When I can afford to, I always go free range.

    • beverleyc

      22 March

      Hey Rachel! Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts!
      I’ve had a couple friends who found the same thing, so they had to start eating chicken again. Luckily for me I never found that to be an issue.
      I can definitely appreciate how it’s a much easier and filling option too. That’s great that you choose free range whenever you can 🙂

  10. Jason

    23 March

    Thank you for the well-researched article.

    The CDC’s protein recommendation is a good baseline but individuals should tweak based on their own lean body mass, muscle breakdown and growth needs. Two good studies are from 1991 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1763249) and 2004 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15212752) – they indicate athletes benefit from slightly increased intake, for a 150lb male doing moderate strength training about 100g/day. Still a far cry from the 1g/lb “rule of thumb” you get from most personal trainers.

    A steak is very enjoyable now and then, but I’ve been facing the same ethical and nutritional dilemmas you mentioned. You may be interested in some alternative protein sources I’ve been looking into. The frontrunners are cricket flour and textured vegetable protein (soy). Unfortunately the former is very expensive and the latter is difficult to find in Canada.

  11. I have *never* enjoyed meat! I eat it because my family likes it…but I usually just make some delicious sides and skip the meat all together. There are so many other ways to get protein in a plant-based diet that I don’t have to eat something I don’t enjoy to properly fuel my body!!!

  12. Dave

    27 March

    Another really interesting to read article Beverley! Many, many good points. Particulary the ‘supposed to’ part 🙂

    Your ideals are very similar to my own, and I’m so glad I laid off the meat. One question – do you drink/use protein shakes/powders?

    • beverleyc

      30 March

      Thank you Dave!! Always appreciate your comments.
      I do take whey isoalte protein after a workout – how about you?

      • Dave

        3 April

        I do indeed – the same, whey isolate. I just wonder if it’s really worth it! I get a fair bit of protein in my diet already and of course it’s hard to know if any extra really helps. But as the all the top athletes/body builders/fitness gurus all seem to take them, I’m almost too scared not too – I feel I’ll miss out on something. Silly really. Just thinking out loud 🙂

        • beverleyc

          3 April

          Hmmm I think it’s always a good thing to have some after a workout. The only time I won’t have it after a workout is if I know that i’m going to have fish or shrimp or something like that for dinner afterwards which has a lot of protein. I also have found that it helps my body feel better like if i’m feeling super sore, or tired, etc!

  13. healthyezsweet

    30 March

    Wow Beverley this was so elegantly presented. I had no idea you were a vegetarian and I think your motivation for doing so are so admirable. Way to get the word out there and educate with this post!

    • beverleyc

      30 March

      Thanks girl!! glad you found this educational and helpful 🙂

  14. monika

    29 April

    I didn’t know you could be considered a vegetarian and eat fish. Interesting.

    • beverleyc

      30 April

      Not a vegetarian, a pescetarian! I don’t think I referred to myself as a vegetarian once in that article 🙂

  15. Polyglot Jot

    8 June

    Are you fully vegan in your diet or just vegetarian? I do not eat a lot of meat but still eat fish, occasional beef, and chicken. In the past three years Ive gone from eating meat with each meal to eating it 0-3 per week.
    Beans upset my stomach as does quinoa and tofu. I have a hard time figuring out what proteins to use with all of these stomach upsets and tha’ts why I still find myself eating meat. Any suggestions?

    • beverleyc

      10 June

      No no, I am a pescetarian! So I eat seafood, but no meat whatsoever.
      That is strange about your stomach and it hurting, I really wonder why it does that. Have you tried lentils? Or different kinds of beans? Perhaps it has to do with the ‘gas’ that it creates in your stomach.
      Otherwise you should try out different soy veggie options. Like soy burgers, and fake chicken and stuff. The quality has really gone up the past few years.

  16. mari

    14 August

    Hi all,
    I have enjoyed reading what everyone has to say about this. I am a meat lover, especially chicken, especially fried. I am 62 female and really thinking that I should give most of it up, simply because it heats my whole body so much that is terribly uncomfortable, and makes me sweat Profusely. I would have a terrible time giving it up, but I think that just eating 3 pieces of chicken from the local health food market once per week, and eating eggs from free range chickens whenever, would give me a good start. I love eggs and they actually make me feel wonderful after I eat them. And also, the fact that I am contributing to the horror in which these poor animals live and die is making me feel so guilty. Thank you for this post and everyone who contributed, it makes me feel like it’s time for me to start.

  17. Rebecca

    17 March

    I totally agree with everything you said in this post! I’ve been pescatarian for a little over a year now, and I’m nof missing it at all. I was just wondering, what are your views on the seafood industry?

    • beverleyc

      17 March

      Hi Rebecca! Oh MAN. My views on the seafood industry are bleakkkkk. I wish I didn’t eat seafood because of all the over fishing and cruelty that occurs. Unfortunately at this time, I don’t think one less seafood eater would help at all. We’ve completely destroyed our oceans. All the fish we eat will be farmed. I absolutely hate the seafood industry.

Leave a Reply

INSTAGRAM
FOLLOW ME