(Harkinson, 2017) Plant Based Diet VersusAnimal Based DietLittle children must drink milk forstrong bones and eat meat for robust muscles, sound familiar? I think we canall agree at one point in our life we have heard someone tell us “If we didn’teat a properly balanced diet of meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables, we wouldbecome malnourished and slowly wither away”. What if I told you mom and dadwere wrong, and our beloved chicken and milk do much more harm than good forour health.
For so long people have been force fed these misconceptions that meatand dairy are the cornerstone of any good diet. However, this could not befurther from the truth. The destruction animal based products pose on ourwellbeing and environment is astounding. In this paper we will take a closerlook at the damage meat and dairy have on our health, environment, and animals.We will then present an alternative plant based diet that will help restoregood health, revive our planet, and ensure better treatment to all farm animals.Harmful Effects Meat andDairy Have on Our Health (Harkinson, 2017) What if I said to you that eating a burgerwas just as harmful as smoking a cigarette, would you believe me? Of coursenot! You would argue with me and resort back to the classic justification, thatmeat is protein that helps us grow bigger and stronger.
The average Americannow eats roughly 193 pounds of meat a year, and those numbers are slowly rising(Hill, 2016). The ugly truth is meats, such as deli meats, beef, pork, lamb,and goat are classified as a carcinogen (Papaioannou et al., 2014). We commonlythink of cigarettes as a carcinogen that leads to cancer, but now we can add meatto the ever-growing list.
The reason meat consumption leads to cancer isbecause of the high fat content which increases hormone production, thusincreasing the risk of hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostatecancer (Processed and Red Meat, 2015). Cancer Council, a national organizationthat aims to encourage cancer control policies states that in 2010, one insix new cancer cases in Australia were associated with consuming too much redmeat and processed meat (Red Meat, Processed Meat and Cancer, n.d.
). Manypeople have had the misconception that cancer is a hereditary disease thatcertain individuals are more susceptible to developing. Nonetheless, we are nowlearning that some of the dietary choices we make can increase our risk ofcancer as well. Furthermore, large consumption ofanimal products also contributes to obesity and several chronic diseases (Hu etal., 1998).
Many people again have the misunderstanding that obesity isdeveloped due to overindulgence of sugary foods and drinks. However, researchersfound that sugar accounted for only 50 percent of obesity rates, while meat andother animal products such as milk and cheese made up the other half (Beydoun& Wang, 2007). The idea as to why meat and other animal products such asdairy leads to obesity is due to its high energy availability, and fat content (Beydoun& Wang, 2007). According to the American Heart Association, almost 13million of U.
S. children ages 2 to 19 are obese, and this number is slowlyclimbing (Heart.org).
Beneficial EffectsPlant Based Diets Have on Our Health (Moringa Oleifera the Miracle Tree, n.d.) Both obesity and the risk of canceris a major health problem in the United States and the statistics show that itis a growing epidemic.
Many people are unaware that both these diseases can beeasily prevented through a simple, attainable solution. The simple solution isto eliminate all animal products and to adopt a more well-rounded plant baseddiet. However, many would still argue that we need certain meats and dairyproducts to sustain and build muscle and bone. Several people are convincedthat fruits and vegetables alone are not adequate to contribute to proteinsynthesis in our body and support bone health. Most people are unaware that youcan get proper nutrition from just consuming fruits and vegetables.
Take forexample the moringa tree, did you know that its leaves alone provide the sameamount of branch chain amino acid as whey protein? It also contains four timesmore protein then an egg, and four times more calcium then milk (Dahiru et al., 2006). This super food can provide you with more health benefitsand nutrients in comparison to any animal based product. Another great exampleof a vegetable rich in protein and vitamins is Spirulina.
This super foodcontains 65 percent protein and is abundant in iron and calcium (Ciferri,1983). Themoringa tree, and the spirulina plant are just some of the many vegetables andfruits out there that provide a wealth of protein and nutrients that helpsupport great health.Moreover, a study conducted by Kleinet al. (2012) uncovered, that a vegan diet can result in significant weightloss. They found that incorporating fruits, vegetables, nuts, cereals, andlegumes into your diet have been correlated with a lower risk for severalchronic diseases such as ischemic heart disease, obesity, and cancers. The reason plant based diets cure certain diseases such as obesity and diabetesare because they contain lower levels of cholesterol, saturated fat, and animalprotein (Klein et al., 2012). They also contain higher levels of carbohydrates,magnesium, fiber, potassium, antioxidants, and folate.
Compared with meateaters, vegetarians have been reported to have lower blood pressure, BMI, andblood cholesterol levels, simply due to there diet and good eating habits (Smil,2002). Harmful Effects Meat andDairy Have on The Environment (Dairy group, 2017) In addition to the health ailmentseating meat and animal based products cause, we also see lots of damage to ourenvironment as well. For instance, excessive soil erosion, and overgrazing aresome of the common environmental degradations on pastures housing animals (Ledly,2011). Similarly, nitrogen vapors from animal waste has become a major problem forboth local and regional environmental pollution (Ledly, 2011). The wasteproduces vapors of ammonia which results in unpleasant odors from these large-scaleoperations. After their removal from the atmosphere, these emissions alsocontribute to polluted water (Matson, Lohse, & Hall, 2002). This pollutionnot only effects the planet, but also the people living near these factoryfarms. Furthermore, an overwhelming 51 percent ofglobal greenhouse-gas emissions are produced by animal agriculture (Ledly, 2011).
These greenhouse-gasses are created due to many factors. For example, factoryfarms require immense amounts of fossil fuel-based energy to operate farmmachinery to cultivate and harvest feed crops, resulting in at least 90 milliontons of carbon dioxide annually worldwide (Scarborough et al., 2014). The rise ingreen-house gases in the atmosphere directly contributes to global warming andconsequently climate change (Friel et al., 2009).
Lastly, the production ofanimal based products requires a large amount of water. For instance, it takesa vast amount of water to produce crops for animals to eat and drink. A singlecow can consume up to 50 gallons of water per day and it takes 683 gallons ofwater to produce just 1 gallon of milk (Matson et al., 1970). The amount of water wasted toproduce meat and dairy is astonishing and is another factor that leads to droughtsin the U.
S.Beneficial Effects PlantBased Diets Have on The EnvironmentPlant-based diets on the other handare sustainable and have less environmental impact than meat-based diets. Forexample, producing 1 pound of tofu only requires 244 gallons of water (Matsonet al., 1970). By goingvegan, one person can save approximately 219,000 gallons of water a year(Scarborough et al.
, 2014). Additionally, the Environmental Defense Fund reports that if every Americanexchanged one animal based meal with a plant-based food per week, the carbondioxide savings would be equivalent to taking more than half a million cars offU.S. roads. Similarly, eating vegetables produces less greenhousegas emissions.
For instance, rice, potatoes, and broccoli produce roughly3–5 times lower emissions than an equivalent mass of beef or poultry (Scarboroughet al., 2014). By choosing to eat more plant based foods you can radically cutyour carbon footprint, save precious water supplies, and help ensure that vitalcrop resources are fed to people, rather than livestock. UnethicalTreatment Towards Farm Animals Along with the health ailments andenvironmental destruction consuming meat results in, we must also shine a lighton the unethical treatment farm animals must endure. All domesticated animals raisedfor meat are social animals and their ability to grow and develop is disruptedby current farming methods that subject these animals to live in dangerousovercrowding or in complete isolation from the world (Mench & Tienhoven,1986). These unnatural conditions result in animals experiencing stress andanxiety which then leads to diseases (Mench & Tienhoven, 1986). Extremecrowding is most noticeable in poultry production. Chickens are crammed tightlyin cages, and have little space to move (Appleby et al.
, 1992). Theseovercrowded conditions lead to aggressive behavior and cannibalistic attacks. Otherpractices that raise ethical questions about the handling of domestic animalsrange from, branding, inflicting pain by castration, beak trimming, dehorning, andinadequate striking before slaughter (Reynnells & Eastwood, 1997). Unfortunately, chickens are not the onlyanimals subjected to this horrible treatment. Calves are also confined in smallspaces that later lead to muscle atrophy and severe pain.
But, by adapting aplant based diet you eliminate the need to slaughter and torture animals.Instead you contribute to the world becoming a more harmonious, and peacefulplace to live in.ConclusionThe purpose of this paper was topresent facts about the destruction meat and animal products pose on our healthand environment. We also took a deeper look into the unethical treatments offarm animals.
The evidence presented in this paper was meant to stimulate thereader into reflecting and reevaluating some of the dietary practices they haveadopted throughout their life. I encourage my audiences to conduct their ownresearch and uncover the harmful destruction meat and animal products pose. Ialso hope the information presented will rouse some curiosity and interest intoimplementing a vegan diet. Collectivelyas a community we can come together and combat obesity, cancer, diabetes,global warming, and harmful abuse to animals by simply adapting a morewholesome and nutritional vegan diet!