Anyways, this is what I wrote. It could have been done better, but I think I got a good mark on it anyways..
In recent years, being vegetarian or vegan has been becoming more popular. More and more people are switching over to this diet, which is also often referred to as a lifestyle . The main reasons for switching, or even being raised or raising your children this way, are either, for cultural or religious beliefs, for the animals, for the environment, or for health reasons.
Some people may ask what the differences between a vegetarian and a vegan are. The difference is simple; vegetarians do not eat any meat, (pork, poultry, beef, seafood, etc.) or other products made directly from an animal, such as gelatine. Vegans, on the other hand, do not consume any animal products – no meats, no direct animal products, and no animal bi-products such as milk, eggs, and honey .
Now, maybe you know someone who claims to be vegetarian, but still eats fish and/or chickens and other birds. Though they may not be vegetarian, they do have their own special titles – pescatarians and pollotarians. A pescatarians is someone who follows a vegetarian diet, but consumes fish and/or other sea foods . Pollotarians also follow vegetarian diets with the exception of chickens and other birds .
This project is on veganism and how the world would be affected if every human were to willingly cut all animal products from their diet and life. I will be considering factors such as land space, human health, life expectancy rates, the growing human population, the environment, third-world countries, and the animals that would no longer be needed.
The effects of a vegan diet are very beneficial. With all of the healthy food options vegans have to choose from, it is not being healthy that is hard, but being unhealthy that can prove difficult. Being so healthy will not only prevent you from becoming ill, but it can also increase your life expectancy rate drastically. Along with great health, adopting a vegan diet can also help the environment, create more free space for more housing, other buildings and businesses, feed people in need of food, and help develope third-world countries, to list a few bonuses.
Veganism and Human Health
Vitamins and Nutrients
Calcium – A common myth about vegans is that because they don’t consume dairy, they don’t get the required amount of calcium for their age group, whatever it may be. This, though, is far from false. Vegans are easily able to obtain just as much calcium as any other person following another diet; just like those who are lactose intolerant. Vegans can get their calcium from many sources, whether it be calcium supplements, or healthy, delicious foods such as spinach, kale, broccoli, tofu, soy milk (see page – for more on soy), and a variety of nuts .
Protein – “But where do you get your protein?!” This is a common question vegetarians and vegans are asked. Some people may be shocked to hear the answer. But, first of all, did you know that by eating animal proteins, in order to take care of the substances in it, such as amino acid, calcium must be drawn from the bones to help deposit the waste ? Now, for some healthy, vegan ways to get the protein you need – tofu, peanut butter, lentils, pinto beans, bean burritos, chilli, nuts, and seeds .
Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 can only naturally be found in meat products . Though this fact may raise some alarm, there is no reason to worry, there are plenty of vegan foods that now come fortified with Vitamin B12 that are just as good as the real thing from meat. Most fortified soy milks and mock meat (meat substitutes designed to look and taste like meat) contain Vitamin B12, some containing very high amounts .
Vitamin D – Though there are not as many vegan sources than non-vegan sources of Vitamin D, it is still able to be acquired. There are daily Vitamin D supplements you can take. The sun is another natural source of Vitamin D. Some vegan foods containing Vitamin D are certain mushrooms, fortified types of milk, and even some orange juices. Contrary to the Dairy Council, milk (dairy or even soy) milk is not “Liquid Sunshine.” In order to obtain the same amount of Vitamin D you would get out in the sun for 20 minutes, you would have to drink about 12 gallons of milk.
Note: Though these are not all of the vitamins and nutrients, these are some of the main ones people worry about vegetarians getting enough of. Vegetarians and vegans are very able to get all of the required vitamins and nutrients by eating a wide variety of foods.
Illness and Disease
Heart Disease – The American Heart Association says heart disease is the leading cause of death in America . A study conducted in the United States showed that of the 25 000 men tested the ones who consumed meat products everything day had a higher risk of heart disease than those who didn’t; they were three times as likely. A different study showed that vegetarians had a 24% lower chance of getting heart disease, and vegans had a 57% less chance. This is because vegetarians and vegan consume far less saturated fats and cholesterol, provided they eat healthy .
Cancer – Cancer is a pretty scary word. The majority of people have been affected by cancer in some way, whether they’ve had it, or they knew someone who has had it. If you knew of a way to lessen the chances of you or a loved one being diagnosed with cancer, would do you do it? Veganism is a great way to lessen your chances of being diagnosed with many types of cancer. The American Cancer Society says that 1/3 of all cancer cases can be blamed on poor diet . The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says that those who don’t eat meat “are about 40% less likely to get cancer than non-vegetarians, regardless of other risk factors such as smoking, body size, and socioeconomic status,” . The scientists at Oxford University’s Cancer Epidemiology Unit say that those who remove red meat from their diet are 45% less likely to be diagnosed with cancer. And, according to the National Cancer Institute, those who don’t get enough fruits and vegetables are putting themselves at risk of developing cancer .
Diabetes – Did you know that vegans have a 68% less chance of becoming diabetic than non-vegetarians? Well, it’s true, according to the Adventist Health Study – 2 . “Low fat vegetarian diets are ideal for people with diabetes.” This is because the more fat in a diet, the harder it is for insulin to get glucose into the cell, and a vegetarian or vegan diet is low in fat .
Obesity is a growing pandemic. Worldwide, people are getting larger as a whole . Many people are wondering how they can stop themselves from gaining weight as well, or even lose weight gained. We all know that you have to eat well and exercise, but many people who try various diets seem to gain the weight back within five years. Vegetarianism or veganism are healthy, long term diets, that when done properly, can be very beneficial to your weight, along with exercise. Studies have shown that “meat-eaters have three times the obesity rate of vegetarians and nine times the obesity rate of vegans. It's possible to be an overweight or obese vegan, of course, just as it's possible to be a thin meat-eater, but adult vegans are, on average, 10 to 20 pounds lighter than adult meat-eaters,” .
Life Expectancy Rate
It’s probably not surprising that studies have shown that vegetarians and vegans live longer, healthier lives than those who eat meat, not with all of the health benefits received, just by dropping meat from their diet. Those studies have proven that, on average, vegetarians and vegans live between 6 and 10 years longer than omnivores .
Soy is a rather controversial topic, some say it’s good, some say it’s bad, and some are allergic to it. When you’re vegetarian or vegan, soy can be a confusing topic. Being vegan while allergic to soy can sound difficult or even impossible, since so many fortified foods vegetarians and vegans need for their nutritional value have soy in them. Though difficult, yes, maybe, being a soy-free vegan is possible, just ask Soy-free Vegan Blogger, “soyfreevegan,” . Soymilk is easy to substitute as well, with either rice milk, coconut milk, or almond milk.
Soy can be a controversial topic because of all of the different information about soy that is floating around; some positive, and some negative. The article “Is It Safe to Eat Soy?” by Virginia Messina, MPH, RD and Mark Messina, PhD sheds some light on the topic. Studies done on soy have come back with both positive and negative results, but “many of the studies that have concluded that soy is unhealthy have used animals as subjects. Drawing conclusions about human health from animal research can be very misleading.” Many of the studies done on humans sowing negative soy affects also have not been as in depth as they should have been, and don’t necessarily show both cause and affect results. It is true that some studies have shown that consuming soy could potentially increase the risk of breast cancer, though the significance is not clear. If you already have breast cancer, reducing soy intake may be a good idea, but there is no actual proof .
Veganism and the Environment
Global warming is a hot topic today; pun intended. People are striving to be environmentally friendly by using public transit, environmentally friendly cars, and recycling. Of course doing these things do help the environment, but, veganism is another way to help the environment greatly. According to the United Nations, raising animals for consumption creates “more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, planes, ships, trucks, and trains in the world combined,” . Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Livestock production is the cause of 18% of the greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide, along with 37% of global methane and 65% of the world’s nitrous oxide . Why does the meat industry account for so much pollution? It’s not just from raising the animals; it’s also from transporting them, growing their food, transporting the food, and clearing land to raise more animals, to name a few factors.
Everyone knows that plants and trees help the environment. They are the main producer of oxygen in the air; something humans require in order to live . The Livestock, Environment, and Development Initiative has stated that over two thirds of all agricultural land is used for growing crops used to feed livestock, while only 8% is used to grow food that will be fed directly to humans . If we had no livestock to feed, we could have many more forests to help keep the air clean and produce oxygen, as well as more plant based foods, and still have space left over. And, with the ever growing human population, we are in need of more space. In the 20th century alone, the population has risen from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion , and is expected to rise to over 10 billion by the year 2050 . We’re going to need a lot more space to house everyone, and more food to feed them; with the amount of meat we eat rising along with the rising population, we are quickly running out of land space.
Third World Countries
If everyone were to willingly adopt a vegan diet, we already know that there would be more land space, and the ability to make even more food that we already are making, but there’s also the possibility of using these new abilities to help third world countries and help concur hunger and starvation issues. According to the World Food Programme, 925 million people don’t have enough food to eat worldwide .
If we were not raising these animals for food, we would require a lot less of the animals. Therefore, as they were no longer needed, we would stop breeding them as much, and they population would decrease, so there is not much need to worry about wild herds of cows rampaging through cities. The animals would remain under control of humans, and humans could even keep them as pets, and for dairy cows, their milk could still be used in pet foods, or just for their own calves.
Of course, it would take several decades to successfully make the change from an omnivorous species, to a herbivorous species. It would take this long because, it would be a very large change, and it would take time for people to find substitutes of many of the animal products we use today. Though it would take a long time, the benefits would be very rewarding, once achieved; the human population would become healthier, and our life expectancy rate would increase. The change would also help with environmental issues the world faces today, and the loss of usable land and forests. The change would also be beneficial worldwide at concurring issues like hunger. In general, making the switch would be a very beneficial act, globally.
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2. Krizmanic, Judy. “A Teen’s Guide to Going Vegetarian.” United States, Penguin Group Incorporated, 1994. (p. 10 – 11)
3. Hackett, Jolinda. “Pescatarian.” Online Posting. Date Unknown. About. January 16, 2011. < http://vegetarian.about.com/od/glossary/g/Pescatarian.htm>
4. desertstars. “What exactly is a Pollotarian?” Online Posting. 2009. Yahoo! Answers. January 16, 2011. < http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090615130748AA1WT9a>
5. Leong, Kristie. “How to Eat Calcium Rich Foods on a Vegan Diet.” Online Posting. Date Unknown. eHow. January 16, 2011. < http://www.ehow.com/how_5451138_eat-rich-foods-vegan-diet.html>
6. “In the News...Vegetarianism: A Few Facts.” Online Posting. Date Unknown. VegSource. January 16, 2011. < http://www.vegsource.com/articles/veg_definition.htm>
7. Krizmanic, Judy. “A Teen’s Guide to Going Vegetarian.” United States, Penguin Group Incorporated, 1994. (p. 188)
8. Mangels, Reed. “Vitamin B12 in the Vegan Diet.” The Vegetarian Resource Group. Date Unknown. January 16, 2011. < http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/b12.htm>
9. Mangels, Reed. “Vitamin B12 in the Vegan Diet.” The Vegetarian Resource Group. Date Unknown. January 16, 2011. < http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/b12.htm>
10. “Animal Products Are Linked to Heart Disease.” Online Posting. Date Unknown. PETA. January 16, 2011. < http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/heart-disease.aspx>
11. Krizmanic, Judy. “A Teen’s Guide to Going Vegetarian.” United States, Penguin Group Incorporated, 1994. (p. 50 – 51)
12. “Cancer.” Online Posting. Date Unknown. PETA. January 16, 2011. < http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/cancer.aspx>
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14. Group, Edward. “Study: Vegetarians Are 45% Less Likely to Develop Cancer.” Global Healing Center. September 22, 2009. January 16, 2011.< http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/vegetarians-and-cancer/>
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18. Wilson, Deborah. “Eating Meat Is Linked to Obesity.” Online Posting. Date Unknown. PETA. January 16, 2011.<http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/obesity.aspx>
19. “Bill Clinton Named PETA’s 2010 Person of the Year.” Online Posting. 2010. PETA. January 16, 2011. < http://www.peta.org/features/bill-clinton-named-petas-2010-person-of-the-year.aspx?PageIndex=2>
20. soyfreevegan. “Omega-3’s!” Soy Free Vegan! Tips for Staying Alive as a Vegan with a Soy Allergy. June 19, 2008. January 16, 2011. < http://soyfreevegan.blogspot.com/>
21. Messina, Virginia and Messina, Mark. “Is It Safe to Eat Soy?” Online Posting. Date Unknown. VeganHealth. January 16, 2011. < http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/soymessina>
22. “Meat’s Not Green.” PETA. Date Unknown. PETA. January 21, 2011. < http://www.peta2.com/meatsnotgreen/>
23. “7 Clear-Cut Reasons Why Meat is Bad for the Environment.” Online Posting. September 25. enVeg. January 21, 2011. < http://www.enveg.org/resources/7-clear-cut-reasons-why-meat-is-bad-for-the-environment>
24. “Plants.” Online Posting. Date Unknown. Globio. January 21, 2011. < http://www.globio.org/glossopedia/article.aspx?art_id=30>
25. Brooks, Cassandra. “Unintended Consequences of the Meat Industry.” Woods Institute for the Environment. 2004. January 21, 2011. < http://woods.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/focal.php?name=livestock&focal_area=land_use_and_conservation>
26. “How Rising Human Population Could Impact Global Warming.” The Daily Green. July 12, 2009. January 22, 2011. <http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/population-global-warming-460709>
27. Bongaarts. “Can the Growing Human Population Feed Itself?” Scientific American Magazine. March 1994. January 22, 2011. <http://www.sciamdigital.com/index.cfm?fa=Products.ViewIssuePreview&ARTICLEID_CHAR=346E8A86-7E17-4597-B186-A7D0B53620C>
28. “Hunger Stats.” Online Posting. Date Unknown. World Food Programme. January 23, 2011. <http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats>
I think I used the wrong formatting for a lot of my references, but I didn't feel like searching up each and every seperate format for each type of word document, and my sheets from English class were lost, but those are all in some form of MLA citing or whatever.