Hey there! 👋
Just in case you didn’t know, this week (15th-21st May 2017) is National Vegetarian Week for the UK, where I live. 🇬🇧
Anyone who knows me, even if only a little bit, will know that I am a vegetarian. This has been the case since 1st January 2016 (yes, it was a New Year’s Resolution for 2016 – the only one I’ve really ever kept!). I decided to become a vegetarian for many reasons, ethical, health and even financial, and this week I thought I’d share these reasons with you. Just a word of warning: I am pretty passionate about this subject, so this post may become quite preachy as a result. As I want to be as authentic and realistic about this as possible, I’m not going to go back over this post in too much detail after I’ve written it before posting as I usually do (I’m usually quite a perfectionist): this will literally be my thoughts on this, just as they are. This post may stir up some controversy, but if you feel angry at me for writing it, just remember that I’m merely using fundamental facts about vegetarianism to support the points which I make…
First and foremost, the biggest factor which influenced my decision to become a vegetarian was ethics. Now, obviously everyone knows that an animal has to die in order to become meat for consumption, but I don’t think that the average member of even an educated Western society actually knows what goes on during the process of this production. In fact, a few months after I had become vegetarian, I watched a really interesting TED Talk on this very topic of eating ethically, and one of the main points of this presentation was how “normalised” eating meat, essentially a dead animal, has become. I, and I know for a fact a lot of other vegetarians also, when seeing meat (nowadays), don’t regard it as food at all, and instead see the corpse of the animal that it used to be or could have become. Okay, I know that sounds a little weird, but I genuinely think that we as humans have the responsibility here to be “stewards of the Earth”, that is, looking after all of the beautiful animals which we have been blessed with. No matter what your religious standing is, although this has been a real consideration as I grow in my own Christian faith, I think it’s something that everyone should think about. Anyways, this TED Talk also contained a short clip of how animals intended for meat in the USA are so abysmally treated (and even abysmal is a a huge understatement here). It was extremely disturbing for me to watch, and I honestly couldn’t look at most of it, because it literally did look like my idea of hell on earth. If you want to see what I’m on about, click here to watch the TED Talk which contains this clip (which has some very graphic images, so be warned!). Paul McCartney, one of the Fab Four Beatles, famously said,
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”
This quote basically sums this whole section up quite well.
Environmental reasons for becoming a vegetarian also tie into ethical reasons, but really this deserves a whole section to itself, I feel. Did you know…
- … an average family of four in the USA 🇺🇸 emits more greenhouse gases though their meat consumption than through their car exhaust?
- …if everyone in the world became a vegetarian, all world food crises would be lessened considerably?
- … it takes just 25 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of wheat, but 5,000 to produce the same weight of beef?
- … 40% of the world’s grain is fed to animals intended for meat, when all this food could be fed to the starving people who live in hostile climates (which are too harsh to grow reliable crops in) and need it most?
Countless more research results and statistics out there also point to this same concept: eating meat is unsustainable and can be extremely detrimental to the environment.
Secondly, I chose to become a vegetarian in order to improve my health. This may be a little TMI, but before I became a vegetarian (when I ate meat pretty much every day), I had a lot of digestive problems, especially latterly. However, within a few weeks of cutting meat out of my diet, I saw considerable improvements. Although I still do suffer from digestive problems (which are at their worst when I have high anxiety also), they aren’t ever nearly as bad as they used to be – the less animal products I eat, the better my body works! 😄 What’s more, since Lent when I was vegan for 6 weeks (see my posts on this here), I’ve also started to drastically cut dairy out of my diet as much as possible. Not only is my digestion a lot better, but so is my skin, and I also have so much more energy than I ever have done! Although I don’t think I can ever quite become completely vegan, I’d like to at least aspire to be as much as possible. I find also that I’m an all-round happier person when I’m vegan (or at least close to it)! 😃
Another reason why vegetarianism is such a good thing is because it can save you a helluva lot of money! Now, personally I think I stand quite well financially, as I’m not an excessive spender, largely because I have been brought up to manage my money in the most careful way possible (thanks, Mum & Dad!). Also, my recent discovery of minimalism thanks to some TOTALLY AWESOME YouTubers I watch, such as NonStopParis, Sarah Nourse and muchelleb (subscribe to ALL of them, please – you won’t regret it!), I think will only help this. When the reality is that vegetarians typically save $750 every year on food, compared to meat-eaters (that is a LOT of money), I think that this further reenforces the fact that everyone should consider cutting down on their meat consumption.
Now, some of you might be thinking, “but Sarah, how can I possibly become a vegetarian, if the people around me aren’t willing to do the same?”. Well, I come from a family of pretty avid meat-eaters, and some of them were frankly quite shocked when they found out that I had become a vegetarian, so I can relate to any of you who want to say this. However, even with a little gentle persuasion you can often convince people to have even just one or two meat-free meals a week (especially if you offer to cook!) – it worked for me, at least! Furthermore, even when you’re out and about, it’s even easier to be a vegetarian, in my opinion – every decent restaurant/café these days offers vegetarian options, and many places also have quite a wide range of vegan food available (Pret-A-Manger is my personal fave place for this). Just google “vegetarian restaurants near me,” and there will more than likely be somewhere near you that offers vegetarian food!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and perhaps learnt something new. This post was intended simply to educate people and raise awareness of the importance of sustainable living, sustainable eating in particular, by sharing with you my own personal experience and motivation behind this. I’m by no means telling anyone to become a vegetarian (I’m merely suggesting it), because what you eat is an extremely personal thing, and becoming a vegetarian would come a lot more easily to some than to others. Even if you simply cut down on your animal product consumption by just a little bit, this would make a MASSIVE difference, believe me! Fellow vegetarians, how long have you been veggie for, and what are your reasons for being a vegetarian? I’d love to know! ❤️
I hope you all have a happy rest-of National Vegetarian Week! 😜