In honour of World Vegan Day today (yes, there’s now a day for this! Every 1st of Nov) we’re going to cover a few of the big questions most people have when it comes to ‘veganism’. I will be referencing from one of my favourite podcasts ‘Science Vs’, and in this particular episode it’s science Vs vegans. Here is the link if you want to listen to the full episode in much more detail
Question 1: Is going vegan better for the environment?
Joseph Poore at the University of Oxford and a bunch of other researchers say ‘YES’. It’s a no brainer and cutting out meat and dairy delivers tremendous benefits on the global environment. A vegan diet takes up less land, less water and creates less greenhouse gases.
So yes, it’s good for the health of the planet, but what about our health?
Question 2: Do we need milk for strong bones?
The simple answer is NO. Yes our bodies need calcium and milk is packed with that, but so are other foods like broccoli, bok choy and kale – just to name a few along with loads of other veggies and some fortified foods. One particular study (just to name one amongst many) involving over 40 different countries, compared how much dairy the people ate and how many people broke their hips and the pattern all across the world was that people who ate less dairy didn’t have more broken bones and their bones are just as strong as the rest of us. In fact some scientist now believe that our bodies don’t need as much calcium as we originally thought and all this dairy propaganda (the adds, textbooks and studies backing dairy) was and still is being funded by the dairy industry.
Question 3: Are you putting your health at risk by eating no meat at all?
One of the big arguments when it comes to vegans is evolution and whether we evolved to eat meat or not. Yes, we’re from the same evolutionary branch as our ancestral prime mates and they were vegan- even our bumpy colons show this as opposed to a smooth colon of a carnivore. But research suggests that humans started eating meat over 2 million years ago when wild plant foods became scarce and our ancestors were forced to catch their food, which also backs the theory of the evolution of our brain size and why it is now so much bigger than our chimp relatives. They say, to catch their food required new ways of thinking, such as building tools, axes and spears to help catch their prey, which lead us to the innovative thinkers we are today, but without going back a couple of million years ago no one will ever really know.
Question 4: Are there any risks to cutting out meat and dairy? One of the myths dispelled here is that vegans won’t get enough protein. WRONG, vegans can get enough protein from whole grains, nuts and beans. There is however, one vital thing we need and that is vitamin B12, which you can only get from animal products these days. There’s an extremely easy fix to this though, go to your health food store and buy a B12 supplement. Bonus, it’s cheaper than meat!
One more thing… A huge study involving over 96,000 people since the year 2000, compared vegans and people who lived a healthy lifestyle (ie. no smoking or alcohol) and the vegans were found to develop less diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Yep, very few vegans are overweight – so there’s an added bonus there!
Scientists don’t really know the exact reasons why its healthier to be vegan, they say there could be something harmful in meat and dairy OR there are just more benefits to eating loads of veggies.
So knowing all of this and without even going into the ethics of it all, do we NEED meat and dairy to be healthy? Science says, if you do it right and supplement where needed, then NO. You’ll also be doing the planet and all those animals a favour, as well as your own health.
Now I totally get that a vegan lifestyle isn’t for everyone and our bodies have different wants and needs, so just cutting down the amount of meat and dairy would still help the environment and our bodies too – no need to go cold turkey. So why don’t we try to cut it for today? World Vegan day. Or try to have at least one meal without any animal products in it at all and see how you go 🙂 every little bit helps right!?
Happy World Vegan Day! And happy eating, cruelty free 😉