2020. Whew! What a year that was! I think I speak for everyone in saying there are a lot of reasons we want to say ‘good riddance’ to 2020 and 'welcome' 2021. We know that many of you will be looking to go vegan in the New Year. If you are giving the challenge a try then we cheer you on from over here at Vegan Home and Travel HQ! Need help? Check out our list of programs to help you go vegan.
Do you need reasons to give veganism a try? We've come up with 21 reasons to go vegan in 2021! Quick disclaimer: these are light-hearted, and perhaps not the most academically rigorous list of reasons.
Oh, and if you need longer than 31 days to go vegan, consider checking out our "12 Months Till Vegan" ebook!
1. You don’t want another pandemic
Life before the COVID-19 pandemic sometimes feels like a distant memory. While we are all very much aware that this particular virus most probably came from a Chinese food market that specialized in wild animals, it's worth noting that there have been many other similar diseases that didn't have the same global impact that also came from the animal trade.
Swine Flu (originated from pigs and crossed over to humans), SARS (from bats and civets), and Avian Flu (chickens) are all airborne diseases that spread from animals to humans and then from human to humans. And these are only a few recent examples from a bigger list.
All of these diseases have come from intensively raised animals for food. We've all learned from COVID-19 that a disease that originates on the other side of the world can have far-reaching consequences for all of us. We should also carefully consider that this can easily happen in our own backyard as well, especially given the ways we ‘raise’ animals today. Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to go vegan is to avoid having to go through 2020 again! Surely going vegan is better than having to do endless lockdowns which destroy businesses and industries and, most importantly, avoid all the suffering of the victims, their families and friends, have had to go through this year.
2. Help Treat A Chronic Health Condition
The American Dietetic Association has stated that it is their position "that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases”. They continue on to also state:
“The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates”.
If you are suffering from one of these illnesses, then it’s worth giving a plant-based diet a try! If a loved one is suffering from one of these illnesses, help them be successful by trying a vegan diet too! It’s easier to do it if you are not alone.
3. Show Compassion To Animals & Align This With Your Values
Most of us would intervene if we saw a dog being kicked in the street. And most of us are repelled and are unable to watch the footage that comes from our animal farms and slaughterhouses. But the reality is that every time we sit and eat animal products we are consuming something that comes from violence. Wouldn’t it feel nice to not have that little niggling feeling when we sat down to eat that burger? Especially now that amazing plant-based alternatives exist!
Which leads us to...
4. There Are Vegan Versions Of Pretty Much Everything You Could Want
If you're transitioning or just simply miss an old favorite, there are now so many plant-based versions of non-vegan items that we might be used to eating. And seemingly more each day! Whether it's a nice sharp cheddar, the creamiest ice cream or yogurt, and even vegan versions of caviar and smoked salmon, there's now no longer a need to miss out on these items! Do they all have exactly the same taste and texture as the non-vegan versions? No, not always, but they are usually still very good and will certainly satisfy any cravings you might have. All cruelty-free!
5. Increase Biodiversity
There’s a lot of things we can do to increase the amount of biodiversity, and an easy one is to have fewer grazing animals. These animals graze on cleared forests and land to the point that one-third of the planet’s arable land is occupied by livestock feed crop cultivation. Hardly any wild animals thrive in short grass.
Imagine if we could convert that land back to forests again? The number of species would balloon! Also, if we no longer raised grazing animals, there would be no excuse to hunt foxes, wolves, coyotes, cougars and all of the other predators that can sometimes attack grazing animals. And there would be no need to slaughter the donkeys and wild horses that are often killed as they are competing for the grass that the cattle and sheep eat.
6. Finally Be Able To Answer The Question: Do We Need Meat To Survive?
If you have ever uttered this, or heard someone else say it, wouldn’t it be cool to be able to prove it once and for all by giving veganism a try?
7. Vegan Food is Delicious
The food we eat as vegans is just as delicious as the food we ate as non-vegans. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the food is more colorful and tastier! There's often the need to be more creative with flavors as we can no longer depend on "easy" things like bacon and butter. Plus let’s not forget that the great cuisines of the world (Thai, Italian, Indian, etc.) all are very vegan friendly.
8. Going Vegan can Save Water
Us humans use a lot of water, not only for our showers and watering our lawns, but also in the production of food. Of course, plants need water to grow, but the animals we raise use much more water per calorie of food produced, especially for the plants that we grow to feed to animals. Bonus reason: wouldn’t it be lovely if we didn’t have animal sewage in our rivers? That would be one nice less thing to worry about. Sadly, cows don’t have their poop cared for as much as ours, and much of it ends up in rivers.
9. Address Climate Change
Is all of us moving to a vegan diet the one and only solution to climate change? It’s debatable, but what IS certain is that there would be a huge cut in our global emissions. Depending on the study, the amount of emissions connected with animal agriculture ranges from 18 % to 51%, but both numbers certainly make this worthy of consideration. Surely, eating plants on a consistent basis is better than dealing with increased hurricanes, droughts, deadly storms and rising sea levels!
10. Reduce Risk Of Food Poisoning
Since going vegan, I might have suffered from a slightly dodgy tummy when travelling but it’s never been anything too bad. While this is of course anecdotal, there are studies that support this idea, and of course it kind of makes sense that vegans might be less likely to suffer from these rather unpleasant situations if we're not eating contaminated meat or other animal products.
11. Eat More Antioxidants
When we eat animal products, it lessens the opportunity for us to eat more plants, which is important because animal products don’t have such a wide range of antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that prevent oxidation and inflammation in our bodies. Foods with the highest numbers of antioxidants include berries and greens. Don’t like them? No problem. Just eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables every day and you will be way ahead of many non-vegans.
12. Diversify Your Palate
Before we became vegan, foods like young jackfruit, quinoa and even kale were not foods I had even tried, let alone eaten on a regular basis. And it really feels now that I missed out big time on these yummy foods. Becoming vegan means experiencing a whole bunch of exciting new flavors and textures. We bet you'll experience the same too, especially if you're already a foodie!
13. Going Vegan Can Help Feed The World
There are many factors that influence why there are some groups of people in the world that do not have a reliable food supply, including food distribution disruption, war and drought. According to a study published in 2018, the global population is expected to be as high as 9.7 billion in 2050. Current levels of crop production is sufficient to provide enough food for this population. However, it can only continue to feed the population in the future if we stop feeding crops to animals.
14. You Might Live Longer
There are several studies that indicate that eating a healthy vegan diet may increase lifespan. Of course these things really depend on the individual but, heck, if we can get a few more healthy years tacked on to the end of our lives then we think this is a pretty compelling reason in itself!
15. Allow Wild Animals More Space And More Freedom From Harm
Growing food for animals to eat takes up a lot of space. Indeed, it's the biggest use of land in the whole world!
Currently, we slaughter 19 billion animals each year, far more than there are people in the world. Of course we have to feed them in order to grow muscles for us to eat, but just like in humans, only a proportion of calories turns into muscle. Most of it is wasted through movement, excretion, breathing, thinking etc. Imagine if we could take the burden of growing food for animals away and allow these areas of land to regenerate and become a home for animals. Also, if we no longer ate animals, there would be no more culling of wolves or other animals which threaten or compete with farmed animals.
16. Antibiotic Resistance
The discovery of antibiotics to help fight inflections was a key moment in public health. They are now a huge part of our fight against illnesses that used to cause so much pain, suffering and even death. Skin, ear and tooth infections are just some of the common uses for them. But there are also now many superbugs that have come about that can no longer be treated with antibiotics. How have these bacteria become resistant to antibiotics?
Well, this is a huge topic and while the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture is not the only reason for this increased resistance to antibiotics, it certainly plays a huge part. Many animals raised in intensive farms are given antibiotics as a matter of course. By doing so, it is less likely that they will succumb to the inevitable infections from the terrible conditions that animals are subjected to. While antibiotics use in animal agriculture is used extensively in China, they are also used extensively in animal agriculture throughout the world.
17. You Care About Migrants And Vulnerable Minorities
We're not suggesting that animal agriculture is the only sector of the food agriculture system that minorities, migrants and vulnerable groups work in. Indeed, around much of Europe and North America, temporary migrants are used extensively to work in the harvest of plant foods. However we do suggest that working in meatpacking plant does not come high on the one's dream job list. It's actually BECAUSE most people don’t want to do this work that it's left to migrants and those vulnerable members of our populations to do it. This was highlighted very clearly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
18. Drinking Milk Is A Bit Weird When You Think About It
Nearly all of us were raised drinking milk or eating its various products that it helps produce, and most of us never stopped to think about it. If we did, we'd notice that we are the only species to drink the milk of another species, let alone one that drinks it after weaning. All of a sudden hemp milk starts to sound more sensible, doesn't it?
19. It's Now More Socially Acceptable to be Vegan
Thankfully, these days vegans are no longer seen as a weird fringe movement and if you want proof, then look no further than at the number of non-vegan restaurants that now offer vegan choices. It is unlikely that businesses would start to offer these kinds of products unless there was a demand. The great thing is that having vegan options on the menu means that going out to restaurants doesn't require the ordering gymnastics as it once did, and chances are even your non-vegan friends will be making more vegan choices with you.
20. There Are Products That Taste Exactly Like The Real Thing
In the past year there are more and more products available that taste just like the real thing. Many of us didn’t go vegan because we didn’t like the taste of meat, but because we didn’t want to contribute to animal cruelty. We also know that the traditions and taste of meat makes it hard for people to give animal products up. For us, about 7 years ago, it was Gardein Chicken Strips that seemed to really taste like chicken. These days there are so many products that fool meat-eaters all the time. The prime culprits are Impossible, Beyond Meat, The Just Egg and, in December 2020, Just was the first company to bring lab-grown meat to the market with chicken nuggets at a popular Singapore restaurant!
It’s not just chicken nuggets that are grown without killing the animals, but also dairy too! Perfect Day are making ice cream from milk proteins made without cows! While their ice cream is not widely available yet, it’s certainly a sign of things to come.
21. You'll Be In Excellent Company
Certainly we could list a ton of vegan celebrities here. But the whole celebrity worship is not really our cup of tea. We don’t have the huge platforms and resources of these people so how about we respect and admire amazing normal people who are doing incredible things in their community! Here are some amazing people who we admire and respect, and should you go vegan, you will be in excellent company!
Michelle (originally from Puerto Rico) and Ollie Carrera are the founders of Chilli on Wheels. They created an organisation which prepares and cooks vegan food to donate to vulnerable people in New York City. Find out what they have been doing during the COVID19 pandemic!
Dr. Wadchara Pumpradit is a doctor in Bangkok, Thailand. He uses his credibility as a doctor not only to encourage his colleagues to install plant-based interventions and provide education for the public, but also in piloting a vegan school lunch program. He also works in clinical care, research and public health interventions in the HIV epidemic.
Omowale Adewale is an activist and founder of Black Vegfest as well as being a boxing coach. He is working really hard in his community to try to upend systemic oppression of all beings. Check him out on Instagram.
Dr. Stacey De-Lin is not only a vegan badass, but also a board-certified physician who is helping people make better decisions regarding their health during COVID-19. She has fun IG stories like this one about the Covid-19 vaccines. And she happens to be a good friend too! Hi Stacey!
Sara and Steven from Sweet Sanctuary Animal Rescue: these lovely people have opened up a small sanctuary in Canada where rescued farm animals get to live their lives without fear of harm.
If you like it, PIN IT!
We'd love to hear from you! Do you have any questions? Ideas? Any awesome reason to go Vegan that we forgot? Let us know and we might add them to a future article update!
Let's have a discussion in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you!