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Looking for a Healthy Change? Go Vegan!

“Going vegan is no burden; it is a liberation from being part of the violence and death that humans unjustly impose on the vulnerable.” - Gary L. Francione.

I grew up on a non-vegan diet and took it upon myself to change this past year. I gained interest in veganism because I thought it was wrong and inhumane to torture and kill innocent animals for a meal. After that I got really into health and nutrition which is the biggest reason why I went fully vegan. 

I have been vegan for about five months and I have noticed changes. I have lost weight and I have noticed my mood improve because I wasn't ingesting chemicals and hormones. My mental health and physical health have also improved greatly from how they were. Veganism has become a major part of my life and I have felt better than ever before.

The human body needs a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients in order to function properly and stay healthy, and veganism provides many benefits. Fruits, vegetables and grains have more vitamins and nutrients than meat, dairy and egg products. Vitamins and nutrients are essential for a normal functioning body and eating only a few different types of fruits and vegetables will most likely not get your body what it needs. 

A recent study indicated that people can take different supplements to get these nutrients into their body. The study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that “Omnivores had the lowest intake of Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Niacin and Folic acid." The study also reported that vegans have the lowest intake of calcium, vitamin D and B12. In order to get proper nutrition and be healthy, you do not need to take supplements. You can eat more of the foods that contains what you are lacking in. Supplements are not an essential for vegans. 

Animals on factory farms are pumped with antibiotics, antifungals, chemicals and hormones. Their meat, milk, and eggs are loaded with these hormones and chemicals and are not healthy. The organization Farm Sanctuary reports that, “Six growth hormones commonly used by the U.S. dairy industry have been shown to significantly increase the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer in beef consumers.” Humans should not be eating anything that is derived from an animal. 

Our bodies are not designed to eat animal products. Mammals produce milk for their young and it is designed to feed, give nutrition and keep newborns healthy during the first few months of their life. 

After that time is up, we do not need and should not be drinking milk, especially from another animal. Our digestive system is not designed to process meat. Our intestines are around 10 times our body length, while a lion’s intestines are only 3 times their body length. The lion’s intestines allow meat to pass quickly and the meat does not putrefy in the gut. But human intestines allow meat to degrade slowly, which can cause parasites, diseases and other illnesses. 

There are healthier alternatives to factory farmed products. Organic or natural farms exist around the world. These smaller farms tend to be more organic or natural because they are not pumping these animals full of chemicals and hormones. Since these farms are more natural, they are going to cost more but these products will not harm your health as much as products from factory farms. Eating meat from organic farms is a healthier alternative. 

Living a vegan lifestyle is a better choice. By eating more fruits, vegetables and nuts, you are getting more of what your body needs to fight illness while processed foods do not help the body whatsoever. Eating a lot of processed food will turn blood acidic and cancer occurs more in people with acidic blood. Cancer can be prevented and treated by eating more natural and vegan foods which will turn the blood more alkaline which weakens the disease. 

Maintaining a healthy weight is important, and a healthier weight can be achieved by eating a proper vegan diet. Plant-based or vegan foods contain less fats and calories than processed foods. The body will start using fat stored in your body and over time, size, fat and weight can be lost. According to Health Line, an online resource, “Veganism may lead to reducing the number of high-calorie foods you consume. With a vegan diet, you may end up replacing such foods with high-fiber alternatives that are low in calories and keep you fuller longer.” Vegan foods contain less calories so eating more is not a problem. The nutrients and calories are balanced. 

Eating a vegan diet can also help lower blood pressure. Animal products contain a lot of cholesterol, which if enough accumulates, blood pressure can increase. Cholesterol is not something we need to be getting a lot of from another source; our body maintains its own cholesterol. Eating a lot of processed and non-vegan food can lead to plaque buildup in arteries. On a vegan diet, plaque would be minimal or drastically reduced. It will start to break down and lower blood pressure. High blood pressure can also be caused by obesity and you will lose weight on a vegan diet, lowering blood pressure. 

People have a lot of different reasons to go vegan, from the treatment of animals to health concerns. But either way, veganism is the better choice. A vegan diet will lead to a healthier life.  Veganism is one of the best ways to take care of your body, which is good because it is the only place you have to live. 

David Hreben is a 2018 graduate of Messalonskee High School in Oakland. He wrote this piece for a college writing class taught at Mid-Maine Technical Center.