The Only New Year’s Resolution!

If I told you that by doing one thing you could…

  1. Live Longer
  2. Look Sexier
  3. Reduce the National Debt
  4. Save Money
  5. Reduce Famine
  6. Reduce your Carbon Footprint
  7. Reduce Pollution
  8. Save Water
  9. Save Land
  10. Avoid Toxins
  11. Help Animals
  12. Save Lives
  13. Smile More

…would you be in? What is this magic resolution you ask? Eat Your Veggies!! I would say become a vegetarian…but given who I hang out with and who I am related to, I will start with…Eat Your Veggies people!! However, if you become a vegetarian I will like you better :)…no I am not kidding.

Why waste your time helping out at a soup kitchen when all you need to do is eat your veggies!! OK…just so we are clear…if you want to volunteer at a soup kitchen you still should (I am not an asshole 🙂 – and I do not want my deadpan humor to start a riot in some reader’s head), but you will do more good for everyone if you just Eat Your Veggies.

“Amanda, what the hell are you talking about?”  you say. I grew up eating animal products without the knowledge of what it really meant. I did not know much about nutrition or how we got our food. Now I know lots…I slowly moved to a plant based diet, and I am now a vegetarian…well vegan at the moment…and I would like to share what I learned. So…to my dear friends and my lovely readers below is some data that you may find interesting. At a minimum I hope it inspires you to add some more color into your diet. 🙂

Why should I Eat my Veggies?

 1. Live Longer

  • The Basics.
  • Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
    • CVDs are the number one cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause.  The most important behavioral risk factors of heart disease and stroke are unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol. The effects of unhealthy diet and physical inactivity may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, raised blood lipids, and overweight and obesity. (WHO)
    • Vegans have lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, while having about the same HDL cholesterol as Lacto-Ovo and Non-Veg. Vegans have lower rates of high blood pressure than Lacto-Ovo and Non-Veg. (Vegan Health)
    • CNN: The ‘heart attack proof’ diet?
  • Reduce your risk of cancer.
    • I found the book: Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life to be interesting, informative and a great resource.
    • Study findings suggest that lifelong vegetarianism may be associated with a reduction in the risk of breast cancer through its association with a higher intake of vegetables and pulses. (International Journal of Cancer)

2. Look Sexier

  • Vegans have a lower BMI and body fat percentage than Lacto-Ovo and Non-Veg. People who have been vegan for more than 5 years have the lowest BMI. (Vegan Health)

3. Reduce the National Debt

  • Spend less money on healthcare!
    • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States spent more on health care per capita ($7,146), and more on health care as percentage of its GDP (15.2%), than any other nation in 2008.
    • More people eat healthy = less people get sick = less money on healthcare 🙂

4. Save Money

  • Vegetarian food costs less. Some references noted saving from $1,200 to $4,000 a year on groceries.  However if you are going to buy fancy prepared/processed foods they can cost lots and lots.
  • Eat healthy = Be healthy = Spend less money on healthcare

5. Reduce Famine

  • Feed more people for less money.
  • Feed needed to produce meat…(Scientific American)
    • 1 kg beef = 8 kg of feed
    • 1 kg pork = 4 kg of feed
    • 1 kg chicken = 2 kg of feed
  • More than 2/3 of all agricultural land is devoted to growing feed for livestock, while only 8 percent is used to grow food for direct human consumption, LEAD reported. (Stanford)
  • Grow food, give food to humans and feed more humans.
  • According to the journal Soil and Water…
    • 1 acre of land = 50,000 pounds of tomatoes
    • 1 acre of land = 40,000 pounds of potatoes
    • 1 acre of land = 30,000 pounds of carrots
    • 1 acre of land = 250 pounds of beef

6. Reduce your Carbon Footprint

  • In 2006, the UN calculated that the combined climate change emissions of animals bred for their meat were about 18% of the global total – more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together. The figure was revised upward in 2009 by two World Bank scientists to more than 51%. The true number is difficult to calculate, but however it’s counted, livestock farming ranks as one of the three greatest sources of climate changing emissions and one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation. (Guardian)
  • Reduce Carbon Dioxide
    • Carbon dioxide emitted for production of food… (Chasing Green)
      • 1 cup of broccoli = 0.4 pounds of carbon dioxide
      • 1 cup of eggplant = 0.4 pounds of carbon dioxide
      • 4 ounces of cauliflower = 0.4 pounds of carbon dioxide
      • 8 ounces of rice = 0.4 pounds of carbon dioxide
      • 6 ounces of beef steak = 10 pounds of carbon dioxide (25 times as much)
  • Use less fossil fuel.
    • Production of 1 hamburger = enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 20 miles. (PETA)
    • Fossil fuels are used to transport animals and to power the production of their feed. If everyone in the United States went vegetarian for a single day, they would prevent 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions and save 70 million gallons of gasoline. (AlterNet)

7. Reduce Pollution

  • Manure and Greenhouse Gases
    • Each year, the US factory farms, produce 2 billion tons of manure, a substance that’s rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of the country’s top 10 pollutants.  (This does not include  the methane gas released by cows, pigs and poultry, which contributes to the greenhouse effect) (Powered by Produce)
    • Animal feces are a major contributor to global warming and acid rain and pollute rivers and water sheds. (Relaxed Vegan)
    • The ammonia gases from urine; poison gases that emanate from manure lagoons; toxic chemicals from pesticides; and exhaust from farm equipment used to grow feed for animals.
    • A cow excretes around 40kg of manure for every kilogram of edible beef it puts on and when you have many thousands crowded into a small area the effect can be dramatic. Their manure and urine is funneled into massive waste lagoons sometimes holding as many as 40m gallons. These cesspools often break, leak or overflow, polluting underground water supplies and rivers with nitrogen, phosphorus and nitrates. (Guardian)
  • Water Purity
    • Is affected by meat production due to the nitrate pollution from fertilizers and manure.
    • Going vegetarian also reduces some of the manure, antibiotics, and hormones that find their way into our water system.
    • A 1997 study by the Senate Agriculture Committee found that 60 percent of American waterways were polluted, and the major reason is animal agriculture.
    • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development lists nitrate pollution (from fertilizer and manure) as one of the most serious water-quality problems in Europe and the United States
    • Anyone who has lived close to a large factory farm knows the smells can be extreme. Aside from greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide, cows and pigs produce many other polluting gases. Global figures are unavailable but in the US, livestock and animal feed crops are responsible for 37% of pesticide use, more than half of all the antibiotics manufactured and a third of the nitrogen and phosphorous in fresh water. Nearly two thirds of the man-made ammonia – a major contributor to acid rain – is also generated by livestock. In addition, concentrated factory farming of animals contributes to ozone pollution.

8. Save Water

  • Water needed for food production… (Earth Save, Guardian)
    • 1 lb potatoes about 7 gallons of water
    • 1 lb wheat about 13 gallons of water
    • 1 lb maize about 20 gallons of water
    • 1 lb rice about 27 gallons of water
    • 1 lb of beef over 2300 gallons of water
  • Meat production, especially the feeding of cattle, is a water-intensive process. The amount of water used by vegetarians is 300 gallons a day as compared to the 4,000 gallons used by non-vegetarians. (Chasing Green)
  • Livestock production accounts for over 8 percent of global human water consumption: if everyone in the United States went vegetarian for a single day, they would save 100 billion gallons of water.
  • More than half of all water used in the U.S. is used to raise and kill animals for the table. (Vegan Wolf)

9. Save Land

  • 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface is used for raising farm animals: if everyone in the United States went vegetarian for a single day they would save 3 million acres of land and prevent 3 million tons of soil erosion.
  • A typical meat eater’s diet requires 2.5 times the amount of land that a vegetarian’s diet does.
  • A farmer can feed up to 30 people throughout the year with vegetables, fruits, and cereals produced on less than 2.5 acres of land, but if the same area were used for the production of eggs, milk, and/or meat, it would only feed 5-10 people.
  • In a year with 2.5 acres of land, a farmer can feed…
    • 30 people with vegetables, fruits, and cereals produced
    • 5-10 people with eggs, milk, and/or meat
  • Forests in Brazil and other tropical regions are destroyed to make room for raising livestock animals: meaning, if you eat less meat, you will save forests.
  • Between 1960 and 1985 alone, nearly 40 percent of all Central American rain forests were destroyed to create cheap grazing land for cows later served on North American and European plates. Going vegan saves one acre of forest every year.

10. Avoid Toxins

  • The EPA estimates that nearly 95 percent of pesticide residue in our diet comes from meat, fish and dairy products.
  • Many meat and dairy products are laced with steroids and hormones.

11. Help Animals

  • My reason for becoming a vegetarian: I do not want anything to die for me. While this is my personal feeling, as you know I do not like to dwell on the negative – so I will not post any crazy sicko videos here. However if you are interested in knowing more you can do a search or check out the articles that I posted below – surely some of them will link you to the stuff I care not to think about.

12. Save Lives

  • You, your family, hungry strangers and animals 🙂

13. Smile More

  • Honestly…if you are looking good, feeling good, helping others, saving money, saving animals, eating tasty food and helping the environment you will absolutely be smiling more.
  • Plus veggies are pretty and colorful! Seriously.
  • Veggies taste amazing.
  • If you like the people you are cooking for: kids, spouses, friends, dogs etc. – show them that you care 🙂

Bottom Line: If you can do one thing to help yourself, help others and help the environment – move to a plant based diet. It’s easy and truly makes a difference in the world. Go you! 🙂

I did my best to link to sources etc…but below you will find lots of data. Have fun.

Books

Movies

Websites/Articles

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