Why Do People Go Vegan? 5 Reasons

why don't people go vegan

Recently, I wrote about why more people don’t go vegan and now it’s time to look at the other side: Why people DO go vegan.

But, before we dive into it, I want to share one quick thought: It’s important that we take a 1,000-foot view of the global food ecosystem instead of having tunnel vision on simply our own diet. One person’s diet won’t change the world… but together we can make a HUGE difference in the world that we all share.

If the whole world went plant-based, the changes we’d see throughout the world would be incredible – I think. Our water would be cleaner, our forests would thrive with wildlife, and we’d leave a better planet for future generations. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’d see so many benefits I probably couldn’t even list them all here without creating the world’s longest blog post.

Unfortunately, the idea of the whole world going plant-based is far-fetched, if we’re being honest. I don’t think we’ll ever get to that point (at least not in my lifetime). My goal at Biogains is not to convince everyone that they should be vegan, or vegetarian or consume only plant-based meals. It would be great if they did, but I know that’s unlikely.

My goal is to increase awareness about plant-based diets and to let people know that great-tasting plant-based options are out there. Ultimately, I hope, people will gradually reduce the number of animal-based meals they consume.

A reduction of just one or two meals per week would make a huge difference. A reduction of one meal per day would be even bigger. I think we’ll get to the place where our water is cleaner, our forests are thriving, and we’re happy about the planet we’re leaving for future generations… Slowly but surely, we’ll get there.

We’re already starting to see a snowball effect of people increasingly adopting plant-based foods. A recent Bloomberg report found the plant-based market is expected to grow by a whopping 451 percent by 2030… So, we must be doing something right, right?

That was an unexpected tangent – apologies! Let’s get to the reason why you probably landed on the link to this blog post and finally dive into why people go vegan…

People Go Vegan to Save Animals

Let’s start with the obvious. The overwhelming majority of people don’t go vegan because they hate plants. They go vegan because they LOVE animals. This was my reason to reduce the number of animal-based meals I consumed and to eventually go full vegan.

I saw a documentary on factory farming and came to a few realizations, fairly abruptly:

Animals are Sentient Beings – Like humans, most animals have the ability experience and feel emotions such as joy, pleasure, pain and fear. And while the level of these feelings may vary, they’re there in nearly all cases of animal products that are normally consumed like fish, chicken, pigs and cows.

There’s No Such Thing as Cruelty-Free –I think that one of the early responses large companies made when consumers like myself started becoming increasingly aware of the animal suffering that goes on when animals are raised for food was to label foods “cruelty-free” or “humane” or “cage free” or “free range”. For these companies, it’s financial beneficial to ensure people aren’t aware of animal cruelty and exploitation. And at the day, even though there are varying degrees of how animals are treated on different farms and in different factories – the end result is the same, slaughter. And worldwide, 150 billion animals are slaughtered every year for human consumption.

Even Milk and Eggs Aren’t Harm-Free –You may be thinking that not all animals are slaughtered – which is true. Some animals are used to produce milk or eggs for human consumption.

Cows produce milk for one reason – to feed their baby cows. Humans forcibly inseminate cows to create milk. However, often times the baby cows humans produce to create cow milk never receive the milk that’s intended for them. Usually, cows are quickly separated from their mothers at birth to prevent them from feeding on the milk. Continuous forced births and the separation can cause significant emotional distress. Consider this: the average cow lives about 20 years. However, the average dairy cow is deemed unprofitable and slaughtered around 5 years of age.

The baby cows born so farms can produce milk have a fairly grim outlook. Males are generally sent for veal production where they are malnourished and die at around 8 months of age. Females are put in line to produce milk and are artificially inseminated as soon as they’re able to produce milk.

Now, let’s talk hens… The average wild hen is estimated to lay somewhere between 10 and 30 eggs per year. While hens in captivity are forced to produce between 250-300 eggs per year. Undoubtedly, this is why wild hens have a life expectancy of 8 to 15 years while hens in captivity often don’t make it to two years old.

Hens are constantly birthed to keep up with the needs of humans. But, about 50% of chicks born are males – which are obviously of now use in the egg industry. So, what happens to male chicks? They often ground alive within a day of being born.

With all that said, I think, we live in a world where most people are willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of the group. I would put the people who decide to go vegan to save animals firmly in this category. We can probably all agree that one person choosing to go plant-based won’t realistically put a dent 150 billion animals being slaughtered each year. But people are willing to be part of the solution. And the people who are choosing to reduce the number of animal-based meals they consume, or go completely plant-based are at the forefront of the movement to save animals and create a better world.

People Go Vegan to Save the Planet

My belief is that the vast majority of people would be absolutely SHOCKED if they realized the effect farming animals has on our planet. I honestly believe the average person has no idea what farming does to animals or our plant – and I was definitely part of this group just a few years ago. In hindsight, it’s a bit embarrassing how completely clueless I was.

I had no clue that raising livestock just for human consumption creates more greenhouse gases that all of the vehicles in the world, combined. To this day, I cannot wrap my head around that that fact.

I also had no clue that the animal waste that’s created through farming ends up in runoff that leads into our waterways. This devastates aquatic ecosystems and contaminates the are we breath. This is obviously harmful to animals and humans alike. Maybe, animals pooping in our water is their way at getting back at us for killing them? Something to think about.

One thing I did know is that farming animals has greatly impacted their natural habitats and that our forests have suffered. But I greatly underestimated how big this problem is. It turns out that a whopping thirty percent of the land or earth is used to raise and feed animals raised for human consumption.

I like to think my ignorance was to be expected when you grow up in a household and society where eating animals is considered the norm. But it’s surprising how well-kept the secrets of the damage farming does to the world seem to be.

The good news is just like how we’re able to collectively save animals from being slaughtered unnecessarily – we’re also able to collectively slow down or stop the harmful things our “normal” lifestyle does to the planet.

People Go Vegan to Save Money

There’s a lot of talk about if going plant-based is more expensive than a traditional animal-based diet. And, as someone who has consumed an animal-based diet and a plant-based diet in my adult life, I personally can say that I don’t see a large difference either way when it comes to spending money on food.

I don’t think saving money is a huge reason people choose to go vegan – like saving animals and saving our planet are. But I’ve heard from enough Biogains members to know that going plant-based can be cheaper that a normal American diet. It just depends on what you choose to eat, obviously.

Lentils, rice and beans are significantly cheaper than meat. And they are staples of a plant-based diet, along with other foods like potatoes and oats (which also aren’t budget-breakers).

So, I consider saving money to be more of a happy accident than an intentional reason to go vegan. And I elected to put it on this list because I’m the author of this blog post and there is nobody here to stop me.

People Go Vegan for Health Reasons

Sometimes, people deal with medical issues that force them to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. Medical issues like heart disease, high cholesterol, and even obesity can lead people to plant-based foods.

A lot of research has been done which shows that a plant-based diet can alleviate and, in some cases, even reverse or cure numerous health issues. These health issues include high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some types of cancer like colon cancer. 

Plant-based diets can also improve skin conditions due to the natural intoxicants of vitamins A, C and E. These skin conditions can also improve when you quit or reduce the amount of hormones you consume through meats.

But I believe this is by far the best sign that a plant-based diet is good for us: If the entire world went plant based, the global mortality rate would be expected to reduce by an estimated six to ten percent. Meaning, people would live longer, on average, on a plant-based diet.

People Go Vegan by Accident

Okay, maybe not by accident – per say. But often times, people who had no intention or prior thought of ever going vegetarian or plant-based make the switch anyways. Why?

Because of the circumstances in their lives. Sometimes, people are introduced to plant-based diets through a friend or family member who switched for their own moral reasons like wanting to keep animals alive or to improve the sustainability of the planet. Or they had a friend a family member who had to adopt a plant-based diet for medical reasons. And this leads them to be introduced to plant-based foods and diets and sometimes even make the switch themselves.

It’s funny, that in a world where sometimes vegans feel they’ll be outcasted from their social groups if they are too open about their lifestyle – that sometimes it goes the other way. People who had no intention of ever being vegan fall butt-backwards into it because of their social groups.

Go Plant-Based at Your Own Pace

If you’re considering going vegan or vegetarian but find it overwhelming, I would recommend starting with a simple change. I think many people struggle to adopt a plant-based lifestyle because they try to go from one extreme to the other. It will be very difficult to go from eating a traditional American diet to going completely plant-based overnight. Looking back, I believe that would have been impossible possible for me to do.

You don’t have to go from one extreme to the other. Small progress is still progress, right? Try one of these options to get the ball rolling on a plant-based diet and you’ll be well on your way!

Go Meatless for One Day Each Week – Start by picking one day of the week to be your “plant-based day”. That way, you can plan your meals ahead of time, do your grocery shopping and even meal prep for the day. It will greatly reduce any anxiety or stress that may come with making a drastic change to your diet.

Cut Back or Stop Eating One Type of Meat – This is a great option if there’s something you think will be very difficult to give up. Instead of quitting cold turkey, just cut out one type of meat at the beginning. For instance, red meat, fish or chicken. Once that food is an afterthought and eliminated from your diet, you can gradually move on to the next when you’re ready. Slow and steady wins the race!

Try ALL THE FOODS – Keep an open mind and give new foods a try. If you’ve never had buckwheat crepes or a BBQ tofu bowls – try it! Finding plant-based meals that you love will make it much easier to transition to a plant-based diet. Keep a recipe box of your favorite plant-based recipes and try to add them to your diet each week. Before you know it 25%, 50% or maybe even 75% of your favorite meals might be animal-free.

Remember, We’re All in this Together

I think there is sometimes a bit of unnecessary friction between those who consume animals and those who don’t. And I get it – people can be VERY passionate about this topic and many of us have strong opinions. And, while I love to see people passionate about the plant-based life, sometimes it can do more harm than good if you don’t know your audience.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my life, it’s that there isn’t any point in beating your head against the wall to try to get people to change. Or to get people to become who you want them to become. People only make changes when and if they want to.

My hope that one day, every one walking earth’s surface will decide to consume less meat. Lofty hope, I know right? But whether it’s one meatless meal a day, or a completely vegan diet. Every person who makes a change is part of the solution. Together, we can have a huge effect on the world – from the animals we’d save, to the live-able planet we’d create and leave for future generations.

We’re all in this together.

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