Why Go Veg: Reasons 1-4

Everyone I know asks me why I decided to go vegetarian. I usually ask in return, “How many reasons do you want?” The case for vegetarianism is compelling and hard to dispute. (The only case I’ve heard for meat is “but I like the taste.” I like the taste of cookie dough too, but I don’t plan to eat it for every meal.) In a series of posts, I will provide a list of reasons to go vegetarian.

1. You’ll live a lot longer. Vegetarians live about seven years longer, and vegans (who eat no animal products) about 15 years longer than meat eaters, according to a study from Loma Linda University. These findings are backed up by the China Health Project (the largest population study on diet and health to date), which found that Chinese people who eat the least amount of fat and animal products have the lowest risks of cancer, heart attack and other chronic degenerative diseases. And a British study that tracked 6,000 vegetarians and 5,000 meat eaters for 12 years found that vegetarians were 40 percent less likely to die from cancer during that time and 20 percent less likely to die from other diseases.

2. You’ll help reduce waste and air pollution. Circle 4 Farms in Milford, Utah, which raises 2.5 million pigs every year, creates more waste than the entire city of Los Angeles. And this is just one farm. Each year, the nation’s factory farms, collectively 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. And that’s not even counting the methane gas released by cows, pigs and poultry (which contributes to the greenhouse effect); the ammonia gases from urine; poison gases that emanate from manure lagoons; toxic chemicals from pesticides; and exhaust from farm equipment used to raise feed for animals.

3. You can put more money in your mutual fund. The economy is down & we’re all trying to save some cash. Replacing meat, chicken and fish with vegetables and fruits is estimated to cut food bills by an average of $4,000 a year.

4. You’ll give your body a spring cleaning. Giving up meat helps purge the body of toxins (pesticides, environmental pollutants, preservatives) that overload our systems and cause illness. When people begin formal detoxification programs, their first step is to replace meats and dairy products with fruits and vegetables and juices. “These contain phytochemicals that help us detox naturally,” says Chris Clark, M.D., medical director of The Raj, an Ayurvedic healing center in Fairfield, Iowa, which specializes in detox programs.
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Breakfast: Cereal and soy milk
Lunch: Avocado sandwich (just like any other sandwich, but with avocado instead of cold cuts)
Dinner: Veggie kabobs (mushrooms, various colored peppers, onion, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and pineapple)

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