When I tell people I eat plant-based food, they invariably respond with one of the following questions: (1) Where do you get your protein? (2) Where do you get your B-12? and (3) What can you eat besides carbs? These questions are sadly laughable given the obesity and disease rates in America and the amount of people who exist on diets of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil, saturated fats, processed and other toxic foods.
Unhealthy people often ask me where I get my protein. It shows how divorced people have become from reality and reminds those of us who care about the well-being of animals, our health, and clean air, land, and water how much work we have ahead of us to educate our fellow citizens about the protein myth and other related issues.
The success of the animal killing industry depends heavily on concealing the truth about factory farming and what people actually eat. The casting of aspersions on the health benefits of plant-based eating originates from the same industry that has killed millions of Americans with the ingredients they inject into the animals they inhumanely confine, torture, slaughter, and sell for massive profits that have them laughing all the way to the bank. Watch the movie The Insider and learn about how the tobacco industry concealed the truth about nicotine as they watched it kill millions of people. These corporations do not care one iota about your health, the environment, or animal welfare. They care about money and they will lie to you until you die in order to make it.
In response to the aforementioned questions, I usually ask: Where do you get your fiber, B-6 and B-12, Omega 3 and 6, protein, vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K, selenium, chromium, potassium, magnesium, and iron? Is it in the cake, cookies, ice cream, cheeseburgers, soda, doughnuts, hot dogs, tacos, french fries, candy, chips, or Lucky Charms you eat? What do you do to combat the pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, pus, blood, feces, and chemicals in the animals you’re eating that are causing millions of animal eaters like you to die of cancer and heart disease?
I eat primarily organic foods in their original state, unaltered by processing factories that fill them with artificial preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, modified feed, broths, and artificial flavoring to give them taste they don’t have. Who do you think is healthier? I get more protein from eating raw organic foods than people who eat animals. Animal eaters have been duped by the factory farming industry into believing that eating animals is healthy and necessary to survive. It’s not. I’ve been vegan for many years and I am not dead. To the contrary, my doctor recently told me my blood test results resemble those of a healthy 15-year-old. Consider reading The Food Revolution by John Robbins. It’s a good place to start if you want to educate yourself based on objective facts rather than propaganda.
The American Dietetic Association (ADA), the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, issued a summary of a vegetarian diet. Unlike studies published and funded by companies hiding behind the meat industry, such as the so-called Center for Consumer Freedom (CFC), the ADA is a non-profit enterprise consisting of professional dietitians, researchers, and educators that has sought to maintain the health of American citizens for generations.
Here are a few of their findings on vegetarian lifestyles:
1. Vegetarian diets are appropriate for all individuals during all stages of life, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Vegetarians meet or exceed the requirements for protein intake and tend to have more optimal protein consumption than omnivores.
2. Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, and have higher levels of dietary fiber, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals.
3. Vegetarian diets are associated with a number of health advantages, including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels, and lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index (in other words, they’re not as fat), and lower overall cancer rates. Heart disease and cancer account for 50% of the deaths in the United States.
Sometimes people caution vegans to be careful not to offend people when they discuss veganism. There’s a terrible double standard when we talk about animal abuse. If we share information about someone abusing a dog, people are rightfully outraged. They want the offender imprisoned or killed. If we post information about factory farmers dropping a conscious chicken in scalding hot water, bolting a cow in the forehead and failing to kill him and cutting his limbs off while he is alive, or slicing off a pig’s feet while she squeals, some of the same people tell vegans to stop preaching. These animals experience pain, fear, and suffering equally. The only difference in their misery is in people’s minds. Vegans speak for all animals — not just the cute and cuddly ones. Calling standing up for animals “preaching” is a defense mechanism employed by those who don’t want to face their complicity in the abuse of animals. We’re not fooled or dissuaded and we will continue to beat the drum of kindness until every cage is empty.
In Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer explains that 99% of animals eaten today come from factory farms. Your free-range chicken is not free-range how you imagine. Free-range means the chickens are crammed by the thousands on a factory floor instead of in a cage. It’s the same miserable life. It’s the difference between being in solitary confinement and a jail cell – neither option is humane for the innocent.
The animals you eat are tortured before they reach your plate. You need to know that and you need to think about it. It matters. Once you know about the horrors of factory farming, and you do now, you are no longer absolved of guilt. If you continue to buy and eat animals, you’re funding cruelty to animals. The good news is you can end your support of these inhumane practices today by choosing to make gradual changes in your life that align your heart with your actions. You don’t have to do it all at once. All we ask is that you begin the process. Here is a Guide to Compassionate Living to help you get started.
The number of people adopting a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle is soaring. Vegan restaurants and grocery stores are sprouting up everywhere. It’s easier than you think and more rewarding than you can imagine. People are starting to recognize the health benefits, the compassion it shows towards animals, and how it will sustain our environment. There are countless resources available to assist you. Furthermore, the United Nations recently released a report on the necessity of the world moving to meat and dairy-free eating. It provides compelling evidence that the transition to plant-based eating is more than a moral imperative.
Thank you for keeping an open mind. I believe in your capacity to change. I am already proud of you for considering it.
Andrew Kirschner, Ed.D., is a grassroots vegan animal rights activist. He writes a zero-profit blog, Kirschner’s Korner, to help raise awareness about issues affecting the global community to make the world a more humane place. To receive new articles via email, enter your email in the “Follow Blog Via Email” link at the top right of the blog.