Around May 2017, I made the choice to become a vegetarian. I was overweight, not thinking about what I was putting in my body, and unaware of the effect the meat production industry has on our society. Interestingly enough, what inspired me to become a vegetarian wasn’t due to my weight or for health purposes, but due to factory farming and undying love for animals and the environment. The agricultural industry is one of the main leading causes contributing to air and water pollution and increasing global warming. Livestock from factory farming is responsible for forty percent of CO2 emissions into our atmosphere. Aside from all of the negative environmental impacts, the farm animals in factory farming facilities are being abused and exploited for profit. The conditions these defensive creatures are living in are overcrowded, hotspots for diseases, and ultimately abusive. I wouldn’t consider myself ignorant on this topic, so I am aware of how any process for slaughtering an animal isn’t going to be pretty. However, these animals aren’t given a fair shot at life anymore. There aren’t large fields for the animals to graze, roam, and live a full life. These animals are confined in small spaces, injected with an excess of growth hormones (which humans end up consuming), and mistreatment through animal abuse such as the removal of essential body parts, unsanitary conditions, and constant emotional distress for these creatures. I won’t include any images of this monstrosity of abuse for courtesy of squeamish readers, but I strongly encourage anyone reading to educate themselves on the cruel topic of Factory Farming.
Three years as a vegetarian has not only giving me a positive sense of helping these animals but also physically and mentally given me energy and reduced my personal carbon footprint. I’ve never felt better cutting meat and seafood entirely out of my life. If anyone is considering to become a vegetarian, I highly recommend making sure that the individual is:
- Getting enough protein (protein bars/drinks, beans, lentils, soybeans, etc.)
- Taking iron, b12, zinc, vitamin D, and magnesium supplements
- Making sure to have a higher intake of potassium in contrast to sodium
- Making sure a vegetarian diet is right for you
Vegetarian diets have proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancers. Anyone is capable of making this change in their lives to help reduce the negative impact the meat industry has on our environment and ourselves, but it’s important to remember that this diet isn’t for anyone. Individuals with iron deficiencies and susceptible to eating disorders are advised to talk with their health physician before embarking on this journey. Becoming a vegetarian has changed my life and outlook on the world in a positive light, and I hope to inspire others who are questioning or interested in making this change in their lives.