This is just TOO CUTE
Hey! Dan here, it's good to be back at Synergy after being in Connecticut for the better part of August. I've been meaning to write this blog for quite some time, and it especially comes to mind whenever I visit the north.
People in Miami are more open to veganism and healthy living for whatever reasons than they are up there. Although I am grateful to spread love & light in the form of a sustainable, healthy, karma-free diet, not everyone is an auditory learner, so a lot of the information I pass on slips in one ear and out the other. And that's okay, because to be honest if I don't have a visual representation of what someone is explaining to me, I have a 0% chance of understanding or remembering it myself.
So for all of the visual learners and fact diggers out there, here's a list explaining why I became and choose to stay vegan for as long as I Iive.
First and foremost, I made the switch because of the helpless animals. There are a lot of people who simply don't know what really goes on behind the walls of a mass production slaughterhouse, or turn a blind eye to it. This is understandable, mostly due to the incredible marketing done by large animal agriculture industry advertisers.
Cows on milk bottles are painted (really, they're painted, you will not see actual pictures of happy cows on any milk or cheese packaging) happily grazing on grass in a big open field, pigs are often made into a caricature smiling or playing with other pigs, and chickens are also made into cartoons, often smiling, giving a thumbs up, or dancing.
These animals are all depicted in cartoon form to play on children psychology - if these companies make a child think its okay to eat animals and that the animals are happy to be eaten by them, these companies now have a lifelong customer that will pass this habit down to their offspring, and the cycle continues.
I understand some farms treat their animals respectfully and with care. I think this is good to an extent, (we'll get to that later), but the reality is this process can not meet the demand for animal products, ever. Let's do some quick math.
There are roughly 327,000,000 people in the United States alone.
327,000,000 people x 193 lbs = 63,111,000,000 lbs of meat per year. Just in the United States.
(This also is not factoring in fish, egg, or dairy products - this is just livestock meat alone.)
It is impossible to responsibly farm over 63 billion pounds of meat per year. The process is too slow, the animals don't yield as much meat, eggs, or secretions if they are not pumped with growth hormones and antibiotics, and the products won't last as long if they are not loaded with preservatives.
I don't care if the packaging says "free-range", "non-GMO", "cruelty-free", "organic", "grass-fed", or any other clever catch phrase the marketing companies are using - these animals are kept in horrible living conditions, fed complete garbage, pumped full of chemicals, and murdered horrendously. Just use the simple formula above to understand that there is simply no other way to meet the demand for animal products other than this terrifying mass production process.
For the emotional thinkers like myself, I have 1 simple reason why I don't eat meat for the animals: I cannot morally justify taking the life of another animal that does not want to die when I have access to all of the plants in the world, and there is nothing I can get from animals that I can not get from plants.
Earth & The Environment
There are a lot of points that I will touch on in this post that strike a nerve with people, probably the environment being the biggest one. Whenever I bring this point up, people immediately laugh and say something like, "Oh yeah okay, cow farts are causing global warming LOL go home vegan." That is a controversial point that I won't really touch on no matter how much evidence no matter how much evidence no matter how much evidence there is to support it. I am going straight to irrefutable facts. (The repetition was intentional.)
Areas in red show the location and size of many dead zones
For those of you who may not know, dead zones are areas in the world's oceans and large lakes, caused by excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors that deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water.
This means that due to the waste run-off from these animals as well as nutrient pollution from their feed (unsustainable GMO corn & soy), oxygen levels in certain parts of the ocean are so low that life cannot exist. These dead zones are close to shore, which means your favorite animals are in danger - sea turtles, starfish, manatees, seagulls, sting rays, crabs, the list goes on.
This one slips past a lot of people, especially in New England - Cod, lobsters, oysters and calamari are a staple of North Eastern American culture and they "cannot live without it." Some people argue that "The ocean is just too huge and there's no way that humans can have any impressionable effect on it."
Listen up pal, our craving for our salty friends is having devastating effects on the sea.
One of them is overfishing - some effects from this include an explosion of the predator's prey (for example, sharks and cod overfishing led to their prey over populating, which fundamentally alters the food web and ecosystem) and extinction of species.
Another point is habitat destruction. "Dredging is a practice commonly used to harvest clams and employs a large metal scoop that drags along the seafloor to pick them up. The process also churns up sediments along the seafloor, causing them to become suspended in the water column, decreasing water quality. The practice can also dig up burrowing worms from the sediments. These animals are important because their burrows increase contact between sediments and the water. This returns nutrients to the water, where they are used by microorganisms in nutrient cycling. Without these burrowing animals, waters along the seafloor can become depleted of oxygen and uninhabitable." - environmentalscience.org
Personally, the most heartbreaking effect of mass fishing is bycatch. This term refers to large nets catching non-targeted species by accident. For example, let's say a fishing outfit is targeting Cod, but accidentally catches a pod of dolphins in it's net. This is very common, and lowers already dwindling population of endangered species, again some of your favorite animals - sea turtles, manatees, and whales just to name a few.
North Carolina Hog Farms Waste is Killing People
I know this point may seem pinpoint, especially compared to all of the other negative environmental effects resulting from animal agriculture, but I make it for a reason - it hits close to home. Some people simply cannot relate to our bleeding ocean, but may be able to resonate with the effects this industry has on people in their own country.
"There are an estimated 10 million pigs in North Carolina’s pig farming industry. Together, they produce waste equivalent to 100 million humans. Worse, septic infrastructure doesn’t exist at pig factories to properly handle the massive amounts of pig waste produced daily." - The Observer
There are roughly 4,000 "waste lagoons" across eastern North Carolina, filled with feces, urine, blood, any kind of general waste that is produced from the hogs. The bacteria from these lagoons seeps into the ground, polluting ground water, surface water, and leaves a bacterial odor in the air that is giving nearby residents asthma, diarrhea, eye infections, depression, neurobehavioral abnormalities, and impaired pulmonary function. (Pulmonary = lungs) There are even reports that are linking the effects of this waste to a multitude of cancers in the nearby communities.
The quite literal stench of death in the air begets death of those who breathe it.
That looks much more appetizing than a poor little piglet
This is also a controversial subject of veganism. For every study that says meat is bad for you, the animal agriculture industry will pump out 5 studies of how it is good. Please keep in mind that these lawyers and scientists are very good at manipulating facts to make it seem like we are the crazy ones, and these large animal agriculture industries have bought out "trustworthy" sources of health information.
Sponsors for American Cancer Society (Click Champions): https://www.cancer.org/our-partners/partners-against-cancer.html
Texas Beef Council partners with American Heart Association: https://www.progressivecattle.com/news/industry-news/beef-and-heart-health-a-healthy-partnership
Sponsors for American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org/about-us/corporate-support/national-sponsors.html
You'll notice Tyson, Perdue, and Dannon as sponsors for these corporations - massive animal agriculture corporations. Put the pieces together, and you will see the bigger picture.
Avoid this brand at all costs
So the next time you see a study pointing out the 'benefits' of eating animal products or the 'dangers' of not eating animals products, read the fine print, research the sponsors, and search for a motive.
Moving forward, the negative health effects of consuming animal products is staggering.
The World Health Organization finally admitted that processed meat such as cold cuts, hot dogs, ham, sausages, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat and more are directly linked to cancer.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that if you eat meat, the chances of developing diabetes is 1 in 3.
Consuming meat products increases your chances of gaining weight by 66%.
There is a strong link between consuming dairy and autoimmune diseases such as arthritis.
So there we have cancer, diabetes, obesity, & autoimmune diseases, just to name a few. I will more than likely come out with a blog dedicated just to the negative health effects of consuming animal products, but for the sake of this summary blog, I'll just name 4.
Bringing this all back to self-love, consuming products that make you sick is not a practice of self-love, but rather the opposite. Whatever you put into your body you are either feeding or fighting disease. Supplying your body with a whole foods (not the cheesy store brand) plant based diet is the best form of self-love next to a daily yoga and meditation practice.
Thank you all so much for reading, please feel free to share with anyone who may have a difficult time understanding your lifestyle choice of vegan or even vegetarian.
And if you're not doing anything this Sunday, Synergy is having a Sunday Morning Sweet Vinyasa and Vegan Brunch at Soul Tavern where a bunch of yogi vegans come together to end their week with good yoga, good food, and good company. I highly recommend going.
Namaste, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page with any questions about veganism.