A change in your lifestyle that will benefit you and everything around you.
I was walking down Princess Street on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon in Edinburgh, Scotland. At one point I got confronted by a group of people with masks. They had motionless white masks on their faces and they were holding laptops with videos on and handing out leaflets. It appears that it was the International Earthlings Day where activists would protest around the streets against animal cruelty, pollution, consumerist lifestyle, and unhealthy diet. The videos playing on the laptops demonstrated the inhumane ways that the animals that end up on our table would spend their lives, caged and tortured, shortly before they meet their demise. The amount of pollution in the environment, pesticides on the plants, hormones, and antibiotics that are given to the animals we eat is astoundingly disgusting.
I was interviewed right on the spot and some very interesting questions were put forward. Why have I not tried going vegetarian and if I am aware of all the benefits?
During the interview, I realized that my ignorance and lack of attempts in this dieting are opposing my personal values. I would always be open to new ideas and oppose ignorance by learning and research. My attempts to defend my standpoint which regarded a vegetarian diet inconsistent with fitness and bodybuilding was quickly overturned. The argument was met with examples from around the world. Celebrities and Athletes around the world of sport that have taken upon a meat-free lifestyle such as the 300lb vegan American football player David Carter, the rock star from Cro-Mags and Ironman champion at 53 years of age John Joseph, the tennis sisters Serena and Vanessa Williams, the UFC brothers Nick and Nate Diaz, the pro surfer Tia Blanco, Mike Tyson and my favourite the German-Armenian strongman Patrik Baboumian. Personally, Patrik was the definitive example that led me to try vegetarianism as he embodies the movement with his motto ”strength without victims”.
So what are the actual benefits of being vegetarian and changing your diet and lifestyle:
- Reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, food poisoning and obesity.
- You will live longer by slowing the aging process and changing your metabolism. British Medical Journal found that vegetarians outlive meat eaters by 8 years.
- Avoid processed and fast foods as well as many toxic contaminants in flesh foods such as hormones, herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics. In addition, you can stop eating meats high in cholesterol and saturated fat that lack fibre. Eating vegetables rich in antioxidants and a variety of phytochemicals will help your immune system and make you stronger.
- You will help save the wilderness as meat production requires vast amounts of water, energy, and results in habitat loss, soil erosion, water depletion, and pollution from pesticides and animal waste.
- Economically you are able to save more money on groceries and restaurant bills as vegetarian food is generally cheaper. You can spend the excess doing your favorite activities or on an additional holiday.
- Psychological benefits of being in peace with yourself and showing compassion to animals. Animal cruelty is a major problem with mass food production in the meat industry where animals are raised in cramped, overcrowded spaces and artificially bred, while denied sunlight and fresh air. Most caged livestock and poultry would live in captivity for the duration of their whole life.
- Religious aspects of vegetarianism taking a major standpoint in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism nurturing a non-violent and peaceful life.
- Fish and seafood species in our oceans are being made extinct by the minute as large overfishing operations, sewage pollution and radioactive contamination are spread around the different waterways and currents.
It has been almost 2 years since I went vegetarian and I feel stronger and agiler than ever without losing muscle mass or feeling low on energy. I chose to learn more about a subject and give it a shot. I chose to be more compassionate and less ignorant about what I eat and how I impact my surroundings. The questions is: Are you going to give it a shot or close your eyes and look away?