Why You Should be a Vegan

There are many benefits for a healthy vegan diet. I want to emphasize that being vegan is not a magical experience; you have to be healthy about it and carefully plan what you eat.

According to http://ajcn.nutrition.org, vegan diets are high in dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, and magnesium. They also have a lower calorie count and saturated fats. In addition, vegan diets are lower in cholesterol and long-chain n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids, vitamin D and B-12, calcium and zinc.

From my own experience, I lost a lot of weight after going vegan, mainly because I became more aware of what I eat, where my food comes from, and how I should eat. I became , not a a pickier eater, but a more cautious eater and shopper. I realized that food is part of a big market. Being vegan was a choice that has saved my life in so many ways.

Kyle Leon’s Customized Fat Loss explains that vegans are thinner and have lower cholesterol along with blood pressure. This happened to be the case for Latin Americans, African Americans, as well as Caucasian Americans.

Going vegan has another benefit: it helps you absorb nutrients. AJCN elaborates by stating that a vegan diet seems to be useful for increasing the intake of protective nutrients and for decreasing the intake of dietary factors that cause chronic diseases.

But, this is not just what makes veganism a good choice as a lifestyle. It is the nice, little things that make it so beneficial. You get to look at animals and know that you are not participating in their slaughtering. You can live life with a clear conscience, knowing that you did not hurt anything or anyone in order to survive. That is what I mean when I say that veganism is a lifestyle. You get to draw lines on what you accept into your life and what you reject. You do not just buy things. You think through every purchase. Do you really want those leather shoes or would you rather buy the faux leather ones instead?

Being vegan is about these choices daily. It is about making choices that are beneficial not only to your health but also to the environment. Many vegans try to opt for eco-friendly packaging, clothing, and food, of course.

Being vegan has the benefit of living life a little more alertly, without feeling like you are living in a haze. Lance Armstrong reflects on his life post becoming vegan on mnn.com, where he reflects on how he no longer gets food coma and he no longer experiences that after becoming vegan. Moreover, he also talks about being a frequent nap taker prior to becoming vegan. And he reflects on the fact that he no longer feels exhausted to take naps.

Furthermore, veganism is easy to follow, especially once you get to know your shortcuts and ways of mimicking healthy non-vegan food. I particularly like to bake cookies, pies, cakes.  MNN.com shares that President Clinton’s change into a vegan diet changed his life completely. It literally obliterated his heart disease.

Look, veganism is a wise choice for the environment. We were not intended to eat meats. We have tiny teeth compared to carnivores. Veganism gets your digestive system going, gets your body healthy and strong, and enables you to be active and refreshed. You feel a closer connection to nature, to your fellow living sentient beings, you look at the world through a different lens. It is a beautiful and harmonious place to live and you need to see it. What more can you ask for!

Free Range Chickens: Healthy or Not?

Before we delve into the healthiness of free range chickens, it is important to get some background information first. The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers free range as allowing animals to have some access to an outside area. It is not specified how long the chickens are allowed to remain in the outside area and under what conditions. So, what a farmer may consider “outside area” may vary and so does the time the chickens spend outside.

There is a big difference between cage free chickens and free range chickens. In cage free chickens’ case, they are, as the name suggests, not kept in cages. Free range chickens are kept in cages for a period of time and then released into an outside area for a while. It is like recess.

chicken shitThere are mixed reports regarding the healthiness of free range chickens. Some smaller studies show that pastured chickens may be healthier, but there is little to no proof of that.

A 2003 study by Penn State University researchers found that eggs from pastured hens had higher levels of omega 3s than regular chickens.

What is really neat about free range farming is that it is healthy for the environment too. Farmers sometimes use mobile chicken pens to move the chickens around. Their hunt for insects gets rid of insects for the farmers. Moreover, the leftover crops that they eat can be fertilizing for the soil. So the land and chickens end up having a symbiotic relationship.  They end up having an interdependent relationship.

It is not all sunshine and daisies, though, and it is important to point that out when talking about a healthier, more compassionate type of farming. It is not perfect and can be improved upon. Researchers at the National Veterinary Institute in Uppsala in Sweden found that farmers, if not careful, can spread bacterial infections like E.coli.

In Sweden, a new law prohibits the use of small cages for free range chickens. Instead, it requires that chickens live in more natural habitats where they can roll around and move. This kind of farming is called the litter-based system.

Compared to caged birds, though,  free rang hens were susceptible to more bacterial infections, more parasites and viruses. They also became more violent and cannibalistic attacks, which is not only terrifying, but also heartbreaking. The hens are thought to be living better, but in reality, while they are healthier for us, they not entirely living a healthy life themselves. And that is important to keep in mind, keep that in your back pocket and recognize that this is not right.

In 2005, a report in the Journal of Food Protection revealed that salmonella contamination was sometimes higher in free range chickens than in regular chicken.

There are pros and cons to eating free range chicken. They can be healthier, but that is something that is being questioned as of the writing of this article. We do not know if free range chickens are being treated humanely or not and thus we cannot assume that free range chicken and eggs are really all they are cracked out to be. But, by the same token, there is some proof that they are healthy and can provide a lot to our dietary intake and health. As a vegan, I can say that it is somewhat troubling that the chickens get violent sometimes and I would love for scientists to study that more, explore why they are attacking each other and how can we help them not do that. Also: it is important to know how bacteria is spread in free range chickens.