Why we Stand Against Vegetarianism, Part III
If you are a vegetarian purely for respect for life principles or for religious purposes, we will not knock you for that. However, if you are a vegetarian that is so because you think it is better for your body and for the environment, keep reading to find out why this is probably not the best lifestyle choice for you! To catch up, read our first post on this topic, or go here to check out our second post on the topic!
After two weeks of being derailed from the original intended content, we are finally arriving at the promises information that features the final two considerations of reasons people convert to being, or remain as, vegetarians.
In our first article on this topic, we took the time to described different aspects of vegetarianism, and we also explained why some forms of “vegetarianism” are not vegetarian at all…
Looking squarely at you, pescatarians!
In that same article, we took the time to define, explain, and explore the idea of vegetarianism being healthier. This, of course, continued in our second post on this topic (posted earlier this week) that was, admittedly, an attack on fake meat.
Hey, if you want to be a vegetarian because you don’t want meat, then why are you buying something with identical color, texture, and similar taste? Now, I would be less prone to complain if the person was not using blatantly fake meat to try to trick their brains into thinking that they were doing something healthy…
OK… I am stopping right there. I could write pages and pages about this, and that is not why we are here today.
So… we are here to discuss two key points; we are here to discuss (as promised previously) the following:
1. The environmental aspects of vegetarianism
2. The economic aspects of vegetarianism.
These two points are worth talking about, and in talking about them, we hope you understand why we will not swear off meat, but instead choose to embrace it.
Section I: The Environmental Side of the Argument
We have all heard the arguments that eating a vegetarian or a vegan diet is better for the environment. The raising and care of livestock is estimated to count of about 15% of the natural carbon emissions in the air, and of course these greenhouse gases are not exactly great for the environment.
Will we argue this point? No… we won’t. In fact, this helps the first section of our argument.
Bearing that in mind…
…we will just point out that that natural greenhouse gases that steers, cows, and other livestock emit would still occur with or without our intervention. That being said, if we were not to eat the livestock, then there will be more livestock. More livestock equates to more greenhouse gases being natural produced in that respect, and over a longer period of time.
This thought alone debunks a large aspect of the argument for meat-eating being poor for the environment on general principle. However, this is not the only argument that can be made.
Emission per calorie. New studies are showing that the emissions that are let off by the cows, steers, livestock, and other animals is not as much per calorie as some vegetables. For example, commercially growing lettuce, eggplant, and cucumbers (among others) require more resources pre calorie produced than meat. In fact, the study directly states that “eating lettuce is over 3x worse for the environment than eating bacon!” Does this mean that you should give up your salads and greens?
No, of course not… that would be foolish. Your body does need the greens, in the same way that it needs the meat!
(Sneaky little plug, yeah?)
Poison and Pollution. Yes, it is sad, but it must be said that there is more poison that is put onto the ground, into the water, and into our bodies from vegetable production than from meat production.
People will wonder how that is possible in a world where GMO and high doses of antibiotics are a thing, but think about it…
Does anyone else remember in the 1980’s when environmentalists wanted to ban pesticides?
Does anyone remember the medical reports connected with cancer and blood diseases from pesticide exposure?
Does anyone want to suffer these effects?
My guess… probably not.
It takes more chemicals to keep pests away from plants than it does to keep pests away from cattle, livestock, and other animals. This means that more chemicals have to be applied, more seep into the ground, and more damage is done to the environment.
There is another argument, and this one considers raising typical crops; most of the modern crops that are grown en masse are corn, soy, and wheat. These require massive machines that burn enormous amounts of fossil fuel, creating equal amounts of pollution!
Overharvesting. Overharvesting is a real problem. Many countries that specialize in growing and producing a specific product (Kenya and avocados, for example) there is a real risk that the ecosystem will be damaged as overharvesting occurs. In fact, some countries have begun restricting the outsourcing of specific plants to protect their natural ecosystems.
Now… there is not much else to say about overharvesting from the standpoint of the environment – a five-year-old would be able to see that overharvesting disturbs the food chain and potentially causes extinction of different plant types, takes food away from endangered species, and depletes soil quality.
However, if all of these environmental aspects occur, suddenly we have an issue where scarcity is an issue.
Based off the law of supply and demand, overharvesting can cause prices to spike, and all of the sudden your vegetarian diet costs more than straight meat consumption!
This of course leads us to…
The Economics of Vegetarianism
See what we did there? Probably the smoothest transition a group of butchers has written at any point in history.
How ‘bout that ?
Anyway, moving on, let’s address the concern here; is vegetarianism necessarily cheaper than a meat-based diet?
Well… we already covered that if everyone were to go vegetarian it would become impossible to afford, so there is that. However, that aside, how viable is vegetarianism from a cost standpoint?
This gets more complicated, because as with many things, this does depend on a number of factors.
Studies do show that an average person in the UK (this is where the study was done) the average household would save up to $757 a year. If you consider that an average family is 4 people, and that there are 12 months a year, each person then would save less than $16 a month.
Sure… if you have a real amazing financial adviser in your corner, maybe you can make something with that over 30 years. But most of us, with a small amount of income such as that will simply spend it without even noticing. Does that really help?
Also consider that the study shows that Brits spend that $757 each year on meat. If they are not spending it on meat, then they probably have to spend a good chunk of that to buy other foods.
Overall, this is not a very convincing argument.
Also note as well, this is the average family made up of average people…
What about athletes?
Athletes have higher caloric demand than most people, and they have higher need for complete protein strands. While these are accessible in vegetarian and vegan options, they are often harder to get into the body.
Athletes also often require numbers of synthetic hormone replacements that are found in meat if they are going for high performance, and many of these are very expensive.
Finally, there is one article that is written that is someone demonstrating their experience with eating vegan versus eating meat, and they admit that they spent about $100 more per month on the vegan diet than the meat-based diet.
What have we learned about the economics of vegetarianism?
Unfortunately, not much, it would appear. Whether or not it is cheaper likely depends on your circumstances, your lifestyle, your body type, or other factors that cannot be controlled.
If you are eating vegetarian to save that $757 a year as a family… then that is your choice, but overall it just seems like it is not worth the effort.
So, vegetarianism… it has been shown through this series that it is:
· Not healthy for your body
· Not good for the environment
· Not necessarily economically beneficial
One thing that we have been saying from the beginning – if you choose vegetarianism because of religion or because of respect for life principles, more power to you. We do not oppose you, and we will not try to convince you that what you are doing is not right for you. If your faith in whichever thought process is that strong… good for you.
We do applaud you.
However, if you are considering vegetarianism either because it is trendy (you know you are out there), you are trying to save money, you think that you are saving the environment, or you think that avoiding something you are evolved to need is healthy, please reconsider your thoughts.
Consider what you want, what is best for you, and what is best for the environment as a whole.
And… don’t forget your tastebuds! :)
That is it! Our stance – don’t do vegetarianism (unless it is religious or respect for life).
Please let us know your thoughts on this topic, or any topic, and we look forward to hearing from you.
Until next time, eat well, live well, and be well!