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Below are 10 reasons to make the transition to a plant-based diet:

It’s a small world, with an exploding population. The number of people on the planet today has doubled since 1960 to about 7.1 billion, and if current growth rates continue, the world’s population would hit 11 billion by 2050.  Average life span has also increased significantly in recent decades, meaning people are living, and eating, longer. This means we somehow must make the earth’s resources stretch to feed all these people, and for a longer time period.

The time is now to make some small changes that can make a big impact on our planet. The good news is, that there is  a very simple solution to many of the worlds greatest problems, and it starts with swapping that hamburger for a veggie burger.

1. Climate Change: You can be a vegan and drive a Hummer and still live lighter on the planet than  a meat-eating Prius driver. This report from The Environmental Working Group spells out which products are the most harmful. Those GHG emissions from animal agriculture lead to climate change, which is the biggest threat to our species. Think choosing grass fed products solves some of these issues?  Think again.

Grass fed cows produce 40-60 precent more methane than their grain-fed counter parts because of land use, deforestation, and the production of methane. Grazing cattle on grasslands can sequester carbon in the soil, but improperly managed grazing can make things worse rather than better. Even if grass fed were a better choice environmentally speaking, how many people adopting this diet can afford it? My local farmer’s market in Ojai is selling local organic grass fed beef for $30 a pound!

2. Overfishing: Consider that 90 percent of the ocean’s big fish are already gone due to overfishing, and that for every pound of seafood sold, about five pounds of bi-kill is wasted. This bi-kill comes in the form of other fish: endangered sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and even whales. Annually 300,000 whales and dolphins are killed in fishing gear, 60 million of them as bi-kill. Add to this that there’s no oversight in the fishing industry so there’s no telling how sustainable your meal is, even when you choose  “sustainable seafood”. Not to mention the mercury, dioxins, and PCB’s in the seafood could do untold harm to your health.

3. Pollution: Animal agriculture is responsible for massive pollution as the excrement from the over 10 Billion animals slaughtered each year has to go somewhere and those guys don’t use toilets. This poisons our air quality, waterways and oceans, and now there are many massive dead zones where no life can exist. In the words of Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd “If the oceans die, we die.”

4. Ocean Acidification: Thanks to all that pollution and carbon , our oceans have become more acidic than in 300 million years ago. At that time marine life became extinct and it took them 30 million years to recover.

5. Species Extinction and Habitat Destruction: Animal agriculture is the leading cause in species extinction and habitat destruction. For example, the beloved Australian Koala is slated to go extinct by 2030 in large part from lost habitat due to grass-fed cattle ranching  We are currently witnessing and participating in the largest mass extinction in human history. The UN recently hosted this awareness campaign to draw attention to the issue: illUmiNations: Protecting our Planet #ProjectingChange from Oceanic Preservation Society on Vimeo:


6. Fresh Water: On a planet plagued with drought and potentially heading for water wars in the future, animal agriculture (meat and dairy combined) uses 29 percent of the world’s fresh water and 50 percent of US water. A pound of beef takes 2500 or more gallons (some say 5000 gallons) of water to produce, versus a pound of greens, which takes about 31 gallons to produce. Grains take about 100-130 gallons of water per pound to come to harvest.  A pound of hemp uses only 50-100 gallons per pound and produces twice the (complete) protein as beef.

7. Food Security and World Hunger: 77 percent of the world’s grain is feeding livestock while children are starving to death at the rate of one every other SECOND. In fact, that grain could feed 800 million people. It takes about 16 pounds of grain to make one pound of meat. It’s like a protein factory in reverse. Much of that feed we’re growing for livestock feed is also GMO and using heavy amounts of toxic chemicals, killing our precious topsoil.

8. Land Use: 216, 000 people are born every day and 34,000 acres of farmable land is needed to feed them. 1 1/2 acres can grow 37,000 pounds of vegetables OR 375 lbs. of meat. It’s our choice.

9. Amazon Rainforest: The Amazon is the lungs of the planet and a largely untapped medicinal resource. Only 1 percent of this natural medicine cabinet has been studied so far, and today 91 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been decimated at the rate of an acre per SECOND for animal grazing or to grow crops to feed them. Around 17 percent of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years alone, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching.

10. Animal Rights: Humane slaughter is an oxymoron. 17,000 chickens are killed every minute in US. 10 billion animals are slaughtered each year, approximately 75 million in the US each day. If you think at that rate it can be done humanely, you’re kidding yourself. What if we all suddenly began to live by the principle of “ahimsa”, which essentially means, “do no harm” or “non-violence”. Can we summon compassion and see that raising and slaughtering animals is violent and harmful to them, to the planet and to us? Some encourage “humanely raised” and “ cage free” animal products, but how accurate are those labels? They are nothing more than marketing buzzwords in an unregulated industry.

This chicken farmer turned whistle blower is shedding light on a subject that most people prefer to stay comfortably unaware of. Choosing organic doesn’t necessarily mean the animals are treated better. Then there’s the notion that ingesting a slaughtered animal might be contributing to more fear and aggression in our world. We are what we eat after all, right? What happens to that meat as fear of imminent death runs through it? Some say neurotoxins are released into the meat. Looking at it from an energetic level, (and everything is energy) is this the best choice for what we could put into our body? There is nothing honorable about they way we are slaughtering animals these days. What are the karmic implications here?

It’s time to move from “me” to “we” consciousness, and make food choices that are in harmony with the planet and the people and animals we share it with.

Convinced it’s time to make a change, but don’t know where to start?  Don’t worry, I’ve got ya! Check out my eCourse: Conscious Eating 101. It covers in depth how to make the transition.

Magda Freedom Rod,is a certified yoga instructor, health & lifestyle guide and founder of Visionary Lifestyle and Conscious Eating 101. She helps people activate their highest potential through conscious eating, yoga and sustainable lifestyle guidance. Visit today to join her mailing list and receive recipes.

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