There are so many advantages to being a vegetarian from saving money, to better health, to saving the planet! Keep reading to understand these advantages and discover even more.
If you’ve read my post on why I became a vegetarian (Becoming a Vegetarian | Why I Became One and Love It), you know that I became a vegetarian for health reasons. It was an experiment that I found I loved and decided to stick with it. Now, over 12 years later I have many lessons to share about the advantages of being a vegetarian.
Don’t feel like reading? Watch my video!
Big Advantages to Being a Vegetarian
In my opinion, there are three big advantages to being a vegetarian and they all have to do with saving. I’m only partially joking when I say that being a vegetarian is my superpower.
You are Saving the Planet | Advantages to Being a Vegetarian
I realize this may sound extreme but this is one of the first things I accidentally started learning about when I first became a vegetarian. I say accidentally because I was only researching how to be a healthy balanced vegetarian when I came across this fact:
The burps, farts, and poop of cows are one of the biggest pollutants to our environment.
What?!?! Have you heard this before?
When we hear about greenhouse gas emissions, we mostly hear about CO2 gas. However, methane gas has an even greater impact on greenhouse gas emissions and this is what cows (and other ruminant animals with 4 stomachs like sheep and goats among others) produce with their burps and farts.
Not only that, but their poop breaks down into nitrous oxide causing more pollution.
Out of all global greenhouse gas emissions, livestock account for 51% and transportation only 13%. [Source]
Lots of land is needed to raise livestock. The land is not only used to raise livestock, but also to grow all of the corn and grain to feed livestock. Because of this, animal agriculture is now responsible for 91% of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. [Source]
Land is not the only thing being used in high amounts. Tons of water is used to grow the grain the livestock eat, to water the livestock themselves, and then to go into the production of meat and get it to your plate. Just 1 hamburger uses 660 gallons of water which is the equivalent of showering for 2 months. [Source]
Reading and Watching
If this interests you, I encourage you to do more reading and research. This is only the beginning of what you’ll find. Start with these helpful links:
- Forbes: Scientists Underestimated How Bad Cow Farts Are
- The Guardian: ‘Are a cow’s farts the worst for the planet?’ Children’s climate questions answered
- PBS: Cow Farts Aren’t The Only Food-Related Climate Culprit
- NPR: Gassy Cows Are Warming The Planet, And They’re Here To Stay
I will confess that being a vegetarian doesn’t fix everything. Being a vegan is even better for the environment…no dairy, eggs, fish, or any animal products.
But beyond that, there are definitely problems with plant agriculture too. Local and organic are always best but not always possible.
You are Saving Your Health | Advantages to Being a Vegetarian
It is rare to meet an obese vegetarian. Not out of the question, just rare. You can be a vegetarian and eat donuts, cheese pizza, and mac n cheese all day long. But you will not boast the benefits of weight loss, more energy, and better sleep that many vegetarians experience. Most of us who cut out meat add in more veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, and fruit all of which have more fiber and are high in nutritional value.
Evidence-Based Health Advantages
Studies have shown that vegetarians have lower
- blood pressure
- rates of type 2 diabetes
- overall cancer rates
- risk of chronic disease in general
- risk of dying from heart disease
- rates of obesity
That is a lot of evidence-based health benefits!
Other Possible Health Benefits
These are not benefits you’re going to find many medical articles on but benefits I believe I have experienced as a result of being a vegetarian either because I no longer eat meat or simply because I eat healthier than I did before.
- Better sleep
- More balanced hormones
Once I cut out meat completely, I noticed a change in my sleep. I fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer. Coincidence? I don’t know. I do know a cleaner diet of less unhealthy fat and sugar and more fiber and nutrient-rich foods can only do good things for your overall health and wellness.
Did you know that your gut is the second brain of your body? It is amazing and what I have learned only scratches the surface, I’m sure.
Hormones are regulated in our guts. If our guts are too cluttered with goop and sluggish stuff (in my words, not medical terms), it can cause an imbalance in hormones. Our bodies have 50 different types of hormones, not just sex hormones. Stress and thyroid hormones are just two other types that come to mind but there are many more.
Therefore, it makes sense that cleaning up our diet can help clean up our hormones. This was my unresearched motivation to be a vegetarian. At that time I didn’t know anything about the gut, I just was aware of general hormones that get given to livestock to boost production. I was trying to avoid flooding my system with outside hormones.
Watch my Story on Becoming a Vegetarian for Menstrual Health
You are Saving Money | Advantages to Being a Vegetarian
This one is simple. Meat is expensive and with the pandemic has gotten even more expensive. The average price for ground beef in 2021 was $4.26/lb.
Let’s say it’s Taco Tuesday and you want to make tacos with a pound of ground beef. At a minimum, that meal will cost you $4.26. Compare that to a vegetarian taco night featuring black beans. A can of black beans is about the sizing equivalent to a pound of ground beef but is only a fraction of the cost. One can cost around $0.79. Dry black beans only cost 1/3 of what canned beans do. You could buy a 4 lb bag of dried black beans for about the same cost as a pound of ground beef that would last you 16 Taco Tuesdays!
I don’t have the numbers to prove this, but it seems with the cost of meat currently being so high, that a full organic vegetarian diet would cost no more than a non-organic meat-eating diet.
In conclusion, a vegetarian diet will save you money. Next time you go grocery shopping buy groceries for a week of vegetarian meals and see how much money you save.
Valuable Lessons Learned as a Vegetarian
Getting Creative with Cooking
Like many traditional American households, growing up my dinner plate was made up of meat, starch, and veggie (with veggies being the smaller portion). When I first became a vegetarian it was really challenging to get out of this mindset. I was constantly looking up recipes because I couldn’t think outside the box about what to cook.
However, cooking vegetarian forced me to get creative and courageous. Like anything, with enough practice, I eventually got more confident in one-pot dishes and using spices to give mouthwatering flavor.
I find that international cuisine is a lot more adaptable to being vegetarian. Italian Spinach and Butternut Squash Lasagna, Black Bean Sweet Potato Mexican Bake, Moroccan Sweet Potato Lentil Soup, Middle Eastern Falafel and Tabouleh, and on and on.
I choose to see this as one of the many gifts and advantages to being a vegetarian. Too often we get stuck in our ways and need a catalyst to push us to try new things. We weren’t made to only consume things. We were created by and in the Image of a beautiful Creator so that we too can create beauty.
God’s Original Design
Speaking of creation, did you know that Adam and Eve were vegetarians? Or at least they started that way. At the beginning of the Bible, in the book of Genesis, you will find the creation story where God created the earth and all living things.
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.Genesis 1:29-30
Do you see it? Right there in the creation story, God gives plants as food to man and woman and to all creatures. Nowhere is anyone a meat-eater until after The Fall.
The Fall is in Genesis chapter 3 where Adam and Eve disobey God, causing sin to enter the world. It is after this that everything is broken and disordered. The ground is now cursed and will take a lot of strenuous labor for it to produce food to eat (Genesis 3:17).
When Does Meat-Eating Enter the Picture?
The first mention of eating meat is in Genesis 9:3 after Noah and the flood. God compromises and says, “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”
This was not God’s original good plan for us. This was only granted after we messed everything up. God is all about meeting us where we are, and this is just one example of that.
I personally found it so fascinating that I was thriving on this diet that was God’s original good plan for us.
Did you know that Noah lived to be 950 years old…as a vegetarian! Talk about inspiration for vegetarian health.
Be Hospitable and Receptive
Lastly, don’t let being a vegetarian stop you from giving and receiving hospitality. When I first became a vegetarian I was anxious about community meals. Whether I was invited to someone’s house, going out with a group, or hosting people myself I was anxious about being a bother or not having any food options.
So I learned to advocate for myself and others.
When going out to eat I make suggestions and look at menus first so that I know there is something I can eat. People always say, “I’m sure they have salads.” They likely do but most salads have meat on them!
If I’m invited over to someone’s home for a meal, I let them know we’d love to come and we are vegetarians. I’ll ask to bring something to contribute and I’ll offer to brainstorm menu ideas if that’s helpful.
When going to a potluck of sorts, I always bring a substantial salad or veggie pasta salad so I know I’ll have something to eat.
When I’m hosting people I always make sure to inquire about dietary restrictions because I know how helpful and hospitable that is when others do that for me. This Thanksgiving we hosted a “Friendsgiving” meal with some college students and I didn’t know everyone’s food restrictions. So I made sure it was vegetarian (duh!) and I had dairy as an add-on so that it could be dairy-free if needed. For dessert, I had a regular and a gluten-free pumpkin pie along with dairy-free, gluten-free pecan pie bars (delicious by the way!). One student, in particular, was so grateful because she is gluten-free and never gets to eat pumpkin pie.
Receiving What is Given
I want to graciously receive what someone else has made for me and not be so picky that I can’t do so. For example, if someone is grilling me a veggie burger right next to the juicy meat burgers and flipping it with the same flipper, I’m going to eat it even though it likely touched meat.
If a soup has no meat in it but was made with chicken broth, I’m going to eat it and give thanks.
Some vegetarians might disagree with me on this one. I, however, want to live a hospitable, gracious life and have people respond well to me. Who knows, It may spark a good conversation and convert someone to be a vegetarian!
I do realize that some food allergies can’t be that receptive because they will get sick. That is a valid excuse. A touch of meat juice or a cup of chicken broth is not going to be my undoing.
Watch my video to get a taste of who I am and what makes me tick!
This is part two of a three-part series. Make sure to read and watch part one! Part three is coming out in June.
Make sure to check out my best Vegetarian Recipes!
Let Me Know
What do you claim the advantages to being a vegetarian are? What lessons have you learned? Comment below.
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