The meat industry is detrimental to both animals and society

I Will Not Participate In A Process That Kills 3 Billion Animals Per Day

Why everyone should consider the option of vegetarianism


I will never eat meat again.

It has been over five years since I last sat down at a restaurant and ordered a hamburger, five years since I helped my dad grill hotdogs on our back porch, five years since I crafted my favorite sandwich combination of turkey with pickled relish and mustard. Five years later, I do not miss any of these things. I never envy my relatives who dig into the festive ham at Thanksgiving, nor do I stay up late at night simply dreaming of the crunch of buttery crab legs.

I will emphasize now that I do not appreciate people who shove their ideologies down other's throats. I have never been one to preach my values to others and judge those who do not think exactly the same way as me. I understand and appreciate that meat can be vital to surviving for certain individuals, while simultaneously acknowledging that for many of us (especially in the developed world), meat is by no means necessary to live. I am still very much alive and highly active, and yet meat has been absent from my diet for years.

Here are some of the reasons I personally have made the commitment to a vegetarian lifestyle (and why I encourage others to at least give it a chance):

Including both land and sea creatures, around 3 billion animals are killed every day. 3 billion every single day. This number is devastating for a variety of reasons. First, the treatment of these slaughtered animals is abhorrent. Simply watch one of the countless documentaries that investigate factory farming and you will be exposed to gruesome images of caged pigs being force-fed steroids until reaching 300 pounds and being slaughtered, of young calves being separated from their mothers at birth to be killed and sold as veal, of goats being forcibly impregnated in order to produce milk. The images and stories are out there, and they are grotesque.

Animals are sentient beings who feel pain. There is documentation of commercial farmers slaughtering sheep by shackling their hind leg and raising it off the ground, only to cut the sheep from their stomach to throat and letting the animal bleed to death (often the animal is conscious). This is horrifying, I know, but it is also important. One can read something like this, be disgusted, but move on with their day and keep consuming meat. Or, one can research factory farming and discover the deplorable inhumanity in current practices and decide to take action by refraining from contributing to such a torturous process.

Another reason the 3 billion number is devastating is because of the negative impact factory farming and the mass production of meat has on the environment. The meat industry has a detrimental impact on energy consumption, fertilizer and pesticide application, water usage, waste production, and soil quality. For example, people who eat beef (just beef alone) use 160 times more land, water, and fuel resources for their diet in comparison to a plant-based one. That's a huge gap in resources that could be spent elsewhere. Additionally, as the world population continues to expand, it is increasingly harder to feed the 805 million people suffering from chronic hunger. Why, then, is 70 percent of grain in America alone fed to farm animals instead of people? Cattle by themselves consume the same amount of food that could feed 8.7 billion people. Think of what an impact a plant-based diet could have on both the environment and world hunger.

Finally, 3 billion animals killed per day is not only a detriment to animals, but it is harmful to the health of humans as well. In contrast, a vegetarian diet offers multiple health benefits including a decreased chance of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. I have never felt more healthy or energized since switching to a plant-based diet.

3 billion animals killed per day is a staggering number. The suffering animals endure in factory farms is atrocious. The impact of the meat industry is devastating to the environment and resources are allocated improperly. Meat has a negative impact on health. The reasons to become a vegetarian are endless. But mostly, the number of animals killed per day is heart-breaking.

But it is one that can change.

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How To Order Vegan Like A Boss At Dutch Bros.

Coffee is a plant. And plant eaters need their fix, too.

Recently, at my local Dutch Brothers Coffee stand (shoutout to Monmouth Dutch Bros.!) they put up a sign with allergen information, to make it easier for the gluten, soy, and lactose intolerant.

Not only is this considerate as all get out, it also makes it immensely easier to order as someone who eats a plant-based diet.

Which is just the most obnoxious way of saying that I'm a vegan.

Now that this information is available at stands, it's much easier for my fellow herbivores to make delicious new combos without worrying about accidentally ingesting milk or eggs. But I'll make it even easier: here are my favorite vegan orders at Dutch.

1. Mochas

The chocolate sauce is dairy free! Rejoice! Flavored mochas are so creamy and delicious... Especially with coconut milk (it has the most fat content of their alternative milks).

Here are a few of my favorites:

"Grasshopper" (dark chocolate and creme de menthe)

"Double Torture" (vanilla mocha with two extra shots)

"Black Forest" (dark chocolate and cherry)

And last, there's no name for this one, but an English Toffee Mocha is to die for.

2. Iced teas

As long as you avoid the occasional special with white chocolate thrown in, you should be good here. However, they can be quite sweet and if you're like me, that's not ideal.

In general, my tip is to order half sweet, but here are my two favorite, less sickly sweet orders:

A plain, pink grapefruit green tea

"Ray of Sunshine" (blackberry, peach, and grapefruit)

3. Lattes

Now, with no sauce (chocolate, caramel or otherwise) these will be less creamy, but also less sweet! If that's your dig, here you go:

"Nutty Irishman" (Irish cream and hazelnut)

"Amaretto" (almond and cherry)

"Islander" (chocolate macadamia nut, vanilla, and coconut)

4. Chai

Now, this is where it gets tricky. If you believe honey is vegan, then you're good to go; if you're not on the honey train, then chai is a no-go for you.

But for those who love themselves some bee-juice, I have two words for you: dirty chai. (A chai with espresso shots tossed in.)

It's a plain and simple drink you can get anywhere and adds no sugary syrup. Frankly, the Dutch chai is sweet enough, you really don't need any flavors added. However, I find that I do need the added espresso shots to balance it out. Plus, you get that added caffeine kick, and who doesn't love that?

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas for next visit, so you can do more than the (very safe) soy vanilla latte. Go forth and caffeinate!

Cover Image Credit: Monmouth Dutch Bros. | Instagram

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I Went Meat-Free For One Whole Week, And I Changed In Ways I Never Imagined

I didn't expect there would be these many benefits.


It all started with a simple challenge.

I urged myself to give the vegetarian diet a try, even just for seven days.

I got excited, but also really worried. Excited because this is another adventure in itself. New things are always fun, right? Because my family is not vegetarian, I had to either do my own meal preparations or buy outside food. I got the chance to experiment with ingredients that I didn't normally use. I didn't know that cooking your own food would be such a fulfilling, yet liberating experience. But also, I was nervous — simply because I was not sure if I could do this for a week. Moreso, I got worried about potential nutritional deficiencies. I didn't want to be missing the needed nutrients from my usual meat diet that could negatively affect my daily activities.

Little did I know, the opposite happened.

I expected that my lack of iron from meat would make me more restless and anxious. Rather, I felt way lighter and even had a better mood. Research suggests that the low amount of arachidonic acid from avoiding meat is the reason behind this. To make sure that my lack of iron from meat is being met, I ate right amounts of tofu, nuts, and mushrooms.

Before this challenge, I wasn't really conscious of what I put in my body. My regular diet usually consists of rice, protein (pork, beef, chicken, seafood), and maybe leafy vegetables. Note that "maybe" over there. As long as it's tasty, it will get in my belly. Through this challenge, I started to think about the nutrients that I do need and the junk that I should start to avoid.

Being my competitive-self, I knew I'd have to live up to the challenge no matter what. I also knew it would be hard, though; especially since I've never done it before. What initially started as a mission quickly became an enjoyable experience.

Why the sudden need to try a new diet, you may ask?

One day, I realized how I claimed to love the Earth so much but never considered how much processing went into my daily consumptions. This challenge forced me to dismiss packaged food such as bacon and SPAM for breakfast. It made me choose the actual whole food instead. These involved fruits like bananas, grapes, and kiwis. As a result, my plastic consumption also went downhill.

Even after this challenge, I might continue with my new habits of choosing healthier alternatives. It's always a good idea to be kind to our bodies — even better if that idea helps in taking care of our planet.

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