By Ryan Suppe
My dad loves Morrissey. He’s been to at least five Morrissey concerts, he bought everyone a copy of Morrissey’s autobiography for Christmas last year, he has a framed picture of the British rock star on his bedroom wall, he posts “Meat is Murder” videos on Facebook and he has more than one Smiths T-shirt, just to name a few examples. So when my dad announced to the family that he would be going vegan, we figured it was another Morrissey phase, and we didn’t pay much mind.
It wasn’t until three months and 22 lbs. later that we realized his true commitment to veganism. My dad’s cholesterol and blood pressure were cut in half. He is noticeably healthier in the face and gut. He has more energy, and he feels better. He accomplished all of this by simply cutting meat and dairy out of his diet.
Recently, I also decided to go vegan. Anybody who knows me well would assume I’m joking because I used to eat, on average, 60 cheeseburgers per day, but it’s not a joke. Thanks to my dad and some other credible sources such as “cow”spiracy documentaries on Netflix and angry vegan blogs on the Internet, I’ve come to the conclusion that a plant-based diet is far healthier than an animal-based one, and veganism just makes sense.
I didn’t go vegan because I wanted to be more hipster or because I suddenly became an animal rights activist. My philosophy has always been that if animals eat each other, why shouldn’t we eat animals? I went vegan because it’s healthier. It makes as much sense to me as wearing a seatbelt or putting on deodorant. If you can avoid flying through the windshield or smelling bad, wouldn’t you?
Going vegan is a huge lifestyle change, and something so drastic shouldn’t be done without proper research and education. What I’ve found in my research is that the majority of people transition to veganism for two main reasons.
The first reason for being vegan is out of respect for animals. In the words of Morrissey, “Meat is Murder.” There is no denying that eating meat is literally killing an innocent living being for your own benefit, but there are ways to justify that. For one, animals eat other animals. However, there is no way to justify the way that farm animals are treated in the Western world. It’s a fact that these animals are grossly mistreated, and if you need proof, look up videos on YouTube.
The second main reason for veganism is healthy living. Meat is murder and meat is murdering you. That is also a fact. Eating products from animals is really bad for you, and it’s been proven by science! In 2005, T. Collin Campbell, a professor of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University, published a book called “The China Study”, which explains why he recommends a strictly plant-based diet. During the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Dr. Campbell conducted a large-scale survey of meat-eating people living in different areas of China, and his research concluded that eating meat and dairy leads to chronic illnesses like coronary heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer. These diseases are known as “Western” diseases because they are a result of the Western diet – basically the food pyramid that you learned in elementary school.
If I told you that Snapchat causes cancer, and you could add years on to your life if you stopped posting on your story today, would you stop using Snapchat? You probably wouldn’t because you love Snapchat way too much, and nobody needs a lifestyle change like that during finals. Dr. Campbell concluded in The China Study that eating animal products is too entrenched in Western society for a study like his to have much impact. People like eating meat too much, and nobody of authority is telling them not to.
There are many reasons for going vegan other than the two I’ve discussed. One consideration is the environment. Cattle grazing has destroyed most of the Amazon rainforest, and cow farts are the leading cause of global warming. I can’t make this stuff up.
I’m thankful to Morrissey for convincing my dad to go vegan, and I’m thankful to my dad for convincing me. I feel better every day. If you are thinking about going vegan I encourage you to do research, and don’t give up. It’s so much easier to drive to Wendy’s and grab a quick double-stack than it is to make yourself green stuff at home, but you’ll thank yourself for it. If I can go vegan, anybody can.
Ryan Suppe studies philosophy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @salsuppe