Broccoli vs Steak

by on September 16th, 2012

As funny as this viral Facebook quote may be, we’ve come a long way from hunting and fishing. The world we live in has changed so drastically in the past 100 years that ignorance or culture is no longer an excuse to sit back and wait for someone else to fix the problem. Which brings us to the question – is there a problem? I believe there is.

We need to consider vegetarianism or at a bare minimum reduce our consumption of meat for a couple of reasons

Hunger

A child dies from hunger every 6 seconds. 6 million children die of starvation every year. One acre of land can be used to grow 20,000 pounds of potatoes but can only produce 165 pounds of edible beef. Should we be growing potatoes or producing beef? You do the math.

Environment

Animal farming is an industry comprising of 22 billion farm animals and accounts for 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases. With global warming coming to the forefront of everything environment, it’s easy to shrug off as a problem that only Governments have to deal with. To put things in perspective, producing a single pound of meat emits the same amount of greenhouse gasses as driving 60km  in an SUV.

20% of the Amazon rainforest has been destroyed in the last 40 years. A large majority of this destruction of our planets richest bio-diverse ecosystem has been fueled by the need to farm cattle or to grow soya which is then shipped to Europe to feed chickens and cows caged in animal farms.

While the Amazon was being pillaged, trawler fishing was doing the same with our underwater world, obliterating entire marine ecosystems before we even knew they existed.

Health

Contrary to popular opinion, our bodies don’t require meat. All nutrients from meat can be gotten from a vegetarian diet as well. Sure, we’ve evolved to be omnivorous but primitive man sure as hell wasn’t eating a big-mac for lunch and a steak for dinner every day.

Vegetarians coincidentally tend to have a lower BMI, lower blood pressure, cholesterol and a lower chance of heart disease. Add to this a reduced risk of diabetes, hypertension and a hoard of other diseases and there’s no real debate as to which diet is healthier for you.

Benefits of a vegetarian diet apart, sometimes you must wonder where your steak actually came from. Illusions of black and white cows grazing on green pastures are naïve. The beef you’re eating most probably came from a cow stuck in a tiny cage and fed growth hormones all day long. And you’re unconsciously indirectly consuming these hormones and antibiotics (forgot to mention that 20% of all cows have bovine leukemia aka cancer and up to 50% of all chickens in the US have salmonella). If that has failed to scare you, bovine immunodeficiency virus (equivalent of AIDS in cows) can infect human cells and wreak havoc in form of a slow virus.

Humanity

As the smartest animal on the planet, we should realize that we’re capable of doing things that no other living creature can do. We are capable of designing crazily complex systems, understanding the origins of life and we’re capable of showing compassion towards each other and towards other animals. We keep dogs and cats as pets but some double standard allows us to eat pigs and cows that someone else kills for us (we’d never have the courage to do it ourselves). All we see on our plate is a product. We have become numb to the fact that animals are being killed for meat.


The issue you need to address is that every time you sit down and eat a steak, are you eating this out of habit or do you realize the cost that the world and your body is paying for this luxury?

And once you understand this cost, you need to ask yourself – is it worth it?

Jason Noronha

Jason is a backpacker, saxophonist, writer, volunteer, photographer, entrepreneur, mountain climber and barefoot marathoner on a mission. A mission to travel the World in search of adventure..

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  1. Akshay says:

    going veggie next month… =)

  2. Neha says:

    Proud veggie :D

  3. I tried and failed a million times, maybe it’s time to try again. :) Living in Goa does make being a vegetarian very difficult though.
    http://waysideramblings.blogspot.in/2012/04/on-verge-of-vegetarianism.html

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