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Socially Conscience Veganism in the 21st Century | November 10
2012
| We can learn to become sensitive to our personal needs as well as the needs of animals. In a world that is growing with an increasing population, we must become aware of the ecological impact food consumption and farming has on nature and our environment. Eating healthy and caring about animals are choices. | Liberal Arts & The Ethos of Work Fall 2012 Roberta Wesolowski |

Socially Conscience Veganism in the 21st Century
Introduction
Being vegan accomplishes many things. First and foremost, the health benefits provide for a vast array of incentives. Secondly, the humane treatment of animals is accomplished since animals and their by-products are not being consumed. Thirdly, animal waste and pollution is minimized. And lastly, a socially conscience acceptable norm for good health and the prevention of disease coupled with the caring for animals and the elimination of their extinction.
Non-animal products have good health benefits. According to Professor Campbell, Professor of Biochemistry at Cornell University, vegans are less susceptible to chronic disease. Additional benefits include, but are not limited to the following: lowers cholesterol (lower in saturated fat), lowers heart disease, lowers the risk of obesity, lowers the risk of cancer, and lowers the risk of diabetes.
Because the protein in meat is not a part of the vegetarian diet, vegans must be aware to take supplemental vitamins and eat dark green leafy vegetables. Vitamin supplements should include vitamin B-12, vitamin D, and iron. A variety of fruits and vegetables will help to ensure a balanced diet and metabolic state. Some vegans eat only fruits and vegetables and abstain from all meats. While other vegans called lacto vegans abstain from meat, but eat dairy and eggs. Still others are semi vegans who abstain from red meat and pork, yet still eat only white meat (poultry).
Because of the increase in population, animals, like many U.S. products, have begun to be mass produced. With this mass production, animals are given hormones to stimulate growth and some are kept in cages to house production efficiency. Since animals are now being produced in this way, meats are less nutritious and full of hormones, and fruits and vegetables are contaminated with pesticides. Free range, grass fed, and without hormone meats are a new quality on the market. Organic fruits and vegetables are now grown without pesticides, preferably taken straight from the farm to the store.
However, the treatment of animals is still a huge concern for animal rights’ activists such as PETA. PETA wants to eliminate all maltreatment of animals whether it be for their consumption or for their fur. Pictures of animals in brochures are depicted to show the horrid treatment of cattle, poultry, and even some fish farms. PETA also raises funds to make consumers socially aware of the consequences animal raising has on our environment Most production of animal products have bad effects on the environment—pollution of water which we all consume, polluted land due to manure which humans end up consuming, and pollution of food due to pesticides, chemicals, and growth hormones.
Being vegan is also a socially conscience choice. By eliminating the use of animal products, eating organic, and buying natural products, we can make sure we limit our exposure to deadly toxins and chemicals. There are those who are vegans that also believe that using cosmetics and certain clothing made from animal products is inhumane treatment and will eventually lead to the extinction of some animal species. Lipstick has been known to be made out of whale fat. The farming in the sea of tuna fish has wiped out schools of dolphins at a time. And the killing of foxes and slaughtering of sheep for fur and cotton desensitizes our consumers’ values.
Viewpoint # 1
The Food Guide Pyramid developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that each person eat certain recommended daily allowances of each type of food group. The food groups included in the pyramid are 1) breads and grains and cereals, 2) fruits, 3) vegetables, 4) milk and yogurt and cheese, 5) meats and poultry and fish and dried beans and eggs and nuts, 6) fat and oils and sweets. These basic food groups are “necessary” for the body to function with energy depending on the caloric intake. Choosing from these food groups provides a variety of nutrients and the body requires. Moderation is also the key in order that the right amount of food from each group is eaten for nutrient intake and energy output. Also, balance in equal amounts is essential to avoid weight gain and/or deficiencies. Consuming a vegetable based diet alone only provides insufficient incomplete proteins. The Recommended Daily Allowance and the Food Pyramid are standard ways in today’s society of making sure each person receives his/her needed minerals, vitamins, and nutrients.
Viewpoint # 2 There was a new integrative study that helped to clarify different uses for farm wastes. An example is fish farming in Fiji. Many of the fish are contaminated and polluted because of the brewery waste dumping in the ocean. As an experiment, the Fiji residents decided to use the waste to fertilize mushrooms. Instead of dumping the residue from the mushrooms in the fields, the residue that was produced from the mushrooms was used to feed chickens, pigs, and other animals. “Animal wastes are then put into a contraption called the “decomposer,” where the chemicals in the wastes separate. During this process, methane gas is released and collected in a compartment at the top of the device, while the solid or liquid wastes settle to the bottom. Usually, the methane would be released into the atmosphere and lost. But in the Fiji project, it will be bottled and used to operate a gas generator to power the lights of the school, or it will be sold.” (Silverstein, 52) Integrative farming can be very productive and requires less money.

Viewpoint # 3
In the Hindu culture, there is a mythical mother cow called Surabhi (SOO-ruh-bee). The cow has a spiritual significance and holds a high place of deity in the Indian society. Hindus believe that Surabhi grants blessings of good health, abundance, prosperity, helps to purify the body. Because cows provide many benefits such as milk for children and adults, buttermilk, and yogurt, the Indians have made these integral parts of their daily diet. “Even after death, their skins are reclaimed and used for leather good.” (Patel, 128) To ensure that the valuable resources of the cow are never abused or mistreated, “Hindus give cows a very special place in Indian society, that of a sacred mother—they cannot be harmed under any circumstance.” (Patel, 128)
Conclusion
I’m quite sure that not everyone in the world will spontaneously become vegan. That would require a whole society to change its concept of what food means to them and they would have to leave behind many habits. But, eating more fruits and vegetables can never be harmful. It can only help. Steak and potatoes is a traditional plate for many Americans, as well as a hamburger and French fries. But, if we could just make a dent enough to make a noticeable difference, maybe people would start understanding veganism through the eyes of a socially conscience eater. Once you go vegan, I promise you, you will never go back. It is like finding a perfect place in this world—one’s very own niche. Products in the aisle at the supermarket become more interesting. Labels such as fair trade, organically grown, and no hormones tend to stand out. Making the transition to a vegan diet does not have to be difficult. It can be done slowly and over time.
Dr. Colin Campbell of Cornell University is one authority on the subject of vegan diets. He suggests that eating a vegan diet lowers the risk of cancer and diabetes and can even cure these diseases in some cases. Many people believe the myth that most vegans are sickly and underweight. However, vegans generally get more vitamins from their foods because they have a well-rounded variety. Complete proteins can be obtained by introducing a grain called Quinoa which has all the essential amino acids.
Personal Opinion
My very first experience with natural products was actually Snapples lemonade. Reading the label on the bottle made me more aware of the ingredients in juices and foods. Supermarkets such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes carry many product lines of vegan foods. It’s easier in this day and age to become enlightened about what you are putting in your body. It’s basically the knowledge of knowing where to shop and what nutritional value vegan foods have and sustain for healthy minds and bodies. I’ve tried to stay healthy over the years. As we get older, we are all looking for the proverbial fountain of youth. I’ve learned that I can live a longer, healthier life by paying attention to the foods that I eat. I also lean towards natural products that have not been done with animal testing since the data collected from testing animals is limited and is unlike the comparison to real human beings. Understanding that animals are put through rigorous tests in laboratories and treated as if they have a death sentence on farms makes me consciencely aware that I have choice and my choice makes an impact. As a society, we can also learn that integrative farming produces less waste and ideally would recycle all parts of the farming process to utilize production more efficiently. This may be a radical approach at first, but in the long run it does make more sense for our environment.
Bibliography

Bennett, Beverly Lynn and Ray Sammartano. Vegan Living. New York, New York. The Penguin Group, 2005.
Freston, Kathy. Veganist. New York, New York. Weinstein Books, 2011
Patel, Sanjay. Hindu Deities. New York, New York, The Penguin Group, 2006.
Silverstein, Alvin and Virginia Silverstein and Laura Silverstein Nunn. Food Chains. Brookfield, Connecticut, 1998.
VanCleave, Janice. Food and Nutrition. New York, New York. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1999.

Bibliography: Bennett, Beverly Lynn and Ray Sammartano. Vegan Living. New York, New York. The Penguin Group, 2005. Freston, Kathy. Veganist. New York, New York. Weinstein Books, 2011 Patel, Sanjay. Hindu Deities. New York, New York, The Penguin Group, 2006. Silverstein, Alvin and Virginia Silverstein and Laura Silverstein Nunn. Food Chains. Brookfield, Connecticut, 1998. VanCleave, Janice. Food and Nutrition. New York, New York. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1999.

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