Have you ever wanted to go vegan? It’s no secret I’m vegan and I’m a huge fan of this lifestyle. I even have a vegan page on this site. While I haven’t talked too much about it since I began this journey (I’ve been too busy eating really delicious vegan food and posting pictures of it on Instagram), I plan to talk more about it in the coming months as I prepare to go abroad.

It’s a huge part of my life and one that will never change. It’s also the best decision I’ve ever made, so I wanted to take a quick moment to give you my top 5 reasons why I think you should go vegan today.

This list just grazes the surface of all the wonderful reasons to go vegan, and I’ll talk more about that in the coming weeks. If you ever feel like chatting about it, though, feel free to drop me a line at anjali[at]thelitmolife.com, because I’m always super happy to talk about anything vegan!

Without further ado, here are my top 5 reasons why you should go vegan:

1. It’s better for the animals.

This one is a no brainer. Did you know the number of animals killed for meat in the States every single hour is 500,000? That’s in the States ALONE – not even factoring in other countries. And before you go thinking that these are animals that live on beautiful green fields of happiness before they are “humanely” killed (there is no such thing), let me give you a reality check: the vast majority of animals used for food come from factory farms. Factory farms are huge commercial operations that don’t give a rat’s ass about the welfare of the animals. Animals in factory farms are often subject to horrific living conditions where they can’t turn around or engage in behaviors natural to them and are forced to endure absolutely inhumane practices like having parts of their bodies cut off with no anesthetic. I could keep throwing facts and links at you but imagine this: do you have a beloved cat or dog that you know better than any other animal? It doesn’t have to be your cat or dog, it could be a friend’s, or your parents’, but either way, most of us have at least one animal that we know and love personally. Picture that animal.

Now imagine your furry bestie in a cage three sizes too small, where he or she can’t even move forwards and backwards, let alone sit or lie down comfortably. Imagine that your furry bestie spends their entire life in such a cage. Imagine now that five other animals their size are thrown in that cage. Because they are all so cramped, the caretaker of these animals comes and chops off all of their tails – including your furry bestie – with no anesthetic and no aftercare. Still too much cramping, so the caretaker then chops off their ears in the same way. Finally, after a few weeks of being fed a steady diet of garbage and antibiotics, your furry bestie is taken to a line where they are electrocuted. But they don’t die – no, on the line, things often move fast and who has time to ensure every animal actually dies? While your furry bestie is still alive, he or she is scalded in hot water to remove the fur, before finally being sliced open.

Was it hard for you to read that? Was it hard for you to picture all of that happening to an animal you love?

Then why is the animal on your plate any different?

(Want to read more? Check out this piece I wrote several years ago for The Huffington Post called “Why Everyone Should Be Angry About Factory Farming“).

2. It’s better for the planet.

Animal agriculture, like almost no other industry in existence right now, contributes loads of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. In fact, animal agriculture causes approximately 18 percent of all greenhouse gases in the world. Lest you think I’m just making shit up, the U.N. has recognized what a huge problem animal agriculture is in their report from several years ago, Livestock’s Long Shadow. And it’s only gotten worse since then. It takes approximately 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat – compare that with 25 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of wheat. Dairy farms produce huge amounts of waste – not just greenhouses gases. And by eating meat, we’re also destroying some of our most prized natural land areas: animal agriculture is responsible for a lot of the destruction to the Amazon rainforest.

The moral of the story? It’s not possible to be a meat-eating environmentalist, so if you care about the planet, veganism is your only choice.

3. It’s better for your health.

It’s 2016 and at this point, no one’s arguing that meat eaters are healthier than vegans (and if they are, they haven’t done their research and/or don’t know what they are talking about). According to the Amerian Dietetic Association, vegetarians (who still eat dairy and eggs – neither of which are particularly healthy) have lower rates of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and prostate and colon cancer. They’re also less likely to be obese and less likely to have high blood pressure or cholestoral.

Anecdotally, vegans also talk about having more energy and healthier skin and nails. Some of the best athletes in the world are vegan.

If you want to get healthier, fitter, and help save the planet all at the same time, veganism is the way to go.

4. It’s better for world hunger.

Because of the incredible amount of resources it takes to keep the animal agriculture industry going, it’s a lot more humanitarian to switch to a vegan diet. Studies have shown that only about 20% of the corn grown in the States is eaten by humans, the other 80% is used to feed livestock. Same with 95% of the oats grown in the States. The number of people who could be fed by the grain and soybeans currently fed to livestock is thought to be around 1,300,000,000. Think about that number for a second – over a billion extra people could be fed if we quit eating animals. Doesn’t that seem worth it?

5. It’s better for justice.

The animal agriculture industry is corrupt. Under 2006, under George W., the animal ag lobby pushed through the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which, among other things, makes it a felony to interfere with an animal enterprise. It’s not as simple as that though, as the expansive and overly broad definition of “animal enterprise” in the act could mean a factory farm…or it could mean your local gas station. Under AETA, protesting at Walmart for worker’s rights (not animals’ rights) could get you thrown in prison – PRISON – because Walmart would be classified as an “animal enterprise.” Smells like bullshit to me.

On a state by state level, the animal ag industry has also been responsible for the proliferation of “Ag-Gag” laws, which make it illegal to film, while undercover, activities at animal operations.

If the industry itself doesn’t want you to see what’s going on behind closed doors, isn’t that a problem?

I wrote more about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, including an in-depth analysis and it’s relation to the First Amendment, a few years ago, which you can read here.

There are several good reasons to go vegan today. As I mentioned above, if you want more resources or just want to chat with someone on this topic, please feel free to email me at anjali[at]thelitmolife.com or connect with me on any of my social media channels.

It’s not that hard: if we all stopped eating animals, we’d make our world a better place.

Go Vegan- 5 Reasons To Make The Switch To A Plant-Based Life