I am not vegan nor do I think I will ever try being vegan, but I still consider making the switch every once and a while. That being said, it's near impossible to find a source online that isn't biased to help make that decision. There are lots of reasons you consider when making this choice and it's important to get unbiased information to make the decision for yourself. With that being said, I have highlighted some of the main reasons people end up going vegan in the first place.

1. What Everyone Else is Doing

water, Ocean, cliff, Greece, group of girls, group of hikers, Hiking, Backpacking, scenery
Shelby Cohron

This isn't a reason to change your diet. Don't try being vegan because everyone is doing it. Don't not become vegan because no one is doing it. Don't not try being vegan because everyone is doing it and you're a hipster. Let's move on.

2. You Want to Lose Weight

chocolate, cupcake, cake, frosting, girl
Jocelyn Hsu

Vegans do on average have a lower BMI and weigh less than the average omnivore. Vegans end up eating fewer calories as they avoid high-calorie meats and dairy products. They also eat more fibre as a plant-based diet consists of a lot of fibre which keeps you feeling more full so you don't binge on junk food. 

Is there an alternative? Yes. You can lose weight without being vegan. You can choose to eat less high-calorie meat and dairy products without completely cutting them out. Overall, weight loss is about eating healthy and exercising. For example, there are vegan cupcakes and foods that are very processed that are still vegan—even vegans can eat junk all the time.

3. Being Healthier

Vegans have a lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and are on average thinner. Because of this, vegans are less likely to have a stroke or cardiovascular disease. This is all connected to an increase in fruits, vegetables, fibres, soy and other beneficial increases from a plant-based diet.

Vegans also have more short-chain fatty acids which are produced by gut bacteria and are beneficial for your health. In a study, people tried the Mediterranean diet (which has very little meat), and those who followed it closely and ate less meat showed more short-chain fatty acids compared to those who ate more meat. It is also entirely possible to get enough protein while being vegan. 

On the other hand, vitamins A and D3 are only found naturally in animal sources. Carotene can be converted to Vitamin A bit it's usually not sufficient. Read more about it here. Vitamin D3 is also really difficult for vegans to get in their diet.  In the EPIC-Oxford study, they found vegans had the lowest intake of Vitamin D of any diet at only 1/4 the intake of the average omnivore. 

Vegans are also in danger of having low B-12 levels, low iron levels and have a high-soy diet can be dangerous for hormone levels, but there are vegan supplements to solve those issues.

If you want to be healthy, consult a nutritionist or a doctor. Being vegan can be very healthy if you are aware of what you're eating and take supplements. Omnivores can also be healthy by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their diet. 

4. Environmental Reasons

Rebecca Fu

Vegans on average have lower water, carbon and ecological impact. This study compared vegetarians, vegans and omnivores. It found that omnivores had a higher impact in all three categories and the results for vegans and vegetarians were very similar. Vegetarian ranked higher than vegans in two of the categories and actually scored lower in the other.

The current meat industry has a horrible environmental impact, with annual greenhouse emissions being greater than all other transport systems put together and resulting in a contribution of 18% of annual greenhouse emissions.

Researchers looked at 10 different eating patterns and concluded that reducing the amount of meat consumption from our current average will increase the number of people that can be supported by our current farmlands. However, the vegan diet supported fewer people than a vegetarian diet and two of the omnivore diets because some current farmland (used for animal grazing) is not suitable for growing vegetables. 

My big issue with talking about being environmentally friendly is that it isn't just what you eat. For transport, you can carpool, ride your bike or have an electric car. There are also numerous ways you can reduce your waste and your consumption. You can think about your electricity bills, use reusable lunch boxes and donate your old clothes.

5. Doing What is 'Natural'

chicken, pork, barbecue, meat
Christin Urso

I have heard this from both sides of the argument about veganism. I'm sorry, but we are hundreds of years past doing what's 'natural'. 

People that support veganism can say that it is very unnatural that we drink the milk of another animal. We are the only species that drinks milk made by another animal. Dairy farming is estimated to have begun in 5000 BC in East Asia. If drinking milk is unnatural, we are thousands of years past that now. 

I've also heard for the pro-vegan side that eating meat is unnatural and humans were meant to be herbivores. This is just not true. Humans have been eating meat for millions of years and our digestive systems don't resemble that of herbivores at all. We have short colons and long intestines with lots of hydrochloric acids to break down meat. 

On the anti-vegan side, I've heard it's unnatural not to eat meat. It is predicted we originally scavenged for food as we have a very keen smell for decaying and rotting food and meat compared to other animals. It is also likely that we evolved by long-distance running to tire out our prey when we hunted.

We no longer need to hunt so we no longer have to eat meat. Unlike most animals, we aren't limited to the food available in our habitat and we can now choose our diets. It is perfectly natural to not eat meat as our bodies can handle both.

6. Ethical Reasons

honey, syrup, local farm, local bees, Bees, farmer's market, shop local, shopping
Sam Jesner

This is a very grey area and this is also what makes it so difficult to talk about veganism. There are lots of ethical reasons to be a vegan. Animals are treated horribly in farming factories. There are lots of videos that you can watch as well as documentaries, articles you can read and organizations you can donate to. It is truly terrible how we treat animals. It's not just in farming though: there is animal testing for makeup, FDA drugs and more. 

This is where each of us draws a line in the sand and decides what is ethical. A lot of people will choose to be vegan not just because of the horrible conditions animals are kept in, but because they think killing another living creature is wrong. Lots of people who aren't vegan don't support factory farms. If your qualm is with how animals are treated but you're fine with eating animals, there is locally sourced food. You can buy ethical eggs, locally grown meat and animal by-products from animals that lived better lives.

7. You Want to Try Something New

I support this 100%. If you want to try being vegan to try something new I think that's a great idea. There is even a lot of information and tons of recipes right here on SpoonU.

herb, vegetable, lettuce, local vegetables, fresh vegetables, produce, farmer's market
Sam Jesner

Veganism has a lot of health, environmental and ethical benefits. However, I think you can get similar health benefits from a non-vegan diet that is still plant-based. I also think your environmental impact is based on more than just your diet. In terms of ethics, I think it depends on what you think is ethical. 

I personally don't think it is unethical to eat animals. It's part of the way the world works. No matter what you eat, something died in the process of it coming about. A lot of garden fertilizers have blood and bone meal in them to support growth.  

I don't support makeup and cosmetic products tested on animals, but we currently don't have the technology to be able to safely test lots of new medical advancements without animal tests. Most pre-clinical studies for FDA approved drugs include testing on mice, rats and non-human primates. I am willing to bet some medicines you have taken have been tested on animals. Various drugs including some antidepressants, vaccines and other drugs have been tested on animals.

The ethical area of veganism is so grey that I don't think anyone should be telling you whether or not you should be vegan. So, should you go vegan? It's a decision you should make for yourself, knowing that both vegans and omnivores can have an ethical, healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle. It is also important to remember that it's not just your diet that determines those factors in your life.