Gone Vegan

Lindsay Hutton discovers the politics and pragmatics behind a meat and dairy-free diet.

A few riveting nuggets of recent studies in veganism: 

A crack team of Italian neuroscientists recently found that vegetarians and vegans show higher levels of empathy towards scenes depicting violence against animals. Using an MRI, the scientists found more activity in the parts of the brain that dictate risk and empathy in veggies than omnivores. In nerdspeak, “…these results suggest that empathy toward [those of a different species] has different neural representation among individuals with different feeding habits.” 

This is one of those studies where the findings are little … obvious. However, there was that bizarre vegan I met once in San Francisco who took it up because she stated she “hated animals. Dead or alive.” Shiver. 

Wowza. Researchers from the Washington Center for Clinical Research studied the health-related benefits of veganism via a worksite vegan-health nutrition program at an US insurance company for 22 weeks. The results were stunning: those 68 subjects engaged in the program reported substantial improvements in overall health, energy, and 46% less instances of “health-related productivity impairments at work” (including illness and fatigue)  -- faring far better than the rest of their colleagues not enrolled in the program. (Annals of Metabolism and Research, 2010). 

I must admit I almost reconsidered posting this last study. If it catches on, vegans everywhere will never be able to call in “sick” for a “mental health” day without raising a few eyebrows. As a former office worker, at least two a year are a necessity.