You would likely not marry someone you just saw on the bus this afternoon.
Doing anything drastically, at least at first, is ill advised. Cutting out all meat and animal products is a drastic step. It is always best, as in a marriage, to not rush into anything. This is why suddenly going “Vegan” is not the best thing to do.
Going vegetarian does mean three very important changes. Eating less meat is better for your body, it is better for your planet, and of course, it is better for the animal involved. Zero meat products is called being Vegan, and few of us can do it. Vegetarianism is a better choice so you don’t beat yourself up and back slide to greasy sliders. And part time vegetarianism is a marked improvement that is both achievable, and gets great results.
This does not mean you necessarily are going to improve everything. You could find an even more detrimental alternative, you have to know what you are doing.
Your body needs protein, you need to find a balance, to eat nutritious foods such as nuts, beans, soy products (more beans, really) seeds, and other sources of all nutrients all bodies need.
However, most vegetarians do not suffer the same degree of fat, obesity, and all health related risks that extra pounds do add. It must be taken into consideration to, that when we feel better about what we eat, or that we are being benevolent people, we feel better about ourselves, and will naturally be more active. Being Vegan, until you adjust, may counter act this, you may feel weaker. So go Vegetarian before you take the drastic step to be Vegan.
The human body evolved to be primarily herbivore. Our teeth show that unlike tigers or even your house cat, our bodies and eating apparatus show signs that we evolved to eat grains, seeds, nuts, vegetables, roots, and fruits of all kinds. We are also perfectly adapted to eat insects, rodents, and smaller “meat” sources, but culturally in most western nations that has been discouraged. This is unfortunate, as rodents, insects and so, are high in protein, and need natural control since we have eliminated most alpha predators.
Most other animals eat vegetation. Even wolves and bears eat more non meat, than meat in the core source of food. Protein does matter, however, so you must get it in every healthy and sustainable way we can.
Part of why we live in perpetual food crisis is due to an economy of scale that appeals to our evolved tendency to find fat and sugar very attractive to us. The problem of course is that too much fat and sugar make obesity, and all its consequent problems not quite so attractive. We developed through control and exploitation of resource an economy of scale that makes unhealthy eating more affordable and healthy eating, such as salad bars, non affordable.
This is why few billionaires are obese. We have found away to disguise the ACTUAL cost of fat, sugar, and salt, by passing on the health costs, and production, distribution, and waste costs, (called externalities) to the consumer. Thus, although it appears eating anything off the dollar menu is cheap, in terms of real, externalized costs, these things are more expensive.
Yet we listen to what our pocket change, and salivating craving glands say, almost every time. If you do strive to be truly vegetarian because you want to help the environment, your body, and other animals, look at more disturbing photos on PETA and related, websites! Sadly, these can be very unappetizing.
To pay better attention to the real cost of fat, sugar, salt, and non nutritious calories, you must start to over time add more fruits and vegetables to every meal. Eventually, you will feel an increased over all sense of well being, that leads to exercise, that leads to more time outdoors with fresh air, that leads to connection to our healthier sources.
Clean food, water, soil, and more may not immediately feel directly connected to your fast food, or junk snacks, but they truly are in ways we are only now becoming completely aware of realizing.