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There's been a virus outbreak. The population at large has been infected and a large part of it now roams aimlessly searching for its next meal - of human brains. You know the drill, you've watched enough episodes of 'The Walking Dead' so you should be fine, right? Wrong. According to the experts at Psychology Today, it won't be the toughest or bravest who will survive a zombie apocalypse. The ones who will thrive are vegans.
Here's why vegans will survive a zombie apocalypse and meat eaters won't:
1. The hunting problem
In a world full of zombies, there are no functioning supermarkets and the meat industry is a goner too, meaning that if you want to eat meat, you'll have to go hunting for it.
"It's easier to grow crops than to go hunting," explains Chris Cooney, author of The Vegan Zombie, a book and blog about how vegans can survive the horror movie-like situation. "You'll waste a lot of energy going out to look for an animal to kill and you have to watch out for potential zombies."
While you're out looking for dinner, adds Cooney, you'll have to leave camp and your provisions will also be left out and could be raided by other passing survivors.
Since zombies also tend to swarm when they hear a sound, the shot from a hunting trip could also trigger a zombie attack, which will turn the meat eater into zombie meat.
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Sign Up 2. The health advantage
Studies have shown that a plant-based diet is healthier than a meat-based one. The consumption of meat has been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, dementia, breast cancer and heart disease. All of those chronic illnesses would be hard to treat in a post-zombie outbreak world.
"Medics, nurses and doctors are slim in an apocalypse so you'll want to stay healthy," says Cooney.
3. Being active is a must
Any survivor in a zombie-infested world is going to have to run at some point, and in order to run, one best be active. Research has shown that vegetarians are in general more physically active than meat-eaters, which could give them a leg up when running for their lives.
4. Animals could be infected
Factory farming has contributed to outbreaks of viruses before so who's to say that in a post-apocalyptic world, it didn't all start with meat?
As Jesse Eisenberg explained as the lead character in Zombieland:
"The plague of the 21st Century, remember mad cow disease? Well mad cow became mad person became mad zombie. It's a fast acting virus that leaves you with a swollen brain, a raging fever, makes you hateful and violent and leaves you with a really bad case of the munchies."
Even if the outbreak didn't start with the animals, says Cooney, "you won't know if the animals are infected or not."
5. Vegans already know how to live without meat
So if you can't buy meat, won't take the risk of going hunting or don't feel like taking the chance of eating a fillet that may or may not be infected with the zombie virus, that leaves you with a plant-based diet. Vegans would already be used to it, knowing what vegetables and legumes to have daily in order to have all vitamins and keep healthy. Meat eaters would have to learn. Thankfully, the process is fairly easy.
"I turned vegetarian when I was 14 before there was the internet or any place I could look at for information," says Cooney of how it's possible to adapt to the new diet even without a wealth of guidance online. "Within two weeks I was already feeling so much better."
Now, 23 years later, Cooney shares his recipes in videos on his blog, which is a product of his love for horror movies and veganism, not the belief that a zombie apocalypse might actually happen. Still, it doesn't hurt to be prepared. From greens and beans to vegetable soup and even an enchilada lasagna, he shows that all it takes to stay well fed in a post-apocalyptic world are a few supplies like a bowl and pot, a knife (which you'll already have for protection) and the nature-provided ingredients.
His number one tip?
"Eat well and exercise. And that's a tip that works even now. You don't have to wait for the apocalypse to stay healthy and have a good life."