The title of this blog post probably made your mind wander to either positive or negative thoughts. I’m not writing a blog post with the purpose of convincing you to be vegan, so don’t worry. Instead I am going to write about my personal experience with being vegan for the past 9 months, and why I chose to go vegan.
Over the past few years, I’ve gone vegetarian twice for a period of a several months each, but was never able to make it last. It was hard to cut out meat when my entire family would be eating it right beside me, so I caved and gave up twice. Last May, however, I decided to challenge myself and go vegan for one whole week. A have a friend who is vegan so she helped me plan my meals. After the week was up, I realized I didn’t want to stop. Prior to going vegan, my stomach would be upset almost after every meal, and during this week I hadn’t experienced that feeling at all. I felt so good that for me it would be dumb to turn back. So I haven’t had meat or any animal byproducts since then.
“Why are you vegan?” has been the most asked question I have received in the past year. I will keep this (sort of) brief, because I could go on for a while. I break this answer down into three categories: for animals, for the environment, and for my own health.
I am an animal lover. For as long as I could remember, I have always loved animals more than people. I played with toy animals as a kid instead of Barbie’s and my favourite outing would be to the pet store just to look at the animals. When I was about 3 my mom asked me “what do you want to be when you grow up? You can be anything you want!” to which I replied “I want to be a horse.” I was just so used to eating meat growing up that I never questioned it. Looking back now, the thought of eating meat horrifies me.
“I couldn’t look into the eyes of an animal and say ‘my taste buds are worth more than your life’” – The Vegan Activist
I’ve always been concerned for our environment, since the day our class learned Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in elementary school. I would come home and tell my parents tips on recycling and composting. The first time I visited a dump I was devastated. I do use a car for transportation, I buy and throw things away: I am not perfect. But seeing what we are doing to our planet is of great concern to me, and I try to reduce my footprint as much as I can. By going vegan, I am helping reduce the carbon footprint that comes along with animal agriculture. Some statistics that stand out to me regarding animal agriculture are that 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef. Additionally, livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions (Source: COWSPIRACY ).
The final reason I became vegan was for my health. Last year I suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, which resulted in being unable to walk for 4 months. I was not in a great mental state, and gained a lot of weight. When I went vegan, I felt amazing within the first few months. I had all this energy and was happier overall. I lost 20 pounds during my first three months of going vegan (combined with working out at least 4 times a week) and felt great. The benefits of animals in terms of nutritional value have been largely exaggerated for profit by the food industry. Humans can eat a plant based diet and receive all the necessary nutrients to survive.
However, consuming a vegan diet does not automatically equal healthy. I could live off of a diet of solely potato chips and pasta, which would be considered vegan, although rather unhealthy. Going vegan however does make you explore new recipes and read food labels, so you pay closer attention to what you’re putting in your body.
To sum up all the reasons why I am vegan, this peta video sums it up perfectly (with statistics).
“It’s about doing the right thing where apathy and injustice is the norm” – The Vegan Activist
Overall going vegan has changed my life for the better. The hardest days were in the first few months when I craved meat and cheese, but since then my cravings are gone and no part of me wants to go back to eating meat. I am in no way trying to force veganism on anyone, and I don’t hate people who eat meat. I’m just putting my thoughts on the subject out here for those willing to listen. I am open to all kinds of questions regarding my diet, my struggles, tips or advice! (Note: I get my protein from beans, soy, seeds and certain green veggies)
If you made it this far through my very vegan post, here are my favourite recipes:
The Best Easy Vegan Lasagna by Hummusapien
Teriyaki Cauliflower Rice Bowls by Yup, it’s Vegan
Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies by Minimalist Baker