When I was younger, my friend and I gaped at people that were vegan.
Coming from a Catholic household, I was always convinced that God gave us animals for food.
The more I think about that idea, however, the more I question it. I haven’t decide that I’m against eating meat, but I am definitely against the food industry as it is now. This isn’t an article about animal cruelty in the slaughter industry, but I strongly encourage everyone to be informed about it.
I didn’t go vegan to save animals. Again, I strongly support that and boycotting inhumane livestock raising and slaughter houses, but that wasn’t my reason. I did it for the environment.
Over the summer, I interned for an organization, advocating for the needs of Columbian priests. They told us that they had witnessed first-hand the damage that climate change can do to people. In response I researched and advocated for them.
One thing I researched was the Clean Power Plant (CPP) policy. This is aimed at cutting greenhouse gases. I watched a time-lapse video made by NASA, shocked at how much the gases had increased in 12 years alone. 39% of all greenhouse gases come from livestock.
So did I just cut out meat? No.
I lived in a religious community that couldn’t afford to buy meat. Living there exposed me to a plethora of new vegetarian foods that I would have never eaten before. So, I decided to become a vegetarian.
A few months later, I moved in with a vegan friend. I wanted to cook for the both of us, so I cooked vegan. Soon enough, we were both munching on veggies.
In 3 months, I lost almost 20 pounds. I wasn’t working out. I wasn’t malnourished. I was just eating better, and not eating unnecessary fat or protein from meat.
Some people think it’s more expensive to be vegan. If you’re going to try to eat a diet like you were before, yes. By that, I mean if you eat substitute chicken and cheese, it will be very expensive. But you don’t need to eat processed foods like that. Cutting out things you would typically eat like chicken nuggets and grilled cheese can open you up to wonderful new foods. Days that you crave your mac and cheese, buy the substitute and be happy. Other days, try new things.
Disclaimer: Vegans don’t just eat tofu all the time. I never eat it.
Eating vegan has made me constantly check the nutritional values and ingredients of my food, which is a healthy change by itself. By doing research and looking at my food, I realized that I would need some supplements. Many people think vegans need lots of supplements. I still take the multi-vitamin I took when I was eating meat. I also take a B12 supplement, which is recommended for everyone, and a fish oil capsule. Ok, so that’s definitely not vegan. I’m looking for something else to substitute that with after I finish the capsules I have now.
Vegan is a word to describe a diet. It shouldn’t be a label. I also still eat honey and fish in small doses. Technically, that disqualifies me to be a bona fide vegetarian and vegan.
I’m not worried about labels.
I occasionally eat fish when I go out with friends and it’s my only option on the menu. Given a choice, I like going to restaurants that have vegan options. In my small town, that’s pretty much only my house. In DC, I have a variety of options.
I also eat honey because of how great it is for coughs and sore throats.
Being vegan doesn’t mean that you eat tofu all day, wear hemp clothes, throw blood on people, and shun meat eaters. It’s not about a label. It’s a conscious decision to make a difference in the world.
Will you eat less meat? Eat no meat? Eat no animal bi-products? Only eat humanely raised animals?
Every thing helps.
Save money. Save lives. Help the planet. Go Vegan.
Here is a list of great blogs that I look at for recipes: http://www.culinarynutrition.com/top-50-vegan-blog...