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Interested in Veganism?

Updated on January 8, 2015

What is Veganism?

I'm from Iowa and I am a Vegan. There, I said it! Many people do not believe me when I say that I am a Vegan. How can someone from IOWA be a Vegan? That doesn't even make any sense. These are questions I hear often. Well, let me start off by saying that I have been a Vegan for about four years now, but I have been a Vegetarian for about 12 years...I am 23 years old now. Many people are aware that a Vegetarian is someone who does not consume meat, but many are not familiar with the word, 'VEGAN.' Where I live, a Vegan is unheard of. Actually, being a Vegetarian or a Vegan is rare in general. There is only a very small percentage of us. According to a 2012 Gallup Poll, In the United States, only %5 of people consider themselves as Vegetarians and an even smaller 2%, consider themselves as a Vegan. A Vegan is someone that does not consume dairy or meat. That means; no cookies, ice cream, snickers bars, cake, cornbread, chicken and so on and so forth. If you think that is extreme, it might startle you to know that some Vegans go even more extreme by eliminating ANYTHING that contains animal in it, out of their lives entirely. Examples:

  • Plastic Bags: surprisingly, they contain animal fats.
  • Nail Polish: did you know that the secret ingredient for making the nail polish sparkle is fish scales? (Herring, to be exact).
  • Candles: many people are aware at the fact that candles are made with beeswax, but many are not aware of the there is spermacerti, aka, sperm oil. And no, not the kind of "sperm" you are probably thinking of but instead fat obtained from Sperm Whales and on occasion, dolphins.
  • Toothpaste: although, much of the time, toothpaste gets its texture from glycerin in plants, some turn to a less expensive form from animal animal bones. Umm...YUCK! I don't want that in my mouth!

Now, that is just some of the many things that may come from animals.

I can say from experience that living a Vegan (and even those who live a Vegetarian) lifestyle is very time consuming and frustrating. Looking at the back of every box for the ingredients, going to restaurants and asking a million, zillion questions, taking supplements everyday, and so on takes a toll on you. Although, I know that it is my choice to live this way, I have to be honest, it sucks (for lack of a better word)! If you do chose to live this kind of lifestyle, get used to people asking the same question..."WHY ON EARTH?" (Or something along those lines).

Whether your choice to go Vegan is for; health reasons, environmental issues, morality reasons, social justice reasons or logical reasons, just remember that it is your choice!

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Before you make your ultimate discussion, I think it is only fair to mention the pros, but also the cons as well. There are many benefits of going Vegan, but there are also health risks that you have to take into consideration and be aware of if you are going to give this a shot.

Positives of Vegans compared to Omnivores (meat eaters):

  • Blood pressures are lower
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Helps prevent many diseases such as; Cardiovascular disease, Prostate Cancer and Colon Cancer, just to name a few.
  • Adds physical benefits such as; weight loss, healthier nails, allergy prevention and healthier skin, among many more.
  • Increases antioxidant intake.

Disadvantages of the Vegan lifestyle:

  • Have to turn to other outlets for protein.
  • Greater chance of Iron deficiency.
  • B-12 deficiency because the B-12 vitamin is only found in meat.
  • Difficulty eating out in public or in restaurants.
  • Have to be more conscious on what we eat so that we get the appropriate combinations so we get all of the necessary vitamins that we need.
  • Have to take vitamins every day. Some experts argue that you should not waste your money on vitamins because they do not help.

Being that I am a Vegan, I am use to this lifestyle and do not disagree with the omnivore type of living. Consuming meat and dairy is natural and is not a bad thing, in my opinion. Vegan or not, just remember, do not be judgmental or criticize others on the life that they chose. I am not trying to persuade one to become Vegan, I am just simply giving the facts, positive and negative, so one can really chose given honest facts.

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