Why Should I Be Vegan?
Vegan is the new kale?
Not quite. In our modern world of fad diets and foodie trends, it can be hard to separate true lifestyle changes from marketing tools. However, veganism is both a diet and a lifestyle that has been around for at least 100 years, and as people learn more about food production, health, and environmental degradation, it is becoming more popular. Here are the six most important reasons to consider veganism.
1. A weight will be lifted off your shoulders.
Most of us have some idea of the horrors that animals raised for food suffer through in order to bring us our chicken wings and ice cream. And many people, even those who hunt and kill their own food, feel that conditions in factory farms are unacceptable. When you stop consuming those products and supporting these practices, you will feel a heaviness that you may not even have been aware of lift off your shoulders. In other words, clean eating leads to a clean conscience.
2. You will love your pets even more.
Most people like animals, and many of us keep a dog or cat at home. These animals don't serve any practical purpose other than to bring joy into our lives. If you do some investigation about farm animals, such as pigs, sheep, and cows, you'll see that their intelligence and social lives are comparable to your pets'. Would you eat a dog or cat? Probably not. Once you start treating other animals with more compassion, you'll feel a stronger connection to your pets
3. You'll live a more sustainable lifestyle.
People who don't care about the environment are self-centered. Yes, you may live and die without caring or feeling very affected by the destruction of the Earth's natural ecosystems, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't care. Without a healthy natural environment, humans simply cannot survive. Maybe someday our technology will advance so that we become totally independent and live in space stations, but our decendents will see the beauty of coral reefs, rain forests, and pristine lakes and mourn for what was lost. Eating meat and dairy is one of the most destructive things we do to our environment in terms of water pollution, air pollution, and use of natural resources.
4. You will start down a path to better health.
Becoming a vegan or vegetarian is not a straight ticket to perfect health. Plenty of vegans suffer from diabetes and heart attacks. However, the vegan world tends to be MUCH more health conscious, and therefore you will have access to plenty of vegetable-rich recipes and the latest nutritional advice. Plenty of people have cured themselves of heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes, as well as general malaise by switching to a nutrient dense vegan diet, and you can too. Just remember that oreos, french fries, and donuts can also be vegan. So, while you're helping animals and the environment, you still have the potential to be personally unhealthy.
5. You will live according to your values.
Looking back on my life, I can see how eating meat and dairy contradicted my personal values. I've always adored animals and was never able to picture myself slaughtering a chicken or shooting a deer. I've also never been able to understand how people abuse animals. However, I continued to support and industry that practices systematic torture on millions or animals every year. Even when I tried to make a conscious decision to eat "humanely" raised animal products, I could never picture myself slaughtering my own animals for food. For that reason, I owned my hypocrisy and stopped paying others to do what I felt in my heart was wrong. I am not perfect, but I am closer to living a life according to my morals and values, and that feels good.
6. You will live by example.
People are very sensitive about food. They don't like to be told that what they are eating is wrong. I take a quiet approach to my food choices. I simply eat what I want, and people inevitably ask why I'm not eating meat or dairy. I don't want people to feel that I'm judging them, because I know that I would not have responded well to that when I was eating meat. Instead, I was inspired by others around me who took those steps. I reached out to them and asked for their support as I began my journey toward veganism. Now, as I have been mostly vegan for almost 6 months, I strive to "be the change that I wish to see in the world". Many friends and family members have commented that my changes have inspired them to eat healthier and more consciously.
The ideas of vegetarianism and veganism, which started small, are growing with everyone who bothers to ask why they should consider a vegan lifestyle.