Hello beautiful people!
**Please note that I have strong views about a lot of topics. If this offends you in any way or you disagree with something, please contact me. I appreciate different perspectives and want to respect everyone and their decisions.**
If you eat differently than most others, you have probably been asked this question many times, “Why are you [insert dietary restriction here]?” When I am asked this question, my answer varies depending on who I am talking to, but usually includes these three reasons:
- For the welfare of animals
- For the environment
- For my health and well-being
Most vegans are vegans for these three reasons. People usually prioritize one over the other. In other words, I am vegan primarily for the welfare of animals (as seen in the list order), but somebody else might be vegan for its health benefits or to lower their carbon footprint. Don’t get me wrong, I am very passionate about the environment and eat quite healthily, but for me, an animal’s life trumps the taste of my food or how healthy it is. For example, even if there was a chicken that was killed and it had a low environmental impact and was found to be extremely beneficial for my health, I still would not eat it.
For the welfare of animals: I don’t think an egg is worth putting male chicks in a grinder for. I don’t think that I deserve milk more than a baby cow does. I don’t think that an animal should lose their life just so that my dinner “tastes good.”
For the environment: If I care about the environment, I should decrease my carbon footprint. How can I say that I care about the environment and support the industry that contributes to the one acre being cut down in rain forests every second? (deforestation for grazing animals) How can I identify myself as a climate activist, yet knowingly contribute to climate change at every meal?
For my health and well-being: I cannot purposefully eat an animal product. It feels very wrong. I also believe that most animal products are not good for our bodies and meant to be eaten. I want to put only healthy food on my plate.
Although veganism is increasing, more than 7 billion people still have animal products on their plate for most meals. Why?
Well… most people aren’t vegan because of:
- Ignorance (not knowing another way)
- Health (lack of deficiencies)
- Belief that we are omnivores, and therefore, need to eat meat
- Affiliation with vegans
In terms of taste, if you eat something long enough, you typically will begin to like it.
Example: I used to hate coconut water. I drank it more; now I love it. I used to not like watermelon and pears. I ate them more, enjoyed them more, and now love them. Dark chocolate used to taste very bitter and distasteful to me, now I crave it. I used to not like tomatoes and onions. I still don’t like onions very much, but I’ll eat them. I will purposefully put tomatoes in my salad.
Also, people use vegan spices to make meat taste good.
My suggestion? Try new foods (several times) and season vegetables and other vegan food well. That way, the food will taste better.
What do Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Birthday celebrations all have in common? The main dish isn’t vegan. (Christmas and Thanksgiving= turkey/ham, Birthday celebrations= cake/ice cream/other desserts) Many people like to stick with the status quo and not stray away from tradition. Additionally, it is hard to eat something else while your family is eating their cultural foods.
My suggestion? Try new traditions or alter your existing ones (edit: most cultures have plant-based food, it just usually isn’t at the forefront – dig, dig, find those lost recipes).
Convenience is a big one. This reason is why many people do not eat healthier. It is easy to go to McDonald’s and get a cheeseburger with fries, but it is hard to find a place with vegan options (and by this, I mean real food – not just a slab of lettuce and two pieces of cucumber).
My suggestion? Eat less animal products so that demand for vegan options increases and spend a bit more time and energy on your food. It sustains us and keeps us alive. 😁
Many people do not eat healthy or vegan food because of the cost of it. To be honest, vegan food in general does not cost food than animal products. In many ways, it is cheaper. The real price difference is between packaged animal products and organic, fresh vegetables. Being vegan does not require you to purchase expensive protein powders and organic kale.
Think of this example:
You have a car. You love this car. Do you purchase trashy fuel that is bad for the environment and is unethical just because it is cheap? Of course not! You would buy the quality fuel that is ethical and environmentally friendly, even if it is more costly, because you want you car to run well. Your body is that car. You only have one body. Treat it well.
My suggestion? Spend your money on food that helps your body, not food that hurts it. Perhaps, in the long run, it saves you money on hospital bills.
Ignorance, if you want to call it that, is another reason why many people continue to eat meat. They have never been exposed to another way of eating and living. When I was younger, I didn’t know any other way of living my life. When I became exposed to different ways of living and began research, I was able to make my decisions and changes accordingly.
My suggestion? Educate yourself and others.
Many people worry about their health. I agree, a poorly-planned vegan diet can be poor in necessary nutrients and minerals, such as iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, but so can a poorly-planned omnivorous diet. At school, my plate usually looks like a rainbow, while my friends’ plates often look tan or colorless. Sometimes, I am eating a salad and some other dish while my friend is eating a plate of only fries, half fried chicken and half mac-and-cheese, or rice and beef. Considering overall nutrition, my plant-based dish most likey comes out on top. I am not perfect, but I believe that people should put thought into their meal. Think: what will nourish my body? Not: what looks tastiest?
My suggestion? Think about what you put on your plate. Take supplements for the nutrients and minerals that you are lacking.
Most of us were taught in school that we are omnivores, and therefore, need to eat meat. However, some evidence points out that our body more so resembles that of a frugivore or herbivore (see picture below). Yes, our bodies can benefit in some ways by eating meat, but it isn’t the best for us. But what about our “canines”? (see article below) Well, have you seen an omnivore’s teeth? Their canine teeth are very different from our “canines”. Have you looked at your hands? Where are the claws? We can’t even eat lots of raw meat without getting sick. Think about how much preparation goes into the meat that we as a society eat. There’s life, then slaughter, then separating, then cleaning, then packaging, then refrigerating, then heating, then adding of spices (or else it wouldn’t taste very good), then putting of meat on plates. There is still a debate over whether or not humans are omnivores. However, if I can live a healthy life without eating meat, I will do so.
My suggestion? Eat more plants and less animal products.
Vegans have a bad rep. A lot of people do not want to have affiliation with veganism because of what is associated with that lifestyle. Vegans are known for being self-consumed and preachy. People may decide to eat less meat, but not be called vegan. Personally, I can say that when you go vegan, you are the butt of many jokes and criticisms. It’s hard for me to even say the world aloud naturally. People love to make fun of you. If you defend yourself, they call you defensive. If you don’t say anything, they call the argument for veganism non-credible.
My suggestion? Eat less animal products. You don’t have to call yourself “vegan,” you can just say that you eat plant-based meals, which is what I prefer to say. Just put forth an effort and you’ll be good.
*I mention veganism and vegans a lot in this article, but a lot of what I said refers to vegetarians as well. I just decided not to refer to vegetarianism as much because I am vegan and can only speak for myself.*
To conclude, I personally would prefer if everyone eat plant-based foods. But, we all know that that is not going to happen. I used to be a meat eater, so I understand what it is like to consume animal products. And no, I never crave meat or cheese or eat animal products in private. What I ask of you is to educate yourself and respect vegetarians and vegans. Look at yourself before judging others. Additionally, think about the world as a whole. In general, are you contributing to the betterment of the world?
VEGAN DOCUMENTARIES: https://www.livekindly.co/vegan-documentaries/
I have included some articles below about certain aspects of veganism.
How does eating meat hurt the planet?
Does going vegan/eating less meat actually decrease our carbon footprint?
Does being vegan actually make a difference?
Aren’t humans omnivores?