Why I am a Vegan

Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

I became vegan about four year ago. To this day, people ask me why. Here are a few of my reasons:

1. I hate what factory farming has done and continues to do to animals.

2. There are so many delicious and healthy alternatives to meat and dairy, I don’t feel that there is a need for animals to be involved anymore.

3. My food variety has increased times a gazillion — I eat way more fruits, veggies, grains and legumes than I ever did as a meat eater.

4. It gives me so much pleasure to know that the food I eat does not come from cruelty.

5. A vegan diet is more sustainable in every way — I am doing my small part to lessen our carbon footprint.

6. Veggie burgers truly taste better than meat burgers.

7. After struggling with weight issues, veganism has helped me keep to a healthy weight

8. The vegan community is really diverse and interesting — I find new awesome bloggers and recipe creators every day!

9. I have more energy since being powered by plants

10. Vegan cooking has really allowed me to stretch and grow my repertoire; I love the process of making good, clean food.

Those are just ten out of hundreds.

I try not to “preach” veganism because even though I do think what I’m doing is important, I never want to make others feel like they are doing something wrong. They’re not. The reality is that we are all taught that meat and dairy are essentially to our health — look at the food pyramid, remember what you learned about “healthy” eating in school? To this day, my mother thinks I am slowly killing myself because I don’t eat eggs or drink milk. There are a lot of misconceptions.

Beyond the standard misconceptions, being vegan is a privilege. I realize that not everyone can afford to buy fresh, healthy foods because they are, without exception, the most expensive products in any grocery store. If you have a budget and a family to feed, you can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on superfoods. If you’ve ever spent a morning at a farmer’s market, you know that all those popular buzzwords — “local” “organic” “ethically-sourced” — come at a steep price.

The most pervasive reason, I’ve discovered, is convenience. It’s easy to go to a restaurant and order whatever you want. It’s easy to indulge in comfort foods that you’ve known and grown up with. It’s easy to share meals with family and friends without forcing your restrictions on them.

All of that is totally legitimate.

But here’s the thing — there’s a good chance that not a single decent person can take a real look into what’s going on with livestock and be okay with it. Yes, I know that not all farms are factory farms; I used to work in a farming community with lots of kind decent people, none of whom tortured their animals. But family farms account for only about 2%, meaning that the rest are the big, corporate farms that care way more about profits than they do about you or your health, let alone that of their animals.

The next logical point is that if you can’t watch these videos, if you can’t accept this reality without being upset, you should do everything you can to avoid supporting this cruel and unethical industry.

Now, that may not mean becoming vegan. It may mean actually seeking out local alternatives. It may mean simply cutting down on your meat and dairy intake. It may mean reading ingredients a bit more closely. Not only are these things not revolutionary, they are just the healthier, common sense choice.

Once you take on the challenge, you may notice a few things:

· You actually don’t need to eat meat with every meal

· Your relationship with food can likely use some work

· There’s a lot of stuff that tastes great out there!

And from there, the world is your oyster. Don’t want to spend a ton of money? That’s okay, dried beans and legumes usually cost less than a dollar per package, almond milk is frequently cheaper than dairy, and there are bulk stores where you can buy nuts and grains for a fraction of the cost. You don’t HAVE to shop at the expensive farmer’s markets because frozen fruits and veggies can also taste delicious and provide you with the same nutritional value.

This has definitely crossed over into preaching, but I’ll leave you with this: what you eat is vitally important, so it should not be an afterthought or based entirely on convenience and familiarity. If you aren’t worried about animals, that’s okay, just worry about yourself — choose the healthier option. That means real, whole foods that have not seen too much tampering. In today’s world, it is incredibly difficult to figure out what is and isn’t processed, but a good rule of thumb is: the closer it is to its natural state, the better it is for you.