In honor of World Vegan Day, I thought I’d share the reasons why I am vegan!!
Being vegan goes far beyond my food choices. It means I try as best as possible to eliminate animal suffering. This can be a very loaded, messy topic because when food justice comes to mind, there is so much injustice with unfair wages, child labor and more abuse happening with farm workers, food deserts where access to healthy food isn’t possible, and so on. It is absolutely possible to stand up for these issues AND take animal flesh and fluids off your plate and out of your mugs and cups. We still have a long way to go. I believe together we can make a difference, and we don’t have that long to do it for the survival of our planet and the human race. Not to bring you down, because I do optimistically believe that it starts on our plates, and this is all something we can do!
So, why am I vegan?
I am vegan for the animals
Back in 2008 or 2009 I read a book called Skinny Bitch. I didn’t realize it was all about how terrible factory farming is and how everyone should be vegan. I learned that whole chickens, after being plucked and beheaded, are dipped in arsenic to stay “fresh”. I learned that dairy cows are milked no matter the state of their udders, which means if they are raw, sore, and have open sores, they are still milked. And I learned that chocolate milk is made from the worst looking milk that is discolored from blood and other secretions that come from sick udders who are being over milked. I learned that pigs who are raised to breed “pork” pigs can’t even move in their crates, and the baby pigs are castrated at one month old without any anesthesia. They are shackled down and sent on their way.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I had NEVER thought about where my food came from or realized that a holocaust was occurring at every animal farm around the world. I hopped onto websites and watched videos. One that was popular at the time is called “Meet Your Meat”. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was done. I went vegetarian soon after that. I didn’t know how to completely omit meat, because it felt kind of extreme. And I didn’t want to eat a lot of soy. Did I have other alternatives?
It took a long time for me to completely understand what veganism truly is. At it’s core, veganism is anti-speciesism. It is against the idea that animals are here for our use. It is against the idea that using animals for our gain is normal, natural, and necessary.
I went back and forth for a long time. What kept me going was constantly reminding myself what was happening to the animals. Their suffering is immense, and lasts their entire lives. And then they are killed for 15 minutes of pleasure on someone’s taste buds. I did not want to be a part of that at all. I did not want my dollars to vote for animals being killed, when I knew I could thrive on a plant based diet. I didn’t want to buy products that are tested on animals or that use animals in them (a lot of cosmetics have animals in them). I did not want to wear animals anymore. This one took a while for me, and I don’t know why it took so long to sink in. And that’s ok. Because I feel good knowing that moving forward, I will not be consciously contributing the the use of animals for my food, cosmetics, cleaners, clothing, shoes, handbags, or anything else.
More than 150 billion animals are killed every year, and this does not include sea animals and sea creatures. When you add their numbers in, it is well over 200 billion. What this counter HERE for a live physical representation of what this looks like (it’s non-graphic).
And to learn more about the dreadful lives that animals face when they are bred in to being raised just for slaughter, read this HERE, which shares 10 alarming facts you may have not known.
I am vegan for my health
We have no nutritional need for animal flesh or fluids. We can not only survive, but thrive, on a whole foods, plant based diet. Our digestive systems, from our teeth (yes they are part of digestion) to the type of acid in our stomachs, to the size of our colons, are made to digest, break down, assimilate, and eliminate plants. Read HERE to learn more about how humans are herbivores. Something I find really fascinating is how we might actually, mostly, be frugivores! This article explains it here. Not very popular for marketing, sales of processed food items, dairy, beef, pork and chicken, etc. So you won’t hear this one too often!
I could spend all day researching to spout at facts at you to try to convince you as to why a plant based diet is the way to go. But that is not why I am vegan for my health. I am vegan for my health because I have experienced that eating whole foods, plant based, is the best way to eat for a life of wellness, health and vitality. The rumor that vegans are always tired all the time and that they get sick might be true for those who eat junk food. The truth is, isn’t everyone sick and tired when they eat like crap? Eating WFPB, even if it’s not 100% of your diet, will leave you feeling better than someone who eats vegan pizza full of gluten, fat ridden vegan cheese and potato chips as their main staple.
I can honestly tell you that I rarely get sick, and if I do, I kick back my natural remedies and it’s gone within a few days. I used to LIVE on antibiotics, asthma medication, allergy meds, and OTC sinus medication. I had strep throat, bronchitis, asthma, and allergies day in and day out almost my entire childhood and early adult life. When I changed my diet, I stopped feeding the viruses in my body, so they stopped flaring up. For more info on what feeds latent viruses and bacteria in our body, check out this resource from Medical Medium HERE.
I am also completely disgusted by eating animals. Once you take them away, or have a realization of how they become “food”, at least for me, the desire completely diminished. Meat is dead, rotting flesh. Dairy is bovine mammary gland secretions and is mostly pus. If it’s cheese, the fat has just been rendered and a lot of salt has been added. Eggs are the product of a hen’s reproductive system, and fish are just not desirable to me. Also, pigs are completely adorable and after having met pigs who have been saved, there is no way I could ever consider a pig’s flesh as my food. Animals are friends, not food!
I am vegan for the planet
Our planet is dying, and human beings have 100% caused the destruction. I truly believe that we will not destroy our beautiful Mother Earth, but that we will destroy ourselves. Factory farming, and the use and exploitation of animals in general, has done a HUGE number on the environment. And we can’t go back. We can only change and do better, and hope it isn’t too late.
I always knew that the disgusting amount of waste that animal farms produce, not only feces and urine from the animals, but their blood from being slaughtered and the leftover body pieces that don’t get used, are huge contributors to ground water pollution, and ocean water pollution as well. The waste particulates get into the air and can cause major respiratory damage, not only to the animals, but to farm and slaughterhouse workers, and to residents who live nearby.
I also knew that cattle farming, raising cattle for meat, for leather, is the number one killer of the rainforest. More deforestation has occurred to make room for cattle than for any other reason. So not only do we have more cows creating more waste, we have less rainforest to protect our fragile oxygen/carbon dioxide balance on our planet.
It wasn’t until I watched Cowspiracy, that I had a grip on how terrible the destruction really is. You can find the documentary on Netflix, and read all the facts shared in the film, plus any new facts, HERE.
It’s not only the waste that the animals and their dismembered bodies create, but think about all the fossil fuel used to transport the animals, transport their dead flesh to the grocery stories, and ALL of the plastic waste that is involved in this process as well. Plastic trays for meat, plastic jugs for milk, plastic containers for dairy items like butter and yogurt, and so much more.
The use of animals as a food source is destroying our planet. I was astounded when I learned this fact, that animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of the world’s greenhouse gasses, and that is more than any other forms of land, sea and air transportation combined. Check the Cowspiracy link above for more info.
And did you know that 47% of California’s water, a state that is constantly in drought, goes to animal agriculture? I was so mad when I learned this!!!! The city passes out fliers for us to only water our yards at night and shorten our showers, but 47% of the state’s water is going to animal agriculture???? This article HERE shares more info about this, and is a very compelling read.
Bottom line is that every day, I get to be an activist and follows my values by what I choose to eat. And this has an effect on my health, on the environment, and it saves animals. Being vegan is the least I can do. It’s such an easy choice, and there is nothing but positive benefits to gain. I can’t imagine living any other way.