Have you been curious about going vegan? You think you’d like to try it, but cheese. Perhaps you’d dip your toe in the water but Easter just passed and what would you do without your chocolate bunny fix? I am here to share a few tips, tricks, and misconceptions about food and going vegan. I am NOT here to shove my lifestyle down your throat and make you feel like a murderer for eating dairy or meat. I would like to focus on the health and wellbeing of our planet and our bodies.
For the Love of Earth
For this article I will stick to the scientific facts of global harm done by farming, and avoid the whole animal cruelty argument….although yes, what is done to animals in the name of feeding humans is cruel. (Just to be official about my stance). Raising animals for human consumption globally requires 26% of the Earth’s surface right now. That number will continue to increase. Over 1/4 of Earth is being used right now to raise animals to eat. Not to mention the amount of methane gas released by these animals which is also harming our environment. These facts alone are reason enough to at least consider veganism, or at the minimum vegetarianism. Some simple research (Google that shit) shows just how detrimental to our planet the meat industry has become, and we only have one Earth…just sayin’.
Impact on the Body
Another reason to opt for the vegan lifestyle is for your own health. Antibiotics are given to farm animals at an alarming rate. The consequence of this to humans comes when the antibiotics are passed on to our systems, causing difficulty fighting off infections. We then end up with superbugs which kill 23,000 people yearly. While you may say, “I don’t purchase meats containing antibiotics, I am very careful at the grocery store.” Think about the times you go out to eat, or eat at a friend’s house, or at work. Daily, there are many opportunities in which you have, or may have, consumed antibiotic tainted meats. Unless you are vegan.
In addition to the antibiotic impact, there are the heart health issues, increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, and blood pressure issues. Animal products clog up our arteries and impact our health in so many negative ways. No amount of, “I need to get my protein from animals,” can make up for that, or lessen the reality of the situation. We can get all the protein, and other nutrients, we need through eating plants. We just have to eat the right amounts of the right plants.
Let’s Do This!
So we’ve established the harmful impact eating meat has on our planet and our bodies. Are you ready to give it a try? I promise you will not be eating like a rabbit, unless you want to. The vegan world has a plethora of great options for meat replacement, recipes, and sites which are geared towards supporting a vegan lifestyle.
Let me warn you, there will be cravings. But just because you are craving one thing does not mean you are deficient in that thing. For instance, a craving for sweets can mean you are dehydrated. Moving to a vegan lifestyle will send your body into a TEMPORARY state of shock. Once you get past the first 3 days, it will start to get easier. You may also opt to wean yourself off meat and dairy, and into veganism. That’s fine too! It’s all about the greater good and the big picture. Anytime we start something new it is important to focus on doing things the most successful way for us personally, and finding support. We all have difficult moments but the greater your support system, the easier it is to maintain the change. The Vegan Society has even created an app to help people make the transition to veganism.
What Do I Eat?
By now you are wondering what the heck you are supposed to eat. I am happy to tell you the answer to that will not fit in this simple blog post. The diverse menu available to vegans is a wonderful thing. Vegan recipes are easy to find and delicious! Open your mind, and your tastebuds to a world it may have been cut off from until now. Explore your local produce department, or better yet, go to a farmer’s market, or local farm. Get the kids involved too, because when they are part of something they are more likely to accept and try something new.
I also recommend following vegan pages on social media. I find great inspiration and support by following other vegans. I get great recipe ideas and find myself continuously inspired by other people’s journeys as well. Share your food porn even if it is a salad you made. You may be surprised at how much attention you get from the vegan community. Vegans are a close-knit group, even if we are strangers. We often find ourselves on the receiving end of society’s criticism and are fodder for endless jokes. We find solace in supporting one another, encouraging and motivating each other toward the common goal of a healthier lifestyle.
Stand Out in The Crowd
Do not be afraid to wear your veganism proudly. Stand tall, keep your chin held high. Do not waver in your resolve! If you falter, know it is okay, just pick yourself up and keep going. Seek support when you need it, and offer support when you are able. Share everything, your recipes, your successes, your health changes, your weight loss. SHARE EVERYTHING! The more you show the world how positively this lifestyle impacts you, the greater an impact we can all make. When people begin to see how fantastic we all feel and look, the less they can disregard and ignore the positive outcome to a vegan life. Be vegan, and be proud to be vegan!