I thought for my first post, I would list some of the reasons I am and continue to stay vegan, despite how difficult it can be at times. Although I am very happy being vegan and never intend to go back to consuming animal products, I would be lying if I said I never thought about eating meat or dairy or eggs. Eating at home is no problem, but eating out is much more complicated now; I either have to call ahead or do extensive online research. Plus, I’ve found my veganism has sometimes made it more difficult to relate to people. Food is an essential relationship-building tool and most social events are centered around it. But because I am a vegan, I now find it really difficult to relate to new people who eat meat because this central bonding mechanism is no longer an option. Of course, many of my old friends and family (even my boyfriend!) are omnivores, and I have no problem with people who aren’t vegan, but it can be very awkward meeting new people. Some people actually react negatively when they find out I’m vegan!
Despite these few downsides, I love being vegan. I am healthier than ever before and even on my bad days when I feel bloated and sluggish because I decided to eat too much junk food, I know I’m still healthier than I used to be. There are so many ethical, health, and environmental benefits to being vegan, I still honestly wonder why more people haven’t made the switch. This list is by no means comprehensive; these are simply some of my top reasons for choosing to live a vegan lifestyle.
Why I am a Vegan
1.) I am healthier.
Before I became vegan, I knew nothing about nutrition. My diet consisted of things like pasta-roni and ice cream. I never looked at labels or read ingredients lists. After becoming vegan, I actually started caring about what I put in my body. I realized I wasn’t comfortable consuming all of these mystery chemicals, and I started learning what I needed to do to properly fuel my body. This isn’t something specific to veganism; you can be health-conscious with any type of diet, but it was a wake-up call for me. I realized most of the processed food I’d been eating all my life was very unhealthy and making me feel horrible. I also found it easier to make healthy choices as a vegan. Most junk food and processed food use animal products, and being vegan eliminates them as a viable choice. I know veganism isn’t for everyone; I don’t even advocate veganism for everyone. Every body is different and what works for me may not work for someone else. But, it is undeniable that a plant-based diet has significant health benefits, whether you choose to eat animal products or not.
2.) I feel and look better.
I have struggled all of my life with acne. When I first went vegan, my skin actually started to clear up, and I realized I didn’t have to depend on prescription antibiotics to treat my acne for the rest of my life. Although it has taken me over a year to figure out how to control my acne without the use of antibiotics, I think going vegan helped my skin a lot. I also discovered that I lost weight on a vegan diet. I’ve never been overweight, but my previous diet of processed food had caused some weight gain, and I lost all of it when I cut out animal products. I have more energy too and I rarely experience food-comas after meals (unless I eat pasta).
3.) I am not contributing to the abusive industrial agricultural system.
While the health benefits of veganism are nice, what motivates me to stay vegan is the fact that I am no longer contributing to the abusive, money-hungry industrial animal agricultural system. Everything about the way animals are mass-produced and raised for slaughter is horrible. It’s not just the animals. The industrial agricultural system abuses people too. (See here and here for more information.) I can’t continue to eat animal products now that I know how those products are produced. If you’d like to know more about the abuses carried out against animals in both the food, fashion, and animal testing industries, I also highly recommend Earthlings (watch the film here.)
4.) I am reducing my carbon footprint.
Animal agriculture is the most polluting industry on the planet. By choosing a vegan diet, I help cut down on the amount of pollution bombarding our planet. Not to mention the large majority of the grain produced in the world goes to feed animals being raised for slaughter. Choosing a vegan diet helps cut down on pollution and helps increase the amount of food available to feed Earth’s ever-increasing population.
5.) I am living a more compassionate life.
Living a compassionate life is central to my moral code. I try to live my life in such a way that I do the least harm to other living things–this includes people and animals as well as the planet. I feel happy knowing my diet does not cause more suffering. I believe being vegan is about more than just avoiding animal products in your diet. To me, being vegan means mitigating suffering. It means avoiding products that have been made by underpaid or enslaved workers, it means avoiding products that use animal testing, and avoiding products that contribute to global pollution. I’m not trying to convince anyone to go vegan, but I do think it is the best lifestyle choice for maintaining the longevity of our planet and for improving the lives of people around the world.