I wanted to touch on this subject because I always get asked about it. "Why did you go Vegan?" "Don't mean to be rude, but how do you get your protein?" "I see you differently because you're Vegan." Pretty much every question or comment you can think of about Veganism, I've heard it. I understand how people who are not aware of Veganism can be sceptical, because I was as well. I knew of it, but never had an interest or want about it. I grew up with large families, and a lot of food. Seafood, meats (a lot of meats), cakes, slices, creamy dishes, bacon and eggs for breakfast, that's all I knew and that was health to me.
I struggled with weight, I was eating foods that were forced onto the food pyramid by the meat and dairy industry claiming they were 'healthy' which, I can tell you now since being off of meat and dairy, were causing me more harm than doing any good. I had digestion issues, my skin constantly had breakouts, mood swings, my hormones were imbalanced and I always felt heavy. I never thought that what I was eating was eating away at my health. I was feeding my hunger with anything and not thinking about what I did or didn't get nutritionally out of it.
Until one day a friend of mine became Vegan and she started to share her passion for it with myself. I watched videos on youtube, documentaries, read articles and joined groups on Facebook to learn more about it. It wasn't until I watched a video by Kalel that had me in tears and had me questioning my choices and my morals. The most brutal and truthful video I've watched, changed my whole outlook on life and my diet. I literally became Vegan overnight.
I gave up smoking, I was smoking at least a packet every 2 days, I gave up my constant thirst for alcohol and hanging out for fridays/saturdays, I gave up everything toxic in my life and started fresh. I started to cook my own meals, vegetable stir fry's with fresh produce were my fave. I started reading what ingredients were in processed foods (side note: McDonald's fries have 19 ingredients in them! And don't even get me started on how many products have milk in them, like potato chips for example. REALLY!) I took more time in the supermarket to really look at these products that society think is "food" when it's just a bunch of artificial flavours, chemicals and high fructose corn syrup slapped into a pretty packet and then saturating the market with fun advertisements and happy children eating these sugary cereals for "breakfast" and calling it nutritious. Did you know the egg industry legally aren't allowed to market eggs as "nutritional", because they aren't nutritional at all. I mean, what is nutritional about a hen's period anyway?
I could go on, and I know for a fact that there's a lot of frowns reading this right now, but it's the truth. If I could wish for one thing, it would be for everyone to be in my shoes for one day. To be in my head and to understand what I see. I wish this world would heal and we could love all beings and be equal. I know it's not going to happen overnight, but I do know that one small change can go a long way. The world is changing and I hope that we can all be the change that this planet so desperately needs.
So, why did I go vegan?
For the animals first. I went Vegan for them. They don't have a choice with how their life ends or how they even get to live it. Some of us may think that they don't know anything and they're just products for profit. Wrong, they literally have a heart that beats just like us, they have senses and emotions just like us. I've seen a cow cry tears and scream for their babies straight after giving birth. As soon as a calf is born they're put onto the back of a trailer/van/quad bike, and separated from their mother so they don't drink their milk because 'that's for humans.' Truth is, cow's milk is one of the most damaging and unhealthiest products on the market. Think about it, humans are the ONLY specie on this planet to drink the milk of another specie. What do we do when we're newborns? We breastfeed from our mothers, then we go onto solids. Yet, human's STILL are the only species to drink milk (of another specie) after the newborn phase? Animals can feel exactly what we feel but because they can't verbally express it we take that as an advantage and treat them like things instead of living beings. All over the World. I didn't want to contribute to that anymore and the industries who exploit animals weren't getting any of my money anymore. I love dogs, and cats and rabbits and guinea pigs, but I was still eating and paying for chopped up, grinded pieces of other animals and calling it food. There's something totally wrong about that.
I went Vegan for the planet. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, even more than the total amount of combined exhaust from transportation globally! Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years. The planet is literally dieing because of humans want for meat. Once I cut off meat in my diet, that meant I cut off contributing to global warming on as big of a scale as I did when I ate meat.
For myself. For my health and longevity of my life. I know people say "I'm here for a good time, not a long time" but I want to be able to see my nieces and nephews grow up and start lives of their own and see their kids have kids. I want to set examples. I want to spend as much time on this planet doing what I can to change it. I feel like I was given life for a purpose and I want to use as much of that time doing as much as I can and seeing as much of it as possible. I can survive off of materials, food, clothes, and beauty products not made by, or tested on animals. What right do we have as humans to use them for their fur or their brains or their skin? None. I want to nourish my body with colourful foods and seeds and freshness, not death and torture and flesh and the last remaining slabs of a baby lamb's leg. I believe we are what we eat and if we ingest dead animals whose last few moments were full of anger and ugliness as they were being slaughtered, then I will exude anger and ugliness. My body is a garden, not a graveyard.
"Don't mean to be rude, but how do you get your protein?"
From the same place other people get their protein. From plants. Except I don't get the protein through eating the animal that ate the plants. I just eat the plant and not eat the cow or the chicken or whichever animal it is. Animals get their protein from plant sources, then humans get that protein by eating the animal that ate the plants. I just skip the middle-man (or animal to be specific).
"I see you differently because you're Vegan."
My answer to that is 'Cool. But I see the whole world differently because I'm Vegan. It's not all rainbows and butterflies, but it's not all bad either. But instead of how you view me, maybe the focus is how everyone should look deeper at how the world goes round. Then, I'm sure you'll see that it's not me that you see differently because I'm Vegan, it's how societies and governments and industries have taught you to think that."
I wrote a short story about how it feels going from non-vegan to vegan because I can't quite explain it in a sentence. Click here if you would like to read it.
Here are some links and different sources you can use if you'd like to learn more about Veganism. You can always contact me as well through the contact tab at the top of the page. This is something I'm very passionate about because it's changed me for the better in so many ways and if I can help at least one person then that would be enough for me x
Books: How not to die by Dr Michael Greger , The China Study by T Colin Campbell , The happy Vegan by Russell Simmons
Documentaries: Cowspiracy , Forks over Knives , Plant Pure Nation , Veducated , Hungry for Change , Food Matters , Food Inc. , Fast Food Nation , Food choices , Fed Up , Unity , Earthlings
Youtube: Beyond Carnism toward Rational Authentic Food Choices by Melanie Joy , James Aspey , Erin Janus , Bitesize Vegan , Gary Yourofsky , Joey Carbstrong , Earthling Ed
Facebook: Vegan Sidekick , Forks over Knives , Neal Barnard M.D , Vegan.com , VEGAN , Plant Based News , Vegan Bros , Thug Kitchen , Darth Vegan , T. Colin Campbell Centre for Nutrition Studies , What Kiwi Vegans Eat
PS. I'd like to make it clear that I understand there are different ways which farm animals, or any animals grown for consumption are treated. In some places in India, cows are treated like gems, yet here in NZ they're seen as next week's BBQ to some. Or, in China, to have Dog on the menu is as normal as us having Chicken. They're all the same thing. They're all still being exploited and used for consumption when that's not what they're here for. Of course not all animals are treated as brutally as others, some spend their lives on green grassy fields, but at the end of the day they still get killed.