What does it mean?
Veganism is one of the ways to be kinder to yourself, the animals and the planet. It’s a plant based diet that avoids any animal product, such as meat, dairy, eggs and honey. From junk food vegans to raw food vegans, and everything in between, there's a version of veganism to suit everyone.
Why should I go vegan?
It helps your health, the animals and the planet. Personal benefits greatly depend on what kind of vegan you are. If you are junk food vegan, you probably won’t experience any personal benefits, but you’ll be still helping the animals and the planet. If you’re not a junk food vegan, you might discover some pretty cool stuff. These were my personal discoveries, but yours might be different (depending on your current health and gender):
• More energy
• Need less sleep
• Leaner body
• Better looking skin
• Calmer and happier
• Less mood swings
• No more painful monthly periods (I threw away all of my painkillers)
• Cruelty-free meals
How does it help the animals?
It stops unnecessary hurting and killing animals. The world today is full of choices and consuming animal products is not necessary for our survival or health. It’s a choice made out of habit, tradition or ignorance.
Animals are being killed due to human habit pushed by a profiting industry. Even if we try to improve the treatment of the animals we use, we are still using them for our own selfish needs. Animal agribusiness does not exist by itself – it exists because consumers continue to pay for it. It’s quite simple: The fewer animal products people consume, the fewer animals will suffer and die.
How does it help the planet?
Eating fewer animal products moves food production away from animal agribusiness toward plant-based foods. Plant-based food production uses dramatically less land. It eliminates the need for deforestation, uses less water, emits less greenhouse gases, saves lives, and conserves the world’s resources for future generations.
One of the top contributors to climate change is raising animals for food. Raising animals for human consumption is a leading contributor to greenhouse gases. Animal agribusiness contributes to climate change more than all the planes, cars, trucks, and all other forms of transportation on the planet COMBINED.
Animal agribusiness is using over 10 times the amount of land and energy resources needed to grow plant-based foods. The planet simply cannot support 7+ billion people on animal-based diets. It is mathematically impossible. The equation is simple, the fewer farmed animals we feed, the more people we can feed.
It’s more than a diet
Vegan ethics include:
Animals used for clothing and in other ways (like down pillows, comforters, hair accessories, etc.) are used and abused in horrifying ways.
Animals in circuses, rodeos, aquariums, and other unnatural settings are constantly put in harm's way and live a life of imprisonment.
Animals are used in cruel experiments to test many household cleaners and cosmetic products when existing products and more effective animal-free tests exist.
My plant-based journey
I was always a big “everything eater” with not much thoughts given to the food or where it came from. As I love to travel, one of my favorite things to do while in foreign land was to try EVERYTHING that the locals eat. That lead me to trying dogs, cockroaches, tarantulas, moose, balut, cooked buffalo’s poo, silk worms, snakes, scorpions…you name it, I ate it.
Couple of years ago, after volunteering in one Thai orphanage, I decided to go to Chiang Mai and stay there for a while to reset myself from a very intense experience. I rented a small apartment with bed which seems like a basic deal, but to me it was a great luxury after sharing a floor with 63 little orphans.
One rainy day in Chiang Mai I decided to stay in my apartment and watch documentaries on my laptop. I searched through different topics and titles and randomly picked the one called “Earthlings”. 95 minutes later, I was sitting in my room completely intrigued and thinking how I need to research this more. It felt wrong forgetting about as I do with the most stuff I watch and not to give it some more thought. Even though veganism was not mentioned once in this documentary, it was a part of the solution to the issues shown in it.
I searched for more available materials to get a better understanding. In the next weeks, I read The China Study, 80/10/10, I watched Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Vegucated, Cowspiracy, Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days, Food Inc., Food Matters, Hungry for Change, Ingredients, and started searching for long term vegan pioneers on internet. I had no vegan friends. My actions were driven by my curiosity and the more I learnt about it, more it made sense.
When I felt ready to test it myself, I started with a plan to give it a try for 7 days only. That got extended to 21 days after which I felt so great that I extended it to 3 months. 2 year later I have no desire to go back to my old ways. Seeing what I saw and knowing what I know, how could I ever go back?
Once I’ve experienced that ultimate state of a happy, shiny and full of energy person, I don’t want to lose that shine. Something has clicked. For me veganism is about how it makes me feel and my only regret is not coming across it earlier in my life. Feeling physically and mentally better while respecting the animals and the planet - it doesn't get better than that.
What do you eat?
If you’re new in plant based world, veganism might seem like a very limited and hard lifestyle, while the reality is completely opposite. It’s as simple as you want it to be and full of the abundance if you’re doing it right.
I eat all of the fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. There is a great alternative for every single animal product, so I don’t miss out on any of the foods. I still eat ALL of the dishes I ate before going vegan, except I eat better version of them.
Here is THE LINK to some of my favorite vegan dishes.
How hard is it to stay vegan while traveling? THE LINK