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 (almost) 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. 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 health, age, gender...)
• More energy
• Need less sleep
• Leaner body
• Better looking skin
• Calmer and happier
• Less mood swings
• No more painful monthly periods (no need for painkillers)
• Feeling good and guilt-free
I have no urge to smash my face with food before getting a period (probably due to some hormonal balance – but I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist, so take my explanation with a pinch of salt...this all is just my own experience.)
How does it help the animals?
It stops unnecessary hurting and killing of the animals. The world today is full of choices and consuming animal products is not necessary for our survival or health (in most cases). 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 animal 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. 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 thought given to the food or where it came from. All it mattered to me was the taste and the excitement of trying something new. Having a strong stomach and not getting disgusted easily, one of my favorite things to do while traveling was to try EVERYTHING that the locals eat. That lead me to trying a cooked dog, cockroaches, tarantulas, moose, balut, cooked buffalo’s poo (pia), silk worms, snakes, scorpions…you name it, I ate it.
4 years ago, after volunteering in 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, I decided to stay in the room and watch a documentary on my laptop. I searched through different titles and topics and randomly picked the one called “Earthlings”. 95 minutes later, I was sitting on the bed intrigued about everything I’ve just heard and seen while thinking how I need to research this more. It felt wrong forgetting about it as I do with the most stuff I watch and not to give it some more thought.
I had several vegetarian friends, but never could I ever imagine myself being vegetarian or god forbid vegan. Those were the people from some other planet. - I thought. Even though word “vegan” was not mentioned once in a documentary that made me seriously re-think my living and eating habits – it was a logical part of the solution to the issues shown in this documentary. 3 days have passed by and a damn film was still on my mind. At one point I got angry at myself for watching it, because now I had to change something. I couldn’t let go off it and kept doing what I was doing for the last 30 years.
But I couldn’t possibly become a fucking vegan either. No way in the world!
Or could I?
I searched for more available materials to get a better understanding of this topic. In the next weeks, I read books, watched documentaries and searched for a long term vegan pioneers on the internet. I had no vegan friends. My actions were driven by my own choice. More I learnt about it, more I felt ready to test it myself. I started with a plan to give it a try for 3 days only.
What could possibly go wrong in 3 days, right? - I thought.
3 days got extended to 7 days. I was still alive and felt surprisingly alright, so I thought why not to extend my experiment to 21 days. After 21 days, I started seeing the benefits in my mood as well as my clear skin and it all felt pretty great. I decided to extend my testing to a full month.
It’s been over 4 years since I forced myself to open my mind and try something new I could have never imagined myself trying. That decision has been life changing and it improved my life drastically. As it improved my life, it improved the life of several people dear to me. That chain reaction proved that no one is a lone stone, and our every decision, no matter good or bad, influences the people around us weather we want that or not.
What do you eat?
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