Veganism is a lifestyle that is dedicated to excluding the use of animals (in food, clothing, and entertainment). Being vegan also involves abstaining from the use of products that are tested on animals.
It seems like a lot of people are trying to go vegan these days. Your favourite celebrities, friends, and even your next-door neighbours. And why wouldn’t they? Vegan lifestyle is a powerful way to support animal rights, protect your body, and live without moral compromises. According research done at University of Oxford, a vegan diet is “the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth”
Now a lot of people believe that veganism is unnatural or unhealthy and quite frankly, impossible. These ideas couldn’t be farther away from the truth. Becoming vegan can actually make you healthier if you do it the right way.
Today, we’ll look at reasons people choose veganism, why going vegan is important and how to make a smooth transition.
Importance Of Being Vegan
Before anything else, let’s first make it clear why veganism is important. If you haven’t already noticed, we are in a bit of a crisis as humans consume the planet’s finite resources at an ever-increasing rate.
Bear in mind, veganism is not going to magically fix that and give us a green, blooming plant overnight. But it is a place to start.
Moreover, if you decide that veganism is for you, your friends, family members, and colleagues might follow suit. And when many people stop eating meat, dairy, and eggs, companies that sell these and other animal by-products will face a deficit. They will then turn to other ways of staying in business.
Reasons To Go Vegan
For The Animals
Animals used in the meat and dairy industry are subjected to horrific conditions and abuse. Being vegan demonstrates true compassion and empathy for animals as well as other thinking, feeling creatures.
Save The Environment
A lot of us try to save the environment in ways that range from recycling our household rubbish to cycling to work. One of the most effective things an individual can do to lower their carbon footprint is to avoid all animal products.
The number of animals that are slaughtered every day to fill supermarkets with an ample stock is appalling. All of those animals have to be fed and housed before they are killed. This is one of the driving factors for deforestation as we require more pasturelands and animal feed. Conversely, feeding the world with plant-based sustenance would only need a fraction of that land.
In the agriculture industry, animals contribute to water contamination due to fecal runoff. They consume heaps of water and crops, which need to be grown using even more water. Fertilisers and pesticides are added to these crops. Steroid hormones are injected into the animals.
It’s truly a barbarous circle that is responsible for environmental degradation.
Conserving Finite Resources
We also need to consider the finite resources that crop farming depletes. It requires machine power which consumes fossil fuels. The more of these limited resources we use, the less will be left over for the future generation. Not only do we need to put in resources into growing the food for animals but also for growing and “processing” the animals themselves.
On the other hand, the plant-based food chain requires less natural resources.
Being More Healthy And Fit
If going vegan for the plant and animals doesn’t cut it for you, then do it for yourself and your own health. Meat eaters are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer compared to those who follow a vegan diet. Vegans also have lower rates of diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Animal products are rich in saturated fats and cholesterol. But, lo and behold because a vegan diet can reverse type 2 diabetes!
Vegans are also the only group of people who have an average normal and healthy BMI. The more animal products in your diet, the higher your BMI.
So go vegan for a longer, healthier life - 6 to 10 years longer than your average meat-lover.
Improving Your Mood And Concentration
Vegans tend to have healthier mood-states partly because of the higher levels of antioxidants in plant-based foods.
Cutting out on the meat means you cut out all the stress hormones in them and replace them with carbohydrate-rich foods that help stabilise your serotonin levels. And do you know what that leads to? A happier life!
Because It’s Never Been Easier
Being vegan has never been easier folks! There are so many vegan food products available. Restaurants offer a range of vegan options. Plant milks, vegan cheese, vegan snacks and ready meals - you name it!
Veganism has never been more accessible, attainable, and affordable than it is today so what’s stopping you?!
Dealing With Negative Responses
Treat people with kindness even if they are being horrible to you. And cook for them - show them how yummy vegan food can be!
If someone makes a little dig about veganism, educate them as best as you can, and make them feel at ease. Be empathetic towards anyone expressing a negative opinion. Don’t be judgemental or argue back.
What If At Times I Really Crave Meat?
It can be hard breaking a long attachment to the aromas, textures and flavours of meat. The good news is that nowadays it is easy to recreate those flavours and textures in vegan food, whether it is a plant-based burger or seitan with the crunch and texture of fried chicken.
And remember that we’re only human and we make mistakes. If you do end up eating some meat, remind yourself why you became vegan in the first place. Don’t beat yourself about it and just keep trying.
What If I’m Not A Massive Fan Of Eating Vegetables?
- If you have a phobia of vegetables then eat familiar recipes and replace ingredients with plant-based alternatives. Vegetables don’t taste as bitter as they might boiled or raw when they are cooked.
- Don’t overwhelm yourself by putting every green vegetable on your plant at once. Start with one beneficial vegetable at a time. Think of this as a cooking adventure or a challenge and have fun with it.
- Adding herbs or spices to your veggie dishes can help enhance their taste. Try out different combinations until you find your perfect spicy veg!
- Try befriending vegetable fanatics. The more you eat in the company of people who love their greens, the more likely you are to start enjoying them too. You might be driven away by bitter-tasting veggies but if your friends love eating their greens, there’s no need to worry right?
- Try hiding vegetables into dishes and making them hard to detect (yes, it’s cheating but tough times call for tough measures). For instance, if you are making a fruit smoothie with plenty of sweet ingredients like apples and bananas, maybe throw in some spinach to trick your tastebuds.
If you still can’t stand vegetables despite all that, then don’t worry - veganism is still an option for you. Eat fruits, whole grains, legumes and take vegan supplements. As long as you maintain a balanced diet, you can still be healthy.
Veganism isn’t simply limited to surviving on vegetables (or grass). There is a wide range of food vegans can eat, and supermarkets continue to up their vegan ranges.
Can I Maintain A Healthy Weight While Being Vegan?
If you only stick to eating salad then probably not. As long as you consume a balanced, well-planned vegan diet, you will be able to hit nutritional targets and maintain a healthy weight.
Resources For Budding Vegans
- Vegan cookbooks. Visit the following site for some of the best vegan cookbooks:
- Vegan recipes online and on YouTube
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