You went vegan? Why?

A few weeks ago, I decided to make the shift from vegetarian to vegan.  Without fail, people respond to that news by saying, “Why?” They quickly follow that by saying, “What DO you eat?”  

So, for my first post, I’m going to try to attempt to answer the first of those questions.  But, disclaimer: I can’t properly answer that questions without sharing some pretty disturbing things.  I try not to be preachy about my food choices versus what other people eat.  To each their own.  But in order to really explain why I have made the choices that I have made, I have to present the facts.

I have been a vegetarian for several years now.  I can’t really remember how long it has been to be honest.  But I do remember that the movie Food, Inc. played a large roll in that decision.  I have always had some issues with animal farming but this movie really solidified those issues for me.  

First of all, consuming meat has a huge environmental impact.  18% of man-made pollution comes from the meat industry.  It takes about 40 calories of fossil fuel to create 1 calorie of feed-lot beef.  In comparison, it takes 2.2 calories of energy to create a calorie of plant products.  I think we could all afford to take a good look at our environmental impact.  Just saying. 🙂

Secondly, eating vegan is pretty healthy. 🙂  There is substantial evidence that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables lower rates of certain cancers.  Additionally, a vegan diet has been linked to lower BMI’s, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and lower incidents of cardiovascular disease.  I’ll take it. 

And finally, the conditions in which animals live in factory farms is deplorable.  It is really hard to ignore this information.  I mean, I really think that we all have some knowledge of this information.  And it’s just not something that I can be a part of.  

When I first became a vegetarian, I felt like at least I wasn’t consuming dead animals.  But…animals being used for milk and eggs are clearly not being treated any better.  It felt like so much effort to be vegan and how was I going to get enough protein? But, really, the effort is worth it when you are no longer a part of this mistreatment of animals.  And really, it’s not that hard to get protein.  There are so many natural ways to get protein.  

The other thing I’ve been hearing lately is that it must be impossible for you to get enough protein without consuming tons of soy and don’t you know that too much soy is bad for you?  Well….I actually eat very little soy.  I do occasionally eat tofu but in reality I get plenty of protein from beans, lentils, nuts, qunioa, etc.  

So, here are a few links to websites.videos that have been game changers for me.  It would be great if you checked them out.  🙂

 A clip from the documentary Sansara…a look inside animal farming and a good depiction of the business of food production.

Glass Walls….a video narrated by Paul McCartney.  If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarians.

14 Things You Need to Know About Your Bacon…pretty self explanatory.  🙂

People have also asked me, “why can’t you just eat meat/cheese/eggs/milk, etc from a local farmer whose farming practices are better?”  Don’t get me wrong, buying animal products from a local farm that is transparent about their animal farming techniques is a huge step in the right direction.  But for me personally, I just don’t see a need to kill an animal in order to eat it when I can get all the nutrients I need without doing so.  

Like I said before, I am usually pretty quiet about why I make the decisions I make regarding food.  But people have asked me repeatedly, so I decided to answer those questions.  Future blog entries will be used to answer the second question, “What DO you eat?”  I have been eating some amazing food that I would like to share.  Plus, this is a great way for me to be able to look back and get some ideas when I am in an eating rut.  🙂

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