Why I became vegan?
Why I became vegan? There are several reasons why I chose to become vegan. Firstly, I realized that I could get all the necessary nutrients without consuming animal products. In addition, I became aware that my consumption of animal products had an impact on the environment and on animal rights. Even though I am often faced with questions or criticisms when I identify myself as vegan, I am convinced that it is the best decision for me and for our planet.
Many people think that it is easy for me to be vegan because I was raised on a vegetarian diet. However, if you know me a little better or have read my story, you will know that this is not entirely true. My family and society saw me as a vegetarian, but there were inconsistencies in the diet I followed. For example, even though my parents did not eat meat, we still consumed fish and seafood – which are technically types of meat. I am not saying this to complain, but rather to show that I have been exposed to this situation and that I understand the challenges of making the transition.
I studied hospitality and sommelier where wine pairing is not done with celery. I traveled to France where I ate foie gras, all kinds of cured meats, good cheeses, and pastries. I went to Mexico and Colombia where the meat tastes like paradise. Everywhere I went, I visited the best kitchens and immersed myself in their customs.
First and foremost, I want to clarify these points…
Vegetarianism: Vegetarians do not eat animal flesh but may still consume dairy and egg products. They avoid meat but may not be concerned with other animal-derived ingredients. Vegetarians may check food labels to ensure there is no meat present but are not necessarily avoiding other animal products. Some research and studies that show positive outcomes for vegetarian diets may also include vegan diets. Examples of vegetarian meals include soup made with chicken broth, veggie pizza with mozzarella cheese, and eggs and toast with butter.
A plant-based diet is mostly plant-focused, but may occasionally include animal products due to convenience, tradition, perceived necessity, or habit. The commitment to abstaining from animal products may be growing stronger, or the individual may find that being mostly plant-based is comfortable for them. This lifestyle is similar to being a reducetarian, but not necessarily an abolitionist.
On the other hand, a Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB) diet is strictly plant-exclusive and motivated by personal longevity through the avoidance of diet-induced illnesses. This approach is based on scientific, testimonial, and personal evidence of disease prevention, reversal, and overall health improvement. The term WFPB was coined by a person in the 80s after the conclusion of a large study on human nutrition called The China Study. This diet also seeks to eliminate processed foods and may overlap with other health-promoting labels such as organic, non-GMO, and local. While WFPB dieters may also care about the environment and animal welfare, these concerns are not their primary motivation for following this lifestyle.
Veganism: This is an exclusive plant-based diet and lifestyle, consciously motivated by avoiding as much as possible any use, cruelty, and exploitation of all animals inside and outside of daily food consumption. The primary motivation of this abolitionist approach is to exclude any participation in harm to animals and the planet. The vegan diet recognizes the benefits of preventing deadly diseases caused by the consumption of animal products.
Depending on the individual, the vegan diet allows for processed vegan foods as well as fatty and sugary treats – essentially, a vegan version of various junk foods and sweets like cookies, cakes, brownies, donuts… you get the idea.
It is a path of moral consistency where there is a cross-over that extends beyond the diet to cruelty-free and animal-free brands, such as clothing (leather, wool, cashmere), household products, personal care products, and makeup. It stays away from zoos and circuses, everything that encompasses animal exploitation.
Being vegan does not mean being perfect, it is a way of thinking and living, it is a state of mind. Being vegan does not mean being perfect or pretending to be perfect, but rather adopting a way of life that aims to reduce as much as possible the suffering and exploitation of animals, as well as to minimize the impact on the environment. Veganism is above all an ethical philosophy that extends to all aspects of life, including food, clothing, beauty products, leisure activities, and relationships with other living beings. It is a way of life that requires continuous commitment, reflection, and awareness to act for the well-being of animals and the planet.
Vegans fall anywhere on the spectrum – from whole food plant-based (WFPB) vegan to junk
My Little Story…
Contrary to what some people may think, I don’t find following a vegan diet any easier. It’s not a matter of taste because I enjoyed everything before.
In 2016, I discovered vegan accounts on Instagram that changed my life. Although I had always been sensitive to animal suffering, I chose to turn a blind eye. However, seeing these accounts, I was inspired by their lifestyle, ethics, and happiness, and I decided to take the plunge. Thus, despite my “vegetarian” upbringing and my love of good food as a foodie traveler, I decided to become vegan.
No matter what motivates people to adopt a vegan lifestyle, it involves giving up current gustatory pleasure, the conviviality of meals with family or friends, cultural traditions, eating habits, as well as social acceptance or belonging to a group.
Although it is not easy to give up so many things, I finally found the strength to follow my heart and values, for myself and for the animals.
I hope my journey can inspire other people to make similar decisions.
There are 3 major reasons to adopt a vegan lifestyle:
Not wanting to participate in the death of an animal, its use or exploitation, such as in dairy and egg products. Many people are motivated by this. For my part, I don’t want to support or give my money to an industry that does nothing but harm. We vote with our money! It’s our way of showing that we disagree, and believe me, it works.
The animal industry is clearly wreaking havoc on the planet, the environment, and the oceans. Not consuming plastic is already great, but the consumption of fish is depleting our oceans.
From professional athletes to celebrities, entire businesses to countries like China, everyone is supporting the movement to eat more plant-based foods to combat the destructive and unsustainable industrial farming system.
Rich in fiber and antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, cholesterol-free, low in calories and saturated fat, the health benefits are numerous and can include:
- Rapid and sustainable weight loss,
- Improved cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides,
- Low risk of coronary heart disease,
- Improved insulin function, management of type 2 diabetes, and even reversal of it.
- Low risk of developing certain types of cancer such as breast, ovarian, prostate, and colorectal cancer.
- Improves fertility and hormone balance,
- Eliminates acne and eczema,
- Builds strong bones, improves liver and gut health.
- Creates a more alkaline environment by reducing the risk of kidney stones.
- Helps prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
The vegan diet has been cited by several studies as being much healthier than diets containing animal products. Current research indicates that cardiovascular diseases, several cancers, diabetes, and several other conditions are positively impacted by a vegan diet for both prevention and treatment.
For example, a recent study by the National Cancer Institute reports that vegans have a lower rate of cancer than meat-eaters and vegetarians combined. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on a sample of 1 million people found that cancer feeds on cholesterol to grow. Therefore, a cholesterol-free diet, which is achieved through a complete plant-based diet, effectively reduces the risk of developing certain cancers.
What to eat and what to replace
Don’t worry, there are plenty of things to eat. Legumes, seeds, nuts, grains, pseudocereals like quinoa, etc. Tofu, tempeh, plant-based milks, fruits, and vegetables. There are countless foods that are available to us and are much better for our health without having to kill a living being.
5 essential tips for a successful transition
1- Educate yourself, find your why for becoming vegan, find your reason. Research, watch documentaries on Netflix, read books, watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, etc. there are plenty of resources available. Below, I’ve included links to short and effective videos summarizing the egg and dairy industries in just 5 minutes.
2- Make the connection between the animal and the end product, this is very important in the sense that now when I see meat, I see an animal, not food. This is something that helped me a lot during my transition. Many people don’t become vegan because they didn’t like the taste, but because they made the connection.
3- Learn about nutrition, don’t rush blindly, because obviously you are changing your diet, your lifestyle, it’s a different way of eating. Make sure to cover all your vitamin and mineral needs. The famous Vitamin B12! -Know that Vitamin B12 is found in the bacteria in the soil. Even animals are supplemented with B12 now. So, if you think that eating meat will give you your B12 naturally, absolutely not! These are tablets given to animals so that YOU have your B12 intake.
So, I say, take it yourself. (90% of Vitamin B12 supplements are sold to farmers and 40% of the world’s population is deficient in B12 and we’re not just talking about vegans)
4- Cook and discover new recipes, new flavors, you have everything to gain. It’s not a sacrifice, it’s just new habits to develop. There are also plant-based substitutes that can help you during your transition. You can make pizzas, burgers, fondues, etc. Now there are no more excuses, everything is doable in plant-based versions.
5- Don’t be too hard on yourself, don’t put pressure on yourself. Do this at your own pace, remove meat, fish, etc. Start with your diet, clothes and other products can be overwhelming at the beginning. Focus on the food you consume three times a day, it’s already huge and has a lot of impact. Remember your WHY!
Finally, at the beginning when you are transitioning, you will have a lot of questions and it can be very difficult with your loved ones. Educate yourself! Point number 1 and why you’re doing it. You don’t have to get into conflict with people, even though I know it can be very hard. People who love you won’t try to bring you down or get into conflict with you. Don’t try to force people into veganism, it’s pointless. Show a good example that we can enjoy food in a plant-based way.
Cook and let them taste it, there’s no need to get into conflict with close-minded people, it leads to nothing.
Share your cooking, your knowledge, and your positivity and everything will be fine.
If you want to seriously start implementing a change in your diet to a balanced plant-based diet, which, when done right, has the potential to heal most of your physical ailments, help you lose weight, and increase your energy levels, I highly recommend my Ultimate Guide for a Successful Vegan Transition!
• EARTHLINGS: A documentary that explores how humans treat animals, examining the industries of agriculture, fishing, hunting, fur, and animal experimentation.
• DOMINION: A film about how animals are treated in the food industry and animal exploitation.
• COWSPIRACY: A documentary that examines the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and the reasons why the livestock industry is often overlooked in discussions about climate change.
• SEASPIRACY: A documentary that examines the negative effects of the fishing industry on the environment and marine animals, as well as the controversial practices that take place in this industry.
• THE GAME CHANGERS: A film that explores the health benefits of a plant-based diet and the associated athletic performance.
• WHAT THE HEALTH: A documentary that explores the links between the consumption of animal products and chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
• MILK: A video that examines the negative effects of milk consumption on human health.
• EGGS: A video that examines the negative effects of egg consumption on human health.
• Best Speech You Will Ever Hear: A lecture by Gary Yourofsky that examines the negative effects of animal exploitation on animals and the planet.
• You will never look at your life in the same way again: A video that explores the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.
• How Not to Die, Michael Greger: A book that examines the health benefits of a plant-based diet and the problems associated with the consumption of meat and dairy products.
• The China Study, T. Colin Campbell: A book that examines the links between the consumption of animal products and chronic diseases.
• Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer: A book that explores the ethical and environmental issues surrounding the consumption of meat.
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