Why I Embraced Veganism and How It Can Benefit You

Allow me to commence by explaining the reasons behind my decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Following that, I will offer several suggestions on simplifying the transition to veganism, should you wish to explore this path.

Primarily, veganism, in my perspective, embodies compassion. Undoubtedly, it carries significant environmental ramifications—perhaps more substantial than any other individual action, such as forsaking a car or transitioning to electric vehicles. Moreover, adopting a plant-based diet can often yield significant health benefits, particularly if one has been consuming an abundance of processed foods with minimal vegetable intake.

Animals, as fellow living beings, warrant our compassion, irrespective of their non-human status. Those who share their lives with dogs or cats can understand this sentiment, but anyone who has ever gazed into the eyes of an animal can attest to the connection felt on a deeper level. I firmly believe that they merit respect and dignity, rather than being treated merely as objects for our pleasure. If you resonate with this perspective, I encourage you to delve into learning more about the treatment of animals raised for food or clothing. The animal agriculture industry often discourages deeper inquiry beyond what is presented in the grocery store. However, upon closer inspection, one can uncover a landscape of horrors.

Once I summoned the courage to confront these realities and educate myself, I could no longer turn a blind eye. I faced a pivotal decision: was I willing to overlook these atrocities simply to indulge in the culinary pleasures of meat, cheese, and eggs to which I had become accustomed?

Let's be frank: these foods primarily serve our pleasure. We have progressed beyond the necessity of consuming animal products for survival or optimal health. Personally, I have thrived on a plant-based diet for well over a decade. I maintain robust health— I am physically strong, not underweight, and free from anemia or any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Transitioning to this lifestyle hasn't posed significant challenges; it doesn't demand meticulous planning nor does it evoke feelings of deprivation or sacrifice.

The primary components of my diet lately consist of mostly whole plant foods, including lentils, greens, fruits, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, avocados, nuts, and seeds. However, in recent weeks, I've also treated myself to various vegan delights such as pizza, burgers, fries, cookies, banana bread, donuts, pad Thai, and more.

I maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle because:

I prioritize consuming mostly whole plant foods, which are as delicious as any other option.

I engage in daily exercise, incorporating activities such as running, walking, strength training, and sports.

I prioritize getting sufficient sleep to support my overall well-being.

I ensure that I meet my nutritional requirements by consuming an adequate amount of protein to support my active lifestyle, obtaining essential vitamins and minerals from plant-based sources, and supplementing with Vitamin B12, Vitamin D (especially during winter months), and Omega 3 (derived from seaweed).

I am content as a vegan because I allow myself to enjoy life fully. I don't concern myself with wearing leather or wool and feel confident in my choices. Moreover, I refrain from passing judgment on others and instead strive to serve as a positive example of a healthy, happy vegan.

What I've learned is that transitioning to a vegan lifestyle doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. If you're considering making this compassionate change, here are some suggestions:

Take it gradually. Begin by eliminating one animal product at a time, such as red meat, while incorporating one or two vegan recipes of dishes you already enjoy. Start with familiar meals like vegan chili, spaghetti, or pizza. Once this adjustment feels natural, gradually eliminate other animal products, like poultry, while exploring new recipes. I personally didn't transition all at once (cheese was the last thing I gave up, and surprisingly, it was easier than expected!).

Don't hesitate to try vegan substitutes. While they may be processed, many of the foods we consume undergo processing. Rather than considering vegan products as "health foods," view them as tools to facilitate the transition to a vegan lifestyle. Moreover, vegan products are continually improving in taste and texture, thanks to companies like Impossible, Beyond, Field Roast, Miyoko’s, Gardein, Silk, Forager, and others.

Educate yourself on meeting your nutritional needs. Essential nutrients such as B12, which is not naturally present in whole plant foods, can be obtained through fortified foods like soymilk, or through supplements. Ensure you're consuming adequate protein by incorporating protein sources such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, seitan, or vegan meat substitutes into each meal. Additionally, consider taking a daily vegan Vitamin D supplement. Finding the right balance is achievable once you discover what works best for you.

Don't discard your non-vegan belongings. Embracing a vegan lifestyle extends beyond dietary choices to encompass other aspects, such as avoiding purchasing leather or wool products. Educate yourself about these industries, but there's no need to dispose of all your non-vegan items immediately. Instead, opt for cruelty-free alternatives when replacing worn-out items, minimizing waste and expense.

Respond kindly to critics. Transitioning to veganism often invites curiosity and sometimes criticism from others. You may encounter individuals who question your decision or share negative experiences of others who attempted veganism. Maintain a sense of humor, show compassion, and offer gentle education to those genuinely interested. Remember that resistance to change is natural, and extend the same understanding you once sought when you were transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.

facebook Share