So what is all the fuss about Veganism? What is a Vegan? Who are Vegans? And Why would anyone want to be vegan? Why and How do you even cook vegan?
Here are some simple explanations into Veganism and why there is so much hype in the media about it.
To sum it all up, there are really three main reasons, someone would go vegan: Health, Environment and Animal Welfare. In this article I will explain a bit about all of these reasons, but there are of course an array of other personal and individual reasons that someone may decide to go vegan. Most importantly, for many all of these reasons become intertwined the more we learn about the impacts of eating animals. One thing is certain, veganism is definitely not a trend, but is indeed a lifestyle that millions are adopting as their way of life. Have a read and see what you think for yourself.
Undeniably, study after study is proving that red meat is detrimental to one’s health. Not only this, but all food derived from animals, including ‘white’ meat such as chicken, fish, seafood and dairy products can have many negative effects on your health. I have to admit that my own personal journey into veganism began with my quest for knowledge to see how I could help and ultimately cure a list of health problems that ranged from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) to psoriasis. In looking for ways to improve our overall health, to combat a huge number of common ailments and autoimmune diseases, and to not develop and even reverse some of the western world’s top killers such as heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes among others, a balanced whole food, plant-based diets always trumps. Why aren’t all doctors and specialists talking about this? Well unfortunately most doctors have to do limited, if any, nutrition studies during their university years and hardly any after graduating. They are taught, and become experts, in problem solving once the problem has arisen, but not in treating the cause. There is also a lot of outdated information out there, but the good news is that new information and findings from studies are becoming available daily, proving without a shadow of doubt that all nutrients, including iron and protein, can be obtained in abundance if you go vegan.
Removing animal and dairy products from your diet is the single handed biggest move a person can take to help stop climate change. Many people are simply shocked to read statistics on the pollution caused directly and indirectly from the meat and dairy industry, let alone the amount of water consumed in the process. Recent studies have shown that the animal agriculture industry produces more climate changing omissions than every train, car, aeroplane, truck and transport vehicle in the world. On top of that, raising animals requires a lot of water and grain. The water used to produce just one beef burger is about the equivalent of a person not taking a shower for a whole month, while the grain used to feed the livestock could feed much, if not all, of the third world. Deforestation and is needed for the physical land to rear livestock and our oceans are also suffering from pollution from rearing animals on land and overfishing in the sea.
Sir Paul McCartney said that ‘if slaughterhouses has glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian’.
We all know that animals are killed to end up on a plate, but how they are killed and where they are raised is ignored or fantasied with a green meadow and happy farmers taking care of happy animals. This image couldn’t be further from the truth, very unfortunately, and with the added awareness on various media platforms, many in the general public want to put an end to animal abuse and torture. The dairy industry has also been exposed as a cruel industry where dairy cows live an average of only 5 years (as opposed to 15 if in nature), often collapsing under their own weight after having their calves either shot in front of them or taken away at birth to be reared for veal or another dairy cow.
WHAT TO DO
Every vegan around the world, once said ‘I could never give up meat’ – so don’t worry. It’s also not a competition about who is the better vegan! Even if going meatless is not something you would want to consider at this point in your life, meat free days could be a good way to start, for example creating a family ‘Meat free Mondays’ or ‘Vegan Thursdays’. There are so many website and information online that can help you find the perfect recipes, and vegan food has come so far from a dry salad or side of option of fries. There are countries like Canada where it is now obligatory to have vegan options on restaurant menus. It’s also good to do some further reading, so whatever you eat, you are more informed of both positive and negative aspects surrounding your decisions.
The term ‘Flexitarian’ has also now been coined for those who are mainly meat and dairy free, but will occasionally eat something not deemed ‘vegan’ should the craving or situation arise. Most people who try going vegan, and who do it properly, are surprised by how much energy they have, how good their skin looks, how full they feel and how their overall health improves. For many, it’s also a great way to show feel gratitude for all we have and feel better connected to nature.
I know that I definitely sleep better at night knowing that I did not take anything from the planet that I didn’t need, not to mention how much better my body feels. Whatever your journey is, I wish you luck and to stay positive. Do you best and keep on learning. And if you want to Cook Vegan, we have so many platforms to help inspire you, from Facebook to YouTube to Instagram, without judging or competing. Here’s to a better world and a better you!
FURTHER RECOMMENDED READING AND WATCHING
www.veganuary.com and ‘How to go Vegan’ Book https://www.amazon.com/How-Go-Vegan-everything-going/dp/1473680964
Forks Over Knives Netflix Documentary and website https://www.forksoverknives.com/
Cowspiracy on Netflix and website https://www.cowspiracy.com/
‘The China Study’ by Dr Colin T. Campbell https://nutritionstudies.org/the-china-study/
Dr Caldwell D. Esselstyn ‘Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease’ http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/
Dr Dean Ornish books and website https://www.ornish.com/