Everyone has their own reasoning behind how they eat, what they eat and why. Through the years I’ve learned that it’s
almost impossible tough to change said reasoning or diet choices of anyone else. Hence me always reminding you to raise a healthy eater from birth, which is oh so much easier than converting a junk food obsessed teen into a healthy eater.
That said, the reasons below aren’t meant to convince you to go vegan, or even to go vegetarian, although there are some compelling reasons to eat a plant-based (or more plant-based) diet. The reasons below are just my personal reasons for deciding to switch from vegetarian to vegan. I’m mainly posting my reasoning because it’s a big switch – especially considering I post recipes here and because it’s a green issue.
Below are the major reasons why I decided to convert from vegetarian to vegan…
It seems logical
I’ve been vegetarian more of my life than not at this point, and often I think to myself, “I’m already not eating meat and hate most dairy so why not just cancel out all animal products.” Also, I’ve been using cruelty-free products for years, since they’re greener anyhow. I know this isn’t an awesome reason to go vegan, but for years I’ve felt like this should be a next step for me and since this reason is on top of many others, it makes sense.
To be perfectly honest, animal welfare isn’t a top reason for me to do anything. I don’t hate animals. Some are cool and I had a mad crush on my sister’s awesome dog. In general though, I’m not an animal person - which I’m sure is evident as I never mention animals or pets at this blog. I don’t have pets or want them. I don’t adore animal movies or books.
I don’t go out of my way to help animals either. I’ve volunteered for so many organizations in my life, and you know what they all had in common? Not animals. I’m much more likely to mentor kids or go clean a beach or plant trees than volunteer at the animal shelter.
Now, animal lover or not, I’m not a fan of arbitrarily harming anyone – animals included. And it is indeed arbitrary, in my opinion, to harm animals for food, when most of this harm is 100% avoidable based on something as simple as food choices. Although I didn’t go vegetarian with some grand plan of advocating for animals, over the years, the harm I HAVE NOT done to animals, due to my diet, started clicking for me. It’s been literally 20 years or so since I’ve eaten pork or beef, and I like the fact that I’ve not had to harm cows or pigs in order to eat. However, I always ate eggs and dairy and this harms animals too. It’s just a harder concept to realize because it’s not as obvious as a leg of lamb on your plate.
After watching Fowl Play and reading up on the dairy industry, I realized that my choice to eat eggs and dairy does harm animals – even though I eat organic. I may not be serving up cows on a plate, but my choices are hurting them nonetheless and for what? I barely like dairy and I only eat eggs occasionally. Supporting these industries, for such small gains, seems really insane, so I figured it was time to stop.
I won’t be adopting a cow or chicken anytime soon, but I do like that going vegan harms less of them. Plus, you have to admit cows, chickens and other animals can be pretty darn cute.
Vegan is more eco-friendly in many ways
Vegan has some eco-downsides, which I’ll go over later, but in general, not eating animal products cuts your carbon footprint. Some studies show that about 20 vegans can live off the same amount of land required by one meat eater alone – that’s nuts. The lowest footprint foods you can eat are all plant-based. As soon as you place cheese, milk or meat on your plate, your footprint rises up considerably.
Industrial agriculture is one of the leading causes of water pollution in the United States today plus animal products result in staggering air pollution problems created by factory farms and even organic animal products play a part - visit Sustainable Table to learn more. Eggs, while greener than some food items, still aren’t in the clear. If one of your goals is green living, you can get closer to it by eliminating animal products.
I want a thinking person’s diet
I don’t think about food as much as I should. If you read here regularly, you’ll know that healthy food and exercise are both huge issues on my radar, because I’m raising a son and I have a huge desire to avoid a WALL-E type world. I don’t just advocate healthy eating to readers, I really do follow healthy eating practices in my own home – to a point. We don’t eat fast food. We don’t buy insane amounts of soda. We eat a ton of produce. I can’t remember the last time I bought chips and our portion sizes are good. And so on and so on.
That said, I also don’t REALLY think about what we’re eating. We’ve been vegetarian so long that it’s not a “thinking” sort of diet for us anymore.
I don’t know how many vitamins or minerals (specifically) that we eat in a day. I’m sure we’re missing out on some (like B12 for instance). I don’t take the time to plan new food ideas, because I tend to stick to what works and works fast. Going vegan, on top of the other benefits, will require more thinking on my part, which is a good thing. Use it or lose it when it comes to brain power – right?
I want to improve my diet
My son eats spectacularly, mostly because I want him healthy but also because parents who serve their kids crap really, really annoy me. I’m not a perfect parent by any means, but I cannot be the parent who serves fast food five days a week, or processed lunches full of fatty high calorie mac n cheese, fried nuggets and zero veggies – it’d kill me. So, my son has a killer diet.
Me on the other hand, well, I could use some work. I’m not a breakfast person. I never have been. In fact, I’m barely a lunch person. There are days I get so into work, I’ll go all day without even a snack. 3pm will hit and I realize that I’m starving because I’ve just been sipping coffee all day.
It’s great and all that I choose healthy foods in front of my son (setting good impressions is important), but isn’t it kind of lame that I avoid eating healthy when he’s not around? I need to do better. In fact, my son is now calling me out when I fail to eat breakfast as I make him eat. That’s not cool.
A vegan diet will require me to portion out vitamins and minerals better and encourage me to try new foods. In fact it already has. I’m the worst about new foods – SUPER picky. Since I went vegan, I’ve had to rethink how I eat and thus I’ve already had to try some new things like green salsa instead of cheese, mock chicken salad (homemade) and some different soups and snacks.
I’ve also been better about eating more regularly, because if I get too hungry there’s a good chance I’ll fall off the wagon and eat whatever’s in sight – vegan or not. To avoid this, I’ve been eating several snacks a day.
Anyhow, those are the major reasons I’ve made the switch to vegan. I think there are some downsides too – just like anything and I will share those at another time. But, overall, I’ve been eating a vegan diet for about two weeks without any major cons plus I’ve been eating better and trying lots of new foods.
Are you vegan or have you ever considered trying this type of diet out?