5 Reasons I Love Being a Vegan
Veganism is the fastest growing lifestyle movement — and with good reason. Lots of people are loving the amazing benefits of living a vegan lifestyle. I like to say that becoming vegan is a bit like learning to ride a bicycle. At first, it can be challenging. You may wobble, you may fall off, you may be worried about how you look to others. But once you learn the ropes, it’s so satisfying that you can’t believe there was ever a point in your life when you didn’t ride a bike.
Here are five reasons why I love being vegan:
Because of the community
Vegans appreciate and support each other. It’s a feel-good community. A compassionate religion. A growing group of friends, most of which you have yet to meet. In short, when a vegan meets another vegan, they instantly feel a kinship — like we’re all in on this wonderful secret. If you’re curious, try this: Mention to a vegan that you’re trying to eat less meat, and see how they respond; you’ll see what I mean.
The positive effects on my body
Veganism is the easiest diet I’ve come across. People (and lots of celebrities) who go vegan rave about how fit they get, no longer struggle to lose weight, and how they have so much energy now. Many see their acne clear up, and for some it’s even cured their [insert any number of diseases here — take your pick]. Michelle Pfeiffer, Kim Basinger, Natalie Portman, Christie Brinkley and other celebs can’t stop talking about how their vegan diet is keeping their skin looking so young. (Google this: vegan people before and after.)
“Luckily we know that you can get your protein source from many different ways; you can get it through vegetables if you are a vegetarian. I have seen many body builders that are vegetarian and they get strong and healthy.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Because the food is really yummy
Vegan restaurants are hella awesome. Seriously. They are surprisingly creative with ingredients and flavoring. Now that I’m vegan, I don’t struggle to find variety in my meals. All that, and I don’t have to worry about getting sick from e coli, bird flu, or waited-just-a-little-too-long leftovers.
This is not to say that finding food options when eating out with friends isn’t challenging — it can be. But I never leave the restaurant with that heavy, bloated feeling that I used to get. I always feel clean, nourished and energized. So, to me, it’s well worth the effort.
Because it makes me feel healthier
You know that feeling you get after a great workout? You feel strong, energized, and proud of yourself. Eating vegan makes me feel like that pretty much every day. You can also increasingly side-step some pretty serious health issues this way; like cancer, heart/kidney disease, and diabetes.
As many others do, I learned a lot more about the health benefits of being vegan out of necessity. I’ve been very sick in the past (before I was vegan) and I learned that the surest way to prevent getting sick again was to be vegan. I needed my immune system to be strong, and my body to be free of carcinogens. Now that I’m vegan, I realize that these are other added benefits. For one, I feel much healthier and more energetic. I have more mental clarity, and any digestion issues I had are now long gone. 🙂
“I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival.” ~ Al Gore
Because I’m a better global citizen
Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs of CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life (more facts).
Living a vegan lifestyle is the single most effective thing you can do to:
- Save a lot of water. (It takes 660 gallons of water to produce 1/4 pound of hamburger meat. Read more.)
- Cut down on air pollution and climate change. (Animal farming is responsible for more than half of all pollution. Read more.)
- Reduce deforestation. (Including in the rainforest, which is getting flattened for animal farming at the rate of an acre per second. Read more.)
- Reduce world hunger. (It takes 13 to-20 pounds of grain fed to a cow to produce just 1 pound of muscle mass, i.e. beef. This means that 13-20 times as many people could be fed if those grains were simply eaten by humans. Read more.)
- Stop species from going extinct. (Animal farming is the #1 reason for species extinction. Read more.)
- Save the ocean. (Animal farming is the #1 reason for ocean “dead zones”. Read more.)
Plus, I can feel good about myself everytime I eat a vegan meal because I know I’m not contributing to this. That’s why I feel so good about voting with my dollars (and keeping my $ far, far away from factory farms).
As a side note: if you waver back and forth, or decide to be 50% vegan or whatever, that’s still great. 50% effort is better than 0% effort. As you learn more, you can evolve your diet and lifestyle. It’s taken me a while to convert over, and I still have things I cheat with (like the occasional leather handbag). Like forming any good habit, it gets easier once you get into a groove, and then you look back and can’t believe you ever didn’t live that way.
Want to learn more? Here are a few places to get started:
- Forks Over Knives: Meal Plan and Recipes App
- Farm Sanctuary‘s V-Lish recipe site.
- Crazy Sexy Diet (the best health book I’ve found – super fun to read, and packed with info)
- VeganKit: A simple plan to get you started
- Facts & myths about being vegan (& steps to get you started)
- Peta: How to go vegan in 3 easy steps
- A food blog called The Minimalist Baker has yummy recipes you can make in under 30 minutes with very few ingredients
- Free from Harm: 12 Reasons To Go Vegan
- Cowspiracy is a great documentary
- Eluxe: 12 Reasons Why You Should Be Vegan NOW
- What Came Before is an eye-opening video about pigs and other animals.
“150 years ago, they would have thought you were absurd if you advocated for the end of slavery. 100 years ago, they would have laughed at you for suggesting that women should have the right to vote. 50 years ago, they would object to the idea of African Americans receiving equal rights under the law. 25 years ago they would have called you a pervert if you advocated for gay rights. They laugh at us now for suggesting that animal slavery be ended. Some day they won’t be laughing.” ~ Gary Smith (more quotes)