I’m not gonna lie, this is a tough topic for me to write about.
I feel like I’m often made fun of by friends and family for going back and forth between vegan and non-vegan, and it’s hard to constantly have people ask “so what are you now?” with a scoff.
I’ve had a long, on-and-off relationship with veganism.
I won’t go into all the details, but I became a vegetarian in 2012 while in college, and have teetered in and out of veganism since then. At the beginning of every vegan phase, I would be inspired by a lifestyle that reduces your carbon footprint while also advocating for animal rights; however, with time, it would always turn into a restrictive diet tactic. I would start to lose weight, and I lost focus on the ethical side of the lifestyle and would hyperfocus on how to lose more weight by it (because that does feel good!).
For the past year, however, I’ve been focusing on body image and getting out of restrictive food mindsets, and I think it’s safe and beneficial for me to transition back into veganism at this point. I want to add that yes, I could have focused on body image and getting out of restrictive mindsets while still being vegan. At that time in my life, though, I associated veganism with whole foods and “clean eating.” While I wish I hadn’t sacrificed animal welfare and many lives in order for me to overcome these things, all I can do now is move forward and make the best with the rest of the life I have!
So, why veganism?
There are many reasons why I choose to be vegan. The biggest reasons are: ethics and sustainability. You may be shocked to see that I left health off of this list. I’ll explain why below.
Animals are living, breathing creatures that experience emotions like happiness and fear. I see it in my own dogs and cats eyes when they get “in trouble” or when their tails wag or they purr when they’re excited to see me. They have families and friends. They are our companions. They have senses; they can see, they can hear, they can smell. They are different from humans, but not beneath us. They don’t deserve to be treated cruelly, in awful conditions without love, empathy, sunlight or kindness, only to be brutally slaughtered at the end of their short lives, in the name of taste or flavor or fashion or beauty. They are beings, not products. They deserve to roam free, not confined to conveyor belts as if they are mere objects whose sole existence is for consumption. If you are unaware of the conditions I’m describing, please watch Joaquin Phoenix’s film, Earthlings.
Today, the demand for meat and dairy “foods” are higher than ever before, and still increasing as our population grows at an unprecedented rate. Our earth, our animals, and our farmers simply cannot keep up. Thankfully, they don’t have to. We don’t actually need meat and dairy to survive or to thrive. In fact, we can no longer survive on as much meat and dairy as we are consuming. It takes 660 gallons of water to produce one beef hamburger. That’s enough water to shower for 3 weeks. A cow eats 40-50lbs of grain per day. That would feed an entire family for a week or longer. The animal agriculture industry is the leading contributor of greenhouse gases to our environment. For more information, watch Cowspiracy on Netflix.
Why Not Health?
Many studies have shown that a whole foods plant-based (WFPB) diet can prevent and reverse a large number of diseases and can contribute to weight loss. However, a WFPB diet is just one way to be a vegan. It is not the only way. If you can’t give up your hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and ice creams, you don’t have to. There are vegan versions of every food imaginable, and they’re actually good. No…really. My husband, Houston, is the biggest meat and cheese lover there is, and every single vegan version I’ve made at home for us (pizzas, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, ice creams, cinnamon rolls, you name it…), HE APPROVES OF! There are as many ways to be vegan as there are to be non-vegan. The vegan ways are just compassionate. Yes, a vegan diet can be healthy, but it doesn’t have to be
Great question. So glad you asked!
Lately, I’ve been practicing a more minimalist lifestyle. I’ve been shedding things in my life that clutter up my physical space, my emotional space, and my mental space. It’s left me feeling more in touch with who I am than ever before. It’s the reason that I started posting more about sustainability. I was able to simplify my life, and that made space for me to do more eco-friendly things that I’ve always wanted to do. The shift toward a zero waste lifestyle felt like I was bringing my behavior in alignment with my values and morals. Veganism has always been in alignment with my values and morals, but I haven’t always been able to life that lifestyle in a healthy way because of my own lack of education and mentorship. This transition back into veganism (for good this time) feels like the biggest shift into alignment with my core being. This time, it’s not about health or weight loss, and I won’t let it be, for the sake of the animals and their rights.
I’m really excited about sharing my favorite vegan products, recipes, beauty, and clothing with you guys and learning what your favorites are, as well. We truly can make a difference and save these innocent beings.
If you find that you, too, are drawn toward a compassionate lifestyle and believe that animal rights are worth fighting for, I’d love to talk with you! Engage with me on Instagram, use my contact page, or drop a comment below.