November 1st every year is World Vegan Day, which is the start of World Vegan Month. This is when The Vegan Society based in the UK, encourages as many people as possible to take the 30 Day Vegan Pledge. What a great way to go vegan to see if it will work for you. Many people are interested in going vegan, but don’t know how to get started.
So what is vegan all about? Is it similar to being a vegetarian?
There are different types of vegans. Although true veganism involves not eating, using, or wearing anything made with animal products, many people make their decision based on what is important to them. For instance:
- Some people will consume eggs or sardines a few times a month because they are concerned about getting enough vitamin B12.
- Raw food vegans don’t consume any food cooked above 115 degrees Fahrenheit in order to benefit from all the vitamins and minerals that are not cooked out of the food.
- Junk food vegans eat anything as long as it’s animal-free.
- Many people have discovered the health benefits of a plant-based diet and go vegan for their health.
Although only around 5% of the US are vegans, Veganism has been around for 72 years. The Vegan Society was founded in 1949 and works to raise the visibility of being vegan.
There is a vegan trademark that is used by The Vegan Society to certify vegan products. Qualifications for these products include having no animal ingredients, animal related genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or animal testing and proper kitchen and hygiene standards. You can access a full list of vegan trademarked products on their website.
My Decision to Go Vegan
Over the years, I complained a lot about meat and poultry not tasting like it used to. My father was raised on a farm and every year when I was a child, he went hunting to fill our freezer with deer, pheasant, and dove. Once a year, he purchased a cow and had it slaughtered. He only hunted and purchased beef that was in the wild or grass fed, so I knew what meat was supposed to taste like.
While I was still eating meat, I had no idea how our meat production had changed and didn’t think to research why it tasted different. During this time I consumed less and less meat and poultry.
Then I went through over ten years of suffering with fibromyalgia. Doctors could not tell me what caused it – they actually had no idea. Their only recourse was to prescribe pharmaceuticals to dull the pain.
There finally came a time when I was fed up with being listless and tied to my house. Making decisions was difficult with brain fog and exercising was practically impossible.
When my back went out, a friend referred me to a chiropractor. It was through him that I learned about quality of food and what it could do to help heal my body. With his guidance, I did a series of liver cleanses to remove toxins that were preventing my liver from keeping my body clean. Over time, my body began to heal and I successfully detoxed from all medications.
Eventually I felt so good, I never went back to my old eating patterns and realized I was vegan. So my decision to go vegan was for my health and well being. I am not telling you this process will work for you and I am not making any medical claims or recommendations – I am only telling you my story.
CAFO Farming and GMOs
During this time, I was doing a lot of research into how our food had changed over the decades.
Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) are used by large corporations that have taken over our small family farms. They tell us it’s the only way to feed the demand for animal products. These are assembly line productions using live animals – cows, pigs, chickens, etc.
These animals are confined their whole life and no longer consume what nature intended. Instead, they are fed a diet of grains and hormones to fatten them up quickly for slaughter. This is why the meat no longer tastes like it used to.
These CAFOs also place a heavy burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. They are also a contributor to deforestation as more land is cleared for crops that are used to support the CAFOs.
Most of our food is now genetically altered. What started out in the 1990s as a way to increase some of the most-used crops like sugar, corn, and soy has now taken over food production. Labeled safe by the FDA, I realized I didn’t want to consume food that had pesticides in it. Now they are even creating GMO salmon, with more GMO products being introduced every year.
Over the years, I realized my produce was lasting much longer in the refrigerator. This wasn’t normal, but it never occurred there was a nefarious reason why… pesticides!
I now only buy organic products.
For the Environment
Plant-based living is a more sustainable plan for our environment. It requires only one third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy diet.
For the Animals
With a growing world population, more animals than every before are needed to support a meat based diet. Do the research to understand how these animals live and are slaughtered. If this bothers you, then you should consider going vegan and check out Compassion Over Killing.
Check out these resources from The Vegan Society for help and support to go Vegan.
Have you gone vegan or are you considering it? Leave a comment and tell your story.
P.S. What’s your reason for being Vegan?
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