Going vegan is an increasingly popular choice in Australia and even committed carnivores are beginning to experiment with trends such as Veganuary and meat-free Mondays. So what is all the fuss about? This month's blog will explore why people go vegan and get the inside scoop from two vegans on their journey.
People choose to go vegan for a range of reasons, including ethical, environmental, health and most recently performance considerations. Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. I am personally in the process of moving towards veganism and currently follow a flexitarian diet, which encourages mostly plant-based foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation. There is more and more evidence linking both of these diet choices to a healthier and longer life, as well as having a range of environmental and ethical benefits. For more information on these click here: https://www.peta.org/living/food/top-10-reasons-go-vegan-new-year/; https://www.vegan.com/why/.
I have personally been influenced by combination of all of them, including a push from a friend, a documentary on the dairy industry and more recently a documentary called 'Game Changer', a must see. Everyone has their own reasons, so I also spoke to two vegans (Nat, a vegan for 10 years and Dan a vegan for 15 years) to find out their journey on being vegan.
Why did you decide to go vegan? Nat, 'I started as a veggie as I hate the cruelty to animals. When you see their little eyes, na I just can't do it. I watched some documentaries (‘A delicate balance’, ‘Earthlings’, ‘Gary Yurofky - The best speech ever (you tube)) and it changed the way I thought about the dairy industry. Cow milk is not meant for us and is insanely cruel to artificially inseminate cows over and over again, then rip their calves away from them when they are young. My father is Austrian so I had a high meat and cheese diet growing up. It wasn't until I went veggie that I realised my stomach was always bloated, I looked bloated too. It wasn't for weight loss but I did lose weight and become much leaner and healthier as a by product.' Dan, 'Cruelty to animals and realising the animal protein myth is a myth made up by multinational companies who farm animals to slaughter and sell to us. All you have to do is look at elephants and herbivore mammals to see you don't need to eat animal protein to be big and strong. How has being a vegan changed you? Dan, 'It has definitely made me more spiritual, not having all that negative energy of a slaughtered animal inside me has made me more calm and spiritual. I am also a lot more compassionate.
What advice would you give to anyone is thinking of becoming vegan? Nat, 'Watch the documentaries! Don't rush you decision, taking your time and maybe do it gradually, everyone is different, you will know when it's time. Oh and don't forget you can still drink beer and eat vegemite if you are vegan!!!' Dan, 'Just give it a go, one meal at a time, you'll never look back. The most important thing is to be prepared and research a few vegan meals that you will enjoy. There is so much out there now.'
Personally I've found that that once you know what to eat the whole process becomes a lot less daunting. I feel healthier and lighter because of this change of diet, especially after a meal. It is early days to see the performance effects, but I feel kinder not eating meat and with recent events a whole lot more environmentally friendly.
To find out more please watch: The Game Changers, Cowspiracy, Food Inc and Earthings and decide for yourself.
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