Nov 5, 2015

The Road to Veganism | My Experience

"Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products."

I feel like I need to start off this post by saying that I'm a vegetarian, I don't consume any type of meat or dairy and I do not buy nor use products that test on animals. Recently, my roommate and I decided to try and embark on the road to veganism. Learning everything there is to know about it and informing ourselves and being educated. When it comes to being vegan, and it's lifestyle, there's a lot to cover, and I want to make this post on how it's been like on a more personal level. Because to me, it's a long journey, it's a journey of trial and error, of learning, and it's definitely been a soul-shaping experience. So, shall we begin?

Why did I become a vegetarian? I've never really thought much of vegans or vegetarians. I've been neutral in the sense of "I admire what you're doing, but you do you and I'll do me." I've always seen them as extreme animal lovers and incredibly determined. I never realized the actual impact one single person can make by not consuming animal products. When the cruelty-free lifestyle started to be talked about more, I started coming across more pro-vegan information and I slowly found myself not being able to consume any type of meat. I then realized that I was being hypocritical, in the sense that I was saying that I loved and cared about animals, but would turn the other way when the cruelty of animals were spoken about, I realized that I was encouraging the system by eating meat and drinking milk. This is when I decided to measure up my actions to my beliefs. I'm glad that I can finally recognize and educate myself on the alarming problem of animal cruelty, the environmental impact, and the health benefits.

Side note: Nobody can dispute that cow’s milk is an excellent food source for calves. Weighing around 100 pounds at birth, a calf typically gains approximately eight times its weight by the time it is weaned. But unlike humans, once calves are weaned, they never drink milk again. And the same applies to every mammalian species on this planet. 

Having a healthy lifestyle is of course the great advantage of being a vegetarian or vegan. Here is a post that quickly sums up the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. I say this but please note that it is not because you cut out meat from your daily food intake and eat a whole bunch of fruits and vegetables that you're suddenly one of those vegan Instagram gurus. There are a lot of people -including myself- that will start eliminating meat but won't know what to substitute it with. You need to research and figure out healthy ways to consume your proteins in a way that works for you. 

Side note: Your average portion of meat does not equal 10 cups of spinach. Surprisingly enough according to traditional dietary standards, a 140-pound woman should have 50 grams of protein a day, and for a vegan that might come from a cup each of spinach (5 grams), lentils (18 grams) and tempeh (a soy product with 41 grams).

It Isn't Easy to eliminate something you have consumed your entire life. Especially if it is a big part of your culture. Is isn't something you can change overnight. What I suggest is taking a week or maybe even a month and try to fully commit to the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. Give yourself time to learn about it and find recipes that work for you. It is also very very important that your mind, body, and spirit are in it 100% too. Remember that it is okay to fail, this is about learning and educating yourself. Have fun with it! 

Starting Small doesn't belittle your action. You can pick and chose where you would want to start. If you want to start off by cutting out milk but still eat meat, that's totally fine! It's something that you achieve one step at a time. It's not because you go slow that your actions aren't as important as anyone else.

Educate Yourself on the food industry and it's discourses. If your curiosity is picked after reading this and you would want to watch some documentaries, I suggest these: (all available on American Netflix)

Food Inc.

Forks Over Knives
100 Reasons to go Vegan

I am in no way a professional and I still have a lot to learn. I wanted to bring you along and let you guys know how it's working out for me! Let me know if you're a vegan or vegetarian! Or if you ever would be!

| Daphne |

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