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In honor of World Vegan Day, this post is a little refresher about why I became vegan. If you’re considering making the switch, this post may be helpful in your decision.
As many of you may know, I’ve been a vegetarian since about age 10. I made this decision mainly because I did not like eating meat. I don’t know if my brain was able to make a connection between meat and animals. Looking at 10 year-olds today and I can see many of them might be advanced enough to figure it out. But I don’t know if that was the case for me; it seems like my childhood was more innocent and sheltered (probably due to lack of internet access).
However, I knew I didn’t care for the taste or smell, and it became increasingly disgusting to me to try to eat it. This was in the 80s, so vegetarianism was even less mainstream than it is today. My mother had concerns about my nutrition if I became vegetarian, but I think at some point I fell asleep at the table with a steak that I wouldn’t eat, and she finally relented.
Of course, as I got older I definitely made the “meat comes from animals connection.” One of my degrees is in Alternative Medicine, and I took many nutrition courses that solidified my interest in healthy eating and a balanced diet. I took even more nutrition classes as part of my nursing prerequisites, and continued classes on my own.
When I began to have health problems about 10 years ago, I often visited alternative medicine practitioners such as naturopaths and dietitians in addition to conventional physicians. I strongly believed that at least some of my symptoms were caused by food, and I wanted clinicians looking at the whole picture and not just someone who would write me a prescription.
I became vegan because it gave me my life back
Before I transitioned from a vegetarian to a vegan diet, I had the following symptoms daily:
- Digestive problems
- Body aches
- Fluctuating hormones including thyroid and estrogen
- Inability to lose weight despite calorie and fat restriction and exercise
- Skin irritations including rashes and flushing after meals
All of these have improved or gone away completely. Many days I was too sick to leave the house and after I finished working I could only lay in bed or take a nap, often with a heating pad and while taking digestive medications. I was on 4000 mg of Tylenol per day as well. Now, I don’t need any medicine and I have the energy for all-day activity.
I’m vegan because it supports my husband’s health
Since Ryan started eating a plant-based diet, his health changed in amazing ways, including lowering his cholesterol, helping him to lose weight and feel better overall. He decided at about the same time I did. Although he didn’t do it because of me, he says he probably wouldn’t be able to stick to it if I wasn’t eating the same way. We support each other to make good choices for our health.
I am vegan for animal welfare and the planet
I’m sure I don’t need to go into all the facts about the cruelty that occurs in the farming industry, or the pollution created and resources taken by raising animals for food. But the definition of a vegan is someone who values all life. I live this lifestyle because I love animals, but I love humans too, and I love this planet. I want the earth to keep its beauty and vitality so that all of my friends’ and family’s children have a place to live.
Last but not least, I’m vegan because it’s delicious
The foods I eat do not need salt, oil, processing, preservatives, food coloring, artificial flavoring or chemicals to make them taste good. Most of them can simply be taken from the plant that grows them, rinsed off and eaten raw, or cooked and eaten plain. I can eat them all day long and feel satiated and happy, and no guilty at all, because I’m doing what’s right for my body.
I am not what you would call an “activist” vegan. This is the first and possibly the last time you will see me talk about animal rights or how eating animal products impacts the environment, because I don’t believe that anyone will choose to become vegan if someone forces this information on them. I am happy to supply evidence-based, factual references from reliable sources for any of the topics above if you have any questions or would like me to go into depth about anything.
Ryan and I are here to show the positive changes that adopting a plant-based diet can make, and support anyone who would also like to make that change (for whatever reasons you may have).
Have a great day, and be well.