Why I choose to be vegan and how a plant based diet empowers me
It may surprise you that I’m not really an animal lover. The image of a vegan is often someone hugging cows in luscious green fields with their gypsy skirt blowing in the breeze. Not that there’s anything wrong with this image, but what I mean to say is that Veganism is a growing lifestyle, a political, environmental movement and vegans no longer have to ‘fit’ a stereotyped image. We are average folk who have simply made a lifestyle change.
I made the decision first to be vegetarian after having my eyes opened to the environmental consequence of consuming meat. It wasn’t something I was aware of but I learnt how a simple beef burger has a catastrophic effect on our planet. For instance the amount of feed used for cows plus gallons of water in the process- did you know that eating a burger uses as much water as showering every day for 3 and a half weeks?! There is also the huge excess production of methane; tonnes of animal waste; energy and resources to process the burger; transportation miles…the list could go on forever and that’s not even mentioning the vile conditions some animals are kept in; brutally treated before their inhumane slaughter. It all struck me as so unnecessary… So I made the move to a vegetarian diet.
After a while of being vegetarian, I started to feel that it simply wasn’t enough. Being vegetarian was easy. It hadn’t been a challenge in any way and I knew I could do more. About this time I started to educate myself a bit more on Veganism. I watched a few documentaries which had a profound effect on me. Of course I had seen those images online of the cruelty shown to animals on dairy farms and videos of the shocking slaughter houses but these failed to have an effect on me.
What I saw in these videos was too far removed from the white liquid I had in my tea or that yellow stuff I grated onto my pasta and it simply couldn’t make me open my eyes and change. But there were two documentaries that made me not only feel that I should adopt a vegan diet but really WANT TO do so with all of my head and heart. The first of these was Carnage (played on the BBC) and the second was What The Health (available on Netflix).
Carnage was a ‘mockumentary’ set in the future when everyone has had to adopt a compulsory vegan diet to save the planet and live a compassionate future. It highlights the insanity of our animal eating past and makes its powerful point in an amusing yet hard hitting fashion. One of the lines that stays with me is something along the lines of ‘can you believe the insanity of sexualising yoghurt adverts…I mean it is the curdled milk of raped cows!’ It’s dark humour hit me. Soon after, I watched Cowspiracy and What the Health.This was the game changer. Previously I had only seriously considered veganism from an environmental perspective, but this documentary opened my eyes to how my consumption of animal produce was damaging my health.
The research confirming this was staggering. The correlation between the consumption of animal produce and the development of critical diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease was shocking. The documentary showed how diabetes has been reversed by adopting a plant based diet, that your chances of heart disease and cancer drops by almost half and your body will thrive and feel more energised on a vegan diet. There was also a staggering correlation between countries who consume the highest quantities of animal products and the amount of deaths due to heart disease and cancer. This research was so strong that even the world health organisation have recently released a statement classing processed meats as class 1 carcinogenics! Other class 1 carcinogenic’s include smoking and asbestos. It was becoming more and more apparent to me that food really is our medicine and I’d been filling myself with toxins for years.
How it helped me: The Benefits
It was time to be open to a vegan way of life, let go of my worries and give it a shot. I can honestly say I have never looked back! It is without a doubt one of the best decisions I have ever made. Since being vegan, I have more energy and my health has improved dramatically! I eat a plentiful and varied diet with every single nutrient and vitamin my body needs.
I enjoy cooking and preparing my food so much more now as well as sharing my recipes and vegan choices on social media with a flourishing vegan community. Being vegan to me means you have to get creative: be willing to try out new recipes and methods and have fun with it. It is not a restrictive diet and it is not a sacrifice. I don’t miss anything because honestly the fact that I used to like the taste of something is not worth the new life I have and giving the new me up for.
I have everything I need and more and my body thanks me every day for it. I appreciate every bit of food I eat so much more now and I know it is fuelling my body rather than hindering it. Soon I will be running my first marathon and am so happy to say that my muscles are plant built.
‘People want to eat animals so that they will be as strong as an ox, forgetting that the ox eats grass’.
So if meat is recycled plant protein, just eat the plants 🙂
The last thing I want to say is that I attribute a part of my inner peace and happiness today to my vegan diet. If you follow my Instagram page already you will know that my feed is largely vegan food and recovery reflections. Recovering from mental illness isn’t easy but I have no doubt that veganism has massively helped me. That’s not to say that being vegan cures mental illness by any stretch of the imagination… But it has been an important factor in my recovery.
One of the things I am being encouraged to do in my recovery is find my values, develop a strong sense of who I am and never apologise for that as long as it is authentically me. I Am A Vegan and that’s not just about what I eat it’s about deciding on my values, choosing growth, being willing to change and treating my body and self with more respect. It is also important to me that I give my mind the best chance at being happy and healthy by filling my body with things that have a positive energy, that will not drag me down in any way. Have you ever walked into a room where people have been arguing or visited a historical site where some atrocity took place and felt the sadness wash over you? If I consume animals, I consume death, stress and fear. If I strive for peace, calm and serenity I can’t contradict that and fill my body with pain.
I look forward to continuing a vegan future. The world is changing: I can feel it. Every decision we make as consumers changes production. We have the power… Let’s make our future a compassionate one.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my vegan journey. I hope that by sharing my story it may help others start their journey on some level… Even if that means cutting one form of animal produce out, buying vegan alternatives every so often or ordering vegan meals at a restaurant once in a while, any small change would be amazing 🙂
Love and light to you all …
Thank you to my fabulous guest blogger and make sure you check her out on Instagram to follow the journey & share this post to other’s so they will be inspired and informed. I look forward to your comments below –
Nadine ~ Just Me On Life Founder x