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Why bother going vegan? Aren’t there a million more important things to worry about? What about world peace? What about poverty? What about human suffering? What about plant suffering? Vegans just seem like misguided idealists; moreover, isn’t veganism extreme, inconvenient and ultimately only for people who are hippies, animal rights nut jobs or elitist liberals trying to explore a new fad diet? We know what you’re thinking: I try to buy “humanely” raised meat; what’s wrong with that? Aren’t local and organic meat and dairy products great for the environment? Can’t I be a vegetarian (come on, no milk and eggs and NO cheese?) Cows and hens don’t have to die for it? Can’t I be a pescetarian (fish don’t have feelings, right)? Or maybe a flexitarian, or “veganish” (Oprah approves of it)? How will I get my protein? What about calcium? I love the taste of meat and doesn’t vegan food taste like feet? How will I ever be able to experience joy in my life knowing I can’t eat steak, drink a milk shake or wear a leather jacket? Why, oh why should I even consider this?

Here’s why:

You’re curious and you know deep inside that this is something you need to think about. It could be because you have a pet and wonder if there’s a difference between him/her and the pig that turned into the bacon you ate for breakfast. Maybe you saw an eye-opening video about society’s treatment of animals. Or maybe you have been reading about the environmental impact of industrial animal agriculture or the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Whatever the reason may be, the fact that this seems mildly interesting to you means that you have already taken the first step towards thinking vegan. Don’t panic! That’s a good thing and is reason enough to not turn back now.

The good news is you don’t actually need to eat animal flesh or drink animal milk to lead a happy, healthy and productive life, and you certainly don’t need to wear animal skin to look good. You can still enjoy the taste of meat, creamy desserts, snacks and stock up your fridge and pantry with all kinds of delicious food. More importantly, you can get enough protein, even calcium, without any animal having to suffer or die for it. Worried about your health? Really? You think not consuming animal products that are full of saturated fat and cholesterol will do your body harm? As long as your idea of vegan food is not eating potato chips, Twizzlers and vegan cupcakes all day, you’ll do fine (but trust us, you should eat a good vegan cupcake every now and then). If you’re still concerned, take a supplement or two (which you probably do on any diet). Worried about losing your sense of style if you can’t wear leather boots or fancy cashmere sweaters? You can buy all kinds of clothes and accessories, including designer coats and handbags, and fashionable shoes that not only look and feel great, but also won’t dampen your karma or your style. Think about it; the only reason we eat and use animals is because we’ve been doing it for eons and animal-free alternatives did not exist. It is 2011, people; we need to get with the program and evolve!

Veganism is not hard; ever noticed how picky almost every person placing their drink order at Starbucks is? Being vegan isn’t that different. So, you’ll probably need to ask a few questions while ordering food, read a few labels while buying stuff, deal with a few raised eyebrows and answer a couple of questions about protein and calcium. So what! You don’t have to go vegan overnight if you don’t want to, but you have to be certain that you’re ready to get started. Do some research on recipes and start with a few vegan meals a week. If after a few weeks, you find that your body and mind haven’t descended into the depths of hunger and depression respectively, you can consider doing this long-term and going completely animal-free. Take the time you need, and you will realize that veganism is not a huge sacrifice, but just a matter of making some adjustments to how you cook, shop and order at a restaurant.

Now remember that veganism is more than food, because you don’t want to be that person talking about making ethical and ecological food choices, while strutting around town in a fur coat or wearing makeup that’s tested on animals. Again, don’t obsess over it; just do some basic research into vegan alternatives to various products you use and when you feel comfortable enough, make the switch to the animal-free version. Worried about having to throw away all your leather, wool and other clothes? Don’t! No one says you have to get rid of it all, the moment you decide to go down the vegan path. If you can afford it, donate your non-vegan stuff and go ahead and embark on a shopping spree. However, realistically, very few can do that, so just wear them out and discard or donate them when you feel like you’re ready for a replacement. Relax; the vegan police is not going to fine you!

The amazing part is your vegan journey has already begun! Why? Because we’re pretty certain that you don’t exclusively consume animal-based foods for all your meals and don’t intentionally buy clothes and other products because they are made with animal ingredients. From our perspective, you’re on your way — you’re a part time vegan already. Of course, it may seem convenient to not try harder and accept things the way they are today, but that doesn’t make it right. On the other hand, you don’t have to turn into a poster child for veganism overnight either. Just start looking at the bigger picture and make conscious choices that will reduce your overall demand for products that are ecologically and ethically irresponsible. This is exactly why you don’t need to be an animal-lover, a health freak or a treehugger to think vegan.

Start where you want, but remember that all those Meatless Monday’s, humanely raised Tuesday’s, organic, cage-free, flexitarian, pescetarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian days are just stepping stones on the path to reducing and ultimately eliminating your consumption of animal products.

Once you acknowledge that with every lifestyle choice, you can help build a smarter future for people, animals and the planet, you will realize that the question you need to ask yourself is not why go vegan, but why not?

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34 comments on “Why Go Vegan?”

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subduedjoy
5 Years Ago

First, I'm on a 21-day vegan diet. If it works, I will stay on it. My biggest difficulty is giving up lactose. Cheese, ice cream, chocolate, ..., taste so good. Second, it is not true that everyone can get all their nutrients on a vegan diet. I have UC (Ulcerative Colitis), which means I loose a lot of blood. People who loose a lot of blood have a very difficult time getting enough iron and B-vitamins even when they are eating meat and taking iron and B-vitamin supplements. Many of us have had to get blood transfusions. That being said, yes, for the normal person, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need on a vegan diet. Just try to stay away from junk food and make sure you get enough iron and B-vitamins in your diet. And if your body gets low on iron and B-vitamins, then take supplements. Remember to take a vitamin-C supplement or eat some fruit when your take my iron supplement. Vitamin C helps the body to digest iron. Also, don't have any calcium with the iron supplement. Calcium makes it difficult for the body to digest iron.


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MotherLodeBeth
5 Years Ago

Most Americans outside of extreme cold areas like Alaska, desert areas could be more vegan. Although I think the word vegan can have eclectic, odd connotations to some people. But stop and think of the number of people who have dairy sensitivities,are allergic to eggs, or avoid meat because is cholesterol issues. Knowing how to make some great foods that do not have or need eggs, diary, meat shows you care that everyone eating gets something good and isn't left out. I choose to be vegan much of the time simply because I have a good vegetable garden, farmers market and easy access to fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. While I do drink/use some nut milks, I steer clear of the faux/fake vegan meats since I avoid any processed food whenever possible. And I think some people may not even realize that they have had vegan food and not even thought about it. Tomato based pasta sauces, soups, desserts (don't eat many), as well as non meat sandwiches, and even non meat burgers which are becoming more and more popular.


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Gidget870
6 Years Ago

RT @OneGreenPlanet: Check out one of our most popular article's this month & spread the word! -- Why go #Vegan? http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/...


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wing_mom
6 Years Ago

RT @OneGreenPlanet: Check out one of our most popular article's this month & spread the word! -- Why go #Vegan? http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/...


Reply
nuria_paredes
6 Years Ago

RT @OneGreenPlanet: Meat, milk, eggs & fish: all wrong & all involve suffering & death -- Why Go Vegan? We say why not? http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenmat/3040... ...


Reply
steph50
6 Years Ago

RT @OneGreenPlanet: Meat, milk, eggs & fish: all wrong & all involve suffering & death -- Why Go Vegan? We say why not? http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenmat/3040... ...


Reply
kafergie
6 Years Ago

RT @OneGreenPlanet: Meat, milk, eggs & fish: all wrong & all involve suffering & death -- Why Go Vegan? We say why not? http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenmat/3040... ...


Reply
jackie82679
6 Years Ago

RT @OneGreenPlanet: Meat, milk, eggs & fish: all wrong & all involve suffering & death -- Why Go Vegan? We say why not? http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenmat/3040... ...


Reply
DevourSeasons
6 Years Ago

RT @OneGreenPlanet: Meat, milk, eggs & fish: all wrong & all involve suffering & death -- Why Go Vegan? We say why not? http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenmat/3040... ...


Reply
greenbean___
6 Years Ago

RT @OneGreenPlanet: You know you want to go vegan and we know why! http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/... #vegan


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