Why I Went Vegan

Why I Went Vegan

About two months ago I made the life-changing commitment to go vegan. And now I understand why people say they instantly know when someone is a vegan since they’ll tell you in just the first few sentences of a conversation.

Because now I want to shout it out from the rooftops about how wonderful this lifestyle is — from the health benefits to the environmental benefits to the ethics.

Which I suppose I am doing now by making a video all about why I went vegan. You can find that video at the very bottom of this article.

A little disclaimer before we start getting into the journey: I didn’t make this video to push any agenda on someone who is resistant, or even on the fence, about veganism. However, I feel incredibly passionate about the philosophies that veganism stands for an I wanted to share this for anyone who is curious.

My hope is that people will walk into the video with an open mind and walk away from it with compassion and understanding.

So "Why Vegan"?

Well, first of all, I like to classify myself as a plant-based vegan.

Why?

Plant-based encompasses the health aspect of veganism because, let’s face it, you can be a vegan and only eat all the processed foods you can find. And while that’s totally fine and I love a good Impossible Burger or some Chickpea Nuggets, I really enjoy cooking and experimenting with whole foods. Not to mention that I just feel so great when I eat these types of foods.

Vegan refers more to the other philosophies: the environmental reasons and the ethical reasons. Which are the reasons why I actually went vegan in the first place before discovering the benefits of a whole-foods-plant-based lifestyle (WFPB).

So, while I first started out flirting with veganism because of the environmental reasons, it’s become mainly for the ethical reasons, and then also for the health reasons.

The (Very New) Journey

So how did this all start?

Well, it goes back to when I was a little girl, really. My dad was diagnosed with cancer and after he was announced cleared, he was recommended to minimize his consumption of red meat and dairy products to help with his cholesterol and risk for any other diseases.

From that moment on, my family only bought soy milk, didn’t eat much dairy, and ate lean proteins. We had a big emphasis on healthful foods and my dad absolutely thrived.

Fast forward to college and I was still living this type of lifestyle, but had major digestive issues. I also constantly felt tired, but thought these were just some things I had to live with for the rest of my life.

One day I was walking through my college campus quad and there were these vegan activists who set up screens that showed images and videos of factory farms. They wrangled me in and said they were giving a dollar to anyone who watched these videos. So, feeling a little trapped and guilt-tripped if I didn’t do it, I watched it.

It was awful — no one can deny that.

But after that, they just gave me the dollar and sent me on my way with no real explanations. I went vegan for about a day and promised I would buy cage-free, grass-fed animal products.

I continued on my life, with a constantly sour stomach and fatigue, trying to make smart decisions, but all-in-all, mostly forgot about the images that I saw or turned my head away whenever I was confronted with them.

When I graduated college, I started implementing vegan days about  3 times a week because I learned a little bit about the environmental impacts that animal agriculture and industrial fishing has on our environment. Eventually, though, those planned-out three vegan days a week eventually withered down to a distant thought.

THe Switch

Two months ago, Brent was browsing YouTube and found this video called the Best Speech You Will Ever Hear by Gary Yourofsky.

He was… intense. But he really got his point across because of this “tough love” attitude he had. And he taught me what the animal activists didn’t teach me back in college, and what I also have always turned my head away from — the horrific truths of factory farming.

I cover more of this journey in my video. But I realized that, with the prevalence of factory farming, it would be too difficult to make smart decisions. Plus, no matter what label is slapped on an animal product, including dairy, it all leads to one thing: the slaughterhouse.

And, all my digestive issues and fatigue went away within 3 days! I definitely feel like a new woman — or a child who doesn’t know what to do with all this extra energy (become an advocate I suppose?)

My Fears

When I made the switch, two main fears bubbled up:

First, I’m a very non-confrontational person, and so it’s hard to imagine me being calm and collected in a situation where my eating habits and views are questioned. My biggest fear is breaking down in a situation like this since people can be very harsh. However, I’m combatting this by learning as much as I can so I can feel confident in myself and the evidence that’s out there.

Secondly, I have a history with an eating disorder. This is something I immediately thought of when I made the commitment to plant-based veganism. I go into much more detail what my thoughts are around this aspect in the video. 

Being Compassionate with Yourself and With Others

Being compassionate with yourself is so important. For me, being compassionate means these things:

  • Being compassionate to myself when I feel I didn’t advocate well enough
  • Being compassionate if I eat an animal product on accident or because I’m in a situation where I have no other options
  • Being compassionate to myself when I don’t have the answer

And being compassionate towards others means these:

  • Being compassionate throughout a conversation
  • Being compassionate towards someone who can’t see these views or have a meaningful conversation
  • Being compassionate to those who need support in changing their lifestyle

Because living a plant-based vegan lifestyle is really all about compassion. Compassion towards ourselves, compassion towards the earth, and compassion towards the non-human animals.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a seasoned vegan, fresh vegan, thinking about changing, in the midst of changing, don’t know any of the facts around animal agriculture or the environment, or know but aren’t ready to make the change, I appreciate you for letting me use this platform to share my story of becoming vegan.

I know this is a more difficult change for many people than it was for me and I don’t take that experience for granted.

Going vegan, like any other lifestyle change, is expected to be a slow process for most so that it’s more sustainable in the long-run.

But also like any lifestyle change, once you can shift your mindset from thinking about yourself to thinking about outside of yourself and the impact your decision has on the rest of the world, the change opens up a whole new opportunity and view on life.

I am writing this and I know I will have to have difficult conversations in the future. I’ve already gotten semi-ridiculed, but the difference now is that I know what I’m doing goes far beyond myself and that helps tremendously with my confidence.

I hope you enjoy the video and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!



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