Veganism 101: Why You Should Go Vegan
Veganism may be adopted for ethical, health, environmental, religious, political, cultural, aesthetic, economic, or other reasons. Have you considered going vegan before? I bet some of you have. What's stopping you?
Think you can't do it? You can. For a long time, I didn't think I could be vegan either. But I did it. It was definitely a process and it took me some baby steps and time to adjust my eating habits. Going vegan was intimidating at first, but it really was just about changing habits and preconceived notions about food.
As a child, I used to be the biggest bacon lover ever and I can honestly say that I liked the taste of meat. Then two things happened... gradually. To simplify, I finally understood the connection between what I was eating and the animals I loved and respected. I didn't want to eat my animal friends. And two, I learned that there were other ways to live and that I had a choice not to be a party to the suffering of animals. After these realizations, meat was no longer attractive to me. Quite the opposite really.
And I thought I would never have some of my favorite dishes again, like Sweet and Sour Pork. But that simply became Sweet and Sour Chicken when I went semi-vegetarian, and then later Sweet and Sour Tofu or Sweet and Sour Seitan when I went vegetarian and vegan. I still have my delicious Chinese-style sweet and sour, and I don't miss the old versions. I've been able to veganize most of the foods I love, and the others, well, I've found I don't really miss them afterall. And I don't feel deprived. Why eat animal products when I can eat tasty cruelty-free substitutes that nourish my body?
You might be laughing at me now, thinking that vegan food is bland and boring. But it's really not. The thing is, we've had centuries to create good recipes for foods that contain animal products. Culinary veganism is still a relatively new thing for us. And we are making some serious progress. Some good examples of our progress are showcased in the new vegan restaurants and chefs out there making a splash, and some of the awesome vegan cookbooks and vegan foodie blogs. We like tasty food as much as the next human, we just like it without the side of suffering.
There are two things I can do to further explain why you should go vegan;
1) share my vegan story...maybe it will strike a chord with you. My simple and personal answer for why you should go vegan is compassion, to reduce suffering in the world, and this includes the suffering of the earth and humans as well as that of farm animals, all animals.
My Story: The Long Version
2) refer you to others who explain 'why' better than I ever could.
For Teens and Adults
Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach
Why Vegan? booklet [pdf]
That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things by Ruby Roth
The other thing I aim to do is to encourage and support you in your journey. That is essentially what this blog is for. Even though many posts will be related to vegan living in Arizona, most things will be universal or translatable to where you live.
The path to veganism is not the same for everyone. Some of you will start with Meatless Mondays or going flexitarian. Such basic steps still help eliminate suffering. Others may go vegan overnight and jump right into the vegan lifestyle. While I hope everyone is on the path to veganism and making the most compassionate choices, I understand it can be a process. It took me almost 15 years to get to veganism after I first decided I wanted to do it. Talk about a process!
The most important thing is true awareness of the suffering and making efforts to alleviate it. Even if you will be a lifelong omnivore, surely you agree that the animals killed for food should not live in such horrific conditions. It's just not right. And we all have to do our part to fix this. We need to use our diet and consumer choices to wield our power, and we need to vote and advocate politically to seek animal well-being. We just don't have the right to exploit other beings for our own use.
"Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~Albert Schweitzer