On March 1, 2018, I decided to take a step to better my health, the environment, and the lives of innocent creatures by going vegan.
WAIT, before you click off this blog post, try reading just a little further.
I used to think vegans were crazy and took things too far and were overthinking the animal agriculture industry. But then I gave the information they were sharing a chance. Two years ago, I started looking more into the things my friend, Alix, was sharing on social media. I began to open my eyes to the horrors of where my meat was coming from. The more I read, the sicker I felt eating meat. One day, while attempting to eat a bowl of spaghetti-os with meatballs, I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore. I went vegetarian in May 2016, and I never looked back.
My freshman year of college, I was struggling to find things to eat in the dining hall on campus because most meals they served there were not vegetarian friendly. I never once considered eating meat, though. I knew I could never, ever do that again.
One day, avoiding homework, I watched the documentary “Cowspiracy” on Netflix. This is when I found out that not only are animal products harmful for the animals, but they’re really bad for the environment. I learned that a single cheeseburger used up more water to produce than months of of showers. I came to realize that that the animal agriculture industry isn’t only the leading cause of CO2 (which I kind of already knew), but that it was also the leading cause of deforestation and the pollution of our oceans. It wasn’t just meat that did this, but all animal products- dairy and eggs, too. This got me thinking and made me so much more aware of everything I ate that contained animal products.
I kept telling myself that “I could never go vegan” though. I did try to eat “as vegan as possible”, so if something was in front of me and it was vegan, I’d eat it over something else, but I never went out of my way. When I went to Germany, I chose the vegan butter for my bread in the mornings but still chose to get hot chocolate every day. I wasn’t really making an impact, but I didn’t realize that until about a year later.
When I got back from Orlando for my Disney College Program, I met all the friends Shane had made while I was gone. One of them was Jaycee, who had been vegan for about 6 months at that point. Hanging out with her and eating vegan food at her house and ranting with her about how bad eating meat was, I got a different look at veganism. It was no longer just something I saw people doing through social media- it was a real, possible thing. It was practical. I finally saw how possible it would be for me to in fact go vegan.
Now before we continue, a little side note, I have always been the pickiest eater. I’ve always hated fruit, especially bananas, which I could never manage to swallow. Carrots were pretty much the only vegetable I ever ate, and my diet consisted of basically bread and cheese. I wasn’t eating meat, but I was not eating healthy.
So the thought of going vegan kind of made my past self chuckle. But why not? The milk and egg industry is obviously not any better than the meat industry which just kills the animals for food, which I was already really against. And those industries are also very bad for the environment. The environmental aspect was actually what really pushed me to consider veganism. A pound of beef take over a thousand gallons of water to produce, which is awful, but a gallon of milk takes two thousand gallons of water to produce. The water it takes to produce a single egg could give 784 thirsty people a glass of water. And yet Cape Town, Africa is literally running out of water? But we can have scrambled eggs for breakfast?
I could no longer eat eggs and dairy knowing that I was contributing to the environmental destruction that’s killing our planet. Whether you believe in global warming or not, anyone can see that our planet is dying. If our planet dies, the species that live on it- including us- will die too.
I decided first to just eat vegan 3 or 4 days a week, but just like when I went vegetarian, after a couple days, I could no longer stomach the thought of eating cheese or cooking eggs. On March 1, I officially decided to cut out all animal products and go vegan.
About a week later, I watched “What the Health” on Netflix and did some research on how eating animal products impacts your health. I discovered that everything I’ve been told about milk, eggs, and meat my whole life has actually been a big fat lie fed to us by the very industries that are selling us those products. Milk is actually bad for bone health, eggs increase your chance of having heart problems, and processed meat is ranked as a level one carcinogen, just like tobacco. The health effects of cutting out all animal products just convinced me even more that going vegan was the right choice for me.
It’s now been a month and a half and I have never felt better about my diet. I eat fruits and vegetables every day, have become obsessed with chickpeas, recently discovered the beauty of quinoa, and am always experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes. No, I haven’t lost weight, because veganism is not about restriction- it’s about compassion. I fill my belly with good, healthy, natural foods that are cruelty free and delicious.
And I’m even becoming less picky! Remember how I could never eat bananas growing up? Now bananas are one of my favorite foods and I eat multiple almost every single day.
One thing is for sure: Going vegan has changed my life and I’m never going back. God is good.