What is Veganism to you? Is it a dietary choice, an ethical decision or both?
There are as many types of vegans as there are people on this planet. There is no, one-size-fits-all. Our journey started as a decision to improve our health. For me, personally, it was a mixture of wanting to improve my health, and stop eating the flesh of innocent animals. I had found my way to an understanding of, “ingesting trauma leads to trauma”. What I mean by this, is that my belief in energy and the body’s ability to store memory in the cells, meant that an animal who lived a life of trauma and abuse would store energetic cellular memory of the trauma and abuse. So when eating the flesh of a traumatized and abused animal who 9 out of 10 times lived in conditions most people wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy, I believe that you are ingesting all the negative and bad energy along with it. Then, when educating myself further and finding out that animal products do not a healthy person make, it was easy to make the decision to give it up. Not quite as easy to avoid all animal products though.
I will tell you, when you make the decision to eliminate animal products, there is a multitude of foods that fall out of your diet. Even items that you wouldn’t naturally associate as containing animal products. Pastries are one of these. Evan & I love pastries and sweet things, so it was kinda hard to give those up, but we had to just remind ourselves that they contain milk, eggs, butter or all three. Evan is decidedly better at talking himself out of these things than I am. But the longer we stick to the choice, the easier it is becoming to dismiss items from our diet that don’t qualify.
There are innumerable video’s I could suggest for you to watch to educate yourself on the movement. Because Veganism is becoming just that! (But if I had to suggest just one, it would be Vegan 2017). It is becoming, or has become a movement, toward a future where the majority of people are eating plant based. Where the default diet is vegan instead of carnivorous. More and more high profile athlete’s, actors, actresses and other influential people are speaking up. Using their platforms and voice for the voiceless. By far my favorite of the bunch so far, has been Miley Cyrus. I don’t listen to her music, I don’t watch any of the shows that she does, but I do follow her on Instagram, and she has inspired me to move ever closer to creating a life in which all aspects are cruelty free and plant-based.
I’ll never claim to always know who comes up with these sayings, but whoever said, “Education is Key!” they knew what they were talking about. If you know better, you can do better! So educate yourself. That goes for any aspect of your life! Whether it be regarding your health or just any subject that interests you. But let’s be honest, what could interest you more than finding out about your own health, and finding ways to improve your health? Our governments feed us the wrong information, based on whoever lobby’s the hardest.
The food pyramid has been a representation in past years, of which industries lobby the hardest to get themselves punted as healthy! (Brace yourself, I am about to use a whole, whole lot of generalizations.)… As a foreigner is this country, I was really surprised at the number of ignorant people I encountered. People who at first glance, I would never have suspected of being ignorant or uneducated. As I engaged with these people, I was shocked at how blindly they follow whatever the “authorities” say regarding certain issues. They didn’t bother looking beyond what was being presented. I say this in the knowledge that less than a year ago, I would have sworn that chicken & fish were your healthier options over red meat or pork! I have never personally followed any of the food guidelines or food pyramids that any government has put out there because I have a distrust of someone else telling me what is and is not suitable for me. Milk and other dairy products are on those lists, and yet the vast majority of people, including myself, are lactose intolerant. However, if I just blindly followed the food pyramid, my diet would have consisted of the following, according to the Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion:
I love that they have the base of this pyramid as your cereals, rice, pasta etc. Even the next level up is good. 2 to 3 servings of animal products at the next level from that is what concerns me. This means that people justified to themselves that their daily bacon and egg habit was ok, because it’s on the food pyramid and is in “moderation”. My mom has always been preaching moderation. I can hear her voice in my head right now, uttering those words. Everything in moderation. She is in her 70’s now and suffers with osteoarthritis, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis. She struggles to get up and down the stairs at her home in South Africa. I have spoken to her on many occasions about changing what she puts into her body, and she counters with “everything in moderation my love”. I’ve begged, pleaded and tried to guilt trip her into agreeing to try a plant based diet, I’ve sent her recipe after recipe, I even bought her Dr. McDougal’s “The Starch Solution”. And you know what that got me. Nothing! A Big Fat ZERO!!!! In my enthusiasm for my own health, I have a desire to share my knowledge with my loved ones and friends. Everybody knows the feeling of growing up and realizing that our parents are not invincible, they are in fact, very human. This realization is thrown into much sharper focus, when you are a continent away and your parents’ health is questionable and/or failing.
The latest in nutritional guidelines is the ChooseMyPlate initiative.
We’re definitely seeing better advice on this one. They are leaving it up to you to make the choice of where you obtain your protein. Even though they mention that you can get your protein from meats and suggest low-fat or lean meats and poultry. They are also suggesting beans, peas, nuts and seeds. But they still push dairy. This is because the dairy industry still spends insane amounts of money lobbying for this.
While I definitely prefer this new system of suggestion, it still leaves enough room for people to be fooled into believing that animal products are healthy. I feel as though the USDA has put up a guideline that they don’t fully back. It feels, sketchy, in that they are trying to please the industries that lobby them, while also trying to assist the public with making better choices.
If you are currently vegan, did you make the change for ethical or health reasons?
If you are not vegan, would you ever consider trying out a plant based lifestyle to improve your health?