Welcoming Veganism?

Before we get into the “why´s”, let´s see what is veganism after all.

As per the Vegan Society description,

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey — as well as avoiding animal-derived materials, products tested on animals and places that use animals for entertainment.

Vegan Society

I am vegan for two years now and before that I was a compulsive omnivore, and at the same time an animal lover, that means on one hand I was caring about animals and mother nature, and in other hand, eating meat and therefore killing involuntarily. So, I have passed from an omnivore diet immediate to a vegan diet without an intermediate, for example an ovolactovegetarian diet. The difference between ovolactovegetarians and vegans is that the first don’t eat any animal flesh (beef, chicken, fish, etc.), but continues to eat dairy but vegans go further, and also don’t consume or use anything that comes from an animal (egg, dairy, leather, fur, etc.).

Initially it was a challenge to start, but since my wife was vegan already, somehow it got easier, so I started slowly to change the habits by eating meat/fish only at lunch time until I reached a momentum when I decided one day that beef would my last.

Personally, I find being a vegan extremely rewarding. It gives me an opportunity at least two times a day to do something to make the world a better place, and I enjoy that feeling. To do something good, you often have to go out of your way, but as a vegan you just have to make better choices. These choices are not only better for animals, but 99% of the time, they are also better for your health and the environment.

People often ask me if it is difficult to go vegan, if it is more expensive, what can I eat, etc. The best way I can describe the experience is to compare it to going from an unhealthy to a healthy diet. If a person who normally eats fast food like hamburgers, pizza and so on, decides they want to eat healthier, they simply have to learn about better options and chose those products. They sometimes have to choose a salad instead.

As a vegan, you sometimes have to go out of your way to find a restaurant with good options, but normally there are options at “normal” restaurants. It is rare that I can’t find something good to eat. It´s not usual for me to enter on a random restaurant or tapas bar and don´t get anything to eat.

There are lots of different opinions on what it means to be truly vegan. In my opinion, everyone should just do the best they can with the information they have, with the conditions they have and so forth.

Food Choices — I don’t eat any meat, seafood, dairy products, or honey. Someone once told me they, “didn’t eat anything with a face,” However, you want to look at it, vegans don’t eat other animals.

Fashion — I don’t buy anything with fur, leather, wool, cashmere, or silk. It might seem at first that this will be really tough, but you probably already own a lot of things made out of synthetic materials. Nowadays there are options available from low- to high-end.

Cosmetics and Household Items — Currently I make my own products at home, but if you to buy products from companies who do not test on animals or have animal products in them, there are compassionate consumer guides such as Caring Consumer and Leaping Bunny where you can check out companies you buy from to see if they sell compassionate products.

Entertainment — I don’t attend events that use animals as entertainment such as the zoo, circus, or animal rides (horses, donkeys, elephants, etc.). If I want to be with animals there are lots of rescue camps where they have rescued all sort of animals from captive, such as horses, cows, chickens, ducks, pigs, etc.

Adopt — Last but not least, I would never buy a pet from a breeder or puppy store. I share my life with three feline (cats) companions and all three were rescue from the street.

I know it is a lot to take in, but I absolutely love being vegan and living a lifestyle built around compassion. The vegan community is passionate, creative, and a determined movement.

There are countless reasons to stop consuming animal products and derivatives. We can argue that it is a question of ethics, health, the will to change the world, but at the same time, there are even more myths about the nutrient deficiencies that a vegan diet can cause.

So, if you are still doubting whether you should start a vegetarian or vegan diet, check below the 14 reasons why you should start now:

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IImagem de Mittmac por Pixabay

01. Ethics

The reason that many argue, but they prefer to continue consuming meat / meat products, because it tastes good. Many people prefer to continue to think that animals raised for human consumption, are treated with dignity and at the end of their short lives are killed without pain. It doesn’t. Animals are confined to a life of suffering and their death is often accompanied by torture. Even the products of animals raised in the open are abused by breeders.

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02. Helping others and contributing to the planet

70% of the planted cereals are used to feed intensive livestock, which could help feed most of the starving populations.

In industrial livestock, to produce 1 kilogram of meat, 15 thousand liters of water are needed, while to produce 1 kilogram of cereals, 1.3 thousand liters of water are enough (FAO — Food and Agriculture Organization)

In a hectare of land, 22,500 kg of potatoes can be planted, while in the same area only 185 kg of beef (FAO) are produced

03. Health

The vegetarian diet is much healthier. Cutting back on animal consumption reduces the risk of high cholesterol, prevents various cancers, increases energy and helps control weight.

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04. Fish are also sentient

Contrary to common sense, fish also experience pain and pleasure. Intensive fishing threatens the aquatic population and about 40 million tonnes of dead animals are returned to the sea annually by fishermen. For each ton of shrimp, 15 tons of fish are killed and thrown away by fishermen. Aquaculture fish are poisoned by antibiotics and live in filthy waters, with no space to swim.

Fishing also causes the death of other animals, such as birds that are caught in fishing nets or eat hooks.

05. Death and Suffering

To consume meat, it is necessary to kill. Killing is an act of violence. Usually those who work in slaughterhouses are uneducated and exploited people.

Animals are very fragile, they feel fear and pain, slaughterhouses do not guarantee that animals will be killed without pain. There are countless reports of animals that arrive at the cutting line awake, without the stunned them sleeping, live chickens that are submerged in boiling water.

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Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

06. Taste

Does the meat that bears so much pain and suffering taste good? All the stress that the animal suffers will be consumed by the human.

07. Cancer Risk

Those who follow a vegan diet are 40% less likely to get cancer than an omnivore who has 88% to get colon cancer.

08. Immunity and Health

Vegans have greater immunity and are less affected by opportunistic diseases.

09. For non-human animals

Animals are easy victims and cannot defend themselves. If we burn a non-human animal, they feel pain. Non-human animals feel the pain with the same intensity as humans, they also feel fear and cry.

Their hair becomes stiff, urinates and trembles just as we do when they frighten us to death when we are about to be injured or murdered.

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10. Animals value life

There is no animal that wants to die, they feel and like to live. Intensive livestock suffer greatly from the stress of confinement. Non-human animals want to be free and not to suffer the abuse of which they are victims.

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11. Animal testing is not necessary

The practice of vivisection is not necessary, nowadays there are immense computational methods that offer better results than experimentation with live animals. To test products for a beauty cream, it is not necessary to torture and kill animals.

12. What about vegetarians?

Vegetarians (ovo-vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, ovo-lacto-vegetarian) are part of the omnivore group, but in a quieter way. They contribute to the death of the calves (cows are not milk factories, for lactation a cow needs to become pregnant), they consume animal products that will end up on the death line.

As stated by Prof. Gary Francione “there is more suffering in a glass of milk than in a steak”

Prof. Gary Francione

13. Vegans don’t hate animals

Vegan don’t hate animals, vegans hate animal exploitation and believe in a peaceful world where humans and non-humans cohabit peacefully, a world without animal exploitation.

14. Because we know that animal exploitation is wrong and is not necessary!

If you are interested in any of the vegetarien diets, remember to look for a nutritionist who develops a healthy nutritional plan: adequate food and the right amount.

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Photo by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash

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