Think about it: our lives REVOLVE around food. If you're a stay at home and even working mother of young children or teenagers, you are constantly planning what is for dinner, what you're packing for lunch and somehow magically tailoring to each of their tastes, wants, needs, and moods. If you have a significant other, you're likely cooking for them in a trade off pattern or even providing for them all the time. If you're a 20 or 30-something socialite, you're always looking for the hottest new spaces to what? EAT. I'm a cook in a health food kitchen. I am surrounded by food for 8-10 hours a day. Food signs my paycheck. I have been at least vegetarian since 2003 when I went to Hellfest in New York with some friends and got sucked into watching a PETA video at their stand. I had had eggs, sausage, and bacon with buttery toast and chocolate milk that morning for breakfast. That night, I couldn't stand the thought of consuming anything that an animal had to suffer or even lose its life to produce. I went from meateater to vegan in 0.2 seconds in the middle of a hardcore music and tattoo festival. It was the most drastic change in my life I've ever made and if you ask any of my friends, I have the tendency to be pretty drastic.
So, as an introduction to me and mostly what this page will be about, I'm compiling a list of somewhat detailed reasons why I have chosen this lifestyle for myself.
1) Health. I've come to a maturity in my life that makes me realize that I cannot be fueled on Tasty Cakes and Pepsi. I'm 27 years old. I'm a grown up. I'm old enough now to be able to understand what I put in my body is going to have a lifelong effect on it. I've seen the health problems older people in my immediate family have and I'm freaking out. I don't want to get cancer, diabetes, or worse-fatter than I already am. I want to be healthy for the rest of my life. I vainly want clear skin, shiny hair, and a slammin' body. Not consuming animal baddies really helps with that. More importantly, it has helped with a few health issues I was already beginning to experience. When I cut only meat out of my diet and ate pretty healthy, I lost weight. When I cut dairy too, I lost even more weight. Also, eliminating dairy from my diet practically did away with allergies from which I suffered my whole life. I used to be constantly clearing my throat, blowing my nose, and itching my ears. The last time I blew my nose that I can remember was the other day when I popped the pepper container open too quickly and it poofed up into my face. Allergy-free is good for me!
Also, meat/dairy that is not organic or free-range or labeled spefically is full of antibiotics (to keep the animals healthy and disease free because they are so malnourished and crammed so tightly in pens that they're always getting sick) and hormones or steroids to make muscle (meat) grow faster and milk be produced at a quicker rate. Forget going with the natural path of things, mass-production of meat and dairy are money makers and since the FDA's pockets are lined with blood money from the farmers, of course it will allow these things to be given to the animals. Hormones, steroids, and antiboitics make money. Only thing is: the farmers are shooting the general public of consumers in the foot for us. Let's think about it. Hormones in the milk: could this be why there are 8-year-olds getting their periods and DD breasts by 13? Steroids in meat: rise in young and teen boy aggression maybe? Antibiotics: the growing issue of lessening resistence to disease? Chew on a few on those for a while. If you want actual sources, I can provide them.
2) Compassion. Actually I'm really not an animal-lover. I haven't had a pet for years and years. Wait, I had a parakeet but I gave it away on a road trip stop in Texas. I figured as a tropical bird, she'd be happier there instead of Pennsylvania where it can get below freezing in the wintertime. I really don't "do" the pet thing. Furry creatures shed and make noise and messes and chew on things that I really would rather them not chew on. I can understand the bond petowners have with their pets. A girlfriend of mine has two cats and no children and she and her husband prefer it that way. The way those cats are treated, you'd swear they were kids. I get it. But would you eat them? Would you slit their throats, bleed them dry, yank their skin from their bodies, butcher them, toast them over a fire with some oregano and eat them? Then why eat a chicken? Or a cow? 99.9999% (not a proven figure, just out of my dramatic head) of animals raised for meat are put through horrific torturous acts before they are killed for meat. They are frozen, packed tight into filthy corrals, beaten, dismembered, and scared shitless before their throats slit and their bodies mutilated to end up on the menu at Olive Garden. I feel the need to respect any living thing, especially defenseless, unless it is threatening my life or health (ie: if I'm staring at a bear that's ready to maul me and I have a gun in my hand, respect goes out the window and survival kicks in.) I can't eat something that once belonged on or in the body of an animal. It does not mesh with my formulated morals. Don't even get me on animal-testing for beauty products, skin care, hair care, cleaning solutions, etc.
3) Veg is Sexy. I remember I read an actual scientific study where they had groups of people eat specific diets and report back on their sex lives. In almost every situation where both of the participants had been eating a consistent vegetarian diet, they reported better, healthier, more energetic, and longer-lasting love making sessions. Of course, I can't find this article online, especially since PETA's banned Super Bowl Commercial (which I love, by the way) is all over the place, but I found a similar one with the same feedback in this EatVeg.com article. And after conducting my own privately funded independent study, I must say that my findings come right alongside of theirs. Things are just BETTER when you're vegconcious. Let's just say, vegetarian men have good taste. And I will be no more graphic because I'm sure at some point my mother will read this and I will catch hell because I'm talking about the S word in a public online forum. Sorry, Mom. Are we still on for LOST this Wednesday?
4) Mommy Earth. I may have been known to hug a few trees in my day. They're so cute and they just scream "hug me!" Seriously though, do you KNOW how detrimental the meat industry is to the land that we are so desperately trying to save? According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams. Get that? We are drinking pee and poop and more from all of the meat and dairy farms. Um, gross. There's also an insane amount of crops (about 70 percent of all grain grown in the U.S.) for feeding the approx 7 billion animals being raised for consumption. Imagine saving all the land that is destroyed by the sheer pollution by animal excrement and the land that is designated solely for feeding these animals? We could have so many more vegetables, grains, and fruit at our disposal and at a cheaper price because we would have more land to farm it on. Imagine, also, being able to export the extra grain to the starving children in Africa. Sally Struthers should go vegan.
5) Spiritual Health. No, I'm not Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, or anything else like that. I actually spent a large chunk of my late teens and early 20's as a very dedicated Christian. I no longer hold to a specific faith but when people kind of roll their eyes at me when I say that the closest thing to religion I practice is Veganism, I have to explain to them that I just don't think that a Deity with any compassion in its heart, would smile upon the idea of humans (who are supposed to be the most intelligent species) murdering another one of Its creations. It doesn't make spiritual sense to me. Shouldn't we try and coexist peacefully? We kill too many of our own kind already. Spiritually, I cannot be at peace if I am responsible for another creature's suffering. It's been proven that animals have intelligence, what if they have souls? No thanks.
6) Money. Even if I decided I wanted to eat meat again (watch the weather report for hell to freeze over while you're at it), I simply couldn't afford it. Meat is expensive. Well, meat without all the chemical shit in it is anyway. I loosely paid attention to my grocery bill pre-veg and post-veg. Weekly bills, just for me, went from approx $90/week to approx $50/week. They're even lower now that I don't buy as much pre-made and processed foods (except my coconut milk yogurt and ice cream.)
So, those are main reasons for myself and a little look into my history with Vegan Life. And we go on from here!