There are a lot of reasons why someone would be interested in going vegan – likely as many unique reasons as there are unique people – but a few common themes generally emerge.
- I am vegan for the animals
- I am vegan for the planet
- I want to lose weight or improve my health
When I began my journey it was a matter more of a personal challenge. I had been a vegetarian for a number of years – since I was a child – and had recently gone through a pretty large life change. I was just getting into distance running as a way to relieve stress and I also wanted to see if I could take my diet a step further and completely eliminate animal products.
Within a two weeks of my vegan diet I felt a huge change. It was such a refresh for my body and I felt so empowered and fueled that I decided to commit for good! And here I am, five years later, still loving my plant based diet. And I can’t imagine any other way for myself.
So what does it mean to be vegan? A vegan diet is one that seeks to eliminate all animal byproducts from then diet. This includes any meat, eggs, dairy products but it also goes as far as removing gelatin which is made from horse hooves, “natural” vanilla flavoring which is made from the anal sacs of beavers, and red dye which is a product derived from crushed beetles. Yummy, right?
So what do you eat? I get this question all the time. The short answer is: a lot! Anything that was grown of the ground and derived from a plant. There are so many options when you open your mind to new possibilities! Instead of just heading straight to the carrots and lettuce you are used to in the grocery store, spend a little more time walking around and I expect you will find a few new fruits or vegetables you haven’t tried yet!
Many people are immediately concerned about the current star of most American plates – protein. “How do you get your protein?” I challenge you to consider this: what do the cows eat that helps them grow before the are butchered for human consumption? Plants. What do the chickens eat to helps them make high protein eggs? Plants. No one asks them where they get their protein! We can learn to skip the middle man (the animal) and derive our protein from plants as well and more than meet our daily needs.
Here’s an info graphic of protein found in plants to drive the idea home. Thanks to rebeldietitian.us.
So vegans, for whatever reason they choose to be vegan, seek to keep all animal products and bi products off their dinner plates. Also, many choose to not to purchase any products that exploit animals including but not limited to: skin products, furniture, clothing, and cleaning supplies. How far you choose to make the change is entirely up to you.
Remember it’s not about doing everything as much as it is about doing something! Do something for the animals, do something for the environment and do something for yourself!
Comment away! I’d love to hear from you!