Updated: Oct 11, 2020
When you hear the word “Vegan,” what comes to mind? The correct definition of a Vegan is a person who abstains from eating or using any food or thing that harms any animals.
“Why become a Vegan?” Have you looked outside and seen how hot it is getting? Our earth is deteriorating as we speak and Veganism is referred to as the ‘single-most biggest way’ to contribute to the environment. As a former 'meat and dairy consumer,' I am proud to say that I am now a Vegan. Don't we as humans care? There are multiple reasons why a person would choose to become a Vegan, but there have to be reasons why the rest of the population deny a Vegan lifestyle.
Animal cruelty causes the biggest concern for most Vegans. Have you ever visited any strawberry fields? But we don’t go animal picking? Parents permit their 6-year-old children to eat a piece of steak but cover their eyes when observing how that piece of the steak arrived at their plate. What makes animals different from us? They don’t choose to be brutally murdered, raped and artificially inseminated? They don’t get a choice. Do you have a family pet at home? Would you eat your dog? Absolutely not. So what makes a dog any different to a pig or a chicken? 150 billion animals are slaughtered per year and our global population is 7.8 billion. Wow! When we take milk from cows we don’t just find cows and ask them politely to take their milk. The harsh reality and truth that we all need to face are that these cows are being raped and overfed so that the meat you eat tastes better. But what happens to the male? They don’t give any milk? Male cows are killed. And that’s how you eat beef. Is any of this morally right or acceptable? I don’t think so.
Once I was approached by someone who asked if I “ever thought about evolution?” Our world consists of different climates and in some regions crops are widely available, however, some regions face such cold climates that crops do not grow, therefore they have evolved eating meat over generations. But 60 years ago, racial segregation in the United States still existed. Times are changing, and as time passes by, our intellect and minds are evolving. We are in a new generation where we need to realise that we have access to all the crops we need. Traded imported and exported goods allow an effortless plant-based diet for anyone. It’s mind over matter.
People need to realise that the environment is dying. Land is required for livestock and agriculture which significantly contributes to deforestation. Don’t forget, water is a necessity for this and is being wasted as we speak. Pesticides and fertilisers are used affecting the global pollution levels. Did you know that cows emit a gas known as Methane? This alone leads to higher Carbon Dioxide (C02) levels which are worse than transportation emissions? According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA,) one person’s Vegan diet can save 200 animals per year whereas the average meat eater eats up to 7000 animals in their entire lifetime. One hamburger alone requires 2400 litres of water for production. Not only are we wasting water but this water could go to poorer people in need and countries facing famine and starvation.
Have you watched the Netflix show ‘Game Changers?’ If you haven’t, I would advise you to go watch it right now. I used to think that bodybuilders only required meat to build up their bodies. Indeed, the man proven to be the strongest man in the world is Vegan. We misinterpret what protein truly is. Meat, fish and eggs contain B vitamins, Dairy contains calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D and various other sources of nutrition. All these vitamins are widely available in Vegan food. Breakfast cereals contain Vitamin B12 found in meat and the vitamins found in dairy can also be found in leafy vegetables, tofu, pulses, sesame seeds, brown and white bread, oats, rice, dried fruit - the list is neverending. Aside from the nutritional statistics, the benefits of a Vegan diet surpass eating meat. Did you know that eating red meat has the same impact on your body as smoking or consuming a large amount of alcohol? Processed meat which we find almost every day in International and global supermarkets, raises the risk for cancer, heart-related illnesses and disease. Veganism, on the other hand, provides endless benefits not only inclusive of animals, the environment and the global poverty rate but also to our bodies. Jeffrey Soble, MD, a cardiologist at Rush University Medical Center noticed that a Vegan diet can not only promote weight loss but can reduce the chance of heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, lower cancer risks, in particular colon cancer, manage diabetes, and in some cases get rid of your diabetes or illnesses altogether.
Nowadays, Veganism has become a total trend everywhere, especially on Social Media. A Vegan life is widely encouraged on Instagram, Youtube and other Social Media Platforms. How many celebrities and people you are inspired by are Vegan? We see so many beautiful and successful celebrities converting to plant-based or Vegan diets, it is a huge reason why so many adolescents today become Vegans. Living in 2020, we can read articles, watch videos and see food fairs, Vegan events and Vegan protests happening all over the world. Most people assume that because so many celebrities are Vegan, Veganism is only easy for celebrities to afford. Wrong. It is a misconception that Veganism is for the rich. Vegan or not. If more people became Vegan, then the demand for Vegan food would increase, increasing the supply and allowing Vegan food to become much more cheaper and affordable. Vegans tend to buy less, not more. You’ll even realise that Vegan cooking saves time. We have access to online cookbooks, videos, tutorials, recipes and classes where anyone can partake in. Next time you go grocery shopping, think again before buying that meatloaf, or cow!
When I first became a Vegan, I walked into a restaurant thinking that I would never be able to eat anything on the menu. But, once I read the menu, I realised that there were so many options for me. The issue here is that growing up as a meat-eater, I never looked closely or took even the slightest glimpse at dishes without meat. For me, eating a dish without meat seemed ridiculous. Even if there were some dishes with dairy or meat, there were multiple ways in which I could personally ask the chef or waiter to cook my food without any of those ingredients. You can do the same. It’s not as hard as you think. Lots of people have allergies and they are tough. But they’re tough for anyone, of any diet! Are you lactose intolerant? Become a Vegan and you’ll forget about what it’s like to have to go through that pain. Nuts are a good source of protein for Vegans, but there are so many alternatives. Tofu, olive oil, tempeh, seitan, rice, bread, oats, avocado, gluten-free, quinoa and let us not forget the basics: fruits and vegetables. Vegan restaurants are opening up as we speak. Compared to 10 years ago, we are much more likely to find Vegan food. International Supermarkets nowadays, sell more plant-based foods. Forget about looking for an ‘Organic’ sign, those foods are going to be expensive. Look for simple things. You’ll find it.
In a world where you have a choice to choose to be a better person. What is stopping you from doing so? You can save lives and maybe even save your own life just by making small lifestyle changes? Make the change. Be Vegan.
Written by: Ariana D’souza
Edited by Wing Ki Leung