Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals - for food, clothing or any other purpose. It is the fastest growing health movement.
Going vegan is definitely a big life choice and more and more people are starting to become vegan these days including a lot of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce & Jay Z, Olivia Wilde, Ellen Degeneres and many many more.
"Being a vegan is not always easy and accessible. But it's a way of life and makes me as a person feel really good and physically look better" - Olivia Wilde
I have to be very honest, I used to think I had enough knowledge about veganism, but when I actually had a proper conversation with one of my closest friends Sarah, who is the most passionate vegan I know, about what being vegan is actually like, I realised I used to make a lot of assumptions and my knowledge wasn't half as good as I thought it was. I know I used to think lots of vegans are vegans because it is a trend these days. I used to think vegans can't be that healthy, sure how are they getting all their protein? And I'm sure I am not the only person who has ever had these thoughts.
Not so long ago I got into a very deep conversation about it with Sarah and she completely changed my view and opinion on it. I'm so happy to be able to share her knowledge and beliefs with you all.
I'm sitting in a coffee shop with Sarah elaborating on our previous conversation to get an overview of what's behind it for her personally. She has agreed that it may be a fad for those doing it for health or physical improvements however for most people including her it is a philosophy, a way of living. As I mentioned above, the biggest question in my head always used to be where do vegans get the protein from. Sarah was very quick to educate me. Do I actually really know anyone with protein deficiency? No.
Beans, lentils, nuts, chickpeas, just to name a few are a low fat high source of protein.
As Sarah sips her oat milk latte, she begins to tell me her personal story and strong beliefs on why a vegan diet is so important to her. For anyone who isn't entirely sure what veganism is and what is behind it all, here is an inspirational story about Sarah's vegan journey and why she is so passionate about it.
Let me first start by saying not all vegans dislike people as it is often assumed.
This path was started on long before people knew what they know now, long before we could afford compassion, long before the Earth began to crumble under the pressure of our frivolous wants. What has happened has happened and nothing will change the past, the present however is in our hands and what we choose to do now will effect the future for better or worse.
I knew from a very early age that I didn’t feel comfortable with how we treat animals. By the age of eight I stopped eating red meat and by the age of eleven I was vegetarian. As a child I dreamed of a world where all life was respected and love and compassion reigned supreme. The problem with having a dream so huge is that all other achievable dreams seem pointless without it. It took and still takes most of my focus and I tend to feel stranded on a strange and scary planet most of the time.
Becoming a mother only heightened my sensitivity to others, I stopped being able to brush off images of starving children, of children in Gaza, of children being washed up on beaches trying to escape war. All I could think of was their mothers, that desperate dread they must be consumed by. I also dwelled on the fate of fellow animal mothers. They too (as we do) have that love for their child, that bond, that amazement at who they have brought into the world, but we take that baby from them, their little creation and we sell it, boil it, mutilate it, skin it, eat it, poison it, use it for our entertainment and the list could go on.
It isn’t natural. No matter what argument I am given, I will never accept our treatment of animals or our environment as natural it’s just been normalised . The lions pray is free until the day it dies, ours is locked up from the day it’s born.
"The idea that someone lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world". - Paul Farmer
In 2010 the UN concerned with Climate Change made a call for people to consider a meat and dairy free diet. Mary Robinson (former president of Ireland and UN high commissioner for human rights) set up a charity - Climate Justice . This was to help people least responsible but most effected by global warming. She too urged for a change in diet to slow the deterioration of the atmosphere. Today alone an ice mass the size of Great Britain crashed into the sea in the Antarctic. This will raise sea levels by one meter. It’s happening as I type and I wouldn’t be buying a seafront property, even if I could afford it.
So here I am in a world I feel too sensitive for, crying most days feeling useless and alone in my thoughts and when the vegan bandwagon came by I jumped in and held tight, for me it was hope.
This bandwagon came with people who thought like me, who felt how I did, who verbalized my ideas. There were nutritionists dedicating their time for free to ease a healthy transition. There was lots of support and tips and recipes shared, stories and dreams. I became excited about the power of food, about what food did for our bodies and health, how great I could feel - strong and full of energy. I started to value food more then I ever had before. I found it funny to turn my ideas about food upside down learning that oranges and broccoli have calcium and oat milk is rich in beta glucans.
I enjoyed food on a different level instead of it tasting nice, it tasted powerful.
So on a planet where the sea is filling with plastic, the forests are being cut down, the ice is melting, children are starving, animals are suffering and people are searching for another planet to call home, I made the changes I felt necessary to feel OK about myself.
I stopped funding anything that uses animals, I make eco bricks with soft plastic, I read labels and try to avoid palm oil, I carry a bottle of sugar water in summer to hydrate tired bees. Making little changes and taking responsibility for your choices is the best we can do. Find a good path and don't be afraid to share your ideas. If people want to join you - the more the merrier.