What is veganism?  
Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, and any other purpose.

Many people think veganism is just a diet, and while that is a huge part of it, veganism is a lifestyle.  Vegans follow an animal-product free diet, which excludes meat, dairy, eggs, and honey, and vegans also do not wear animal products or use them for entertainment.

Visit for more in depth information about what veganism is, why you should go vegan, and how to do it.  (spoiler alert- it's not hard at all!)

Why go vegan?
I am vegan for all the reasons: to save animals, to be healthier, to save the planet, to end world hunger, and so many other things as well.  I'll talk about each factor here.

Animals.  Ethics was the main reason I went vegan.  56 billion animals are killed each year, without mercy, in the food industry.  And vegetarianism, a diet which I followed for two years before going vegan, doesn't save those animals.  Why?

Every animal product industry is intertwined.  You can't buy from one without buying from all of them.  98% of the beef consumed in America comes from dairy cows.  Without dairy, there wouldn't be meat.  The veal industry itself would not exist without the calves taken from the female cows producing dairy.  In the egg industry, male chicks are considered useless and are ground up alive after hatching.  Layer hens are slaughtered after a year of egg-laying and are used in other chicken products.  Some are used as feed for other animals, or even other chickens.

There is no retirement for these animals after they've given a certain amount of milk or laid a certain amount of eggs.  Often times, they are overworked and are slaughtered at a young age- dairy cows survive for 5 years, although their natural lifespan is 25 years, and laying hens are slaughtered after 1 year.

There is nothing different or humane about organic, free-range, grass-fed, cage-free, etc. animal products.  There is no such thing as humane slaughter, just as there is no such thing as humane racism or humane murder.  In the meat, dairy, and egg industries, every animal will end up on a plate.

The planet.  Our Earth is dying.  We could see fishless oceans by 2048, and the oceans releases the majority of our oxygen that we breathe.  If the oceans die, we die.  Global warming is on the rise.  And the majority of greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture.
This is urgent.  It's life or death.  We need to save our planet, and meat and dairy production is unsustainable.

The people.  About half of the grains we grow in the world are set aside to feed animals in the food industry (see proof here). These grains could feed all of the starving people in the world.  We would have no world hunger.  Be a part of the solution.  

Your health.  Our bodies, in physiology and instinct, are actually 100% herbivorous and not omnivorous, contrary to what we are told.  See the chart below.  If we were truly meant to eat meat, then we wouldn’t have intestines that are 7 to 13 times our torso length, like all other herbivores.  We would have shorter intestines that can push decaying animal flesh through quickly.  We would have an entire teeth set comprised of sharp canines for tearing apart flesh.  Instead, the only canines we possess are the four ringing our molars, meant for chomping down on hard foods like apples, pears, tough rinds, stems, and barks.  We would have claws for ripping apart our prey, we would salivate at the sight of our dead prey.  I don’t think anyone sees a dead cow (fully intact), and thinks, “Yum, burgers!”

We are the only animals in the animal kingdom that eat a diet different from what our body is physically designed for.  You don’t see lions in the savannah with clogged arteries and cancer.  The majority of the enzymes in our stomach are for breaking down carbohydrates- fruits, vegetables, grains- animal products have no carbs and plenty of fat, cholesterol, and acidic animal protein. In fact, cholesterol, saturated fat, animal protein, and trans fats, all found in animal products, have all been linked to the leading causes of death. Nearly ⅔ of the world is lactose intolerant to some degree.  Why are we disobeying our bodies so much?  

How can I go vegan?

I understand that the thought of going vegan all at once, overnight, is daunting.  I was a vegetarian for two years before going vegan, and I think vegetarianism is okay to use as a stepping stone, if your end goal is veganism.

"Keep your end goal in mind, but go at your own pace. Some people manage to go vegan overnight and if that's the right approach for you, fantastic. But don't be concerned if you feel you need more time. Like any other lifestyle change, going vegan not only takes getting used to, but it takes time to determine what will work best for you. It's not a one size fits all experience and there are numerous approaches you can take." - The Vegan Society

Finding swaps for animal products you use in daily life is a great place to start.  Here is a page of my favorite vegan swaps for animal products.  

From the outside, society has trained us to look at a vegan lifestyle as extreme and restrictive.  But it's anything but!  If anything, my veganism has broadened my perspectives.  I'm eating more diverse things and I never feel limited in my options.  You learn to look at both the world and food in a different way. 

Don't give up.  Remind yourself why you're doing it.  I promise, it will be worth it in the end.  

Is it hard/expensive/nutritionally complete?

Difficulty.  I am always asked if I miss animal products, or met with an exclamation of "Wow, you must have amazing willpower!"  Personally, I don't miss a single animal food, because I think of those things and I don't see gooey cheese or sweet ice cream, all I see the cruelty behind it.  I do know that some people miss certain products- cheese is usually the most addictive.  If it's something deeply ingrained in your culture, like always having a turkey roast on Thanksgiving, it can be a little harder for you.  But your tastebuds will adjust and it will get easier as you stay on the lifestyle.

It's also not hard in the respect of having a social life.  I have only been vegan for a few months as I write this, but I've gotten well adjusted to finding something to eat out at non-vegan restaurants.  Many places are happy to accommodate a special diet, and I've developed a knack for ordering vegan anywhere, anytime!  See this guide for some great tips!

Cost.  There is a huge myth that vegan diets are expensive.  That's not true at all  If fact, if you look at the cheapest foods in the world, most are vegan.  Think about how expensive meat is!  Yes, specialty vegan alternatives like vegan cheeses and meats can be pricier, but I always take into account two factors when faced with that.  1- If you do choose to buy it, your money is supporting a great company.  2- You don't have to base your diet around processed vegan foods.  I like eating mostly cheap and healthy foods that are minimally processed or unprocessed- potatoes, rice, pasta, vegetables, fruits.  My grocery bill is significantly lower than when I ate vegetarian.  You don't have to buy all organic, shop exclusively at Whole Foods, and buy $12 hempseed cookies to be vegan. 

Nutrition.  Even if you're just a vegetarian or maybe even a pescetarian, I'm sure you have heard the dreaded questions, "Where do you get your protein?"  It seems that everyone turns into a "nutritionist" and "health expert" once they find out that you don't eat meat.  But where do you think animals get their protein and vitamins?  Plants!  They eat plants!  Stop filtering your nutrients through someone else's body!  Go straight to the source- it's the healthiest, cheapest, kindest, and most sustainable way.  

So, yes, I easily get enough protein.  My blood tests are great.  I get my calcium, I get my B-12, I get my iron, and I get my proteins, (along with all my amino acids).  Plus, my cholesterol has never been lower.  If you are eating enough, you will get enough of all your nutrients!

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