FYI: A vegan diet includes all things plants. It excludes meat and other animal products like diary and eggs. It consists mostly of grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
First of all, let’s clear the air. Vegans have a reputation for being annoying. I hope not to add to or confirm that depiction.
My goals here are to share why we’ve decide to eat this way and give a few resources. If it is the start of good conversation, great! If you disagree, that’s fine too, I will still love you! If we share a meal, you don’t have to eat vegan. I’ll be good. If you are mean-spirited, that is not okay and any unhelpful comments will be removed.
My wife and I have been called diet hobbyists. We’ll try a certain program for a year, switch to another, and then try something else.
In 2017, we decided to go vegetarian. It started as an experiment to see what it was like, how our bodies responded, if we like it, etc. We wanted to see what happened. We still consumed dairy products and eggs. The technical term for what we were is lacto-ovo vegetarians.
There didn’t seem to be any dramatic changes, we had eaten pretty healthy before going vegetarian anyway.
Being lacto-ovo vegetatrians lasted for about 6 weeks.
Then we watched the documentary Cowspiracy. It raised ideas, concepts and questions we hadn’t considered. We figured we could quit dairy for a week as a trial. So we tried it. We tried it for a week and it just stuck. Eventually we officially decided that veganism was for us.
There are a couple of different reasons why people go vegan. Here are some of ours.
The Global Effect
Cowspiracy presents a strong case that a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and deforestation is the animal agriculture industry. Even if you are skeptical on climate change, this absolutely contributes to air and water quality around the world. I’m not a scientist, but I do think that even if climate change could be true, it is worth taking steps to reduce or reverse it. A meatless and dairy-free diet is one way that we are choosing to do that.
Another global effect is world hunger. There are different numbers out there, but it is understood that hundreds of millions of people will go to bed hungry tonight. The way veganism can help is by using less resources in the preparation of our food. Basically all meat products (animals) consume food that could be going to humans. Between land usage, water consumption, and resource transportation, it takes much more to grow a cow than to grow corn. We have plenty of food in the world, it is simply where that food goes. If we were able to redirect food from sustaining and growing animals we hope to eat, we could feed the world right now.
I’ll mention again that for us, this started as an experiment.
The results, conclusions and evidence in food science is difficult to distill because there are so many factors that can’t be totally controlled. I can’t make the claim that veganism has been proven to be healthier across the board.
You can be an incredibly unhealthy vegan. Oreos are vegan. Soda is vegan. Some Doritos are vegan. There is a whole movement we like to call “vegan junk food” which basically makes junk food but in a vegan form. Obviously you can still derail the train on a vegan diet.
The term we like more than vegan is “plant-based”. If it comes from a plant, we eat it. Beans, grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc. This way we are consuming nutrient dense foods and meals. No one is going to tell you that eating those foods are bad for you.
All that to say, our experience has been great. I lost a little bit of weight, I am running further than I’ve ever run. I feel energized. I legitimately feel good about the food that I’m eating.
I’ve written about this before, but veganism does help with and compliment our zero waste journey. We buy almost all dry goods in bulk and use our own bags and containers for transport and storage. The other things we buy are produce. We try to get as much as we can from a local farm or farmer’s market. The rest of it, we buy at the grocery store and carry it in our own bags. We try to avoid packaging if we can and buying fresh produce and dry goods helps.
Another zero waste and vegan blogger put it this way, “For me, being vegan and living a zero waste lifestyle are both part of something bigger: trying to not live at the expense of others.” – Wastland Rebel
A plant-based diet is the decision we’ve arrived at for ourselves. We have always respected people who receive new information and change their opinion based on their learnings. Is veganism forever? We’re not sure. There could be more information. We’ll be open to it.
Right now, we are trying to do what is best for the world and ourselves. In our opinion, a vegan diet helps us do that.
Vegan Nutrition – Rich Roll
What A Vegan Athlete Eats In A Day – Huffington Post
The Evidence For a Vegan Diet – The Atlantic
Athletes You Won’t Believe Are Vegan – Spoon University
Cutting Back On Meat Consumption Could Help End Hunger – Huffington Post
Facts Page – Cowspiracy
PS. All photos are courtesy of Renninger’s Farm in Royersford!