Hello, vegan-curious friend! So, you’ve decided that you want to try a plant-based diet, but now you don’t know where to begin – trust me, I get it. It can feel a bit overwhelming at first – finding recipes, revamping your pantry, learning new cooking styles, and in general just learning how to live your life without animal products in a world where most people still rely on them. But don’t fear – the vegan lifestyle is quickly catching on, and it is becoming easier and easier to find vegan foods at grocery stores, vegan options at restaurants, and animal free products in general.
But let’s start with you. Why did YOU make this decision? There are so many reasons to embark on this lifestyle, so let’s begin by looking at a few of them.
#1 – Vegan for your Health
This is where I started. I had seen a documentary about how a plant-based diet could help you lose weight, improve heart-health, and even reverse some illnesses. I was pretty healthy myself, but I had been struggling with my weight for pretty much all my life, and I knew that if I wanted to stay healthy for a long time, I had to do something about it.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of unhealthy vegan foods out there – I am pretty sure that you can be 100% vegan for a lifetime, and never eat a fresh vegetable. We know that processed, packaged junk foods are bad for you, and that doesn’t change just because the processed food doesn’t contain animal products. If you are looking to improve your health, you’ll want to remember this phrase: Whole Foods Plant Based Diet. Some would also include “low fat” in that description.
Studies have shown that following a WFPB diet can help you lose weight, as well as drastically improve your cholesterol levels and blood pressure readings. You may notice after just a few days that you feel more energetic, that your metabolism seems to be faster, that you sleep better and that your skin is clearing up. These are not uncommon “side effects” of cutting out animal foods and processed foods.
Quick disclaimer: I am not a doctor or healthcare professional, and this article is not meant to diagnose or treat any health condition. I speak only from personal experience, and I recommend that you consult your physician if you are having health issues!
#2 – Vegan for the Animals
As I began to read more about my new chosen lifestyle, searching for recipes and information, I came across a lot of information about where our food comes from, how it is produced, and how the animals are treated before they end up on our plates. I can’t say I was completely unaware before, but like so many others, I had turned a blind eye to it, because I loved my cheeseburgers and charcuterie plates, and I just didn’t want to know.
But then we got a dog.
I had never been a pet person, and anyone who knows me, knows that I used to not like dogs at all. But my husband really wanted one, and when I was away one weekend, he brought home Juno. Juno, the husky-shepherd cross who changed my life.
As I got to know Juno, I realized that she had a personality. She is capable of feeling happiness, love, fear and pain. She is pretty much the best dog in the world, and everyone knows that I love dogs now, and that’s because of her!
But discovering those things about her also made me realize that all animals are capable of those things. As I watched videos of what happens to cattle in order to put steaks on our plates and milk in our glasses, I realized that if I wasn’t OK with a dog being treated that way, I couldn’t accept that it was happening to cows or pigs either. In fact, I usually couldn’t finish watching those videos, and I thought “if I can’t face where my food is coming from…should I be eating it?”.
It was a long process for me, and I did it very gradually, but now that I am vegan, I only wish I had done it sooner and faster. It feels good to know that no animals were harmed in order to make my dinner!
#3 – Vegan for the Environment
I admit that this is a topic I know less about than cooking and shopping ethically.
But I do know this: Our planet is suffering, and one of the reasons is the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The greatest culprit behind this is animal agriculture – raising animals for food is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than anything else. Not eating animals is good for the environment – period!
#4 – Vegan for Yourself
Because it feels good. Because you will feel like you are treading more lightly on the earth (not just in terms of how much you weigh, but in general).
Knowing that you are contributing to a world of kindness and compassion makes you feel good about yourself, and about the world in general, because you are not alone. There is a whole community out there, full of resources and support. Companies that share your values and make products that do not harm animals, and people who create recipes and cookbooks to make your life easier and yummier.
My Vegan Website is Your Vegan Website
I created this website to be a resource and one-stop “shop” for all your vegan needs and questions. I will fill it with tips and tricks, recipes, resources, and stories about myself and my experience as I go along – I am still learning too, and we can do this together!