Since following a plant-based diet is growing in popularity, I thought I’d share my thoughts on this positive trend. Although I stopped eating meat for ethical reasons, the fate of our planet is yet another reason to consider veganism.
Today you’ll read what I wish I could tell the whole world. Because now, more than ever before, we need to talk about it and keep on talking until we have the whole world talking, too. Until we have everyone acting and making a change.
Ok, this might sound dramatic, I realise that. But before you switch off, thinking this is going to be a vegan rant saying you’re evil because you eat meat, stay with me. Because that’s not the case.
Here’s my personal take on veganism. It’s a bit of a personal story of mine, too.
Frustration and judgement
Some people say: Oh, I love cheese too much to become a vegan. I don’t feel full without meat in a meal.
One part of me thinks: How can you support animal cruelty, just for the taste?!
But then I remember that food is such a personal thing for everyone. A touchy subject nobody wants to be questioned about. We all have our traditions, habits so ingrained in our daily life, it’s normal that change doesn’t come easy. So it’s perfectly understandable that it creates a sense of defence and anger when someone tells you: what you’re eating is WRONG.
When I turned vegan, I was so angry at the world and all the people contributing to the cruelty and suffering I’d just found out about. I would judge peoples’ eating habits and tell them their food was once an animal, wanting to live (not the best way to encourage change…). And I don’t blame anyone for acting the same way as me at some point. I was so determined to convert everyone to veganism. I was heartbroken and that was my way of trying to make the world a better place.
On a personal note
And to be perfectly honest with you, I still have a bit of that left in me, a voice shouting to others in my head. But when you understand and open your eyes to what really happens to animals, this is your instinct – to fight for those voiceless, innocent animals.
But then I realised, my goal is to get more people to understand the reality and become aware. And ultimately to stop supporting the meat industry. And while those were my true feelings- the anger and frustration, I noticed they weren’t getting me anywhere. Nobody likes to be judged, criticised and be told what to do and eat.
So I changed my approach.
My new approach was, in fact, not doing much. I did my own thing, eating plants made me feel good and people around me started noticing. Some became curious. Some wanted to know more. I nearly never started the subject of veganism in terms of animal cruelty (there were times my temper got the better of me, but aren’t we all like that?). I shut my mouth because I knew it wouldn’t encourage anyone, but the urge to speak up was huge. When someone asked about veganism, it meant they were open to a thought-provoking conversation. Possibly open to change. That’s when I began explaining why I don’t eat animal products and how cruel the industries are.
Why did I even try and do all of this? Because when you see something so horrendous, you can’t unsee it. You fight because it means a lot to you.
It shouldn’t be at the cost of other people, of course.
It’s not about never eating cheese again!
Many are put off by the idea of veganism because they think that it requires being 100% plant-based, otherwise, it doesn’t make sense. Please, NO. Do what you can today, step by step. Every action makes a difference. If you can’t quit eating cheese, go vegan except for cheese. It’s not like you have to put yourself into one category and stick to it. Don’t think you have to choose: meat-eater vs vegan. Just do your best.
And slowly, I bet, new habits will come to you naturally. You will crave animal foods less and less.
Vegan =/= healthy
You can be a healthy vegan or an unhealthy one. Quitting meat doesn’t magically cure all diseases and conditions, although it certainly does help in many cases. From a health-wise point of view, quitting animal products, especially dairy and meat, is super beneficial. But you can’t go about replacing them with chips or salad to get the same nutrients. It’s about eating a whole food plant-based diet, full of veggies, beans, grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, and supplementing vitamin B12 and D. Also, here’s my previous post on eating healthy on a vegan diet if you want to learn more.
A big yes to meat alternatives
They’re such a convenient invention for people who are simply used to the taste of meat. And it’s ok if something resembles animal flesh by smell or taste. That’s what most of us grew up with (unfortunately) and it’s normal to keep wanting the experience of meat ( without the real thing, of course). Vegan junk food is the best helper to transition to eating just plants, but don’t wonder why being vegan isn’t making you feel better if you eat soy hotdogs every day.
If you’ve made it this far reading my blog post (high five and a big thank you!) I thought I’d share some quick facts with you, to sum up.
So why do people even go vegan? There are 3 main reasons:
Animals feel pain and experience suffering just like we do, so it’s not right to take their life for food in the modern world most of us live in today. Animal factory farming is a heartbreakingly cruel industry.
The meat & dairy industry uses 1/3 of the Earth’s fresh water. 1 hamburger = 2 months of showering. 51% of global greenhouse emissions are due to farm animals. To read more, go to my “important” highlights on Instagram @zuzasobanska, or better yet, watch Cowspiracy on Netflix.)
Also, if you’re still reading, it possibly means you’re curious to find out even more or already determined to change. Here are some important things to watch:
- Here’s a short version of Cowspiracy, a must-watch documentary on the impact of animal agriculture on the environment:
- This one has a bit of everything: the effects of our typical Western diet on our health, the environment and animals. (Warning: it’s a bit graphic at times):
- “The Health Film That Health Organizations Don’t Want You To See” – a documentary about diet and health:
I wouldn’t leave you without mentioning where to look for food & cooking inspiration, would I?
What we eat is not a personal issue anymore, it’s about our planet as well. That’s why I’m writing all of this. This planet needs our help now more than ever. Consider this and be the change.
Thanks so much for reading! I appreciate you being here.
Lots of love, Z