Though I’ve personally known maybe one person who has gone completely vegan, I’ve never really considered it. Vegetarian maybe, but vegan? No way! However, while I was at BlogFest I met Di and became very intrigued in learning more about her plant based diet. Why she chose it? Did she miss animal based foods? How does she get all of her nutrients? I felt like the more we discussed it, the more I became open to the idea. So when Di was open to guest posting about her diet, I was more than happy to have her! Have you been wanting to learn more about having a plant based diet? Read on!
Hi, my name is Di and I’m a vegan. And No, I don’t eat meat. Nope, not fish either, or dairy or eggs… I eat plants. I’m vegan or plant based, whatever label you feel like putting on it. I’ve been vegetarian since the 1990’s and vegan since 2013.
Who is a Vegan?
Take a moment and imagine a vegan… I’m guessing you image some Birkenstock wearing hippy who was pale, thin and weak right? Did you know that many top athletes are vegan? Including some bodybuilders? So you can dispel the vegan weakling myth because there is even a vegan Mr. Olympia! Vegans can build muscle just fine, and in fact, we’re starting to compete with meat eaters… and win!
What is the definition?
Ok so no doubt you’ve known someone who was vegan, or vegetarian or “basically vegetarian but eats fish” yeah it can get confusing when people use the terms indiscriminately so let’s lay down the terminology:
- Vegan/Plant Based – eat no animal products at all.
- Vegetarian – Eats plants, eggs, and dairy. No, they don’t eat fish or chicken!
- Pescatarian – eats plants, eggs, dairy, and fish
- Flexitarian – tries to eat mostly plants but eats meat, eggs, dairy very occasionally
- Omnivore – eats absolutely anything
Why go plant based/vegan?
So many reasons. Ask 10 vegans and you’ll get 10 different answers. For me, it was a combination of health, ethics, and environment.
- Health wise a plant based diet has been proven to have many health benefits including prolong life, reduce inflammation, reduce cancer risks, reduce and reverse heart disease and reduce cholesterol. There are proven cases and leading doctors who advocate a plant based diet and have reversed heart disease using a plant based diet. That quadruple bypass can be avoided!
- Ethics. There is a famous quote from my Sir Paul McCartney that “if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian”. I don’t think there are many people that agree with the mass production methods of today’s animal agriculture. Not only has it increased animal suffering but it’s not doing humans any good either with increased food poisoning outbreaks, and disease.
- Environmental reasons to go plant based? Well, how about less water used. There is a major drought in California right now and 50% of our water goes to animal agriculture and livestock. Our sprinkler ban is a literal drop in the ocean in comparison. Plus the fact that by using the plants directly rather than feeding them to cattle we could feed all the worlds starving people. Animal agriculture is not the answer to starving children, plant based diets are. How about Rain Forest drastic and increasing deforestation for grazing cattle? It’s not like we need those trees for oxygen production right? Oh, wait…
Where are Vegan options?
Everywhere can be vegan. I’ve been vegan in the USA, in Canada, and in England. I know vegans online from all over the World and honestly, it’s not that hard to find vegan options. It just takes some research and education. If you’re into health and fitness that’s just stuff you’ll be used to anyway. Instead of just checking out the healthy options on the menu, instead, you’ll be checking out the healthy options without the animal products. You can find vegan friendly options on almost ALL menus these days. Plus all supermarkets are expanding their ranges to include vegan options. Heck Costco has a ton! Plus all stores have fruit and vegetables.
No time like the present! Ok seriously though I know it seems like a HUGE step to just go vegan – cold turkey (pardon the pun) so instead how about a meat free day? As a Meatless Monday blogger, I encourage everyone to just start with one day a week. The Meatless Monday website is a great resource. Why Monday, because your willpower is stronger at the beginning of the week, but any day that works for you. Ensure to use the hashtag #meatlessmonday on social media to join in the movement.
If you want to go plant based but can’t do it all at once then do a reverse list in the definition above:
- Omnivore – might be where you are now and wanting to make changes
- Flexitarian- ready to reduce your animal intake. Maybe meatless Monday wanting to go more meatless…
- Pescatarian – Maybe you start off omnivore and each month drop a meat source, First cows, then pigs, then sheep/lamb, chicken and finally fish.
- Vegetarian – just drop the animal flesh entirely and just eat eggs and dairy. It’s not entirely plant based but it’s a start
- Vegan/Plant based – remember that Oreos are vegan 😉
If you’re on the fence as to any of the above there are some great documentaries you can watch. As much as I really want you to watch them be warned that some are graphic and might turn you vegan overnight, literally.
- Forks over Knives
- Food Inc
- Fat sick and nearly dead