Why would anyone decide to be a vegan? Why give up meals you have known all your life? Why let go of homemade casseroles or any other delicacies mom made for you when you grew up?
As to most why questions, I usually answer, “why not?” Why is no longer an issue for me. In fact, the “why” for me was very straightforward. I became vegan because I could no longer sponsor such animal cruelty, because I had become aware that with each animal product I bought I indirectly paid for unspeakable horrors, and after having witnessed those horrors firsthand, I could no longer give my money to it. That was and still is my why.
Nevertheless, people choose a more compassionate lifestyle for different grounds. There are several reasons to why to be a vegan, and I will list them here and give a brief explanation for each.
- Lose weight
- Feed the hungry
- Battle climate change
- Against animal cruelty
- Protect endangered species
- Save water
There are more reasons, but these are the most common ones, and I am sure that you are wondering, “endangered species are affected by a meat diet? Huh?” “Climate change? What, you mean cow farts?” Don’t worry, I’ll explain them all.
That’s a no-brainer, I think. Even the most hardened meat eaters are aware that a diet loaded with meat (and dairy) can lead to health issues. TV bombards viewers with ads like “Got milk?”, frozen burgers, steaks, and so on, most of these ads being followed by commercials that promote medicine for indigestion, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, acne, erectile dysfunction, harmful cholesterol, Alzheimer’s, … Should I say more? Cancer has also been linked to a meat and dairy diet. Several studies have confirmed the link between the Western diet and diseases.
2. Lose Weight
The University of South Carolina conducted a study and came to the conclusion that a vegan diet is the best way to lose weight.
OK, on a side note, there is vegan junk food too, and I have seen a few chunky vegans. It all depends on how well you balance your diet. Overindulging in vegan burgers and sausages will obviously not help to lose weight, but it is still a lot healthier than the animal products.
It is a fact, however, that your health improves when you change to a plant-based diet. When I became vegan, I noticed the differences, more vitality, a stronger health and immune system, and more energy. I’ve also tried out raw vegan meals and desserts, and, oh my God, not even mentioning the explosion of flavors in your mouth, the energy I felt after was simply amazing.
3. Feed the Hungry
Aha! That one always gets people wondering. Feed the hungry by eating a plant-based diet? How? Well, let’s keep it simple. There are over 800 million people who do not have enough to eat. Children die of starvation every day. How often have you seen the news on T.V. and thought “so sad…” “how is this possible?” It hardly occurs to anyone that we can do something about this. Years ago, it never occurred to me either.
Then, how is this related to a meat-eating diet?
About 90 millions acres of land are used to grow crops for factory farm animals that end up as “products” on your plates, to sate the ever growing demand of meat products. If these 90 million acres were used to grow food for the hungry instead …? Imagine the impact. Imagine all the people having enough to eat.
4. Battle Climate Change
This is one of the biggest issues that is facing us right now.
Have you ever been in a category 5 hurricane? Well, I have, for the first time after living in a hurricane prone area for fifteen years. I’ve dealt with 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s, but a 5…? That one is hard to forget …
In September 2014 hurricane Odile smashed into Los Cabos and left it utterly destroyed. I – and many others – spent weeks with no electricity, water, and hardly any food. I had to ration my food supply, because all the stores were looted after this hurricane. There were times that I didn’t know how long I could make my food staples last and when I was going to find something to eat again … When the army handed out food supplies, I had never been so happy and relieved in my life. It was a terrible time that no one in Los Cabos likes to remember. Los Cabos was rebuilt and is as beautiful as ever. The point, however, is that storms are getting stronger, and I do not ever want to go through a category 5 hurricane again.
Deforestation … areas as large as several football fields are mowed down to have more space for animal agriculture. Food production causes great damage to the environment. The world population is growing … When we get to 10 billion people, how many animals will we have to raise and kill for food, to sate the demands for meat? The numbers are crazy, monstrous even, I can’t even envision it …
5. Against Animal Cruelty
When I was a teenager I had no idea about the horrors at slaughterhouses, even though I was well aware of the fact that animals had to be killed to produce the food our society desires. Like many, I believed that the animals didn’t suffer, that it was all done humanely. I still believed that killing and humane went together … In my twenties I moved to Mexico City and for the first time I was faced with animal slaughter.
The bus I took to work passed through an area called the “meat district”, due to the presence of a slaughterhouse and rows of butcher shops. There was no other route to work … I recall seeing a truck load of pigs arrive at the slaughterhouse. I watched them as they cried in fear, smelling death, as they ran from the slaughterhouse workers, ran for their lives, as they did their utmost to stay alive while their brothers and sisters were killed all around them.
I watched as the workers enjoyed their gruesome work. They laughed when the pigs squealed. I remember this one large pig who refused to go down, despite the repeated blows. While the other pigs fell to their deaths around him, he stubbornly remained upright, desperately clinging to life, until he too finally succumbed to death and fell over. I never got him out of my mind …
I wept tears for those pigs while people around me laughed … I saw it several times. There were sheep, cows, more pigs … I cried every time. It traumatized me. I could no longer support this industry, so I became a vegetarian. Later I became a vegan.
The fact that this happened in Mexico is no argument. The same cruelty also occurs in slaughterhouses in the US and Europe. There are plenty of undercover videos to prove that.
5. Protect Endangered Species
Animal agriculture is a huge cause for species extinction. How so? By clearing rain forests and land to create more grazing pastures, more factory farms, and land for crops to feed the factory farm animals. By destroying wild species’ habitat, they, including endangered species, are driven away and often killed. Our oceans are over fished and many water species are endangered or disappearing.
Over the past centuries several species have gone extinct, but never at such an alarming rate as now.
6. Save Water
Oh yes, that too. Do you know how many gallons are used to produce a pound of beef? Between 440 to 8000 gallons …
A gallon of milk? 1000 gallons of water
1 lb of eggs? 477 gallons of water
How? By raising the animals that are the sources for beef products, milk, and eggs. A vegan diet uses a lot less water. A lot less.
As I said, there are many more reasons for going vegan. Some people make the change for health reasons. Others, like me, do it for the animals. Environmentalists turn vegan to lessen their impact on the environment.
What many people are not aware of is that a vegan diet (and lifestyle) is not only saving animals, but also people, as I discussed in the previous points.
And what about taste? Flavor relies heavily on seasoning, spices, and herbs. Did I love meat before I was vegan? Oh yes, guilty as charged. I was raised with a father who loved meat and I did too, but it doesn’t matter how much I enjoy a certain flavor. If there is suffering involved, I can no longer swallow it, but that is just me.
Do I miss meat now? No, absolutely not. I love vegan food. When I became vegan, a world of culinary delicacies opened up to me. I love, absolutely love vegan food. It is so good! I do not miss anything. I have gained so much instead of “given up” something. Becoming vegan was one of the best decisions in my life, and this is why I would like to share my journey and ideas (and of course, ideas and recipes for vegan sausages) with you here.
I hope that this blog has given you some useful information. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave a comment below.
Thank you for reading 🙂