5 Reasons I Love Being a Vegan
Veganism is the fastest growing lifestyle movement — and with good reason.
Veganism is the fastest growing lifestyle movement — and with good reason. Lots of people are loving the amazing benefits of living a vegan lifestyle. I like to say that becoming vegan is a bit like learning to ride a bicycle. At first, it can be challenging. You may wobble, you may fall off, you may be worried about how you look to others. But once you learn the ropes, it’s so satisfying that you can’t believe there was ever a point in your life when you didn’t ride a bike.
Here are five reasons why I love being vegan:
Because of the community
Vegans appreciate and support each other. It’s a feel-good community. A compassionate religion. A growing group of friends, most of which you have yet to meet. In short, when a vegan meets another vegan, they instantly feel a kinship — like we’re all in on this wonderful secret. If you’re curious, try this: Mention to a vegan that you’re trying to eat less meat, and see how they respond; you’ll see what I mean.
The positive effects on my body
Veganism is the easiest diet I’ve come across. People (and lots of celebrities) who go vegan rave about how fit they get, how they no longer struggle to lose weight, and how they have so much energy now. Many see their acne clear up, and for some it’s even cured their [insert any number of diseases here — take your pick]. Michelle Pfeiffer, Kim Basinger, Olivia Wilde, Natalie Portman, Christie Brinkley and other celebs can’t stop talking about how their vegan diet is keeping their skin looking so young. (Google this: vegan people before and after.)
“Luckily we know that you can get your protein source from many different ways; you can get it through vegetables if you are a vegetarian. I have seen many body builders that are vegetarian and they get strong and healthy.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Because the food is really yummy
Vegan restaurants are hella awesome. Seriously. They are surprisingly creative with ingredients and flavoring. Now that I’m vegan, I don’t struggle to find variety in my meals. All that, and I don’t have to worry about getting sick from e coli, bird flu, or waited-just-a-little-too-long leftovers.
This is not to say that finding food options when eating out with friends isn’t challenging — it can be. But I never leave the restaurant with that heavy, bloated feeling that I used to get. I always feel clean, nourished and energized. So, to me, it’s well worth the effort.
Because it makes me feel healthier
You know that feeling you get after a great workout? You feel strong, energized, and proud of yourself. Eating vegan makes me feel like that pretty much every day. You can also increasingly side-step some pretty serious health issues this way; like cancer, heart/kidney disease, and diabetes.
As many others do, I learned a lot more about the health benefits of being vegan out of necessity. I’ve been very sick in the past (before I was vegan) and I learned that the surest way to prevent getting sick again was to be vegan. I needed my immune system to be strong, and my body to be free of carcinogens. Now that I’m vegan, I realize that these are other added benefits. For one, I feel much healthier and more energetic. I have more mental clarity, and any digestion issues I had are now long gone. 🙂
Oh yeah, and I’ll live 8 years longer than a meat-eater!
“I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival.” ~ Al Gore
Because I’m a better global citizen
Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs of CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life (more facts).
Living a vegan lifestyle is the single most effective thing you can do to:
- Save a lot of water. (It takes 660 gallons of water to produce 1/4 pound of hamburger meat. Read more.)
- Cut down on air pollution and climate change. (Animal farming is responsible for more than half of all pollution. Read more.)
- Reduce deforestation. (Including in the rainforest, which is getting flattened for animal farming at the rate of an acre per second. Read more.)
- Reduce world hunger. (It takes 13 to-20 pounds of grain fed to a cow to produce just 1 pound of muscle mass, i.e. beef. This means that 13-20 times as many people could be fed if those grains were simply eaten by humans. Read more.)
- Stop species from going extinct. (Animal farming is the #1 reason for species extinction. Read more.)
- Save the ocean. (Animal farming is the #1 reason for ocean “dead zones”. Read more.)
Plus, I can feel good about myself every time I eat a vegan meal because I know I’m not contributing to this. That’s why I feel so good about voting with my dollars (and keeping my $ far, far away from factory farms).
As a side note: if you waver back and forth, or decide to be 50% vegan or whatever, that’s still great. 50% effort is better than 0% effort. As you learn more, you can evolve your diet and lifestyle. It’s taken me a while to convert over, and I still have things I cheat with (like the occasional leather handbag). Like forming any good habit, it gets easier once you get into a groove, and then you look back and can’t believe you ever didn’t live that way.
Want to learn more? Here are a few places to get started:
- Forks Over Knives: Meal Plan and Recipes App
- Farm Sanctuary‘s V-Lish recipe site.
- Crazy Sexy Diet (the best health book I’ve found – super fun to read, and packed with info)
- VeganKit: A simple plan to get you started
- Facts & myths about being vegan (& steps to get you started)
- Peta: How to go vegan in 3 easy steps
- A food blog called The Minimalist Baker has yummy recipes you can make in under 30 minutes with very few ingredients
- Free from Harm: 12 Reasons To Go Vegan
- Cowspiracy is a great documentary
- Eluxe: 12 Reasons Why You Should Be Vegan NOW
- What Came Before is an eye-opening video about pigs and other animals.
“150 years ago, they would have thought you were absurd if you advocated for the end of slavery. 100 years ago, they would have laughed at you for suggesting that women should have the right to vote. 50 years ago, they would object to the idea of African Americans receiving equal rights under the law. 25 years ago they would have called you a pervert if you advocated for gay rights. They laugh at us now for suggesting that animal slavery be ended. Some day they won’t be laughing.” ~ Gary Smith (more quotes)
I have been a vegetarian for as long as I can remember. I think I am going to try out veganism too!
Thank you for this great article on why being vegan is a life shift all must make. Once one learns about the effects on the environment and other creatures, as well as health, choosing to live a compassionate and conscious lifestyle is the only way. I have been eating, creating and buying organic food and products since the late 80’s, with a focus on a (mostly) vegetarian diet, and shifted to a 100% vegan diet and lifestyle over 5 years ago. I eat delicious meals we prepare at home and yummy vegan eateries in LA and SoCal. Luckily, my husband is also a vegan and makes incredible meals, too. While, I’ve been an eco fashion designer (violetavillacorta.com) since the early 90’s, I created the brand ORG BY VIO in 2010, to work with indigenous Amazon artisans on gorgeous collections of plant-based jewelry and wearable art, handcrafted with sustainable rainforest materials, which are sold online at orgbyvio.com and my store the Sage & the Butterfly (theSageandtheButterfly.com) in Idyllwild, CA and online, where unique plant-based, ethical and fair trade reasures by over 30 local, US, int’l and Amazon rainforest artisans, can be found. Please continue to spread awareness about vegan lifestyle with your articles. Wonderful!
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Vegan is about more than just having a plant based diet – it is a protest and a refusal to be involved in the enslavement of animals. Real vegans don’t wear leather or wool!
I was a half-assed vegan for years, but am so much happier now that I have gone all the way. That means no animal products at all in my diet and no leather, wool or down in my wardrobe either. The animals suffer all the time, not just some of the time, so to really help this cause please go 100% !!!
You lost me at 50% vegan. It’s 100% Vegan. Anything less is vegetarian.
Hi Ally! Actually, vegetarian means you don’t eat meat but you still eat dairy and eggs. Vegan means you don’t eat meat, dairy or eggs, etc. So when I say 50% vegan, I mean that 50% of the time you don’t eat any animal products at all. Hopefully, people who are vegan half the time will learn how easy it is and see how much better it makes them feel, and convert to full-time vegans eventually.
Vegetarianism is simply a diet, a selective way of eating certain “foods”. There’s no consideration in regards to wearing or otherwise using animals and animal products… However veganism is not a diet.. It is a recognition of Ethical Necessity.. Veganism is not merely a matter of diet; it is a moral and political commitment to abolition on the individual level and extends not only to matters of food, but to clothing, other products, and other personal actions and choices. You may engage in vegan behavior, eating a vegan/plant based diet, but veganism extends far beyond your diet..
What is veganism?
Although it is commonly and falsely portrayed as a diet that excludes animal products, veganism is an ethical stance that rejects the property status and exploitation of ALL animals of ALL sizes — including bees whose food humans steal and silkworms whom humans boil alive for their silk — not just so-called “food” animals. The vegan diet (meaning the diet of a vegan) is the ethical diet that represents the philosophy of veganism but the vegan diet is only one aspect of veganism. Veganism is against the exploitation, domestication, killing, breeding, trading, selling, buying of animals for:consumption:entertainment: clothing:cosmetics:testing, experimentation, research: vegans do not use cosmetic, household, cleaning products tested on animals… “pet” industry: vegans do not buy, sell, breed, rip animals from their habitats and families to turn them into “pets” for humans. Vegans support rescuing, adopting, fostering animals who have already been ripped from their habitats and families and now depend on human care for their survival.
And because veganism is not a diet but an ethical stance, there is NO such thing as “mostly vegan” “veganish” “half vegan” ”full vegan” ”80% vegan” “strict vegan” “casual vegan” ” on-and-off vegan” “vegan except on family gatherings/holidays” “vegan as long as nobody sees me eating this slice of dairy cheese.”
Just as we cannot be against RACISM (prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior) or SEXISM (prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different sex based on the belief that one’s own sex is superior) 80% of the time or whenever it suits us, we cannot be against SPECIESISM (prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different species based on the belief that one’s own species is superior) 80% of the time or whenever it suits us. There is veganism, and there is non-veganism — nothing in between. Therefore, we are either vegan thus absolutely against speciesism at all times or we are not vegan thus absolutely for speciesism. Anyone who eliminates animal exploitation only from her/his diet for whatever reason (e.g., to lose weight, to improve health, to detox) and has not yet internalized the selfless and ethical philosophy of veganism is not a vegan but a plant-based eater/dieter…Bloody Dairy Industry
Vegan and vegetarian – why they are not similar… https://theresanelephantintheroomblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/vegan-and-vegetarian-why-they-are-not-similar/
Anne E. McGuigan
Hilary, Veganism is an ethical position which deplores the use of products made from the confinement and abuse of animals. It is not about diet at all. It is about the exploitation in all of the various death for profit industries: sport, food, entertainment, clothing, personal care and household products, animal testing.
If one claims to be 50% vegan, one is not vegan at all.
Ug. See my comment below and troll elsewhere!!
Anne E. McGuigan
I can understand how you might think that veganism is about the food we eat, our health, the environment, the community of vegans, but it is not, really. While veganism can benefit us, it is not about us or the environment. It is a moral baseline the ethic of “which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
Animal based industries have done a marvellous job of protecting their bottom line by creating and spinning many myths which guarantee our complicity in the ongoing travesty of exploiting many nations of species.
Please do not continue to perpetuate and support these myths by suggesting that veganism is about us. It is one hundred percent about the animals for whom we seek liberation and agency over their own lives – two rights which have been stolen from them by us.
I appreciate your opinion, but I am trying to highlight a few of the positive aspects of being “vegan”/ eating a plant-based diet. If I only harped on all the cruelty, very few people would want to read or share this article. To appeal to most people, it’s important to frame a movement as being positive, inclusionary and that there’s something in it for them. In reality, my #1 motivation is the animals, but I didn’t want to start the article by talking about the horrors of animal farming, lest it turned meat-eaters off completely.
Also, there’s no reason that veganism can’t be about animals AND health, the environment, etc. I really think that it’s important to be inclusionary and non-intimidating. This isn’t some elite club, it’s a movement that we want to have people join. Let’s make it fun and friendly!
Personally, I strongly agree with Hilary. If you want to recruit people to a vegan lifestyle, you have to show them how it can benefit THEM. If you want to make people sad and get them to click away, tell them about all the horrors of factory farming.
Instead of criticizing people, like Hilary, who are trying to help the movement, why not spend your time trolling the facebook and blogs of steakhouses and fur cost companies??!
The 30 Day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick Goudreau is wonderful. It’s a book – and also a online video course. Check out her work at http://www.joyfulvegan.com
Thank you! Checking her out…
People always think that all vegans are pale and unhealthy looking, but all the vegans I know look great and say they never felt better and healthier in their life. 🙂
HAHAHA! I had a coworker who told me every vegetarian or vegan he’d ever known eventually ended up looking pale and sickly. This guy was about 5’3, weighed 400 lbs, and couldn’t walk from his car to the door of our building at a snail’s pace without panting like a dog. If being able to walk a few feet without getting winded makes me sickly, sign me the hell up!
Great comment! Sounds like this guy was pulling excuses out of the air for why he didn’t want to be vegan — which is a common thing to do, since being vegan requires some effort (at first, anyway). Ironically, it’s people like this who are going to die decades earlier than they would if they were vegan… yet they don’t want to change… so unfortunate. I feel lucky that I’ve been able to see the truth about the food industry — so many people have no idea.
I think that’s a myth that the beef and dairy industry pays the media to perpetuate. Then, people who want an excuse to keep eating meat repeat the misinformation since it suits their needs.
I hate putting the chemicals in my body. eww!
I love this site! It helps me understand a lot of things I had no idea about!