Thursday, February 11, 2016

3 Weeks Vegan... WHY?

I'm writing this blog post in part to figure out how I can better explain why I decided to go vegan to my friends and family. Especially since, once you full-on say "yeah, I'm vegan" it somehow seems irreversible. But there's no way around it... You can't have a slice of cake at your friend's birthday. You don't order your usual cheese pizza. There are questions.

Avocado Alfredo spaghetti.. So good!
I decided to go vegan based on timing, circumstance, and belief. For one, I'm firmly against anthropocentrism. I don't believe that humans, as a species, are meant to be at the center of the universe. I believe that we share this Earth and environment with animals. I think as soon as humans start to get too egocentric, we start to neglect our surroundings and let nature & the world around us falter. So on a purely moral basis, how can I logically choose to support the animal agriculture industry, an industry that is dangerously excessive, hostile, and abusive towards animals? I love my dog to bits, so how can I deny that same compassion to animals being unnecessarily slaughtered for food? But this idea is not new to me. I've always thought veganism was the right thing to do. It's the timing that made me choose to take the leap.

I can't realistically say transitioning into veganism is for everyone in any circumstance. I'm fortunate to be in a situation where I'm no longer in school & work from home, meaning I can spend time meal planning and cooking really hearty and wholesome animal-free recipes. I feel like this can't be overlooked. There are nutrients that your body is accustomed to getting from animal products (B12, iron, protein, etc) so you need to ensure that your meals can fulfill these needs. Without the proper planning and care, it would be easy to fall ill by not eating enough and not eating the right things.

I'm not vegan for health reasons. Yes, the health benefits are a perk, but ultimately I feel like I can't treat this as a diet like I might've in the past. Focusing on the "activism" side to veganism is what will ultimately make it last.

So far I think I made the right choice. I'm constantly tuning into documentaries and research supporting veganism, and every video I watch/article I read leaves eating meat & dairy far in the past. The only thing that has been a bit of a struggle is eating out (something I looove to do). I went to my favorite Italian restaurant the other day and was only able to have a salad. I thought I would be able to have a pizza without cheese but unfortunately they add yogurt to their pizza dough to keep it moist (bummer). Also, the waiters and chef weren't really keen to accommodate my needs even though I was extra polite and clear. That said, giving up my favorite restaurant is a compromise that I'm willing to make.

The major upside is that I've been very into cooking new meals and getting creative in the kitchen. I've been eating some really good stuff: lentil stew, polenta, homemade veggie burgers, stir frys, Asian noodle dishes, incredible stuffed "ricotta" pasta shells - you name it. This brownie recipe is the best I've ever used, vegan or not.

Perfecting my stir fry skills!

Now I know this kind of looks like pet food but trust me when I say this is the best dish I've cooked so far. Lentils, carrots, bell pepper and kale in the most delicious peanut sauce. SO GOOD
All in all, it's going to take some more getting used to, and my family & friends are going to have to adapt as well. But if they care about me & my life choices, they will come to support me.

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