I currently work with around 120 people and I am pretty sure that at least 90 of them know that I’m a vegan. I could certainly insert overused-annoying joke “how do you know someone’s vegan…” here, but the truth is I have probably discussed my lifestyle with no more than a handful of my co-workers. But my co-workers are kind and they always offer to share their cake and breakfast pastries, and I am always the one to politely decline. When one always says no to such offerings, people naturally become curious and start asking questions. And when I’m eating lunch and it looks wholly different than everyone else’s food people want to know what I’m eating–Curiosity is how my veganism got out. Now let me be clear, I am proud of my choice, but making everyone aware of my choices is not how I lead my conversations, yet should the topic of veganism naturally finds its way into the conversation I am glad to exclaim who I am and the choices I’ve made.
Several times a week someone comes up to me while I am eating to ask what I’m eating, or explain how they could never be vegan, or explain that they really don’t eat that much meat, or express how they’d literally starve if they ate the way I ate–this last one truly tickles me because I am right there not starving, alive as ever, in front of their curious and perplexed faces!
I find the people who feel the need to tell me that they don’t eat too much meat to be the most interesting as, clearly, they feel that they need to explain themselves to me without any sort of initial provocation on my part. I understand that my mere existence and lifestyle choice can easily make some feel uncomfortable, so when people automatically confess their animal eating habits, I simply nod and say “okay”–I know that most people don’t realize how many different animals they ingest every single day and I don’t feel it’s the proper time to “open their eyes”. Talking to people about veganism is incredibly important, and if you want to have the right impact on them you need to be careful about your timing and approach.
But my favorite interaction involves the question “why are you vegan?” because this question shows me that someone is curious about my choices and is, through no doing of mine, willing to listen to something that might make them uncomfortable.
The answer I provide is somewhat like this:
“First and foremost, I am an animal lover. I see no difference between a dog and a cow, or a dog a pig! I am a big lover of all animals and do not want to add to their suffering and ultimately untimely death. In addition, animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change, deforestation, animal extinction, world hunger, obesity and much more and I would prefer not to be part of an industry that so vastly, and negatively affects this world and its inhabitants. Lastly, the health benefits of a whole food plant based diet alone should be enough for anyone to make the switch. People who eat a WFPB diet are at a much lower risk of ever being diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, diabetes or obesity.“
That’s my face-to-face short answers when I am speaking to people whom I don’t know very well. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, I don’t want people to be turned off from the idea of a plant-based diet, and I, of course, want my peers to feel comfortable with approaching me on the subject of food!
But there’s more to that answer, and well, the internet just makes us all compelled to share it all, doesn’t it?
I used to love cheeseburgers, but that was before I knew what I know now.
What I know now is that for me to have enjoyed those cheeseburgers, which was not a necessity in the least bit, many bad things had to happen, and many bad things would occur.
First off, what was between the bun: cheese—cheese offers absolutely no benefit to the human body, it is not part of a healthy diet, and can promote digestive issues and disease in the body (i.e. cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity). Cheese is made with milk from a cow’s tit, and that milk is most likely full of puss and bacteria–none of which is intended for human consumption. The milk from the tit of that cow was intended for someone though–the baby calf who will no longer be able to consume it, whom will most likely never be able to see its mother again; whom will be ripped away from her to be tortured and killed, or just tortured until it’s too old and then killed, or left to die. The mother will feel emotional anguish and grave concern, wondering where her baby went while the life juice intended for her baby is sucked out of her body for our unnecessary consumption.
Under that cheese is the bleeding flesh of a dead animal. A dead animal who was held captive, raped, and tortured while being aware of its bleak existence, and ultimately murdered for, again, absolutely no real reason other than my need to enjoy a meal that provides zero goodness for my body.
What I also learned is that that quarter pound of beef on my plate took 110 gallons of water to produce, and about 3 lbs of grain.
About 70% of all grain production in the US is produced to feed cows.
In one year eating an omnivorous diet uses 1, 533,000 gallons of water vs a plant-based diet coming in at a much lower 109,500 gallons per year.
I learned that forests are being destroyed so that cows could, unwillingly inhabit these areas, leaving other animals without a home and to eventually die off and become extinct.
I learned that beef offers no health benefits, causes obesity, heart disease, cancer, and almost every digestive issue on the planet.
So, in short, that is why I am vegan.
For the animals, for our future generations, for this amazing planet, and for myself. I live consciously and I think about every choice I make, and because of that, there is no other option for me than to be vegan.
Love always + live well
To learn about more reasons why one might decide to be vegan check out this more recent blog post !