I know a lot of you who follow my blog and my channel are already vegan, and I’m so glad you’re along for the journey. I became vegan myself about 3 years ago now, and while I keep a relatively open diet when I’m traveling in other cultures, I definitely feel that veganism is one of the best choices I’ve made for myself in my life. So, I want to tell you a little bit about why I encourage others to take the plunge!
First off, there are a lot of environmental benefits to cutting out animal products. The production of meat and dairy cause a huge amount of carbon emissions in the world, 1/5 of the total output, and it’s by far the biggest source of methane gas in the atmosphere, which has an even worse effect on the climate than CO2. It’s gotten so bad that the UN is now officially recommending a vegan diet because of the impact it’s going to have when all the people in developing countries start to want to eat as much meat and dairy as people do in the West. Agriculture also is responsible for up to 70% of freshwater use, and since we put all sorts of chemical fertilizers and animal antibiotics into that supply, it ends up affecting a lot of what we drink. You can find a lot of other really alarming statistics in this article https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet, but the main point is that veganism isn’t just a moral choice for people who are concerned about animal welfare, it’s a moral choice for people who care about human welfare as well.
There’s also increasing evidence which I’ve been following for years that’s telling us that animal products aren’t really all that good for us. The latest version of this is the WHO report that red meat is linked to cancer, which is just another paper on the pile of reports that suggest that red meats cause heart problems, cholesterol issues, and any number of other things. Leaner mets are less likely to give you problems like that, but they’re still far from clean.
The fact is that animals aren’t a productive use of land when you compare them with vegetables, fruit trees, or grains. They take far more acreage and a lot more energy to sustain, and grazing from animals degrades grasslands and causes erosion and other soil problems. Basically, they’re a massive waste of resources that ends up ruining a lot of land. I know that’s putting it in stark terms, but that’s where we are in the world right now. Cutting out animal products from your diet gives you more of a chance you’ll get enough fruits and vegetables, and whether or not you’re concerned with animal welfare, you’re making a conscious choice not to endorse mistreatment in the factory farm industry.
But aside from all the downsides to using animal products, the reverse of that is that there’s really never been a better time to go vegan. I’ve been getting really excited about some of the new proteins sources out there, which make it so much easier to have a good, full diet without animal products. There’s a really great RAW protein mix made from ground-up sprouts, and it’s probiotic as well as full of Vitamin D. There’s also a lot of solid proteins to choose from, like seitan and tofu, but my favorite is tempeh, which has a super nutty, exciting flavor and texture that’s got a lot more personality than those crappy meat substitutes.
Protein included, now that veganism has become established and been around as a relatively mainstream movement, there’s a lot more effort put into coming up with fun recipes and dishes that cut out animal products without tasting boring or too “healthy”! I frequently experiment with vegan recipes, since I want to respond to my fanbase. But so are so many other chefs, from Jamie Oliver to Nigella Lawson, so it’s a really exciting time to try it!
Whatever reason motivates you to go vegan, my main message is that it’s a great decision to make, and it’s getting even better every day!