What do we eat for breakfast? Is what I asked Shawn yesterday as we started our first day of Veganism. Yeah…we’re crazy, I already know. We like, bypassed meat, skipped eggs, dodged fish and went straight to plant based. Same as when I started low-carb, I am trying this for one week to note any changes in my body. Difference is, low carb stuck, i’ve been doing it for almost 2 years. This tho….. i’m on day 2 and I have to unlearn all i’ve known, so pray for me, pray hard.
In my Aunt Voula voice from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “You don’t eat no meat? What you mean you don’t eat no meat?!” This post won’t gross you out, I won’t scare you with the horrific plight of animals, I just want to put you on to something I’M doing for ME, put something new on your mind.
Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines. Why would you CHOOSE to eat like that you might ask? How would I know, I like my creamy Fage and golden brown Cornish Hen….skin all almondy and bronze….focus Nieta. I don’t know, but I respect the WOE (Way of Eating). You have to do what YOU feel is best for YOUR body. Only YOU know what it needs. Check out 7 benefits/reasons below.
1. So let’s get it out of the way: Will I lose weight?
A healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues.
Americans have too many unhealthy ways of getting protein. Beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and certain veggies are all great ways to get the right amount of protein in a vegan diet.
3. Cardiovascular Disease
Eating nuts and whole grains while eliminating dairy products and meat will improve your cardiovascular health.
4. Blood Pressure
A diet rich in whole grains is beneficial to your health in many ways, including lowering high blood pressure.
When following a healthy vegan diet, you will find your energy is much higher.
6. Healthy Skin
The nuts and vitamins A and E from vegetables play a big role in healthy skin, so vegans will usually have good skin health. Many people who switch to a vegan diet will notice a remarkable reduction in blemishes as well.
Growing plants take much fewer resources than growing animals. By eating vegan, you can help reduce the toll on the environment.
Now that you’re an expert, let’s get to it! My little big sister, You Tuber, Blogger, L.O.T and all around her dopeness, Ammina Rose, recently started her veggie journey and shared her experience about this WOE.
Why did you decide to give up animal products?
My transition to veganism began on April 18, 2015. I had played with the idea of becoming a vegan for years. But after watching a video titled “My Slave Ancestry Made Me Vegan” by YouTuber, Rymingtahn, it helped to put veganism into perspective for me. In the video, she correlated the condition of animals that are used for consumption by Americans to African American enslavement in the United States. We all know the brutality that millions of African Americans endured during that time including physical and psychological abuse, amputation, mutilation, this list can go on and on. These are some of the same things that millions of animals deal with daily.
Most animals that are bred for consumption do not live on farms but in factories where they are stuffed with steroids to make them bigger, chickens are abusively forced to lay eggs, and cows are exhaustively milked until the point that pus and blood contaminate the milk. They deal with this abuse for their entire lives to only end up on somebody’s plate.
Factory farms pack animals on top of one another in feedlots full of their own manure. This condition makes it easy for disease to spread. I would probably still eat animal products today if the food industry’s means of getting it wasn’t so inhumane and unsanitary. The factory farming industry affects the health of the planet and it’s simply out of greed, callous, and carelessness.
What was your diet like before that?
The food that I consumed daily before veganism was not the best. My vegan diet still is not the best but it is better. Veganism does not automatically mean weight loss. I still have to eat a balanced meal and work out to lose weight. Certain chips, cookies, and candy are vegan also. My diet consisted of a lot of meat before I became vegan. However, I did not eat a lot of animal products like cheese, yogurt, and cow’s milk often. Drinking milk actually produced cystic acne on my face, so I have not had it in over two years. Instead, I swapped that out for almond milk.
Aren’t plants living things, too? Why are you okay with eating them but not with eating animals?
Yes, plants are living things also. However, they do not have nerve endings, a brain, or a central nervous system which are pain receptors. According to PETA, 80% of crops grown are used to farm animals. By eating plants solely and not meat, I am actually decreasing the amount of plants needed to feed the animals that I would consume.
Where do you get your protein?
Finding plant-based protein sources was one of my top worries during my transition to veganism. However, after doing research, I found it quite easy to have protein sans animal products and that most plant-based foods have protein. Foods that I eat that have a large amount of protein include beans, green vegetables, legumes, avocado, and nuts. Vegan meat substitutes like Tofurkey or vegan bacon are not appealing to me at this point. They just seem like overly processed food.
What advice would you give someone who was about to make the switch to a plant-based diet?
It is important to have realistic expectations and discipline. I personally wanted to go vegan in April 2015. However, I knew that going cold turkey, no pun intended, I would fail miserably. So I decided to transition to veganism by giving up beef, pork, and chicken and just ate seafood for a while. After doing that for 8 months, I decided that I would make 2016 the year that I become vegan.
We are programmed to think that meat is needed in a healthy diet. There are thousands of plant-based meal options that are fulfilling and delicious. Planning your meals is crucial. I have found it very hard to find restaurants that cater to vegans. It is especially hard because I stay in the Midwest. There are very few vegan restaurants to choose from. Cooking and planning meals at home have become essential for me. Aside from food, I’ve given up animal products in my hair products and clothing. I would suggest that one does research on veganism as it is more than just food, it is a lifestyle.