People go vegan for a number of reasons. For us it was an ethical decision, first and foremost. The many health benefits of a vegan diet are a bonus though, and a valid motivation to go vegan in themselves.
In brief, our ethical concerns with animal ‘foods’ and products include:
- the unnecessary cruelty inflicted on, and killing of, sentient beings;
- the disastrous environmental effects;
- the horrendous work conditions common in many animal- processing plants.
We appreciate the health aspect even more since we’ve had children. Like most other parents, we want them to realize their full potential, and know that adequate nutrition plays a big part in this.
In PETA ‘s words:
‘Filling your plate with meat, dairy products, and eggs could be a recipe for heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and even impotence. (…) Well-planned vegan diets provide us with all the nutrients that we need, minus all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in animal flesh, eggs, and dairy foods. Scientists have also found that vegetarians have stronger immune systems than their meat-eating friends; this means that they are less susceptible to everyday illnesses such as the flu. Vegetarians and vegans live, on average, six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters.’
And this is just veganism… wait’til we get to the organic and raw part!!
Aside from the above, it seems rather peculiar to drink milk from another species, particularily past weaning age. Considering that ‘extended’ (or ‘full-term’, depending on who you ask) nursing is still considered controversial in our society, it’s ironic that nearly every adult believes that they still NEED milk. Or maybe there’s a link?!
As far as missing the taste goes… where meat is concerned, the realization of what meat actually is (an animal carcass) made the whole idea so utterly unpalatable that we never ever missed it. The idea of letting go of dairy was a little harder, until we noticed that it wasn’t dairy that we thought was so yummy, but rather FAT plus whatever seasoning ;-). And honestly, going vegan in the US in these days is ridiculously easy. You can get a vegan version of almost anything, and you’re likely to discover a whole new world of amazing food from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds.
To be continued…