When I first adopted a plant based diet, it was a question of health and well being. I never enjoyed the taste of meat and it wasn’t that hard for me to give up fish either. I felt better without eating animal flesh because my digestion was smoother and my energy levels more even and balanced. Giving up dairy was a different story. While I have struggled with milk forever (I never really liked it and would get massive cramps when drinking milk) I had for a long time a real passion for cheese. I remember being 10 years old and going to the cheese store with my mom, where we would pick out 8 different cheeses for a family feast. I liked the strong taste and the creamy texture so much. However, I started suffering from digestive issues while consuming cheese a couple years ago. Similar to milk, my stomach would be upset and I would just feel uncomfortable. So I started reading about the health aspects and understood that calcium is abundant in plant foods and has much greater health benefits. That was when I quit animal products for good.
After learning and thinking so much about the health aspects of eating a whole food plant based diet, I also got more interested in the environmental benefits as well as the moral question of eating animals. It’s now a whole interconnected web in my head and it makes sense to me not to eat any animal flesh nor animal secretions because it not only benefits me but also the animals and environment.
Now what does that mean on a day to day basis? I think it means first and foremost being and acting with conscientiousness. I recycle, avoid plastic bags, reuse packaging, turn off my lights when I don’t use them and I walk or use public transportation as much as I can. When it comes to eating, not eating animals nor consuming dairy or eggs, actually benefits the environment way more. This lifestyle reduces Co2 emissions, saves large amounts of water, reduces rain forest destruction and makes our overall ecological footprint way smaller.
Concerning the moral level, I don’t think we need to eat animals because I believe we can live healthy without eating them or their milk, eggs and blood. That also means that I don’t buy any animal made clothes: I wear vegan leather instead of leather, I avoid wool if I can as well as feathers and I love fake fur instead of real one. I find it extremely easy today to follow this lifestyle because you can get both fashionable as well as practical clothes that are not made out of animals. I love Uniqlo for their warm under layers that I wear in winter as well as their fantastic sweaters that come in synthetic fabric and keep you so warm. I also make sure my beauty products and soaps are not tested on animals – one of my favorite brands for this is Nubian Heritage. Keep your eyes peeled for the little bunny labels (‘cruelty free’ and ‘beauty without cruelty’) and make sure it shows up on whatever body products you buy. It guarantees that no animal was harmed for your beauty or happiness.
At the end of the day, everything is connected for me and I try every day to live a life that respects my own body, as well as the bodies of others, which benefits our environment so future generations don’t have to suffer as much. I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this.