In July 2016 I transitioned to a vegan diet, and have not looked back since. Now it is officially a year since I began the vegan lifestyle and I continue to love it. It has affected me in so many areas of my life. Many people view the choice to go vegan from one angle, perhaps the animal rights argument, or that about climate change. I find that veganism touches upon so much more, and truly ties together many points of importance, from mind/body awareness to health to activism.
I feel more connected to my body and spirit. Making a conscious decision every day about how I will feed and nourish myself has grounded me more and made me more aware of my body and spirit in lots of different ways. Taking the time to nourish your growth in positive ways that not only affect you but the world around you has an impact on your mental well-being, as well as the physical.
I feel more connected to the Earth and other living beings. I have always liked animals and cared about the environment, but I had never felt deeply connected to either before going vegan. Since going vegan, I am more aware and attuned to animals and their suffering than before and recognize better their worthiness within the circle of life. I feel more connected to nature for the same reasons as well. I went vegan initially for environmental reasons, and so making a shift like this in my every day life has encouraged me to learn more about how our food choices affect the environment and impact climate change (read more here and here about how animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change).
It has positively affected my health and physical being. Within less than a month of going vegan I dropped about 5 pounds while stuffing my face and not thinking about food, which I realized were pounds of unnatural, unhealthy weight that my body no longer needed to hold on to. Cutting animal fat out of your diet causes nearly everyone’s body to transition to it’s healthiest weight (assuming you eat a mostly plant-based diet and don’t overindulge on vegan junk food) and a vegan diet positively impacts nearly everyone’s health in a variety of ways. In my transition, I did plenty of research to ensure that I understood where I was getting all my nutrients from, as well as to learn more plant-based meal recipes so that I could continue to cook for myself as I generally do. This opened me up to a world of foods that I was not eating before, flavors and combinations that I had never tried. I also naturally in this process became more aware of the nutrients I was feeding myself and more interested in how I was fueling my body rather than calorie counting.
I have become a better and more open-minded activist. Going vegan allows a person to recognize how their actions directly affect others and the world around them. Veganism is not only an animal rights issue or an environmental issue. I have the privilege of access to knowledge and resources to make the choice to go vegan. Access to healthy food is not simply a matter of the choices you make, it is also an issue of race and class. Food justice affects people, in our communities and around the world. Climate change is happening now and is affecting poor communities first. Poor communities, and communities of color are also disproportionately affected by food deserts. Check out this website founded by Aph Ko, a kickass vegan who completely elevated my thinking on how food and veganism is so grounded in racial justice. Veganism does not make me feel like a hippie tree-hugger, but rather has made me a more informed, thoughtful and powerful activist.
Recently a friend mentioned the following Albert Einsten quote to me:
Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.
I felt this quote really applied to why I feel so strongly about maintaining a vegan diet. Coming soon is a post on tips for transitioning to a vegan diet or adding more vegan-ness into your life!