I love being vegan.
Seriously! It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Most people think that following a plant-based diet means living a life of sacrifice and pining for forbidden foods. Nope! There really isn’t anything I miss and I’ve gained so much. As Oprah would say, being vegan is me living my best life!
First and foremost, eating a plant-based diet means I follow my heart with each food-related decision I make. I do not believe that animals exist for our consumption. I didn’t always feel this way (I used to love filet mignon and baked brie...), but I have read a lot about animal sentience and their relationships with each other and my thoughts on this have changed. For me, not eating animal products means that I’m living according to my beliefs and convictions and I can’t imagine what could be better than that.
Secondly, as a vegan I eat more fresh, healthy, whole foods than I ever did before making the switch. Most packaged snacks aren’t an option anymore (such as granola bars made with milk chocolate or popcorn made with butter), so I munch on fresh fruits and chopped veggies throughout the day (easy options are cucumbers and celery). I make meals from scratch that I never imagined I would or could, from birthday cakes to dinner rolls to curry. I’m not saying I never eat convenience foods (there are actually some decent boxed vegan mac and cheese options now!), but I don’t rely on them in the way I used to. I think about food more as fuel now, and eat to make sure I’m meeting my nutritional needs. I feel much better physically as a result.
Finally, following a plant-based diet means that I’m making a difference for the environment. Factory farming pollutes our air and our water. According to one report, animal agriculture accounts for 18% of global, human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, which contributes to global warming (read more here). Another study found that approximately 80% of deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is due to cattle raising (additional info here). So by keeping meat, eggs, and dairy off our plates we can help our planet stay healthy for generations to come.
I hope that reading this has demonstrated to you that the vegan life is a great life. I never feel deprived and in fact I have been exposed to so many amazing foods that I would never have tried (like this vegan “tuna” salad and this BBQ tempeh with greens) if not for being vegan! Following a plant-based diet allows me to help animals, myself, and the planet — and to me that’s better than the feeling eating any animal products could give.