Happy World Vegan Month!
My close friends and family know that I maintain a vegan diet but I tend not to be outspoken about it or the reasons why I chose to start eating this way almost eight years ago. For one, I hate preachy vegans. I don't want to be lumped in with "them" (whoever "them" is). For another, I dislike inconveniencing or offending others. When I'm at a dinner party or out to eat with a new group of people, I try not to make a big deal out of my eating choices and don't even bring it up unless asked. 99% of my family and friends are meat eaters and dairy lovers and I'm fine with that. It does not offend me. I do not wait outside their houses to shower them with red paint. However, I'm always happy to give advice, offer encouragement and share recipes with those interested in reducing the number of animal products they consume.
It's trendy right now to go vegan for health reasons or as a way of dieting. While I definitely think vegan eating is healthy (as long as it's not exclusively tater tots and french bread) I am not vegan for my health (as evidenced by that plate of tater tots I consumed on Wednesday).
In honor of World Vegan Month, I wanted to share five of the several dozen reasons I choose not to eat dairy, meat or eggs:
1. Factory farming is really messed up.
2. The idea of eating animals weirds me out. I just can't see the difference between a puppy and a pig, ethically, other than that one is socially acceptable to eat.
3. There are too many other tasty foods in the world. When friends of mine discuss trying to eat vegetarian or vegan I always encourage them to focus on all the foods they can eat. Every vegetable, fruit, grain, bean, legume; herbs and spices; nuts; spices; dark chocolate. Even Oreos are vegan, you guys!
4. It's less expensive, most of the time. Yeah, you can do super expensive versions of veganism by purchasing a lot of pre-packaged meat substitutes and fancy vegan cheeses made from cashews and organic Himalayan raindrops, but you can also build your diet around beans, grains and on-sale produce. Meat is pricey!
5. I feel better, mentally and physically. I like knowing that I'm not supporting inhumane practices or animal suffering by eating my dinner. Sorry if that makes me a big smelly hippie.
Also, my stomach likes not having to digest lactose. The end.
Now go make some delicious vegan chili!