This is a question I always get asked and my answer is no, not at all. In fact I feel more awake, liberated, enlightened, healthy, ethical and free than ever before. My only regret is not doing it sooner, but I wasn’t equipped with all the knowledge I have today.
I’m a person who always loved fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and whole grains, so eating these foods comes as an enjoyment to me – not as a chore! For others, such as my husband, who find it more of a challenge to enjoy these foods, it took a little longer. He’s used to covering such foods in so much oil, sauce or seasoning that you can’t even taste the original vegetable! I’m the opposite and prefer a carrot to taste like a carrot and so on.
On our way to Vegan Campout in the summer!
This book will change your life
If I can recommend one thing you must do to start you on your journey then it’s to read The China Study by T Colin Campbell.
Not only will it open your eyes to the numerous diseases linked to dairy and meat consumption, but it will also show how the meat and dairy industries have infiltrated our governments, healthcare and education systems to protect their profits. Plus it touches on the absolutely horrific way animals are treated in animal agriculture.
I only wish I’d known about this book years ago and started my healthy journey sooner. I’m now reading The Food Revolution by John Robbins and it’s just as good. My next read will be Fat Chance by Dr Robert Lustig.
Hate reading? Watch documentaries instead
There are numerous other documentaries on YouTube and Netflix about veganism, but also about how terrible refined sugar is for us and how fruits and veggies can help heal us from terrible illnesses (such as in the documentary ‘Fat Sick and Nearly Dead’ – the very documentary that set my husband on his path to healthiness a few years back).
The most recent documentary I watched which is available for free on YouTube is ‘What You Eat Matters – 2018 Documentary HOPE’. It covers everything from our health, to animal welfare to the effects of eating meat and dairy on the environment. Did you know animal agriculture is the biggest environment polluter? Even eating fish – I read or watched something the other day that said the largest contributor to plastic in the oceans is fishing nets! Eating meat and dairy contributes to CO2 emissions, rainforest destruction, plastic pollution, water pollution, antibiotic resistance and more. The consequences for the environment (and in turn our health) are devastating.
One you start watching the documentaries on YouTube it will of course suggest more relevant documentaries and videos for you to watch and you’ll be able to find so many of them to inspire you to live a healthier life, but also to be kind to animal and help do something better for the environment. You can do all this by making a conscious decision of what to put in your mouth!
I also feel very liberated by no longer supporting the meat and dairy industries that are causing such devastation to our planet, innocent animals and even our health.
My skin is the clearest it’s ever been after suffering with adult acne and spots foreverrrrrr!
Eating animal products is killing you
It’s well known that heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK and the world. Plus over half of all adults in England have raised cholesterol (>5mmol/L) (figure from heartuk.org.uk). Cholesterol is only found in animal products. A plant based diet free of all animal products does not contain any cholesterol. Your body is capable of making its own cholesterol for its own needs.
Many people, including me in my younger 20s, believed that disease was caused by chance. It was the Russian roulette of life. But now I know that isn’t true.
‘According to the WHO the eight key risk factors (alcohol use, tobacco use, high blood pressure, high body mass index, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, low fruit and vegetable intake, and physical inactivity) account for as much as 61% of all cardiovascular deaths and over three quarters of all CHD: the leading cause of death worldwide.’ (Same source as link above)
Now I know from my extensive research over several years that diseases of affluence (heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more) are not simply caused by genes (maybe a very tiny percentage) or by random, but they are massively affected by the foods we eat and lifestyles we lead.
We have the choice to help prevent ourselves from getting these diseases by choosing what we put in our mouths. With this in mind, I do not find it hard to be a vegan. There’s a great saying along the lines of ‘every mouthful you eat is either fighting disease or curing disease’.
We are not food!
Believing we need to eat meat to survive
One big reason I think I didn’t go vegan for such a long time (I was veggie for years) is that it’s drummed into us that we need meat and dairy to survive. There was always this part of me that thought I might get ill if I stopped eating meat and dairy totally. I now know how ridiculous this is and how far from the truth it is.
Vegetarians and vegans even live longer than meat eaters. Plus the chance of heart disease in vegans compared to meat eaters is drastically reduced. In The Food Revolution by John Robbins he points out that for every 1% drop in blood cholesterol there’s a 3-4% drop in heart disease risk. Vegetarians have 14% lower cholesterol. Vegans have 35% lower cholesterol. You do the maths.
Once I got it out of my head and realised that we don’t need to eat meat or dairy to survive, and in fact eating them is causing so many horrific diseases and illnesses today (it’s even linked to asthma, type 1 diabetes, Alzheimer’s), then it became a choice.
Eating meat and dairy is a choice, not a necessity.
Once it’s a choice then there are the morals to consider. If you don’t need to eat meat or dairy to survive, then is it ethical to use and abuse animals just for the pure pleasure of eating them? Is it OK to kill them for pleasure?
No, I don’t believe it is. And in doing so we are also killing our planet Earth. For no other reason than ‘I like the taste’. I don’t think that’s good enough.
Yummy vegan burger with vegan cheese!
Is it hard to eat as a vegan?
Absolutely not. It’s crazy that in this day and age people even think this, but I still have people question ‘well what on Earth do you eat?’
There are 20,000 or 400,000 edible plant species on Earth. Depending on which website you read!
But regardless, that’s an incredible amount! We apparently only eat around 200 of them, but still.
How many animals do you eat? 5? 6 at a push?
How people think that without eating meat or dairy, there is nothing left to eat, is beyond me.
Plus vegan food is more accessible than ever today. I believe it’s entirely possible to live off the fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and legumes. But if you want a meat replacement or cheese replacement, which we do also indulge in, then there are so many options! Vegan burgers, vegan cheese, vegan sausages – it’s all out there. There’s a replacement for all the meat and dairy you love. It may taste a little different, but it’s a taste sometimes to get used to or just try different brands until you find one you love. It’s so worth it.
Using nutritional yeast, mustard and oat milk, you can make a cheese sauce. Using jackfruit, an actual fruit from Asia, you can make burgers or add to curries or even make ‘pulled pork’. It’s an incredible fruit that looks just like meat!
With so many plant based alternatives there is no excuse to eat meat. You don’t need it for health reasons and there are potentially hundreds of thousands more plant based foods you can choose to eat.
You can even eat cake! Delicious chocolate cake! This recipe is so easy and you’ll have chocolate cake in half hour!
When people ask me what do I eat? I reply with everything. The same food I always ate. I use round green lentils instead of mince, the nutritional yeast mixture I just mentioned for cheese sauce, oat or almond mylk for milk, jackfruit for chicken. I honestly eat all the same meals I loved before, just vegan versions.
Is it hard being vegan? No not at all. It’s a privilege.
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