Reasons for the Vegans

Recently, it seems like veganism is taking over the media-world as Youtubers, Instgramers, and Facebookers are converting to the vegan lifestyle. But what does it actually mean to be vegan, and why should anyone do it? There are so many different reasons, and I'm here to explain some of the key ones, as well as give advice on how to safely and healthily be a vegan. 

1. It's helping the environment. One of the number one causes of elevated levels of greenhouse gases can be contributed to the meat and dairy industries. They use more resources than anything else in order to raise animals for our consumption. Cutting down on animal products means not supporting the industry that causes deforestation, depletion of the ozone layer, habitat loss, species extinction, pollution, contamination of water sources, and much more.

2. It's helping your body. There are countless studies within the medical community that show meat and dairy contributes to the development of cancer. Think about this: what is cow's milk used for? Growing baby cows into huge animals in a short amount of time... it's basically like a growth formula. So why are humans drinking it? We aren't baby cows, and we don't need to be growing like one. Meat on the other hand, holds carcinogens of different types, especially our meat today that is pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. The harm of consuming it far outweighs the benefit. A whole food, plant-based diet consists of all the nutrients the human body needs, and can even help reverse various health concerns like high cholesterol and risk of heart disease. 

3. It prevents the exploitation of animals. This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you care about animals, obviously veganism is beneficial to you. If you don't and you're still considering going vegan, do some more research on numbers 1 and 2. 

Now, there are a few things that are inportant to know if you are considering trying out the vegan lifestyle... here are a few tips:

1. Try out vegetarianism first. Going from a full-on meat eater to a vegan is very challenging for some people, and can make life seem a bit miserable for a few months as you battle cravings and your body adjusting. For me, the best way to become a vegan was to take it step by step. Start out as a pescatarian for a while (eats fish but no other meat). If you can get used to that, go on to vegetarian (no meat whatsoever, but you can still eat eggs, cheese, milk, etc). After a while of being vegetarian, the switch to becoming vegan is a whole lot smoother. 

2. Make sure you tell your doctor. Veganism isn't always the healthiest option. If you don't eat the right varieties of whole foods and focus more on consuming packaged and processed foods, your health is going to show for it. Let your doctor know at your next checkup if you decide to try out veganism or already are, so they can help monitor your progress. One big problem for many vegans is b12 deficiency, because the vitamin b12 only comes from fish (which vegans don't eat). You have to make sure you're doing what's best for yourself before anything else!

3. Learn to cook. This is a big one, but not necessarily as daunting as you think. I had no idea how to cook my own meals when I got to college besides making cereal (with almond milk, of course) and spaghetti. But honestly, it didn't take long to figure out. Buy a bunch of different veggies and start out with some easy stir fry recipes-- you can't go wrong. Invest in a simple vegan cookbook, you'll be surprised how easy and delicious some dishes can be. 

Information and images provided by Vegan Society 

The views of the author do not reflect on the UNCW chapter as a whole