My Personal Journey with Veganism
Cutting down on meat and dairy consumption is something that has been scientifically proven to be extremely beneficial for your health and the health of our planet. I know it may sound undesirable, challenging, unpleasant, or maybe even impossible. This is why I want to share my personal experience of converting to a plant-based diet.
For a long time, I too was one of those people who felt like veganism was impossible. Even from a young age, I was always interested in cutting down meat consumption and lowering my carbon footprint. But I never thought I could be 100% plant-based. This year, I decided that the personal and societal benefits that come with a plant-based diet are worth the sacrifice.
I gave up red meat at a young age. But I continued to consume white meat, dairy, fish, and other animal products. It was only in recent months that I decided to begin my journey with a completely plant based-diet. I began trying out a plant-based lifestyle just as an experiment. I wanted to see how I felt after a few weeks of eating a completely plant-based diet. And I was curious to learn if I could successfully stick to this new routine.
The funny thing is, once I started I couldn't stop. It's definitely not as scary or unpleasant as I once thought. It felt extremely cleansing for me. And I feel happier, healthier, and more energized than ever before. It's so much fun finding vegan things to cook and restaurants with vegan choices. Every time I eat a delicious and satisfying vegan meal it's such a rewarding feeling.
The Rising Interest in Veganism
In 2020, interest in veganism hit an all-time high. There are an array of reasons why more and more people are trying out plant-based diets. These include health benefits, society benefits, environmental benefits, and the welfare of animals. The heavy amount of research done on plant-based eating shows that veganism promotes weight loss.
On average, vegans lose anywhere between 5.6 pounds in 18, weeks to 7.5% of their body weight in 6 months. Vegan diets also reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Veganism can also lower your chance of getting certain cancers, like colon cancer.
To be healthy on any diet you still need to get all of the important nutrients. A question that is frequently asked is “How will I ever get enough protein without any meat or dairy in my diet?” Not getting enough protein is a common misconception for people new to plant-based diets. Great sources of protein for vegans include soy products like tofu and edamame. There's also seitan, which is made from gluten, chickpeas, lentils, beans, nutritional yeast, peanut butter, and so many more!
Vitamins & Minerals
Another misconception is that if you don’t eat red meat, you will have an iron deficiency. This is false, being that chia seeds have almost 4 times the amount of iron that steak has. Dark Chocolate, pumpkin seeds, cashews, oats, and red lentils are all rich in iron and all have significantly more iron than red meats.
B12 is another important nutrient for vegans to keep in mind because it's not found in plants. You can be sure to get enough B12 in your diet by drinking soy beverages, having fortified cereal or rice, or by sprinkling some nutritional yeast on top of pasta or veggies. Although I usually have enough B12 in my everyday diet, I still take vitamins that have over the daily value of B12 just to be safe. A deficiency in B12 can cause you to feel weak and sometimes very tired, so it’s important to make sure you have some every day. But make sure to speak with your doctor before taking any over the counter supplements.
Essential fatty acids are another thing to track as a vegan. Essential fatty acids are related to your brain health, so it's important to make sure you are getting enough. Luckily for vegans, essential fatty acids are in many popular vegan foods like whole grains, leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, and nuts like almonds and pistachios.
The Health of Our Planet
Veganism can truly save the world, and that is a fact proven by scientific evidence. Many of today's problems could be solved by more people living a plant-based life. Veganism combats world hunger. 70% of the grain grown in the US is grown to feed livestock. And on a global scale, 83% of all farmland is used to raise animals. Think about all of the humans that could be fed with the food grown for livestock each year. It is estimated that 700 million tons of food that could be consumed by humans goes directly to livestock.
Overfishing, deforestation, and pollution, all caused by the meat, dairy, and fish industries, are devastating to our planet. while limiting our ability to grow food. Using more land for crops to feed humans would not only keep more humans fed, but it would be much less damaging to our planet. As our population continues to grow, this issue is becoming more serious. Earth does not have enough land to raise enough meat to feed our growing population. And Earth cannot survive the massive pollution caused by the average American diet.
Raising livestock uses more fresh water than anything else on our planet. It is also the largest polluter of fresh water. The more livestock that is replaced by crops, the more water we will have for those who don’t have access to clean water and those struggling through droughts. For example, by consuming a vegan chili instead of a beef chili, you will save 4,325 liters of water. Every single plant-based meal that you eat makes a difference, whether it feels that way or not.
On average, vegan saves 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds of CO2, 30 square feet of forests, 45 pounds of grain, and the life of an animal everyday. All the livestock in the world causes more air pollution than buses, cars, planes, and all other transportation combined. In addition to causing the most pollution, livestock suffer under harsh conditions from birth until the day they are killed.
The meat you get in restaurants and grocery stores is produced under horrifying conditions. I believe it’s important to stay informed about the meat and dairy industry, and if you think that the truth is too horrifying, then maybe you should consider a plant-based diet. But these conditions are so harsh that it would be inappropriate to describe in them detail here.
Even if you cut meat out of one meal a day, you are making a difference for your body, the Earth, and innocent animals. Plus, you're giving less support to a very flawed industry (the meat industry).
Plant-Based Diets Are Sustainable And Can Save Our Earth.
If you are interested in learning more about plant-based eating, the meat industry, how unhealthy the consumption of meat is, or how to get fit with a plant-based lifestyle, check out these resources:
What The Health / Netflix
Game Changers/ Netflix
Blackfish/ Amazon Prime
Speaking of food, Pop Radio 77 does many events at places like markets, festivals, and wineries. Make sure to stop by our event page and see when we'll be at an event near you. We can't wait to see you there!
One Last Thing
We at Pop Radio 77 hope you enjoyed this blog post and found it informative. We recommend you conduct your own research and reach out to your doctor, or other trusted medical professional, before making a sudden change to your daily diet. And this is especially important in regard to supplements. Everybody's body works differently and we care about our readers' and listeners' health and safety.