The Life Changing Power of Becoming Vegan
Becoming vegan is not just a healthy life choice, it is a journey. This journey can lead to many things including improved overall health, an increased awareness of the current environmental issues facing the U.S., natural weight loss, and more. Elsie Shrigley, Donald Watson and a select group of their non-dairy vegetarian friends first used the word vegan in 1944. They decided to form the Vegan Society (www.vegansociety.com), despite the common belief that a vegetarian diet was preferable to one completely devoid of animal products.
Currently the Vegan Society stands by its founding principles, “Today, the Society remains as determined as ever to promote vegan lifestyles – that is, ways of living that seek to exclude, as far as is possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” Becoming vegan doesn’t just include eating foods that are plant based and do not include animal products. It includes buying clothes, cosmetics, travel, pet care and many other daily activities that do not use or include animal products.
Becoming Vegan in an Animal Product Centered World
Some people are not aware of the fact that American culture and many other cultures across the world are centered in meat production and sales. In the United States beef, pork and chicken are an integral part of society. Hamburgers and hot dogs are traditional cook out fare and a good steak is considered a delicacy. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Services in 2009 the retail equivalent value of the U.S. Beef industry was $73 billion. Total beef consumption in the U.S. during 2009 was 26.9 billion pounds and the total number of cattle slaughtered in 2009 was 33.3 million head.
The United States is also one of the top consumers of dairy products like milk, eggs and cheese in the world. Ingredients made with animal products or the animal products themselves are contained in much of the food popular in the U.S. today. Becoming vegan does not only require a change of eating habits and day to day lifestyle, it is about shifting your perspective from a world centered on animal products to a world centered on plant based products.
How to Explain to Friends and Family Why Becoming Vegan is Important
At first explaining to your friends and family why you are becoming vegan takes time. Family members may be surprised to find out you have given up some of your favorite foods from childhood. Friends may argue that a vegan diet is boring or unhealthy. You simply need to explain you have your reasons for making this change and as you move forward, share the benefits with them. Keep in mind if you live with family or friends that are not making this change, you may need to explain to them why becoming vegan requires attention to certain details. Sometimes you have to have patience with others while they adjust to your new lifestyle. There are many reasons you can give for becoming vegan to the people closest to you. If someone does not agree with your choice don’t take it personally, simply explain why creating a healthier lifestyle matters to you and the benefits you’ve gained. If the person truly cares about you they will respect your decision and support your efforts.