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The stigma surrounding veganism continues to grow, but so does its ever rising popularity. As more and more people realise the benefits of a plant based diet, the movement has begun to take over the mainstream media. Unfortunately, there will always be nay sayers, there will always be those who respond to any factual argument with 'But bacon tho!'... Yeah, you're smart and funny. Bet you get all the laughs down the pub.
The vegan lifestyle has been slowly gaining momentum for years, with the help of documentaries like Earthlings, Cowspiracy, and What The Health highlighting everything from the harrowing animals abuse, to the hormones and antibiotics in our food, from the effect animal agriculture is having on the climate to the health benefits of a plant-based diet, vegans are becoming harder and harder to ignore.
Vegans annoy a lot of people, but to be honest, all those people annoy us too...largely because the people that 'hate vegans' are the people that refuse to acknowledge basic facts. This is not me pushing my agenda on you, although I would love you even more for reading this article and then considering going vegan; it is simply me highlighting a few unavoidable home truths, and recommending some amazing books that will help you in your journey, should you choose to explore it further.
Going vegan is a wonderful journey. I went fully vegan two years ago. I understand it's a hard transition, after being conditioned to eat animal products since birth, the idea of being without them can seem alarming. I assure you, it's not. I have never felt healthier or in better shape, my skin is clear after having acne since age 12, my hair is soft and long after being thin and broken for over a decade, my energy levels are up, my muscle mass and fat loss are improved, my strength is almost double and the most amazing change was my fertility. At the age of 31 and never having been on any birth control, I have never managed to get pregnant, after a year of being vegan, I was growing my own baby! That was my personal journey, the selfish side of veganism, the side where we are kind to our bodies and give ourselves a bit of love. But there is so much more...
The ethical journey, for those that look beyond the health of themselves and look at the health of the planet and our fellow animals. The feeling of knowing you are contributing to a growing community of people that are literally saving animals everyday simply by not eating them, by cutting the meat demand, by not contributing to an industry that slaughters billions of innocent animals daily, that feels so good. Veganism also helps the planet. The leading causes of pollution and deforestation? Animal agriculture. Go vegan? Save the trees, save the oceans, save the animals. Cutting out your plastic straw is great, but if we don't stop fishing at the rate we are going, we will have fishless oceans before my son is 40, and that is sad; it means my great grandchildren won't even get to see what a fish looks like in real life, maybe in a zoo or an aquarium, but never in the wild.
Animal agriculture, ESPECIALLY cattle bred for beef, is the leading cause of climate change. Going vegan or severely cutting down meat consumption is scientifically proven to be one of the only ways to reverse the effects of climate change, we are very quickly destroying this planet and leaving the fate of the human race uncertain, but we can change...and here are a few great books to help you make that change!
For the Curious and the Beginners—The Plant Based Journey by Lani Muelrath
This ha everything you need to know about your transition in a helpful and concise guide. It included how to begin, your reasons for going vegan, the essentials, and nutritional help.
For the Activist—Change of Heart by Nick Cooney
How to successfully navigate arguments and change people's minds, this is a wonderful read for the young vegan activist that just wants people to show compassion. I should really take more of this advice.
For the Last Minute and Lazy Chefs—15 Minute Vegan by Katy Beskow
This book is my bible; I am so impatient, so being able to make amazing food in 15 minutes, from cookies to full on main courses, is the best. Especially when I work a tight schedule or I get hungry and need to eat quickly, which is generally the case whilst being pregnant!
For the Super Healthy Whole Food Vegan—Straight Up Food by Cathy Fisher
No oil, no sugar, no refined foods, no gluten...I WISH I could eat like this all the time. This book is the healthier side of veganism, showing you how to create unique and tasty dishes using just plants!
For the Vegan Family—Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton
This is perfect if you have children that you are trying to raise vegan. I am about to start raising my own little vegan family and just purchased this book myself.
For the Compassionate Animal Lover—Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy, Ph.D.
An incredibly important read that challenges the way we view animals, so many people say they LOVE animals yet are happy with them being abused and slaughtered to satisfy a fleeting hunger pang.
Everyone should read this book.
For Those That Don’t Believe the Vegan Diet Is Healthy—The Healthiest Diet on the Planet by Dr. John McDougall & Mary McDougall
So many times people make wild claims, like vegans are protein deficient, or vegans don't get enough iron. All protein starts with plants and I was anaemic BEFORE I went vegan...This book explains why a plant-based diet is the healthiest for you.
For the Ethical Lifestyle Vegan—The Mindful Vegan
For the mindful vegan, as it says on the tin, a way of taking veganism into your everyday life swell as your diet, teaching you how to be more mindful and ethically aware in just 30 days.
For Those That Think They Will Miss Certain Things (Oh, but I can’t give up cheese!!!!)—Eat like You Give a F*ck by Thug Kitchen
Junk food and all that good stuff. I once tweeted that I was hungry and someone replied, "Have a steak." I responded saying I was vegan and they said, "Have some grass and water then." I never understand these people. This book shows you can eat all the amazing, filthy, tasty dishes you know and love without harming animals.
For the Athletes—Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
For everyone that thinks vegans are weak and anaemic, for everyone that thinks you need to eat animals to have muscle, this book explains exactly why you don't.