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"Oh, I don't eat that...I'm VEGAN." No doubt you have heard that at least once in a restaurant or even with friends. It seems as if this word just popped up on the scene recently, and it would probably be considered trendy to eat vegan foods...anything for the Insta pics. But vegan and vegetarian ways of eating have been around as early as 500 B.C.E according to Time magazine. The term "Vegan" was manufactured in about 1944. Now what the heck is vegan?
Veganism falls under vegetarianism. It is considered an "extreme" version of vegetarianism. I use the word extreme very loosely, because honestly that is a subjective opinion or description. Vegans do not consume, support, or use anything that comes from or uses animals. So some examples of unexpected things vegans wouldn't eat are...
- Gelatin (ground beef or pork bones; so that means gummies, some types of vitamin capsules)
- Whey (a component of cows milk)
- Eggs (baby chicken...duh :), that is kind of the equivalent to saying that you don't eat beef, but you eat veal...)
- Honey (made from bees' spit...)
- Milk (includes butter, yogurt, cheese)
- Furs... (this one is obvious)
- Leather... (this one is obvious, too)
Now this to me is on a spectrum, people are vegan for many reasons. Some for ethical reasons (the processing of meat and some goods can be unethical and inhumane) or for health reasons (many meats and foods sourced from animals are high in fat and cholesterol) or a combination of the two.
I chose to be vegan after digging for the answer for a very simple question, and one that to me isn't asked enough..."Where does my food come from?" I did research for two years into how meat is processed, hormones and steroids used in making the animals grow larger—then they naturally would—to increase the amount of meat that can be processed from any one animal. I researched substitutions for dairy products and incorporated them into my omnivorous diet. I tried various recipes to see whether I could legitimately pursue this lifestyle and do so successfully.
As far as goods that come from animals, I don't punish myself for things that I may have purchased before I became vegan such as leather shoes, or belts. I have never owned any furs or anything like that. As far as purchasing things, I don't purchase "new" leather. So I wouldn't go to a name brand store and purchase a pair of leather pumps.
So anyone who asks me, "How do I become vegan?" I always say three words... DO YOUR RESEARCH. Changing your lifestyle completely is a big step and an extremely personal one. Everyone does it for different reasons, and every vegan has their own story. Do it for a reason that resonates with you, not because your favorite YouTuber did it. There is a difference between inspiration and imitation.
There are a few YouTubers that inspired me to do my own research into vegetarianism at first and then into veganism.
- Christine Kobzeff – Lifestyle and Health YouTuber. Her husband is vegetarian and she is vegan.
- Cooking with Plants – After finding a health concern, Anja, her husband, and her son became vegan.
- FullyRaw Kristina – Kristina is a raw vegan, but her cheery nature and energetic delivery make her videos a joy to watch. Her theme is that food is medicine, and she gives many instances in which her raw vegan lifestyle has benefited her health.
- The Vegan Zombie – They have some truly awesome recipes. I have tried a few myself and loved them.
- Freelee The Banana Girl – She is well-known for her controversial nature with her videos in the past, but as of late her videos have focused on recipes, enlightenment, and growth. She is strictly about facts which is enjoyable in gaining knowledge about this lifestyle. She practices a Raw Till 4 diet.
There are plenty more that I watch now, but these are the ones that motivated me to actually become vegan.
I watched the documentaries Food Inc. and Forks over Knives, as well as read The China Study.
As you can see, knowledge is key!!