10 Reasons I’m Returning To Veganism

1. I care about animals.

And it’s too much work pretending that I don’t. It’s too hard to disconnect from my food to the point where I feel comfortable eating animal products. It’s impossible to convince myself that it’s okay to eat animal byproducts just because I’m not eating the actual animal. Let’s be real. Would you rather be killed, or exploited and then killed?

If you think vegetarianism is much better than an omnivorous diet, you’re lying to yourself. I’m tired of lying to myself.

2. I like earth.

And I hope that future generations will like it too. Eating low on the food chain is more energy efficient and impacts the environment less.

3. The China Study

I recommend this book. It’s extremely important.

4. My health is important.

I’m convinced that animal products are unhealthy foods to consume. Even if you’re not convinced of this, you probably agree that plants are the most nutrient dense food, and therefore more healthy to eat than animal food.

I’ll acknowledge the flack I’m going to get about plant-based nutrition right away.

There is calcium in plant food.

Here is a table of the calcium content in some plant foods. For reference, 1 cup of skim milk contains about 316mg of calcium. That’s less than a cup of cooked collard greens. On top of that, the very high protein content of dairy products makes the blood acidic. The calcium from bones is then used to neutralize the acid. Sounds a little counterproductive, doesn’t it?

There is protein in pretty much everything.

Most notably, beans, nuts, tofu, and tempeh are great plant-based protein sources. But fruits, grains, and vegetables contain protein too!

I’m not Vitamin B12 deficient.

Here it is, in a nutshell, the way I understand it. First of all, B12 comes from bacteria. It’s not actually manufactured in animal foods.  Second, the daily vitamin B12 requirement is incredibly low. As in, single digit micrograms (not milligrams). I am not deficient in vitamin B12, and I never have been. People who are deficient are not necessarily vegans. As I move back towards a completely plant-based diet, I’ll do what I’ve always done: have blood work done to make sure I’m not deficient. If it ever becomes an issue, I’ll take a supplement.

5. A plant based diet of whole foods makes eating joyful.

What a wonderful experience it is when you’re eating beautiful, colorful, delicious food that is good for your body, easy on the earth, and harmful to no one.

6. Puck.

Two months ago, we had to put our cat to sleep. I feel that I can honor the life of my dear friend through an animal-free diet.

7. I have experienced exactly zero health benefits related to reintroducing dairy and eggs into my diet.

My cholesterol and blood pressure increased, I weigh 5 pounds more than I did before reintroduction, and I’m still deficient in vitamin D, in spite of the fact that so many dairy products are fortified.

8. Consuming a plant based diet of whole foods makes me feel good about myself and my life.

By removing animal products from my diet, I’m removing a huge source of conflict with myself. I feel both peaceful and energized, and I’m happier and more confident in all areas of my life. That may sound profound, and it is.

9. Plant-based cooking is like an exciting adventure.

Animal-free cooking involves an incredible array of colors, textures, and flavors that I find very inspiring. It’s fun to experiment with the chemistry of vegan baking and find creative ways to imitate some qualities of animal based foods.

10. The reasons not to eat a plant based diet aren’t real reasons.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone make a comment like “I could never give up my meat” or “Veganism is too extreme”, I would be living above the poverty threshold!

It seems that the main reason people don’t choose a plant based diet is that they’re put out by the idea of not having something they want. Sometimes they give reasons related to nutrition that don’t really make sense (like the protein and calcium issues). When it comes down to it, most people would rather eat their meat/cheese/eggs and remain (often willfully) ignorant of the consequences.

I don’t understand what’s so extreme about a diet that makes so much sense, nor do I understand how anyone can be so disconnected and so distracted that they continue to indulge in ways that are cruel to animals and detrimental to their own health.

Certainly more to come on this subject. Your thoughts, opinions, criticisms, and anything else are, as always, encouraged and appreciated.

 

About alimental

I am a recent college grad who loves preparing and eating good, healthy food. I live in Milwaukee with my husband and our two cats.
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12 Responses to 10 Reasons I’m Returning To Veganism

  1. I admire your conviction, and agree with you on most points. What I don’t clearly understand, though, is why these arguments sound shrill to me. At least that’s how they came across to me. And as I said, I agree with you. My impression, after reading your entry again, is that there is a decidedly defensive tone to the whole thing, and that’s probably what I found off-putting. I would imagine others would find defensiveness off-putting, as well.

    I’d like to comment specifically on taking supplements. Studies have shown that we don’t really benefit from supplements, and that nutrients that come from within the actual food we eat is much better utilized by our bodies, so the supplement mention is not a solid argument. This is where I had my realization about defensiveness, by the way. I don’t know that going vegan needs excuses. You chose it, you have the right to make such a choice, and you don’t even have to explain your choices to anyone. You are an adult and may live your life, in many respects, as you choose.

    As to honoring sweet Puck, you’ve honored him by your lovely tribute to him on your blog, and by giving him a happy, healthy life. Perhaps donating to an animal shelter in his name, or actively rescuing animals, or something like that, would be a more direct and pro-active way to continue to honor his memory, if that’s what you’re after. I don’t think being vegan has all that much to do with honoring him, but perhaps I’m just missing that part of your argument’s significance about going vegan. Still, I think since Puck was himself a carnivore and cats aren’t routinely eaten by people, perhaps that reason for choosing to be vegan is a bit of a stretch? That’s just how it feels to me, anyway.

    Also, and forgive me for I am much older than you, this whole post comes across as very young. The convictions of the young, while admirable, have a touch of stridency to them when read by those whose life experience is a wee bit longer. It’s almost impossible to live all your principles all the time — and as we age we do tend to mellow and choose our battles without beating people over the head, so to speak.

    • alimental says:

      Thanks for your response!

      First of all, of course I don’t need an excuse to eat a vegan diet. I am simply sharing a few of my personal reasons for doing so. While I do have strong feelings about consuming a plant based diet, nothing in this post is meant as an argument or anything more than my personal views and feelings.
      I think the only time I wrote anything that could really be taken as defensive was in regard to nutrition, which I do find myself defending constantly, even eating just a vegetarian diet. In regard to supplements, I understand. I guess my real point was that I haven’t had any issues so far (I was vegan previously for over 5 years), and I’ll deal with an issue if it arises.

      Of course I will rescue another animal when I am able. However, I don’t really think it’s necessary to tell someone that there is a better or more appropriate way to honor a deceased loved one. If eating a vegan diet is my way of honoring him, and it brings me peace, then what difference does it make? As with almost everything said in this post, the significance is personal and has little to do with an argument for veganism.

      I’m always a little confused when people use “young” in a condescending way.

      Once again, thank you for reading my thoughts and sharing yours!

      • Sorry you thought my use of the word “young” was condescending. I didn’t mean for it to be. I meant it to be more descriptive and probably used it as shorthand. Perhaps I meant “passionate in an unformed way”? I suppose that translates to me, as an older person, as young. There is a lot I admire about your passionate stance, except, as I mentioned, what I felt was a defensive tone.

        I think it’s wonderful your reasons are well thought out. Since you write about your own choices, I was aware these were your personal views. But when it’s in blog form and people read what you write, it takes on slightly greater significance, I think. And you do make some blanket statements regarding humanity in points 1 and 2. I suppose the idea I had was that it might work better, in a situation when questions come up that you’d rather not answer (about veganism) or feel defensive about, to say nothing, which is an option rarely chosen when we’re young. It often takes a lot of experience and age, as well as accumulated wisdom to realize we can choose not to engage in an argument at all. Perhaps not to engage with all but those who really love and care for you and who have your best interests at heart but may not understand your choices. Even then, being defensive is offputting, which is why I mentioned the vibe, because it closes down rather than opens dialogues.

        I’m not feeling sure that you are really open to my comments, even though you thanked me for them, and I am sorry if you didn’t like what I had to say. After all we don’t know one another, so perhaps you are wondering why I commented. I bookmarked your blog some time back mainly for the cooking stuff, but have read all your entries months and have a feeling of knowing something about you, since you write about several aspects of your life. For instance, I congratulated you on your upcoming move, and commented when Puck died. I surely felt your pain as a cat owner myself.

        The reason I mention I’m not sure you’re open to my comments is because of your reaction to my comment regarding #6. Puck. You listed him as a reason for going vegan, and then in your reply to me you say that argument had little to do with veganism, which is what I was pointing out. I didn’t really think I was telling you there was a better way of honoring him, because I started by acknowledging that you had honored him beautifully already. What I was trying to say is it felt disengenuous to bring him up as a reason for going vegan. You have a lot of good reasons and I can tell you loved Puck very much, so why include him at all when it’s not germane? That’s what I meant to point out, and my guess is it must have offended you.

        Also, there are quite a few defensive arguments, and I’ll list one: “If you think vegetarianism is much better than an omnivorous diet, you’re lying to yourself. I’m tired of lying to myself.” I can’t think of a much more defensive way to say what you said, and it’s offensive if you use it as a reason for going vegan to anyone who has an interest in engaging in a conversation about it. It’s very critical of anyone who isn’t vegan, and not likely to bring people into a conversation, rather, it’s the type of statement that will make people turn away because there is so much judgment is attached. I’m just trying to point out there are ways to go about engaging in a dialogue if you really want to enlighten people, and the tone of your arguments, to me, were not likely to be helpful to many folks because their ears will just close up once they catch a whiff of feeling judged.

        Anyway, that’s been my experience. I was a vegetarian in they 70’s and 80’s when it was unheard of except in Hippie and alternate communities, and the mainstream was horrified by not eating meat. It was an uphill battle, and I found then that any type of defensiveness shut down dialogue altogether. Veganism is perhaps now where vegetarianism was then. And of course people are going to be interested, and have questions, etc. The way you communicate your reasons, if you choose to do so, will have a big impact on whether people respond well or poorly to you and will also have some impact on whether they feel you are are credible or just some raving lunatic. It’s so easy to write people off. So please, if you can, take a page from the lessons I’ve learned and try to find a way to care not only about yourself, but others with whom you come into contact, because I think your choice is important, and the message may be lost if it’s not coming from the heart in a helpful, inclusive, loving way.

      • alimental says:

        I really do welcome your comments, and I am flattered that you find my blog worthy of your time. It’s clear that we don’t see eye to eye.

  2. le7 says:

    I definitely respect your decision. I gave up being vegetarian a few years ago, probably for what seems a silly reason. I started keeping kosher and I decided that it was enough work dealing with one set of dietary restrictions without holding on to another.

    The one plus to that, is kosher animal products are extremely expensive, so my animal product intake is much less than it was before I became vegetarian. (My overall animal product intake is probably less now that I keep kosher and am not vegetarian vs. when I was vegetarian…)

    Also regarding Vitamin B12, from what I understand, you’re 100% correct. If anything, people who are worried about pernicious anemia should be anti “high-colonics” and not anti-vegan.

    I also wanted to throw out that in one of your previous posts you mentioned putting techina on a salad. I bought sesame paste a few weeks ago, started making my own techina, and have come to the conclusion that it is a delicious substitute for creamy salad dressings. So, thanks!

    • alimental says:

      Thanks, Elisheva. I was recently chatting with a co-worker about how keeping kosher works, and passover, etc. It definitely sounds like a lot to keep track of! One thing that helped me to keep my dairy intake relatively low was also the cost of organic dairy, so I know what you mean.

      Tahini as salad dressing is so awesome! I’ve also been using homemade hummus and various kinds of salsa. I think stuff like that is way tastier than salad dressing, and hummus is so much more nutritious, and salsa is naturally low in calories. So good. I love salads.

  3. Andreas says:

    We’re veggie in my family, and we’re constantly toying with the idea of going vegan, and while we’re not all the way there – yet? – I can certainly recognize many of the issues you’re dealing with here.
    It’s not that we’re “defensive”, it’s that we’re being FORCED to be defensive. Honestly, if I could avoid ever talking to omnivores about diet I’d happily take that deal.
    Instead our calcium and protein intake is being questioned – in turn the health and wellbeing of our children. Who *wouldn’t* defend their stance in such a situation?

    And yes, I’ve heard the story about “the convictions of the young” many a time. From my in-laws, who appeared frightened by political idealism, from elderly, frightened by a departure from meat-and-potatoes.

    Awareness of ones own intentions is the first step, and that’s where we set a level of commitment to our environment, health and nature. What irks me is when people don’t ever stop to reflect.
    If they DO stop and properly reflect, then it becomes a lot easier for me to accept their now fully conscious choices, regardless of how they align with my own.

  4. Emily says:

    I think your decision to return to a plant based diet is inspiring and honorable. This blog post got me thinking about my own diet again and I completely agree with you; I have reaped no benefits in consuming fish or animal byproduct and have had to shove my emotions to the back of my mind in the process.

    I’m sorry that people are questioning your grieving process, which is clearly out of line, and implying that you age somehow corresponds to your level of intelligence. Clearly, these people have never met you; calling you “uninformed” is almost hilarious in it’s absurdity. Perhaps my feelings are invalid, because I am even younger that you are, but I count you as one of the smartest people I know.

  5. Noomi says:

    Hi🙂
    I just came across this post randomly and it made my day. I always love when I meet people who became vegetarian or vegan in honor of their pets. I had been vegetarian since age twelve and vegan since seventeen when my beloved dog Sammy of nine years died in my arms. He was diagnosed with cancer about a year after being wrongly diagnosed and so there was nothing we could do at that point, our vet told us to take him in to be put to sleep the following day. I remember that night he was not doing well at all and I was sitting on the floor and he came and crawled into my lap and started kissing my face. It was very evident that he was in pain and wanted desperately to be held, as he was dying I remember him looking up at me and I saw the confusion and fear in his eyes, this is something I will never forget. A few months after that I became vegan and I could never imagine purposely supporting the cruel treatment of any animal used for food or other purposes. This is something I do in his memory and I feel that his life taught me how precious every living being is. Well, I really just wanted to say that I completely understand that you would go vegan in honor of your cat Puck, and I think that is the most amazing thing. I’m sorry if this is super cheesy but I felt the need to leave a comment after reading a couple of the reply’s on here.

    • alimental says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. It’s nice to know that someone else thinks this reason makes sense.

      I have also been a vegetarian since I was about 12, and was vegan for about 5 years. I’m not really sure anymore why I moved away from veganism, but after we lost Puck (he also died in my arms), I felt more compassion for animals than I ever have. The truth is that cows, pigs, chickens, and other “food” animals are really not so different from my darling cat. I still miss him terribly every day, but knowing that I am no longer contributing to the suffering of animals makes me feel like his untimely death was not entirely in vain.

      Thanks again. I very much appreciate your supportiveness.

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