Why I became an (almost) vegan, but I’m not in your face about it.

Normally my topics here are solely about design, photography, or something closely related. I felt like something more personal was fitting this month while beginning a new year.

Veganism. Lacto Vegetarian. And other dirty words

To some, vegan is a dirty word. There are flashes in the mind of PETA, Greenpeace, naked women protesting fur and scary animal cruelty videos.

To others, it’s a quiet choice. That’s where I fit in.

I started my journey towards a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle when I was just a teenager, several years after becoming environmentally conscious reading “50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth.” I kept that book on my shelf for years. My parents thought my new found eating choices were just a phase and demanded I eat some form of meat. I reluctantly ate turkey and chicken until I moved for college. Almost two decades years later, I haven’t touched meat since and recently gave up eggs and rarely eat dairy.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll preach to you about my choice. If you’re reading this, I assume you’re curious about my reasons. Unless you ask, I’d never bring it up in person.

Environmental Impact

Science has showed us that eating meat has a significant environmental impact. Raising cattle, for example, uses more land – commonly seen through the burning of the Amazon rainforests – but also negatively affects the health of our water supplies, fills the air with greenhouse gases like methane, and is overall an inefficient protein source. Time and numerous other non-political news sources have documented this problem. It’s not an almost-vegan girl’s crazy idea. Beef, to continue my example, requires 160 times more land and produces 11 times more greenhouse gases than plant-based staples.

So, call me a tree-hugger. I’m okay with that. I want to have a liveable planet there when I’m 90 and for the next generations.

Animal Welfare

I’ve always loved animals. I couldn’t slaughter one if I tried. I saved a turkey once off a slaughter truck. I have three cats from shelters. My compassion for animals and people is much the same. I respect intelligent life and practice compassion when I can. As such, I can’t support an industry that produces conditions that forces living creatures to be tortured. You don’t have to take my word for it – non-political news sources like the New York Times document it frequently. I believe animals, like humans, deserve to live a little, turn around, and breathe clean air. I think humanity can do better, so I choose to be different.

Modern meat is scary

Animals in factory farms are too often injected with antibiotics, hormones and squished together in ways that often contaminate meat with bodily fluids and bacteria. Again, don’t take my word for it – there are numerous articles from media outlets like CNN to tell you.

Allergies

I also recently discovered I have numerous food allergies. You might not believe the laundry list of items that I’m allergic to, including beef, turkey, eggs and numerous plants. While I’ve long struggled with giving up processed foods, this revelation has helped me moved towards a plant-based diet in ways most cannot understand. I thrive on my vegan slowcooker books and other recipes and have learned to cook homemade seitan. And amazingly, my grocery bill has been reduced dramatically as I rarely eat processed foods or at restaurants.

So What?

I might decline your invitation to dinner or lunch. You might be served something unfamiliar at my house party. I am not 90 pounds thin. But I am happy with my choice and hope that others choose a similar path. But I won’t bother you if you don’t bother me with your fishing pictures or steak dinner.