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Friday, March 7, 2014

The Skeptic's Guide to Vegetarianism + My Vegetarian/Vegan Story


If you've had an internal debate deciding whether or not vegetarianism is the right choice for your lifestyle, this is the post where I try to win you over. No, I'm not linking you to the horrifyingly gruesome videos of chickens and cows being tortured. I haven't eaten meat for over 5 years, and not once have I watched a single "vegetarian propaganda" video.

What is vegetarianism?
Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat. Those meats can include, red meat, poultry, seafood, or any other animal that was living at one time. Now there's some people out there who call themselves vegetarians, but still eat fish. Those people would be called pescetarians.
There are different variations of the way people practice vegetarianism. There are ovo-vegetarians who eat eggs, but no other dairy products. There are lacto-vegetarians who eat dairy products, but not eggs. And finally, there are ovo-lacto vegetarians who do not eat eggs or dairy products.
(I thank my 10th grade Nutrition teacher for my extensive knowledge on vegetarians)

What is veganism?
Veganism is essentially just vegetarianism kicked up a notch. Vegans do not eat any animal products, may that be meat, eggs, dairy or honey. Vegans also refrain from buying manufactured animal products, like leather. This also includes the consumption of normal things like granulated sugar, baking soda (which you wouldn't consume on it's own, I hope), or the use of a majority of all makeup brands like Cover Girl. "But why", you may ask. Most granulated sugars contain bone char (disgusting, I know), while a majority of baking sodas are tested on animals along with a majority of makeup brands, such as Cover Girl.

Converting over to vegetarianism/veganism may seem super difficult, but not when you have your trusty friend the internet on your side! There are loads of people out there who share yummy recipes, cool vegan products, and other animal friendly items. I have a post on my blog listing all the makeup brands I've found to be against animal-cruelty in my Vegan Makeup Bag post!

My Vegetarian/Vegan Story
Originally, I became a vegetarian for the sake of animals. I have a personal reason as to why I stopped eating meat, but I'd rather keep that, well, personal. Basically, I just love animals. I love them too much to know that there are living, breathing creatures out there being killed for our dining pleasure. Once I realized humans can survive on a plant based diet, there wasn't really any other option for me. I wasn't eating meat anymore. Game over. That's all. I was a vegetarian. That was five years ago.
Last August, I decided by November 24 (the 5 year mark of being a vegetarian) I wanted to be a full-fledged vegan. I gave myself 3 months to slowly wean myself off cheese, milk, eggs, and other dairy products. I found that method to be very effective rather than cutting dairy out cold turkey (I realize the irony).
Now, 3 months later, I take vegan dietary supplements every day that have been approved by my doctor. I also make a conscious effort to eat mostly raw foods. That may seem undesirable, having to keep track of what you eat everyday, but I think that's something we forget when we eat meals out of cardboard boxes. Once you start looking at the ingredients in processed foods, you begin to realize how scary the things you're putting in your body really are. There's this thing called soy lecithin, which is essentially in all processed foods, that is super bad for you. Turning vegan allowed me to understand these little things that I wouldn't have even cared about otherwise.

Vegetarianism is a humane way to live your life, we all know that. Vegetarianism is also a very healthy way to life your life, if you do it right. I made a little list on all the benefits I've experienced after converting over to a vegetarian lifestyle.

The Humane Benefits
If you have any type of compassion towards animals, cutting out meat from your diet will seriously take a huge weight off your shoulders. I felt this sort of constant sigh of relief knowing I'm not causing any harm to any living creature out there. I think the humane benefits are a lot more rewarding than any other benefit I've received from vegetarianism/veganism.

The Health Benefits
When you do it right, a vegetarian diet can be AMAZING for your health. It's been said that eating less meat can help your heart and decrease your risk of cancer and other diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Some people cut out meat for the weight loss, but I haven't eaten meat since I was 14. If I weighed less than what I weighed at 14, I think that might be a problem. I think my diet now is 100% better than my diet 5 years ago. I understand what I'm putting in my body and I love that.

The Environmental Benefits
This wasn't something I found out until recently. Cutting out meat can help the environment. There's this thing called "greenhouse gas" which is basically what is said to cause global warming. Raising cattle for beef and milk spews a whole lot of greenhouse gases. I know, just one person cutting out meat won't help solve this gigantic problem, but it's a start.

The Lifestyle Benefits
Before I was a vegetarian, I thought nothing of eating at fast food restaurants. We all know fast food is bad for us, but we eat it anyway, right? Well I took away the option of eating at fast food restaurants the moment I became a vegetarian and I am so thankful for that. If I carried on eating at McDonalds as I was at 14, who knows how clogged my arteries would be by now! I care way too much about my body now to ever go back to a lifestyle that doesn't involve vegan substitutes.

Sorry for the wordy post if you're not into that type of thing. I've been debating whether or not I wanted to make a post in regards of my vegetarian story for a while now. I'm really pleased with what I've written and I hope I've got a few readers out there thinking of converting. It was the best decision I've ever made in my life.

xo, Sarah Holt

6 comments:

  1. Hi Sarah,
    If I could, I would turn my life around and become a vegan (although, cutting out cheese and yoghurt would be really hard). In november I started eating less meat, not that I was a big meat eater before, but I just got more aware of it. I really felt a positive change, and if I could, meat was no longer on my menu. The only thing that's holding me back is the fact that at home, I have to eat what comes on the table (unless I make dinner). They sometimes don't understand why I don't like eating meat. And I share my student house with a lot of farmer students. So you probably can imagine their reactions when I'm not eating meat. They even haven't heard of tofu! haha
    Anyway, I always feel like I have to justify myself towards them, which is actually not necessary at all.
    I was wondering on how other people react on your vegan lifestyle? Do you always have to justify yourself and are they also trying to convince you to eat meat and dairy products again? And how do you respond? It would be a huge help to me if you could let me know your experiences with the reactions of others :)
    Loved this wordy post!
    Have a nice weekend!

    Sofie x
    Little green Sofie

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    1. My parent were the most skeptical at first. My mom didn't think it would be healthy for me. We then went grocery shopping and found "fake meat" and realized I could essentially eat everything my family would eat for dinner, but with the substitute. For instance, my mom would make chili for dinner. She'd make the normal big pot of chili for everyone else, but before she added the beef, she'd separate a bit and make a dish with fake meat for me. So I was able to eat the same dinner as my family, but with fake meat. I think my mom is now my biggest supporter of my vegan diet.
      As far as telling other people, there's always the few who think it's a total waste of time which leads them to ask silly, pointless questions like "if you were on a desert island and the only thing you were able to eat was meat, would you?" It gets frustrating, but I just brush it off. I know this lifestyle is what I ultimately want and I understand not everyone gets it. I honestly don't tell many people to avoid the silly questions. I'm sort of forced to if I eat a meal with them, but it's not something I bring up as random talk.
      Thanks for all the questions! Didn't even think of including these topics in my post!

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  2. Great post dear:)
    Love your blog,followed!:))

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  3. I have only just found your blog and I love it! We share so many similar viewpoints it's good to see there are people out there with a passion for the same things! I've been a vegetarian for thirteen years now and I think I want to start making the transition to veganism. My sister is vegan and I cook for her and find it quite easy so maybe this is my year to start! It would probably be a boost to my health as well! Love the blog keep writing!

    I have a blog on cruelty free make up if you're interested (a lot of the companies I feature do vegan make up too), www.crueltyfreebeautyatface.com xxx

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    1. I'm glad you like my blog!! I was VERY excited when I found your blog... There aren't many cruelty free blogs out there! Also, If you find cooking vegan food easy, you should definitely start a vegan diet! I find cooking the meals to be the hardest part!!
      xo, Sarah

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