Monday, July 24, 2017

Why Vegan? Part 1

This is a conversation that I have had countless times in my everyday life, but I really haven't had it so much over the Internet (though I'm sure that could easily change the longer I'm a presence here). I started trying to write this as a single post, but it was getting really long. So in order to really do this topic justice, I'm going to break it up. For part 1, I'm going to talk about my initial reasoning for choosing veganism (health, perks). For part 2, we'll cover the reasons for why I'll never go back (animals, civilization).

First off, there are lots of different ways to be vegan: dietary, ethical, raw, raw-til-4, junk food, and I'm sure there are more. I identify as an ethical vegan, and I try my best to switch more and more of our products to vegan options as we go on. But I started out as a dietary vegan who fell in love with the side benefits and decided to learn even more about the choice I was making.

Health

Let me preface this by saying I just got a bad hand genetically. I was always active growing up, and I didn't eat poorly. We ate mostly home-cooked meals because my mother made health a priority. Not that it mattered because I still had borderline high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and was having mini strokes - when I was 16. I started on this journey thanks to a paper I wrote in college that showed countless health benefits to veganism. I made the transition over the course of months starting out pescatarian and then switching to vegetarian. While I was vegetarian, my cholesterol dropped 40 points in 7 months.
Yep, these are my actual results. Haven't seen my maiden name in years XD
I was still pretty active through college going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, doing yoga, swimming, and playing volleyball with friends. Nothing would fix my blood pressure, though, until I went vegan. I was mostly plant-based and avoided processed foods aside from plant milk. Thanks to that change, I finally solved the blood pressure issue. I really don't get sick anymore, and even my pollen allergy isn't bothering me as much. Some of the other benefits that I should be getting but won't really know for sure is significantly reduced risk for cancer and diabetes, both of which run in my family. So long as I continue to not develop any chronic diseases or terminal illnesses, I'll go ahead and add that to my win pile.


Side Benefits

Even being vegetarian I noticed a huge increase in energy, and I felt lighter and less foggy. Through pregnancy, I haven't really had much pregnancy brain except for one week where I was forgetting everything (baby brain on the other hand has been hitting hard). Another huge perk was the cost. I'm not sure where the misconception came from that veganism is more expensive than the Standard American Diet (SAD) because let's be honest, it costs LESS to buy beans and rice than it does to buy meat. And since I've been sick less, I'm spending less on OTC medicines and doctor's visits. I don't have to worry about ever getting put on medicines for my cholesterol or blood pressure.
Note that this is cost per CALORIE, not per pound.
One of my all-time favorite perks, though, is that I can pretty much eat all day because it's almost required. You have to stop looking at how much food is on your plate and think in terms of calories. I can't order salads at restaurants because they are a FRACTION of the size you actually need for a full blown meal unless you're loading up on avocado and olive oil and other fats. If you're eating a variety of whole foods instead of processed foods, it's very hard to overeat. And one bad day of eating a ton of vegan junk doesn't do as much harm since you're not binging on those high cholesterol foods.
You HAVE to eat more to get the same number of calories!
That's enough for today. We'll pick this up in part 2! So tell me, what's holding you back? If you are vegan, what started you on the journey?