Recently, my brother-in-law told me he was undergoing a 30 day vegan study. He would eat vegan for 30 days and he would have his blood drawn before and after the study. When complete, he would be able to determine what effects a vegan diet had on his health. I already know what his results will be – he’ll have lower cholesterol, lower LDL’s and overall better blood sugar, blood pressure, and will feel better in general.
Doctors and scientists have proven over and over that plant-based diets are far superior to the average American diet that includes meat and dairy. Not only can plant-based diets prevent disease, but they can treat disease. If you are interested in a video I saw recently that explains the benefits of a plant-based diet, you can see it here on YouTube.
It’s so hard to eat vegan in our society. Fortunately, for those living in the big cities, and especially on the west coast, vegetarianism and veganism is more mainstream and not so radical. Living in the midwest, being a vegetarian seems radical. I often have one, maybe two choices on a restaurant menu that I am sure has no meat in it. Some things, however you just don’t know. Is that soup made with vegetable broth? Is there chicken stock in that risotto? Are there bacon pieces on the side salad? Are my pancakes cooked in lard? You often don’t know the answers. And sometimes the waiters don’t know either. You don’t want to be a pest, but you want to know. I’ve hated asking where my veggie burger has been cooked, but I don’t want to eat it if it’s been cooked on the same surface as meat. Many vegetarians are against eating meat for ethical or religious reasons and cross-contamination is a big threat. Even though I don’t eat this way for religious reasons, my reasons still matter.
Vegans and vegetarians live longer, healthier lives. The science has proven it. So why has our culture been so slow to accept it and adapt? Obviously not everyone wants to give up meat and animal products, but why not for a meal or two? Why don’t more restaurants have plant-based meal options?
For me, I don’t know if I could ever be completely vegan. If I had a personal chef making all of my food and money wasn’t an issue, then maybe I could. But for the life that I lead, I am happy with being as vegan as possible. And that works for me.
What’s important is that you do what works best for you, not what fits other people’s definitions or expectations.
My family and I eat Chicago style pizza, birthday cakes (eggs), cheese, and sometimes ice cream. When these situations come up, I don’t beat myself up because I had cheese on pizza or a slice of cake. I simply enjoy the food, and move on, and continue eating mostly vegan on a regular basis. Being meat-free, I feel better and I know I’m making a difference – helping animals and helping the environment.
I may not be perfect, but I’m happy that my health (and cholesterol) is excellent. I’m also glad to have saved approximately 1,414 animals in nearly seven years. I also calculated that there have been 11,261 LESS pounds of CO2 not released into the atmosphere because I didn’t eat meat. I’m happy, fewer animals have been killed, and the planet is happier.
I think that’s a pretty great combination.