This post is going to be long, so bear with me.
I am suspicious by nature. I don’t do things, just because someone says I should (in fact, I tend to go the opposite direction if someone tells me I should do something). Remember…I am a lawyer by training. My instinct when I hear something is to research it… To… Death. Unfortunately, with veganism, minimalism, and now my zero-waste quests, that also means information overload, and often even more confusion about what to eat, or wear, or buy. I had to start with the basics. WHY was any of this important?
Fortunately for me, there is the world of the documentary, and the docuseries. So – I binged. I watched everything I could find. Some of my favorites are listed below. I learned about the horrific treatment of animals and what actually goes into the things I considered healthy, such as mass-produced chicken. (Fecal soup anyone?) I learned the benefits of plant-based eating – which I also learned is different than veganism. One really frightening thing I discovered was the influence big business has over the food industry, and the ties that they have to organizations such as the American Cancer Society. Meanwhile, my dad found some interest in my little journey and gave me a not-so-little book he had sitting on his shelf, “The China Study”. It is not an easy read, but there are lots of synopses out there, and it is referenced in many of the films I binged on.
There is an enormous amount of evidence that living a plant-based lifestyle decreases your risk of many diseases, and may even reduce or eliminate signs of those you currently have. Now, I am not doctor, but the information I found after my little investigation was pretty overwhelming in favor of a lifestyle change to plant-based or veganism. This is something I continue to look at constantly.
After my binging, I decided to become vegan, not plant-based (yet). Oh… I should mention that during my information quest, my daughters were not so interested in all the things I was learning. One quickly fell off the vegan wagon. The other is hanging on pretty tight. I also have a son who goes back and forth. This was my main reason for choosing vegan over plant-based. If I don’t have a few unhealthy things around the house (Oreos are vegan, by the way) then two of my three think I am trying to ruin their lives.
I bought cookbooks (used of course). I started my new Pinterest board (Veganish). I loaded up all dairy and meat products and gave them away; and I became a member at Natural Grocers and a frequent flyer at Sprouts. No going back. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for everyone. It was an extreme change and like I said – my kids were NOT all excited about it. There are definitely ways you can accomplish what I did…slowly. I am just not that person.
My post today is for those of you who may wonder why to do this. I hear it all the time: “I just don’t think I could do it. I love meat”….. “My kids would know if I tried to use soy”… “Oh, I can tell the difference between ‘fake’ meat and ‘real meat'”…
You get the idea. I am here to tell you, there ARE great alternatives to meat. (Smart Bacon is AWESOME). Educate yourself about the options. Choose which route is right for you, and how you will approach it. Vegan, or Plant-Based? All-in, or replace a meal or two at a time? Get some recipes…try it out. Experiment.
I should mention that before becoming vegan, I hated to cook. I hated touching meat. This new lifestyle is actually kind of fun. You look in your fridge, find a few different veggies, cook some pasta or rice, throw on some tomato sauce, or veggie broth and you have a meal. It is so easy and so much less waste.
Comment below if you have made these kinds of changes, or want to. What did you like? What did you learn? Any questions? Until next time…