Written by Mohana Padma Priya
My Vegan Story
Six years ago, I was going through a huge health issue which was making my life terrible. All I wanted was to be healthy. Every time I ate any type of food, I would get so bloated that all my organs would start hurting. This period lasted for about six months. I was desperately trying to find a solution to this problem which was slowing me down. I visited all kinds of doctors and got many different tests, but no one could find what was causing this. Then, I started researching different types of diets that would maybe be able to help me to reduce this problem.
First, I decided to go gluten-free and lactose-free for six months, but this didn’t resolve my problem. After all this, I decided it was time to go on a vacation, rest for a couple of days and then decide what to do next. While on vacation, I was eating a piece of meat, and I just thought, “this will be the last piece of meat that I will ever eat”. I didn’t know why I started having these thoughts, but it led me to research “How to go Vegan” when I came back home.
The first thing I found was a suggestion to watch three documentaries: Earthlings, Cowspiracy, and Forks Over Knives. I’ll talk more about these later in this article. After watching them all in just one night, I decided that I will never again have any meat or animal products. This discovery changed my life right from the start. I realize this is the right thing to do, not just because of my health problem, but also because I didn’t want to see all this violence happening in the world. The documentary Earthlings touched my heart. Seeing how animals are getting treated, how much suffering they are going through just so we can eat meat or use animal ingredients changed my outlook on the world. At that moment, I decided that I would do everything in my power to help animals and the planet. This situation gave me a purpose in life. It made me realize that I want to help people, animals, and the earth. Going vegan inspired me to become a better person. Therefore, I’m writing to encourage everyone reading to lead a non-violent life and stay connected to themselves.
If you wonder about my health problem, it got solved by eating vegan food and incorporating daily meditation. A big part of it was eating very unhealthily and being stressed for a longer time.
Now that we know each other, let’s get on this beautiful journey to non-violence!
What is Vegan?
Being Vegan is not just a diet. It’s not just eating plant-based foods. It’s much more than that. It’s a whole lifestyle. It starts by adopting a vegan diet, but it goes so much deeper by living entirely in a non-violent way. This means using vegan products, buying only vegan clothes, using vegan cleaning products… Everything you are using and buying should be in tune with your morals.
For me, being vegan means being completely non-violent. And not only towards the animals, but towards everyone. So, it means being entirely non-violent for people and towards the planet and having peacefulness as the center of you your lifestyle.
Vegans today are categorized in multiple ways. Some of them like to classify themselves as ethical vegans, which means they went vegan because they are compassionate towards animals, environmental vegans that went vegan because of the planet, or health vegans who went vegan to better their health. After all, they had a specific health issue, and it got fixed by adopting a vegan diet. Ultimately, there is only one category in all of this are just the reasons why people went vegan. Non-violence towards all the beings on the planet, including yourself.
Being Vegan means you will never eat food that contains animal ingredients, like meat, dairy products, eggs, honey. You will never wear clothes or shoes made of natural materials that don’t have wool, silk, cashmere, leather, fur, feathers, and similar animal materials. You will only use cruelty-free cosmetics and cleaning products.
The vegan lifestyle is easily accessible everywhere today and doing a bit of research will help you to go Vegan in no time. Don’t be worried about what you will eat, drink, or wear. There are many delicious vegan dishes, and a significant amount of the clothes is made from natural materials like cotton, linen, and hemp. Have you ever heard that clothes can be made from Beech tree fiber? Or from coconut fiber? It’s incredible how many options there are. And for all your cleaning products or cosmetics, simply, you will just need to look for the bunny sign, which says cruelty-free.
Why Should you Go Vegan?
You should go vegan because you care. Changing your lifestyle to a non-violent one could have only one reason because you care for your own body to be healthy, you care for the planet to be restored, and you care for all the other beings to be safe. Before deciding to go on this journey, I recommend that you watch these three documentaries and deeply understand all the reasons why going vegan is an essential step in your life.
The first documentary that I recommend it’s called Earthlings. You can easily find it on YouTube, and here is a link where you can access the video: [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gqwpfEcBjI ]. When I first watched this documentary six years ago, I couldn’t comprehend how the animals were treated, and it made me think do I want to be part of a lifestyle that harms the animals. This documentary is a bit harder to watch. It has parts when animals are being treated in the worst possible ways, but it will open your sight to what is happening in our world.
The second documentary is called Cowspiracy. This helped me connect to the planet. It helped me understand how much we can stop polluting the world by investing in agriculture and reducing harmful chemicals and gases by going vegan.
The last documentary that helped me to understand Vegan nutrition better is called Forks Over Knives. This made me realize how unhealthy I was eating and what I was doing wrong. The documentary talks about the vegan diet and how it can heal diseases when it is appropriately used. Nutrition is one of the most important parts of going vegan. When you start your vegan journey, you will most probably feel lost and confused. And that’s expected. Who doesn’t feel like that when they are opening a new chapter in their life? Learning about how much you need to eat, how often and what to eat is the starting point. And the easiest thing to do after watching this documentary is to just research vegan recipes, vegan restaurants, shops…
Now let’s start at the beginning.
Why meat is not vegan?
Meat is the most violent food that thousands of people consume every day. We have forgotten that meat is not another food in our daily diet, but a living being that has a soul, and that it’s a dead body, cooked and seasoned. This may sound cruel, but it’s the truth.
Every year, 56 billion animals are killed. This shocking figure does not include fish and other sea creatures whose death is so insignificant to man that it is measured in tons. Violence on a plate is the real name for meat, full of hormones, chemicals that the animal received while alive, and emotions of fear that it emits when it dies. When we look at meat as what it really is, it is not tasty at all.
One of the latest studies from the World Health Organization lists meat as one of the biggest causes of cancer. Read this article for more details. [ https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/world-health-organization-says-processed-meat-causes-cancer.html ].
Meat is often seen as a source of protein, but it is not the only source of protein. Most vegetables have protein. Here are some examples that have the highest amount of protein: lentils, beans, quinoa, soy, peas, soy milk, oats, spinach, broccoli, almonds, spirulina, tahini, chickpeas, peanuts, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds) … Which makes plant foods rich in protein. In fact, protein from meat is simply condensed and recycled plant protein.
We are taught from birth that pets are for petting, but they do not teach us to look at all animals that way. What is the difference between a pig and a dog? Aren’t there cases in other cultures where dogs are eaten? The root of any culture is based on the repetition of habits. But the truth is that eating any living thing is not natural at all. We need to look beyond the illusion that destruction brings us pleasure.
Meat also has a huge impact on the consumption of the planet’s resources. To produce 1 kg of meat it is necessary to consume an average of 15,000 liters of water or 7 kg of cereals. Forests are being destroyed daily to create more space for planting cereals to feed the animals. In the last 40 years, 40% of the forest in Central America alone has been destroyed. 91% of the Amazon rainforest is destroyed by animal feed. 1-2 hectares of land is cleared every minute. Water is constantly polluted with waste products from the meat industry.
I want to leave you with a glance into our true nature. Do this test… If you have a plate of fruit in front of you, your initial impulses would be to eat that fruit, but if you had a small pig in front of you, would your first impulse be to take out a knife and slaughter it? Would you smear your hands with the blood of this animal? Could you ever slaughter an animal and eat it? Buying meat from markets and butchers without seeing the face of the living animal before it became a piece of meat and without directly committing murder does not change the fact that we are investing and supporting murder.
Imagine what would happen if we used our resources to produce plant foods instead of meat. There will be no hungry people in the world and no animal suffering.