Veganism and Why It's Growing

Have you noticed that the word "vegan" is everywhere now? I'm here to help explain why it's growing rapidly and why it's time to think about getting behind the movement.

According to FoodRevolution.org, Veganism grew 600% between 2014 and 2017. Veganism: living a life without killing or hurting animals (physically or emotionally). I know that someone saying you should try living a different way can be very irritating, seem offensive, and make you want to be closed off to the idea right away. I was in the same exact boat. I use to think vegans were absolutely crazy! 

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It wasn't until 3 years ago when I saw slaughterhouse footage, that I decided to let go of meat products. If watching how my food is prepared makes me want to vomit or cry, then it makes sense to not support that business. I started to follow vegan pages on Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram and saw what is required to make dairy products and how egg industries grind up baby boy chicks alive. I also learned about easy vegan recipes and what products were out there to make some easy swaps. Companies like Beyond Meat have created plant-based meat that is JUST like the real thing. Now there are companies like Memphis Meats, who have come up with a way to grow meat from animal cells. I know it sounds weird, but they have created "clean" meat that doesn't have any risk of disease, fecal matter (which has been found in meat before), and has a much smaller environmental impact. I started to think that this vegan thing wasn't so crazy after all and was, perhaps, more obtainable than I thought...

Here are my top 3 reasons to go vegan (or at least support the movement by sharing info, trying vegan products, and/or lessening your meat and dairy intake):

1. Animal Agriculture is hurting the planet.

Studies have concluded that livestock contributes more to greenhouse gases than all of transportation. You heard that right. Methane gases (cow farts and poo) hurt our ozone more than all of the trains, cars, buses, and airplanes combined. According to The Conversation, "Livestock farming has a vast environmental footprint. It contributes to land and water degradation, biodiversity loss, acid rain, coral reef degeneration and deforestation." The United Nations has also addressed this problem! It's time we listen. Learn more about this topic by reading CNN's article: Go vegan, save the planet.

2. Animal products have been shown to contribute to health problems.

What do a lot of Americans have in common besides eating animal products every day, multiple times a day? Heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. All of these ailments have been linked to foods such as red meat, processed meat, and dairy. Makes me think these are signs that our bodies are trying to give us; perhaps we shouldn't be breastfeeding as adults (especially off another species), and consuming decomposing flesh. If you put a toddler in a room with an apple and a chicken, they're going to eat the apple and play with the chicken. If their first thought was to bite the chicken in the neck and tear its flesh off its body without any need for cooking and seasoning, well, that'd be a different story. Although we have 2 semi-sharp teeth, our teeth and intestines are actually more similar to herbivores. Learn more from this internal medicine physician, Dr. Milton Mills.

3. Animals are sentient beings that feel fear, pain, and love.

This is actually my number 1 reason for going vegan. The other benefits are just icing on the (vegan) cake to me. Ex-slaughterhouse workers describe seeing the fear in animal's eyes as they are about to be killed. They can smell the blood of their recently killed friends and they hear the screams. Pigs and cows are actually just like dogs (especially when treated with the respect that dogs get). They like to hang out with their friends, family, and they like to snuggle! So many of us are disconnected with what is required to get that piece of meat on our plate...and it's not our fault. Companies have made it a point to keep these things out of site, out of mind. "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian." - Paul McCartney

I'm here to help support the vegan movement in the Upper Valley. I have learned about so many products that I never heard of and have tried so many new recipes that I am excited to share what I've learned. Some people think that living a vegan lifestyle is restrictive; I promise you, it actually opens up a whole new world and is much easier than you think!

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