Make a resolution to start of 2020 with Veganuary the month long vegan challenge!
-greatly reduce your carbon footprint and water use
-take it easy on your heart & lower your glucose
-save some animals a lot of suffering at the hands of factory farming
My story: If you have ever wondered "why the hell would anyone be vegan, I love cheese!" and then had to eat around me, maybe a lot of questions came to your mind that you wanted to ask but we didn't have time. Maybe you did ask questions but I deflected. I do that when I feel like people might get offended and we all should just be having a good time! I'm going to break it down for you here, AND I added a ton of info at the bottom to help you get educated. Keep reading if you are interested!
I grew up loving animals and asking my parents a lot of annoying questions about how we treat them. One of the times we visited Puerto Rico when I was little I wanted to have Abuelo's baby chicks as my friends and I didn't understand why I was told not to become attached to them. When my dad took me fishing I asked repeatedly "doesn't the hook hurt the fish?". And I'm sure they were super annoyed when I repeatedly avoided eating the meat on my plate. I never understood why I couldn't just eat potatoes and survive. Obviously you can do that if you were on a desert island and had nothing else, but it's not recommended! And even though some days I want to just eat potatoes (ha!) I know I need more vitamins and nutrients. As time went by and I grew up, I pushed those feelings aside, put my fingers in my ears when people talked about what a hot dog was made of, and realized that this was life and I had to do what everyone else did to survive.
These feelings resurfaced when I was in my mid 20s. My daughter was little and I worried about what I was putting in her growing body. I wanted her to be healthy and I noticed she was having some issues with dairy. After getting her checked out for allergies, the Dr. said she was fine but maybe a little intolerant. Nothing to worry about, just cut back on dairy A LITTLE. So I tried, but this girl loved cheese and I didn't have a lot of info about how it could actually be harming her, nor did I really TRY to find any. Everyone eats dairy, right? I was told it "does a body good". As I looked around for more info, I started to watch some videos on dairy, how it's made, the hormones, the antibiotics, the separation of child(calf) from mother. As a mother, I was horrified. But back in the early 2000s I had no idea where to find dairy free alternatives and again, I didn't really TRY to find out. I felt like my views were weird and maybe a little bit wrong. No one around me thought giving up dairy completely was a good idea or even healthy. I went back to the Standard American Diet (SAD - for a reason).
In 2017 I did the Plastic Free July challenge. It's a month long challenge to reduce your consumption of single-use plastics. It's a great challenge and really opens your eyes to how much waste there is in our modern society. Again, I'm sure I really annoy my family with everything I learned from the challenge, but while doing it I started to research other ways to reduce my carbon footprint. People also doing the challenge were sharing links to information about factory farming and how reducing your meat intake can help as well. I watched "Cowspiracy" on Netflix, which I still can't decide if I hate the name or love it (no in between). There is one scene where, after being bombarded with facts for 45 minutes, the narrator meets a chicken he was supposed to kill and eat himself. He couldn't do it and they metaphorically rode off together into the sunset. That's when it clicked. I flashed back to my baby chick cuddles as a child in Puerto Rico. I flashed back to the flopping fish on the end of my hook. I have been voluntarily blind for so long. For me, this was more than just about the planet, this was about our fellow earthlings. These amazing, loving, social creatures we subject every day to a life of misery. I cuddled with my dog and cried for days and before the sting of it fully went away I went vegan and never looked back.
I think the part that really sealed it for me was seeing the immediate health benefits. My heart palpitations stopped after a month (yeah sorry I didn't tell you about that fam... I was super worried), my energy increased, my crippling depression subsided, I barely got sick, my acne all but disappeared, and I slept better. I felt good, and I looked good! I felt like the clouds were clearing. This feeling gave me the confidence to try dating again. But with that I wondered, if this can fix some of MY health issues maybe it can fix health issues for other people. I started to research the actual health benefits, learning all about what a body actually needs and how to provide it. I looked into some of the amazing research being done and the amazing results for cancer survivors, people with heart disease and diabetics. I'm still sad that people get really offended when I try to talk about these health benefits. "Let food be thy medicine" but only the food you WANT to eat, right?
If you want 2020 to be the year you make big changes, give Veganuary a try. Find your reason WHY, and make a commitment to just 31 days. Eating plant based and living vegan changed my life for the better and I just wanted to share that with you. Good luck to you!
HELPFUL INFO (there is too much to put here actually, so here's a few)
HEALTH & NUTRITION:
*Center for Nutrition Studies: nutritionstudies
*Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: www.pcrm.org/goo
*8 High Protein Veggies: www.bodybuilding
*Netflix - "Forks Over Knives" (health befits of eating plant based)
*Netflix - "What the Health" (why are major health organizations telling you to eat plants and then giving you bacon recipes?)
*Olympic Weightlifter Kendrik Farris' Diet: www.mensjournal.
*25 Ripped Vegan Athletes: www.youtube.com/
*Netflix - "The Gamechangers" (Presented by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic and Chris Paul - athletes eating plantbased and how it is going for them)
*Netflix - "Cowspiracy" (the hidden facts about sustainability)
*Incredible list of facts and their sources: www.cowspiracy.c
FACTORY FARMING (not for the feint of heart):
*Dominion: Showing standard factory farming practices. www.youtube.com/
*Death on a Factory Farm: people trying to hold farm animal abusers accountable and how the law protects them www.hbo.com/docu
THE CIVIL ISSUE:
*Factory farms hurt our communities:
*Animal packing plant workers with PTSD and high occupational injury: www.ncbi.nlm.nih
Disclaimer to local farmers: I said "factory" farms.