Is veganism really beneficial for your health, body and soul or does it rob you of the essential nutrients? Is it all just a bunch of bullcrap or the latest “fashion” trend??
For all those years I thought I knew something about food and nutrition, and I was convinced that I was giving my body what it needed. But I was wrong as I found out when I started thinking of veganism. I wanted to do it right so that I won’t cause more harm than gain and truly understand the rules of proper vegan lifestyle, so I began my research. I wanted to figure out how to eat for health, energy, strong muscular physique and constant weight so that I never have to worry about dieting, weight loss and eating disorder ever again. And how to do it toxins and cruelty free. Those were my goals. After couple months of studying and gradually applying one thing after another, I absolutely fell in love with the lifestyle, with preparing my meals, how delicious they were, how they made me feel, what they did for my performance. And there were no special recipes. I just made them up based on what I felt like having. I just had to stock my fridge, and I was ready to make anything I wanted anytime I wanted. I often try different combinations, simply whatever my tastebuds please. I love cooking a great dinner and enjoying it with my partner while talking over a bottle of wine.
I also loved animals since I was little, and even though I’m a city girl, we used to spend our weekends in a country house that my parents bought when I was seven. We’d spend all weekends playing around with kids, but also help our parents with gardening, sorting, storing and conserving the harvest. We had some chickens and used to take care of the newborns, kept them warm under the lamp and basically at that time it didn’t really occur to me like “this cute little thing is what I’ll have for dinner later”. I used to go to a nearby farm and, along with many kids, accompany the farmer when taking the herd to a meadow, or I’d just run around the village and pet every single dog I met. Occasionally I’d bring a kitten home to at least feed it because I knew my mom wouldn’t let me keep it, or once I totally scared her when I appeared in front of her with a dead mole in my hand and begged her to save it. When I was about eleven-twelve, I started to realize even more that just like us, when we get hurt and feel the pain, there must be no other way how animals feel when being hurt. I asked myself, why would that be different? They’re alive, just like us, thinking and feeling creatures just like us. And I felt a strong disconnect and discomfort when being served meat for lunch. Of course, my parents didn’t agree and insisted I needed meat as my body was still growing, but at least we agreed that I’ll only eat chicken and fish. And somewhere between the age of 13 and 14 quit eating meat altogether and became a vegetarian. As years went by and especially last 6 years that I spent volunteering for the animal shelter and trying to promote more humane behavior not only toward social animals, but all of them in general, I felt more and more convinced that being humane and treating nature and animals right will reflect positively on us and this planet as well.
I read many materials and watched several movies and became undoubted that I want to live as naturally as possible. You might think I’m some kind of a hippie or as some of my friends already named me: a tree hugger, environmentalist, green freak, whatever. I simply prefer a holistic approach in everything I do, and my life has never been better. I only buy real foods – veggies, fruits, legumes, rice, nuts and seeds, and prepare all my meals, drink green, ginger and herbal teas, coffee with cinnamon, lemon water. I don’t eat any pre-packaged foods or pre-made drinks. All of my cosmetics is natural. I use pure oils (hemp, tea tree, argan, St John's wort), Himalayan salt etc. to keep my skin clean and moisturized. My clothes and shoes are vegan yet very elegant and comfortable. I haven’t taken any medication whatsoever in a long, long time. When I have a headache (which happens like twice a year usually due to low water consumption when traveling), I just drink some water and take a short nap and it’s gone. There are almost no plastics in my kitchen or bathroom. I use mainly glass containers, stainless steel for cooking, stainless steel water bottle and reusable food wrappers when on the go. I recycle everything that comes through my hands.
I love vegan way of living; to me veganism is about “pure”, about living in harmony with nature and all the living creatures. I do not want to cause pain to anyone, and of course it’s also about my belief that such regimen is beneficial for the body. I’m not writing this to convince you to turn to veganism, and I’m aware that many people stereotypically speak of vegan as some skinny hippie person. That’s their opinion and it’s ok with me. Also, I'm not trying to break the stereotype, I follow this regimen for my own personal reasons and because it works for me. It absolutely contributed to my recovery from bulimia after 13 years and other health issues I’d been going through due to wrong food choices and binge and purge cycles. I have more energy and recover better after my workouts. I just feel lighter yet stronger. There are many reasons why it works for me; there are many resources available that can show you all the benefits of such lifestyle, but you need to decide based on your own motivations.
People often think there is no variety in veganism. They find it boring or insufficient in nutrients, but it only requires study of some quality information and you’ll find out that quite the opposite is true. Many tests have been conducted comparing today’s omnivores and vegans that confirmed that their overall health and levels of vital nutrients and vitamins were much higher because vegans are more educated and selective of high-quality foods. Find some of the resources I went through below; they will provide sufficient information for you. I think there are still people who need to be made believers…maybe you’re one of them:)
The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear - Gary Yourovsky
Food Inc. (2008)
Food Matters (2008)
Forks Over Knives (2011)
Hungry For Change (2012)
The Sacred Science (2011)
Fat, Sick & Nearly Death (2010)
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health – T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell II
MAD COWBOY: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat – Howard F. Lyman
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism - Melanie Joy Ph.D.