I’ve always tried to lead a healthy lifestyle, but my eating habits have been all over the place. I either am eating super healthy, or have fallen off the wagon. Out of the blue a few weeks ago, I decided to become vegan. I have been thinking about this for the past few years, but have never pulled the trigger. There are numerous reasons for becoming vegan- it could be for health, social consciousness, or other reasons. I have decide to gradually become vegan because of the inhumane treatment of animals within our food system.
I have watched numerous documentaries including Food Inc, Forks Over Knives, and other independent food documentaries. The message is the same- our food system is screwed up. As with all things in the United States, the motivation is purely monetary. One thing that stuck out to me was the treatment of cows.
Cows are forced to eat food that inherently makes them sick, corn! Cows were not meant to eat this food, but are fed corn due to the abundance available cheaply in the US (Due to the US subsidizing the price)/ They are also fed steroids to make them grow faster, and are in incredibly poor health for their entire life. The saddest thing is that farms will not spend over $50 for a cows veterinary care, any more than that and they are not financially worth it, and are killed. Even cows used for milk are treated incredibly poorly, and are in poor health. There is so much infection among the cows, that the FDA allows up to an eye dropper full of puss in each glass of milk! Of course its pasteurized, which kills all of the bacteria, but the thought alone is gut wrenching. I feel that cows used for milk likely have the worst life imaginable.
Chickens are treated incredibly poorly as well. Even “Free Range” chickens are not happy chickens. Free range can simply mean a bunch of chickens stuffed into a pen. Of course they can go where they please, but they have to climb over each other, dead family members, and thats if they can lift their overly plump bodies. Chickens are can also be “de-beaked” which means that farmers sand down their beaks to prevent fighting. This is incredibly painful to the bird, and permanently handicaps them.
Pigs are trapped in pens, and spend most of their life on a concrete floor. They suffer an equally difficult life as cows and chickens. Unique to pigs, male piglets are castrated. This is done without any anesthetic, and of course is incredibly painful.
Overall, I do not think that eating meat is bad. I think meat tastes very good, and can be a great addition to a diet. With that being said, I cannot condone the way that we source our food in the United States. The cruel, unfair treatment we show animals is truly alarming. Its shocking that this type of brutality and treatment is legal.
I know in this post I have been very vague, but if you are interested in seeing some graphic imagery of what I speak of, simply do a search on YouTube about becoming vegan. Those videos will open your mind to a whole new world!
The promise that I made myself is that I will no longer buy food with animal ingredients for myself. My partner does not wish to go vegan, so I will occasionally purchase animal products for him. My fridge and freezer are still stocked with animal based products like mayonnaise, sauces, coffee creamer, and other things like that. I will not throw these out, but rather use them. They were produced, and purchased, and I feel that it would be more wrong to dispose of them than to use them.
I have been vegan for about two weeks now, and so far it has been incredibly easy. For some reason, I have been intensely craving “healthy” food like quinoa, spinach, broccoli, almonds etc. I feel that overall I have been eating much “cleaner”. For these two weeks I have also felt much “lighter” and I no longer have digestive upset in the morning, or feel nauseous upon waking. These were issues that I suffered with on a consistent basis.
As for cost, I do not think that eating vegan and “cleaner” has been too much more expensive. Meat is one of the most expensive items you can purchase from the grocery store, so eliminating that cuts costs. Adding to this, meat alternatives are incredibly cheap, and readily available from stores like Safeway/Vons. I have been using quinoa as a base for many of my meals, and quinoa is incredibly cheap!
I’m not making any promises to myself, but for now I am content with this lifestyle change, and am already seeing good results!