Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What is a vegan?

So what the heck is a vegan and what do they eat?
A vegan (VEE-gun) is a person who consumes only plant foods such as vegetables, grains, legumes (beans and peas), fruits, nuts, and seeds. Vegans avoid all animal foods including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, milk, butter, and honey.

Many people adopt a vegan diet or lifestyle for different reasons. Sometimes it is literally a religious practice, people that are Buddhist or Seventh Day Adventist live as vegans for these reasons. I personally have adopted it because eating meat and other animal derived products isn't always healthy for a human body. The practice of obtaining that product that we all think we can't live without is not an option for me anymore either.  Not all vegans are preachy or judgmental of other people who don’t choose their lifestyle. Some groups have given vegans the reputation of being pushy, angry people–this is not me. Do research and then make an educated decision for yourself.  There are several medical doctors and scientific journals linking animal products and dairy consumption to heart disease and cancer. Some people will argue that there are other foods and practices that can be linked to cancer and bad health why should they become vegans. Yes, you are correct there are other bad things in the world, I choose to stay away from those unhealthy alternatives as well. If someone becomes aware of exactly where their food comes from it becomes an individual decision to keep buying those products or choose an exciting new way of living.

My 11 year old son is an animal lover and we discussed the idea of going "vegan" at length before deciding to dive in and actually do it. He asked me some very poignant questions for someone so young. I think the one that hit home for me was "Mom, now that we know how the cows, pigs and chickens are treated (that we eat) how can we go back to buying them at the grocery store and actually eating them?" Well...that's a good question. How can I keep perpetuating the cycle of paying for something that I don't agree with anymore. Doesn't that send a message to the producer of those goods that we want more at "any cost"? The answer was simple for our family, just don't do it anymore. 

Here are some informative websites about health and nutrition. Enjoy! 

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