Today is National Vegan Day,
the first day of World Vegan Month, a month in celebration of
the founding of the world's first Vegan Society on November 1,
1944. Veganism is not for everyone, and it can be a challenge! I
was a happy ovo-lacto
vegetarian until I developed lactose intolerance and had to
give up all dairy. But I really came to appreciate the benefits of
the vegan diet. But the only time I miss dairy is when there's
pizza around. That heavenly smell! Pizza without cheese is not
worth the effort.
More and more people are taking the vegan route these days, even
though it's a hard step to take for meat-loving citizens of the
United States. Our whole culture is built on the consumption of
savory steaks, BBQ, hamburgers, chicken, pork, and fish. And bacon.
Not to mention cheeses with such a wide variety of flavors and
textures. Mac and cheese, ice cream, yoghurt, creamy desserts. How
could someone give all this up?
When I was 21,I took the vegetarian route and never looked back.
Many years later, even after leaving dairy behind, I have no
regrets. Here's why:
1. When I was contemplating my vegetarian future, I imagined
looking a cow in the eyes and asking myself if I could kill it. I
could not. It's a personal choice, but one that was easy for me to
make. I believed killing animals to eat was cruel and unnecessary,
so no more meat/fish for me.
2. Rice, beans, nuts, and other grains are full of protein, and
a balanced vegan diet assures my strength. There are interesting meat
substitutes that are pretty tasty. Did you know that too much
protein can cause gout
3. There's much more fiber in plant based food. My cholesterol
count is perfect, and I'm not at risk for diabetes, even though it
runs in my family.
4. It's much cheaper to eat vegan. Meat is expensive. Vegetables
can be pricey sometimes, but I'd rather pay $3 for a big old bunch
of collard greens than the little bit of meat that would get me
these days. Oh, and by the way, collards without pork products =
YUM! Just add a little salt, olive oil, and smoke flavor, and
5. I still eat a nice selection of cookies, including Oreos.
Coconut milk ice cream and sorbet are really good; here
are some recipes. Some chocolate, coffee, and most wine and
beer are vegan. Hurray!
6. There are lots of celebrities who have gone vegan. They're
fancy people-it's a fancy diet! Therefore, I'm fancy!
7. Many restaurants have
terrific vegan dishes. I avoid steak and seafood houses,
although sometimes their salads are great!
So, on National Vegan Day, give that vegan dish a try and
indulge in all the meat-and-dairy-free flavors you've never
considered before. Shifting away from meat products-even just a
little bit-can be good for you and good for our earth. And it is
plenty delicious too!