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How a meat-lover went vegan

It is a topic met with constant curiosity, a little trepidation and a touch of resentfulness.  It has been coined a fad, a bandwagon and put off as another one of those extreme diets. Something once solely associated with nature loving hippies, veganism is making itself to the mainstream.  

Yes, you can bet I was once one of the many stubborn meat lovers who loved her daily consumption of the cheesiest, greasiest non-vegan foods.  I loved it all: bacon, chicken, ice cream, mac n cheese. The thought of the word ‘vegan’–even vegetarian– instantly turned me off as a restrictive and sorrowful existence.  Although I had inklings that a more plant based diet was more nutritious than the animal-rich diet I was consuming, I repeatedly justified it as ‘getting in my protein.’  After all, how could someone live off of only plants?

It was not until I stumbled upon a documentary called Forks Over Knives, that all my prior reservations about veganism were washed away.  Every argument I had in my mind was instantly squashed, turned upside down, and fed back to me in a complete, plant-based, vegan dichotomy.  

You think milk is a healthy drink that strengthens bones?  Well sorry, but it is actually hormone packed, cancer causing beverage made to fatten baby cows. To make matters worse, it is actually proven to be detrimental to bone health due to the link between the high concentration of calcium and increased hip fractures.  

How about protein-packed meat?  We’ve been eating it for so long, it can’t be that bad, right?  Unfortunately, increased animal-protein consumption doubles a person’s risk for diabetes while greatly increasing the chances for heart disease and cancer.  Just look at the longest living people in the world, Japanese women, who have been eating a plant-based diet for ages.  http://www.chicvegan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/go-vegan.png

But, where will I get my protein?  Don’t worry, there are copious amounts of protein that can be found in foods like beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and even vegetables.  On average, vegans eat 70% more protein than they need in a day, and with all the hype about protein, there is actually no such thing as being “protein deficient.”

Throughout that slew of information, one overarching theme stayed with me.  A whole-foods, plant based diet is the only diet in the world that has the potential to not only prevent disease, but to reverse it.  People featured in the documentary that were suffering from the likes of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension at the beginning of the film were all either cured or on track to be cured by the end.  

But since many college-aged people do not yet have a wide contextual view on their health, many young adults gravitate towards the slimming aspects of a vegan diet.  Vegans are on average 20 pounds lighter than a regular omnivore, which is both beneficial for a person’s health and people who are aesthetically conscious.  

One of the major misconceptions is that vegans miss out on their favorite foods, and have to constantly adhere to a strictly clean and healthy diet.  While it is easier to eat nutritiously on a vegan diet, there are alternatives for any kind of non-vegan food. There are vegan burgers, cheeses, brownies, any kind of meat alternative, and my favorite, Ben N Jerry’s non-dairy ice cream.

As for me, I went fully vegan after watching Forks Over Knives and have been ever since.  I rarely have any of the stomach problems I used to while eating animal products, and constantly feel that I am fueling my body in a way that is benefiting it inside and out.  I chose to become vegan for health reasons, but many other people chose to do so for ethical or environmental reasons.  Some major statistics that stand out to me is that the food used to fatten cows could feed 3 billion people, and every year you are vegan 100 animals lives are saved.  

For whatever reasons you feel most passionate about, I encourage you to research and try a vegan diet, and slowly cut out meat, dairy and eggs.  Coming from a former vegan hater, give the diet a chance and feel the results for yourself.    

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