'I could never BE vegan...'
That's what I've always thought. Yet, here I am ! I chose to adopt this lifestyle in June 2015. Yep, veganism is a lifestyle! :) It is not a diet, not a religion, not a belief and certainly not an obligation! In my case, veganism was more of a conscious step to align my thoughts with my actions: I had great (compassion + ethical) values yet my consumption habits didn't really follow. And considering I was a grown up adult having the ability to make my own lifestyle choices, there was only one person I could blame for that, and only one person who chould make better decisions: myself.
I am in no position of telling you what to do or to force you go vegan! This page has the sole purpose of sharing everything I've learnt & what made ME take this decision. Only you can make the right decision. As long as you live happily with your OWN choices, it's perfect, and if through those informations I manage to make you reflect on your lifestyle, then that's a win!
I hope this page helps you understand and learn a few reasons why more and more people make this lifestyle choice today! Please note, veganism isn't only about the diet. It is an animal product free lifestyle, to all extend (food, clothing, cosmetics, activities like aquaparcs, zoos, horserace etc). However, this page mainly focuses on the diet part! I suggest reading it from start to finish for a better understanding. Again, thank you for reading and being open-minded!!! :)
WHICH BETWEEN THIS DOG AND THIS COW WOULD YOU RATHER EAT?
I know.. eating a dog, am I insane ? But why does it sound more normal to eat a cow than to eat a dog ? Why are so many people outraged by yearly Yulin's Dog Meat festival compared to slaughterhouses that kill billions of animals each week ? Today, I can 100% guarantee that I think Yulin isn't worst. It's the same thing. It's terrible! Who do we think we are to kill an animal, to take a life away ? here are possible explanations.. Tradition! Tradition must and can change! At some point death penalty was a tradition to punish people for their crime before it got abrupted (in France and other countries), slavery was part of a lifestyle tradition, years ago women couldn't vote and still not in some countries today! The new generation can and must act to ignite change, but it is NEVER too late to start! When you have will, you have power! So, maybe it's by Need? the human body DOES NOT need meat to survive. Carnism? Probably! If you haven't heard about this word before, carnism is an ideology, an unconscious behaviour and thought pattern that conditions people to believe some animals are ok to eat and others not. Carnism inhibits out natural compassion and empathy, it teaches us to stop questionning things. It teaches us to see a piece of meat on our plate, not the flesh of a dead animal. It teaches us to "eat chicken", not "eat A chicken". Objectifying animals, denying an intuitively non-sense. We eat cows, yet when we see them in the grass they become our friends! It is only once we understand what carnism is, that we can start to make dietary choices that reflect our natural instinct rather than society's conditionning.
"Humans are anatomically made to eat meat"
well, again, which of those two things would you rather eat ?"
Obviously juicy fragrant fruits are way more appetizing than cute little Babe. I'm pretty sure you don't salivate when you see a lamb, goat or pig out in the fields! And I think very few people would love to hunt & kill an animal with their own (non-existent) claws and (non-existent) sharp canines to eat raw flesh, without salt, spices or side dish! While veggies & fruits! They're so abundant in nature and just ready to be eaten as they are! If that's not proof that we're made to eat plants ! More over, if someone would only eat meat for just couple of days/weeks, that person would die of deficiencies and health issues! Not the case if the person only ate fruits+veggies. I think humans need to re-learn to live in harmony with the eco-system, not ego-system.
then, anatomically our body ressembles more to a frugivorus than omnivorous ! (despite what we have learnt at school!)Below is a little recap of the main anatomical differences and ressemblances between types of eaters! (credit:www.eatingourfuture.com)
From a physiological point of view, specifically nutrition, our cells preffered source of energy are carbohydrates: they are the most easily and quickly broken down into glucose (energy). Yet, a piece of meat only contains a very small percentage of carbs, lots of fat and protein, which we don't need nearly as much of!
What about sugars ? Diabetes ?1.75 billion people on this planet eat white rice every single day, sometimes 3 times a day. Yet they (specifically asian people) are & have been one of the healthiest and slimmest population in the world ! This isn't thanks to their genetics but mainly their lifestyle! It's only recently that their diet has started to change due to other countries' influence, and now obesity, cardiovascular diseases & cancers are being more common amongst them..
There is often a big confusion around sugar. And, no worries, i've been confused too !! There is this huge belief that (all) sugar is devil - which even leads some people to limit their fruit intake!! Because we are often told & taught "fruit = sugar; sugar = energy but excess sugar = stores into fat". Which is completely wrong. There is a big difference between eating a fruit containing 50g of sugar, and eating 50g of pure sugar. Fruit is a complex carbohydrate. It contains sugar, but also tons of fiber, water & nutrients, carbs/lipids & protein in a perfect ration to optimise the use of sugar. Pure sugar contains only sugar. Same thing, there is also a big difference between eating 500 kcalories of whole foods (plants), and 500 kcalories of a deep fried or transformed product (empty calories). Our body handles the first very well while the latter might cause some issues . Complex carbohydrates - abondant in fruit, veggies and grains - are cut by our body in smaller chains (glucose) at steady regular pace, before being moved through the blood, ready to be used by our billions of cells. There is thus no insuline pike (followed by hypoglycemia) which would happen with simple sugars (pure, sodas, fast-food, sweets..)
All of our cells work on glucose. Sugars that we consume in excess from our daily needs can be stored as glycogen in our muscles & liver. This storage capacity is around 900g (depends on the person). Sugars in excess to our daily need and to this storage capacity are NOT easily transformed into fats. Those excess calories (carbs) are burnt through thermogenesis : simplifying it, it is a process that regulates our body's temperature, or used for other physiological needs.
Transformation of excess glucose into lipids (fats) is known as de novo lipogenisis. It is a physiological process that is commonly used by animals: cows, pigs, bees are capable of transforming low calorie food (grass, seeds) into high calorie nutritious food, ideal for their metabolism. Humans aren't meant to use De Novo Lipogenisis on a regular basis, it is a "battery saving mode" made for famine period or unappropriate diets (low-carbs, keto), leading to metabolic damage that can take years to heal.
I hear your question is "so why does bread, rice, pasta make us fat ?" The answer is a question my friend: what do you eat them with ? Butter, cheese, yoghurt, cream, eggs, meat.. essentially : fats! So, very simply (and simplified), obesity/weight gain is caused by excess consumption of sugars AND fats (excess = superior to our metabolic need). Hyperglycemia is also the result of too much carbs and fats eaten at the same time (which are both found in all animal products & processed food in high quantities). When too much fats enter the body, it eventually (will) clog arteries; this makes Insulin (hormons that regulates the quantity of sugar in the blood) & glucose-handling-cells work extra hard... too much sugar thus stays in the blood = hyperglycemia. In order to compensate, our pancreas secretes a little bit more insuline.. repeat this process at each meal and this develops'insulin resistance': first cause of type II diabetes. A plant-based diet is naturally poor in fats! It's been proven that a vegan diet can entirely reverse type II diabete in a few months and make type I way easier to live with!
why are low-carb & high-protein diets recommended and so efficient for weight-loss ?When our body is deprived from carbs, it seeks energy from other sources - next being: fats (lipids or ketones). People lose weight quickly because the body burns fat directly! And for a diet to work and be efficient and sale well... we all know it's gotta be a quick fix! When getting energy from fats, the body is in ketosis state. Some short term symptoms from this state are frequent mood swings, low energy and obsesession about diet/calories (which is super sad!). On the long run, Ketosis is impossible to maintain because it is only a survival mode. It is hard on the body and lead to cardiovascular issues, kidney stones, cholesterol, dehydration, oesteoroposis ... really not something I would wish to anyone
"I get meat isn't so healthy, but i thought fish was good!"
Before we start talking about health stuff and what not, i'd like to remind people that fish is not a vegetable, it's living! I understand it's hard to get around this idea but fishing isn't less painful or more legit for the animal than hunting or slaughtering.. :(
Then, there are many studies that proved fish to be healthy, high in Omega 3, good for the brain... well, absolutely! omega 3 are essential for our body but it's not because they are contained in fish that it makes fish healthy! It's like saying eating chocolate is healthy because of its magnesium content. It's true, chocolate does contain magnesium and eating some once in a while won't cause harm.. but there are clearly healthier options than to eat 3 tablets of chocolate a day, right? if you want to know more about Omega 3, Omega 6, Why Cretan Diet is considered healthy & possible deficiencies, check out my ebook!
but actually, the main health issue concerning fish is this..
All the plastic ever created on earth is still here today. And a lot of it is found in the ocean, sometimes desintegrated into micro pieces that are so similar to plankton that fish can't tell the difference. Most fishes & seafood today are toxic because of the contaminated water: this is why it is recommanded by health organisations to not eat it more than twice a week, and avoid it for pregancies. I personally think that if you care about your health, you should definetely avoid eating fish all together. Also, there is this other threat called Mercury. Mercury is a natural mineral: heavy metal. It is used in various industries and released into the atmosphere. It then infiltrates into the soils, rivers, and oceans and transforms into a way more harmful compound: methylmercury. The latter is bioaccumulated (absorbed & concentrated) by sea life. Species at the end of food chain are obviously even more contaminated (pike, tuna, maquerel, swordfish, sardines, shark..). Mercury is a toxin that the body can't get rid of. Once it's in, it's in! and is absorbed & accumulated in the intestines. This can cause lots of long term issues - impacting the nervous system, liver and immune system. Mercury is only one example of a toxic compound found in the ocean and in fish !
"Ok, vegetarian sounds fair and enough for me!"
"DAIRY makes strong bones!"
Dairy & milk contains calcium that's a fact, but selling it as a "great source of calcium" is plain stupid and wrong! Like any other mineral, if your diet is diversed, there is no reason to be deficient. We are told we MIGHT be calcium defficient so that we eat specific food to cure this HYPOTHETICAL defficiency..
No mammal on earth - except us! - drink milk after weaning - not yet from another species. however, i've never heard of wild animals being calcium defficient! If you want to learn more about deficiencies on a vegan diet, check out this page!
Recap of dairy effects on health:
- Contains casein (protein) one of the most cancer-promoting substance.
- Contains saturated fats, promoting cholesterol and cardio-vascular diseases.
- Contains lactose, to which 70% of people is intolerant to because the body stops producing lactase (enzyme allowing lactose to be digested) as soon as we stop weaning. After stoping all lactose consumption, our body ceases to produce this enzyme for 100% of people.
- Contains huge dose of hormones (naturally there, designed for calf), including oestrogens, which can cause a big mess with OUR own hormones leading to acne, weight gain, thyroid issues etc.
- Contains blood and pus (invisible but present in all products!) coming from infested udders from abused cows (artificial insemination).
- Contains antibiotics given to livestock (similar to meat industry) because they live in such horrific conditions that they get so sick. Those antibiotics destroy our intestinal flora and can cause multiple disease and make antibiotics inefficient when we really need them!
- Is far to be a good source of calcium:
2 reasons why bones get fragile (& osteoporosis) in the long run:
1. diet too acidic (standard diet containing dairy). Since our body is alcalin, when an acid food enters the body (ex. milk), pH must adjust: the body uses calcium found in milk AND muscles to balance it out - in other words calcium from dairy is useless. Plant-based protein are far less acidic than animal products, and our body can cope to balance pH out without using as much calcium.
2. diet too high in sodium.
2 causes of strong bones:
1. good calcium absorption (from a plant-based source), thanks to vitamin D (sun). Vitamin D found in milk isn't naturally there but added.
2. working out (especially resistance training!)
As we can see, quantity of calcium consumed is far less important than where it comes from & external factors!
Also, Would you go suckle this cow to drink milk ?
I don't think so!
As I said, humans are the only species that continues to drink milk (+dairy) into adulthood, and from another animal! Milk (dairy) is naturally full of growth hormones that are designed to grow a 30kg baby calf into 300kg cow in less than a year. Let that sink in a few seconds.
Then, dairy industry is cruel. First of all, cows aren't magic milk fountain on demand. Like any other mammal, cows need to get pregnant to start lactation. But as you can imagine, finding a bull for all 'milking' cow & wait for nature to work it out would cost too much money and time. It's way easier to artificially inseminate cows several times a day - as you would guess also, it's gotta be quick and efficient and it hurts. If you want to see real footage of the process click here (warning: graphics!) . Then, after 9 months of pregnancy, the process is repeated until the cow can no longer bear another ordeal. The day (or, a few days when lucky) after baby calf is born, it is taken away from its mom so that it doesn't consume the milk that was designed for it, and instead used for humans. If calf is a male, he's useless for dairy industry and is either slaughtered right away, or fed a few months with synthetic food (since he's got no milk) and then slaughtered anyways. If calf is a girl, she's gonna get artificial hormones injections so she can grow as fast as if she had had her mom's milk, to become another 'milking cow'. That paragraph literally made me so sad and sick to write, but it's the unspoken truth about what happens in the dairy industry.
all cow's, goat's, donkey's milks, cheeses, creams, yoghurts, butters; all consumption of dairy, even the tiniest, do support those practices..
'what's wrong with eggS?'
Eggs personally had always grossed me out thinking it's part of a hens' period! I did however have a phase where I ate them thinking it was such a nutritious healthy food. #wrong. Eggs, like any other animal products, are high in protein, fats and very low in carbs, which - as we've seen earlier - isn't a good combo for optimal health. Eggs are actually full of saturated fats, cholesterol, hormones (including stress hormones from hens), and protein that are all promoting cancer, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity etc.
Then, nothing is ethical in the egg industry. Most eggs sold in supermarkets come from intensive (mass) production : hens are put into hatcheries (a machine that puts stress on hens so they lay from 250 to 300 eggs per year - 30, 50 usually). From that stress, animals develop diseases and only live 4 to 6 years (vs up to 30years for wild ones!). To maintain hens supply, they are also artificially inseminated, chicks that are born in those hatcheries are sorted: females are raised into laying hens, males are useless to the industry (males don't lay eggs lol + that kind of chicken cannot be 'used' as meat), so they are simply ground ALIVE, or gazed (3-4 billions of chicks a year). Females are (most of the time) put into cages where they barely ever see day light, cannot walk (16 chicken/sqmeter) and have their beaks cut off so they don't harm each other which would reduce their profitability.
'WHAT ABOUT eggs from free-range hens ?'
Eggs from those chicken would be labelled as "free range". In France, this means a hens must have access to outdoors 1/3 of its life. 7 hens per sqm indoors, and 4sqm per hens outdoors. Male chicks are still ground alive. Hens still get their beak cut off. No rules regarding the space where they live : usually no tree, no shelter, nothing that would make a hens happy and stressless.
all egg consumption, whether it'd be eating an omelette, pancakes, cakes or transformed products including eggs - everyday or once in a while - contributes to support this cruel industry.
What about honey ?
Theoretically, vegans don't consume any animal products, so no honey. In reality, some vegans do. some chose not to. I can only speak for myself in this case, but here are a few reasons why i personally don't consume honey.
- Honey production exploits and holds bees in captivity.
- Honey = plant nectar + enzyme coming from bees. Bees forage plants, then travel with the nectar and finally regurgitate into honeycombs : honey is created - honey's pretty much vomit.
- Honey doesn't contain any additional nutrients than any other sweetener.
- Apis Bees aren't the only bee species that feeds of plants (pollinisation), except other species aren't used to create honey.
- Domestication of Apis bees is a real danger for wild bee species, as all plants that wild bees could forage are already occupied by domesticated bees. Apis bees are heated in hives so that they are ready to work in the morning and are the first to get to the plants. Apis are capable of foraging a ton of plants, but these aren't used in honey industry.
- Wild bees extinction threats the whole eco-system.
- One bee only produces a teaspoon of honey in a lifetime!
- Honey is food designed for bees. They make it during winter but it is taken away from them to feed humans.
- Since honeycombs are empty after honey has been taken away, beekeepers need to find a way to keep the bees alive and fed. Most common way is swapping honey with glucose syrup, way cheaper :( .
- Queen bee wings are often cut by beekeeper.
- Honey found in supermarket is usually a mix of different hives, from different countries.
- Blowing smoke in hives is common practice to prevent bees from being to aggressive: bees get so sleepy and beekeepers can do everything they want: move them around, change the queen if not efficient and harvest honey, for which they've worked super hard for.
- In order to create 500g of honey, bees forage more than 2 millions of flowers, travel around 200 000km (5x earth) sometimes at 25km/h.
I CHOSE NOT TO consume honey since there are many other plant-based options that do not exploit animals.
ENVIRONMENTAL & ETHICAL IMPACT OF VEGANISM
Here is a little recap of the main benefits of a vegan lifestyle regarding the environnment and ethics. For even more info and details, I would highly suggest you have a watch at Cowspiracy - awesome non-graphic documentary.
wohoo, that was a lot of information!
and I know, you have thoughts and things to say.. like:
"i buy my products organic and grass fed/free-range so i'm all good.."
This is a very easy (& common) excuse to be lazy and unwilling to change habits. I don't blame anyone, I was there once. And again, you do you. But I think it's so easy to pretend those cruel practices don't happen where we live, that animal products are healthy and that the industry make a living for some people. But to be honest, it doesn't really matter how the animal has been killed. When a life is taken away, it is taken away. When an animal is used, it is exploited. When an animal suffers, the pain is unbearable. Organic chicken aren't happier to die. Most of cruel practices that I've written about earlier do happen under the organic/free-range label. Chicks grind, force-feeding geese, beaks cut-offs, artificial insemination.. it all happens. All this happens for a few minutes of a (selfish) tastebuds satisfaction. Is that worth it ? Health wise, it is true that organic products are preserved/limited from pesticides & chemical compounds, but they are still animal products, high in fats and animal protein= detrimental to health.
"veganism is too expensive" All these are questions/critiques that you may have and definetely that you will get if you decide to go vegan!
"veganism is extrem"
"don't you miss cakes ?"
"i admire you but i could never stop consuming cheese"
"i don't like labels, i'm a free spirit"
"humans have always been eating meat"
DON'T START A FIGHT!
I want it to be super easy for you which is why I have designed a super affordable guide that answers ALL most commun questions a vegan will get asked.
'Where's your protein?' guide will save you so much time, energy and money to figure out all your answers, whether you are curious, or tired of not being able to reply to picky questions and, as a result, getting into arguments!
Answering questions about veganism in the best, educated, calm & kind way, is the perfect way to show that it is easy, amazing & accessible to everyone!
LIST OF BENEFITS AND PROS OF FOLLOWING A VEGAN LIFESTYLE (non-exhaustive).
- better digestion & mineral absorption
- not being a victim of food sanitary scandals
- healthier skin, helps to clear acne (especially when dairy is cut out)
- weight balancing and getting to a healthy weight (weight loss/gain depending on what is needed)
- decreases brain fogs
- increase of muscle tone
- no more diet to think about. no privation. a naturally healthier diet
- eating till satisfaction at every meal
- more (steady) energy
- hormonal balance (helps, especially when dairy is cut out)
- minimal risk of cardiovascular disease
- curing diabete type 2, enhancing diabete type 1
- curing/enhancing some types of cancer
- better natural protection to sun rays
- not being a specist (discriminating 'wild' animals, 'pets', 'experiementing animals' & 'farm animals')
- having clear conscious of not harming any beings 3 times a day
- not contributing/paying for animal cruelty
- helping world hunger as most famine happens because agriculture/plants are used for livestock and not humans.
- inherently cut your carbon footprint by half.
- Save lots of water for each hamburger you chose not to consume (+3000L equivalent of 2 months worth of shower per burger)
- Animal agriculture is 91% responsible of amazon deforestation (which also instincts wild life)
- Livestock is responsible of 65% of nitrous oxide emission (almost 300x more harmful than carbon dioxide)
- Animal agriculture is first cause of specie exctinction, death zone in ocean, athmosphere & oceanic contamination & habitat destruction.
- You consume 18x less land (agriculture) & 13x less water than someone following a standard diet.
- if all american (US) were to eat vegan once a week, it'd be the equivalent of removing 5millions cars from traffic.