Animal cruelty has become a well-known phrase, as well as the harmful effects of an unbalanced diet, mainly focused on animal derivatives. Luckily, thanks to informational programs and persistent efforts of renowned specialists in nutritional medicine, more people have come to understand the importance of a meat-free diet. However, it is essential to understand that such a lifestyle as the vegan one does not only avoid dairy products, eggs and meat but also seeks to avoid the use of products that have been tested on animals, garments manufactured from materials such as wool or leather, fur coats, or partake in events or activities which exploit animals.
This list seeks to remind and inform not only veteran vegans, but also the people who wish to adopt the lifestyle. Bear in mind, that choosing a cruelty-free diet and a plant-based one, not only improves the state of your health, but also makes you feel better and places you in harmony with the surrounding environment.
10 . Explore the world of delicious vegan recipes
There are thousands of recipes that are vegan and plenty alternatives to meat and animal by-products. On-line websites offer gourmet and special occasion recipes and regular, everyday recipes on appetizers, main dishes, soups, etc. Cookbooks are available too, if you prefer perusing over the recipes in your kitchen or while doing the groceries. The vegan alternatives include faux meat products such as veggie hot dogs or burgers, Tofurky (ideal for Thanksgiving), various beverages that replace cow milk, including soy/almond/rice/coconut milk and there are various ingredients and techniques to prepare frittata and omelet and sunny side ups!
9 . Omega 3
The fatty acids in the Omega 3 are essential for the proper function of the heart and brain. The vegan alternatives to the pesky cholesterol and toxin filled fish are walnuts, canola oil and flax seeds. Omega 3 fortified dairy-free milk is another option, as well as occasionally serving vegan sushi or having seaweed salads, as algae contains a great amount of Omega 3, algae being a wondrous nutrient which provides and nurtures fish with its amazing properties.
8 . Vitamin B 12
Vegetarians and omnivores alike have been debating this issue for years until recently, when leading health experts had an impressive scientific breakthrough in which it was proven that vitamin B 12 is in fact made by a bacterium called Bacillus megaterium. B 12 vitamin is indispensable, as it protects the nervous system and prevents against degenerative nerve diseases. It is available in fortified nutritional yeast and non-dairy milk, such as soy and rice milk and in some multivitamin supplements.
7 . Protein
Studies have shown that a balanced plant-based diet provides sufficient intake of all minerals, vitamins and proteins necessary for the mind and body. The amount of dietary items that are protein-packed is incredible : lentils, chickpeas, beans, broccoli, walnuts, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, etc. Therefore, by serving peanut butter, hummus or having a salad with lots of green veggies and nuts and seeds, etc. you can not only enjoy some mouth-watering flavors, but you can also improve your overall health!
6 . Variety
In addition to no. 10, it’s good to know and acknowledge the variety of a plant-based diet. There are lacto-ovo vegetarians, ovo vegetarians, lacto vegetarians, vegans and raw vegans. The first three allow the consumption of either dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.), eggs or both. The latter do not consume neither meat, nor dairy or eggs, avoid the consumption of lard, gelatin (known as meat by-products) and some even avoid honey. The raw vegan is a diet in which the adherents do not cook food, but instead, they dehydrate, ferment or soak food.
5 . Popularity
The health benefits of the vegan diet have widely been acknowledged. By adopting it, you not only do yourself a favor, but you also do a favor to the environment, animals and society. Celebrities such as Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Jared Leto, Alicia Silverstone, Joaquin Phoenix, Woody Harrelson, Russell Brand, Alanis Morissette, Ellen DeGeneres and many others have not only adopted the diet, but also militated for popularizing the diet and informing others about the harmful effects of animal exploitation for the environment and health of individuals.
4 . Earthlings
Directed by American film director and environmental activist, Shaun Monson and narrated by PETA member Joaquin Phoenix, Earthlings is perhaps the most comprehensive movie depicting slaughterhouse footage and statistics, advice and useful information concerning animals. The movie is a documentary, but because of its raw depictions, it was also sub-classified as a Horror movie. Along with If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls, narrated by Sir Paul McCartney, Earthlings is a very triggering and eye-opening movie that sheds light on the current state of the world.
3 . It’s not easy
Whether this matter is to be in fact discussed or not, being vegan isn’t easy. Society and large companies have long ostracized environmentalists and what’s healthy and what is not is in fact dictated and decided by pharmaceutical companies and doctors whose main interest are financial affairs. There are many myths prevailing concerning the vegan diet, however good resources are available worldwide, on-line, in libraries, in bookstores and relevant events and activities are initiated in order to inform the masses about various matters regarding health and the environment. It’s not easy, but you can get accustomed. Every step matters and each decision you take affects not only you, but also your loved ones and slowly, to a larger scale, the entire world. Don’t be misled, always get informed and fight for a better cause!
2 . Books
Comprehensive studies have been made on assessing the vegan diet. Here are several books that are worth mentioning:
The China Study, T. Colin Campbell
Skinny Bitch, Rory Freedman
Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer
The Food Revolution, John Robbins
Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, Erik Marcus
No longer can society hide behind the curtains and refuse to see its impact on the environment. The expansion of livestock farming affects biodiversity and causes deforestation and climate change. Numerous studies and statistics show the precise influence of animal farming on the planet’s resources (fuel, water, etc). Being aware of these facts and empathetic towards the current situation, matters can be adjusted and improvement can be foreseeable.