What is veganism?
Why do people eat meat?
People eat meat for many institutionalized reasons, and depending on your region of origin, certain animals are classified by the general public as
“livestock” while some are classified as “pets”. In Dr. Melanie Joy’s video “The Secret Reason We Eat Meat”, she described a concept known as “carnism”. Carnism is described as “the invisible belief system that conditions humans to eat certain animals rather than others.” Melanie encourages the viewer to imagine that they are at a dinner party enjoying a delicious beef stew, the guest asks the chef what they used to make the meal so delicious. The chef replies that in order to make the recipe perfect, instead of beef they used 3 pounds of well-seasoned ground golden retriever. Even though the flesh the person consumed did not change,
their experience of the meat changes drastically when “non-meat pet”
animal flesh is included as an ingredient list in the stew.
Carnism is the systematic belief that certain animals are “meat animals”, (which, culturally, humans decide do not have rights) and others do. Even though pound for pound, a beef stew and a golden retriever stew would experience the same amount of torture to get to your plate. When Dr. Joy uses this example it reconnects the general consumer with the experience that their food was once living, as most people know what it’s like to pet a loving sentient dog, and would rather not have that beautiful animal end up on their plate.What is Veganism?
According to the Vegan Society, "Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."
Veganism is a moral belief about animals which also happens to have health benefits for humans and great results for our environment.
Why go vegan?
Instead of looking for reasons why to go vegan, write down a list of reasons why you wouldn’t go vegan, and through some retrospective evaluation, you will realize these arguments are often contradictory to our beliefs or otherwise shrouded in misinformation.
You may say to yourself, “I’m a compassionate person, I would never take a knife and slit the throat of a living, breathing creature. I would never torture or harm an animal in any way.”
You are certain you would never forcibly inseminate a cow which results in her being pregnant indefinitely. You would never approve of her babies being ripped away from her repeatedly just so you can suckle on the milk that is meant for her baby. YOU would never do that. Yet, this is exactly what you do when YOU purchase milk and cheese. The only difference is that you pay someone else to do that ‘dirty work’
for you. When you eat meat (any animal flesh), dairy, eggs, honey, you are financially supporting the
murder, rape, exploitation and abuse of millions of innocent creatures.
To quote Freelee the Banana Girl, “If you consider yourself a good person, would you place a baby chick in a blender, and push the ON button? Just so you can have an omelette for breakfast?” Of course you wouldn’t, that is unspeakably horrific. Every time you purchase eggs, you are supporting the annihilation of billions of male baby chicks who are deemed financially useless to the egg industry as they are unable to produce eggs. Those male baby chicks are fed live into a grinder and disposed of. Tiny, innocent babies ground up and never even given a chance at life. YOU financially support that practice when YOU purchase eggs.
Lack of nutrition: “Where would I get my ________?”
The list of internet misconceptions when it comes to dietary advise is expansive. When it comes to actual nutrition, our digestive system anatomy is that of a frugivore, like our primate ancestors. While our primate ancestors didn’t have access to a grocery store, we as human frugivores do! And within the walls of our modern grocery markets are plentiful plant-based alternatives and healthful products that can bring our bodies back into alignment.
If you would research each nutrient of concern you would find a suitable plant-based source. Your lack of nutritional knowledge should not cost a living creature their life.
Living fruits, greens, veggies, nuts and seeds meet our frugivore nutritional requirements perfectly without the addition of any cooked foods, however, listed below are some alternatives for those not wanting to eat a frugivore diet but still vegan-friendly.
Calcium = Beans, broccoli, cabbage, okra, sesame seeds, edamame, tahini, lentils, raisins, figs, apricots, and many vegan fortified foods (like soymilk, or almond milk). Blackcurrants, blackberries, raspberries, oranges.
Protein = Legumes, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, pumpkin seeds, peas, edamame, vital wheat gluten, nuts, tofu, buckwheat, jackfruit, prunes, guavas, apricots, kiwis, blackberries, avocados, oranges, cantaloupe, raspberries, peaches, etc! The list goes on!!
Vitamin B12 = Non-vegans and vegans should be supplementing vitamin b12. it is not an exclusively vegan issue, it’s a habitat and agricultural issue.
Omegas 3 fatty acids = Fruit. Chia Seeds, Brussel Sprouts, Hemp Seeds, Walnuts, Flaxseeds.
Iodine = seaweed, wholegrains, green beans, kale, spring greens, watercress, cranberries, strawberries and organic potatoes with skin.
Vitamin D3 = SUNSHINE is of course number one. The following are not a substitute for the sun but may help: fortified plant-based foods. sun-dried mushrooms. Vitamin D supplements can be toxic and therefore are not recommended.
Iron = Lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu, cashew nuts, chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, kale, dried apricots and figs, raisins, quinoa.
Zinc = Beans, avocado, berries, pomegranates, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, walnuts, cashew nuts, chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, quinoa.
“If I go vegan, I won’t be able to practice my family’s traditions and I’ll also miss my favorite foods…”
In 2021, you can truly find a plant-based alternative for practically every single food to match your cultural celebrations, old family recipes, etc. Vegan meats get more “convincing”, and “authentic”, and affordable with each passing year. Do you love McDonalds Breakfast sandwiches? Purchase vegan english muffins, “JUST” egg folded eggs, Gardein vegan sausage patties, and Chao vegan slices, and cook it yourself. Have a family traditional taco recipe? Or an old school meatloaf recipe? Turn it into a lentil loaf or use a meat alternative with those exact flavors, you likely love the taste of the seasoning, not the dead flesh. And if you say “oh but it’s not the same!” Yes, it isn’t the same, it has a slightly different texture, it's better for you, and it doesn’t require death and suffering to make. You can always tinker with a plant-based recipe using ingredients and ideas from skilled vegan chefs, but you can never bring back the life that was lost from the flesh food you consumed.
“Why should I care about animals?”
There is an abundance of evidence proving animals feel a variety of emotions including but not limited to fear, pleasure, despair, joy, love, and happiness. Even though these emotions are expressed differently than how you and I might express our emotions, they are just as significant and valid. You can clearly see emotion when a calf is ripped away from a mother cow who is being used for her milk, and the mother cow will call out in distress for weeks. They will cry loudly and frantically search for their newborns, just like a human mother would do. Animals aren’t objects that are void of feelings, and they deserve to be cared for and treated with respect.
A clear example of cognitive dissonance is how we treat animals that we regard as pets compared to the animals we see as food. Most people would never think of harming their pet dogs but see no issue with eating meat that comes from a pig, which is of equal intelligence and emotional capacity. It’s even been proven that pigs possess cognitive abilities similar to young children and have self-awareness. This is easily overlooked though, because most people that eat meat don’t kill the animals themselves which allows them to separate from what they’re partaking in. Our taste buds and pleasure aren't more important than an animal's right to life.
“What about our habitat?”
The average omnivorous diet uses up an incredible amount of energy, land and water. In order to produce just one gallon of milk, roughly one thousand gallons of water is used. Eighty percent of agricultural land in the United States is used to raise these animals for food, or to grow the grain they eat. These animals also use up a significant amount of water every day. Pigs, chickens and cattle are primary consumers of the total amount of water used in the US every year. Raising animals for food also contributes to air pollution by emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. And runoff from factory farms and livestock is one of the leading causes of pollution in rivers and lakes. Factory farms also release a large amount of contaminants into the air including mold, fungi, bacteria. The EPA has reported that eighty percent of ammonia emissions in the United States come from animal waste alone. Also, dairy farms are the largest source of greenhouse gasses, surpassing the combined pollution that transportation vehicles like cars, trucks and planes emit.
Not only will going vegan save 219,000 gallons of water per year, you’re also using land more efficiently. If you’re a following a vegan diet, you’re using less land to produce more food. You can get approximately 37,000 lbs of plant-based food from 1.5 acres of land compared to 375 lbs of beef from the same amount of space. Switching to a plant-based diet is the easiest way to reduce the amount of water and land you use, and your impact on the our habitat is lessened.
“Who is Freelee the Bananagirl , and how does she spread the vegan message?”
Freelee the Bananagirl is an Australian based activist who uses her large social media following to spread the vegan message. She is an eloquent speaker and author who has been using her knowledge and passion to further the vegan movement since 2007 and gaining popularity in 2014. She is a wonderful example of how easy it is to thrive on a vegan diet and has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to pursue the lifestyle. For more information on how to lose a healthy amount of weight while not giving up life’s most essential nutrients and having the most real & natural diet for the human body, read Go Fruit Yourself, or The Raw Till 4 Diet.
Joy, Melanie. YouTube, YouTube, 16 Dec. 2015,
Marc Bekoff, Animal Emotions: Exploring Passionate Natures: Current interdisciplinary research provides compelling evidence that many animals experience such emotions as joy, fear, love, despair, and grief—we are not alone, BioScience, Volume 50, Issue 10, October 2000, Pages 861–870,
“Veganism and the Environment.” PETA, 2010,
Kretzer, Michelle. “What Can You Do to Save 219,000 Gallons of Water a Year?” PETA, 22 Mar. 2016,
The Vegan Society. Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.