Why I became vegan

Being vegan is a way of life. It's not just about what we eat. It's about honouring and protecting every animal's life. This is such a big and controversial topic that it could fill hours of discussion and heated debates. But let me give you some facts on the subject. And maybe along the way, I'll get you to think about giving the vegan diet a try.


Consider these questions:

Would you imprison your children in cages too small for them to move? Would you deliberately infect your friends with diseases and leave them untreated or experiment on them without their consent? Would you violate women and steal their babies?


I realise that these are disturbing questions that we shouldn't even dignify with an answer. But what's equally disturbing is that our society treats billions of animals this way right now. Animals that feel love, pain, fear and anxiety.


Veganism addresses this issue.


According to the Vegan Society:

"Veganism is a 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."


It's precisely why I became a vegan. My love for animals. Which, at some point in my life, became stronger than my love for cheese or spaghetti with minced meat. (Although I still salivate when thinking about them.) But, I could no longer justify all this suffering and cruelty just to fulfil my cravings and look good in my leather boots.


Now, you may be thinking, "ok, I get that, but humans are supposed to be eating meat; we always have". Well, according to PETA.org, -a well-known organisation fighting for animal rights- our teeth, nails, jaws, stomach acidity and intestine length all point to the fact that our physiology is not compatible with carnivores. Of course, there are countless contradicting papers on this issue, and everyone chooses to believe what suits them best.


Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I'm not here to impose my own or judge your choices. But let me give you some facts:


According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

"A vegan diet is healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases".

Fresh vegetables

This plant-based diet must be balanced, as all diets should. You know you can call yourself vegan and only eat spaghetti, potato chips and Oreo cookies. Yes, Oreo cookies are vegan. It's a fact, but not the best choice of food you can make! Although satisfying, having a diet based on carbs, processed and refined grains and sugars, it lucks basic nutrients. In the long run, it will make you sick. It's what happens often, and people blame the vegan diet.


You can get all necessary proteins from plant-based food, like nuts, mushrooms and beans, to name a few.


You can substitute dairy with other healthy and equally tasty alternatives. For example, I'm sure you know, nuts and coconuts are used. But did you know that cauliflower and sweet potatoes can do the trick in many recipes? I am becoming an expert on that. All you need is imagination. You even have many different options to substitute eggs, depending on the usage. Vegan cooking is actually very, very creative and tasty!


Now, let's suppose you'd like to give veganism a try. What's your first move?


For starters, watch my top ten vegan movies. They'll inspire and inform you (see the links below). Then, as I said before, it's important to be and stay healthy, so educate yourself on healthy vegan eating. Talk to a specialised nutritionist. Join vegan Facebook groups. Watch a webinar on vegan eating and cooking.


In fact, being Greek, I can tell you that the Mediterranean diet is a great place to start. We've many, many vegan options. We're blessed to live in a country with excellent raw materials.


Let me guess what you're thinking: "I could never do it. If I don't eat meat, it's like I haven't eaten anything." or "I'd love to try, but I love my cheese too much".


My suggestion is for you to try to have one or two vegan days per week. Or even better, go vegan for a month and see how it goes. Doing something for 30 days is a great way to try new things and create new habits. You'd be doing yourself and the planet a world of good. And don't forget that you'll be saving some of the 80 billion animals slaughtered for food every year.


Useful & interesting links:

The Vegan Society


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Our World in Data

The food revolution summit

Food Revolution Network 


My top 10 vegan films:

  1. Cowspiracy - Netflix
  2. The game changers - Netflix
  3. What the health - Netflix
  4. Forks over knives - Netflix
  5. Food Inc. - Netflix
  6. Earthlings - Netflix 
  7. Dominion - https://www.dominionmovement.com/watch
  8. Peaceable Kingdom, the journey home - https://www.tribeofheart.org/sr/pkj_english.htm
  9. Change Your Food, Change Your Life - Netflix
  10.  Vegucated - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrWx_e1wuZQ


*Disclaimer: This article expresses my own opinions and findings. I'm not a nutritional expert or a doctor. If you decide to go vegan please seek professional advice about a healthy diet that will support you.

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