I get a lot of questions about Veganism and becoming a vegan in my inbox, so here are all your questions, answered!
Q. When you lose weight and don’t have diabetes anymore will you go back to eating “normal”
Answer: So that I can get obese and diabetes again just to see if it works a second time? No. It’s funny, I get this question a lot,I think because so many people have a warped sense of what eating is supposed to be like. We have been trained to think every single way we eat is a diet, something short term, and then you go back to eating like crap till you do another fad diet. This isn’t temporary, this is a life long thing. Aside from health, there are a ton of reasons why I’m vegan, including ethical reasons, and not wanting to support companies that hurt people or animals. Going vegan isn’t something I’m doing for a cleanse, it’s the way I live my life. Not only am I doing this for ethical and health reasons, I love this way of eating, I enjoy it, I can not even imagine going back to the way (or close to) the way I used to eat, I have absolutely no appetite for the bad foods I was once consuming. It’s partly education, I went beyond looking at the horrible health implications of eating animal products, and also started reading and researching every thing I could about how food got to my plate. The result? I can not ethically consume or use animal products again.
Q. Are you vegan because your atheist or atheist because your vegan?
Answer: I get this question in various forms more times than you’d expect. I think for me, being atheist has a little to do with it, mainly because the circles I was involved with before were dangerous and cultish, and eating poorly was a right and very political. Becoming atheist removed me from those circles, which allowed me to start thinking freely. So in a way, yes I went vegan after becoming atheist, only because it allowed me to think freely and to open my mind to a lot more possibilities, not just the closed minded ones I had been accustomed to. On that note I will say that is just my journey. I have met 100′s of people who are all kinds of faiths who are vegan. I’ve met conservative very right wing christians who are very passionate vegans as well, so I don’t think there is any belief system that can’t be vegan, and I’d say that most belief systems actually encourage veganism in their holy books. For me my food choices don’t have anything to do with a religious view or a spirituality though, that is not my particular motivation.
Q. But we are at the top of the food chain! We’re meant to eat animals!
Answer: There is really nothing about us that was designed to consume animal products. Our small intestines, stomach acidity, tongue muscles, sense of smell, taste, hearing, our finger nails, jaw lines, teeth (no your 2 small tiny fang like teeth would not be able to tear into raw flesh), our physical abilities to run, tear apart another animal, the way our body breaks down chemicals (there is a reason you have to cook all of that meat, it’s because your body is not equip to handle it at all). By eating animal products you are constantly forcing your body to do something it wasn’t supposed to do. And as evidence by the vast health problems we have as a society and how many medications we are all on to be able to eat those foods , should be proof enough that something has gone wrong. I suggest picking up “the China Study” for a more in depth look at all of it.
Q. You are vegan for health reasons but you aren’t one of THOSE kinds of crazy vegans right?
Answer: Yes, I am a crazy vegan. I didn’t start out going vegan for ethical reasons. But I assure you that anyone who spends about an hour doing good research on what happens in the food industry, and on animal factory farms specifically would feel the same way. I would also say if these farms had glass walls, NO one would be eating animals. Essentially I learned that there is no difference between torturing and killing your pet dog to sell it at your local grocery store and doing the same to a cow. The only reason we don’t find eating pets humane is because we’ve made it that way. I had no idea that all animals are the same, that they all have personalities, that they all feel pain, they cry when their babies are ripped from them to be sent off to be slaughtered. So many of us will choose hair care products if they say “not tested on animals” but somehow we think it’s okay to eat slaughtered animals, same with things like wearing fur or even dog fighting, often people will find those things repulsive, but then stop at realizing that the meat on their plate got there from some of the most cruel ways one could ever imagine. I don’t know why it never occurred to me, but in the end, yes, I do not believe it’s right to brutally kill another animal just for the enjoyment of a meal – a meal that is not healthy for me anyway.
Q. If you can’t eat (X) what do you eat??
Answer: I eat a lot! Beans, legumes, grains, fruits, nuts, brown rice, veggies, tofu and a million combinations of those things. I love food. I love cooking, I love coming up with new kinds of foods. You will not starve eating a plant based diet, I promise, millions of people all over the world do it every day.You could eat a different meal every day, every meal for a very long time on a plant based diet. In fact, I’d say that a plant based diet is a million times more diverse than a typical American meat based diet.
Q. How can you stand all of that food? It all tastes “healthy”
Answer: I think the thing that people need to know more than anything else in regards to going plant based is that your tastes WILL change. And it’s okay that they do. Give it a couple of months and soon the thought of disgusting junk foods like bacon and cheese will repulse you, not be something that you crave. If you start to change your palette your cravings will change. This isn’t to say you will never crave bad foods again, but it is to say that your cravings for the biggest offenders (being animal products) will start to go away. You will start craving fruits and veggies the more you eat them, and the more your body realizes that is the stuff it’s supposed to be consuming. Soon the thought of kale or apples will just thrill you.
Q. How long did it take you to go off insulin?
Answer: Approximately 3 weeks. It took me a few months to go off all of the other drugs I was on for my health.
Q. How long did it take you to start losing weight?
Answer: It was pretty immediate. But lately it’s been going a lot faster, I think because my body is finally efficiently working, now that it has rid itself of all the waste that I put into it for years.
Q. Isn’t there another way besides going on a plant based diet?
Answer: No. I mean, sure if you want to spend the rest of your life spinning your wheels, and working out an excessive amount, maybe.. but why?
Q. You surely don’t think that we should give up EVERY THING?! Things in moderation are just fine, right?
Answer: I find foods in moderation as dangerous as smoking in moderation, heroin use in moderation, or for an alcoholic, beer in moderation. It’s just useless to follow that argument. Why put something that is not good for your body, that causes cravings and addictions into your body? And who determines moderation? This argument is only for people who want to hold onto the things they are addicted to. I used this excuse all the time. The “just one” argument or the “I don’t want to deprive myself” argument. They are just not good arguments, much in the same way I would not encourage anyone to smoke just one cigarette or not to deprive themselves of one, even if it’s every so often.
Q. What books would you recommend?
Answer: The China Study, Skinny Bitch, Skinny Bastard, The 30 day diabetes Miracle, Fast Food Nation, Meat Market, Food Revolution, Vegan Freak (for starters)
Q. What cookbooks do you recommend?
Answer: Vegan with a Vengeance, Vegan Brunch, Eat drink and be Vegan, The Vegan Table, Veganomicon, I am Gratgeful (raw uncook book by Cafe Gratitude), La Dolce Vegan, Vegan cupcakes take over the world, Vive le Vegan! (also a good start – there are SO many good vegan cook books!)
Q. Isn’t eating healthy expensive?
Answer: I was spending a few 100 dollars a month on medications, doctor visits (WITH GOOD INSURANCE) and not to mention bad food. That’s expensive. When you cut your animal products, you will end up saving money, same goes for when you eat out less. We were spending A LOT on eating out, and now eat about 95% of our meals at home. It has saved us a lot – not just in grocery bills, but in doctors visits, medications, and future health problems. You are worth the money! Cut out something else, budget, find your farmers markets, buy in bulk on vegan internet stores. All of the time effort, and yes a little start up money is worth you feeling well and avoiding some nasty stuff down the line.
Q. Isn’t being vegan just another health fad?
Answer: I’ve tried fads – they don’t work. Being vegan is more than health, it’s a way of living, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a way of taking care of yourself, it’s a way of saving millions of lives, it’s a way of protecting the planet. Eating plant based is our bodies natural way of consuming foods. We were not meant to consume animal products, our bodies were just not set up for it. Sure, there are some celebrities that will go on what they call a ‘vegan cleanse’ but that is absurd. Being vegan is a lot more than a month, a cleanse, a diet, or even a way of eating.Being Vegan is not a diet term, it’s a statement about the way I live my entire life, it means that I don’t buy any products that are made by the death of another living creature.
Q. You use the term “plant based” and “vegan” what is the difference?
Answer: I would say that I was plant based at first – I eliminated all animal products from my diet. Which is the eating part of living vegan, but it’s not all of the other parts. Going plant based is a really great first step in living the vegan life. For some this first step will last for a long time. In that time, I would suggest reading and researching as much as you can about animals, factory farms, and the ethical treatment of animals.
Q. What is your husband allergic to again?
Answer: He’s allergic to ALL raw fruits, plants and nuts. He can eat some cooked veggies, but mostly he’s allergic to those as well. He can eat beans, tofu, brown rice. He has successfully eliminated all red meat, pork, dairy, eggs, chicken from his diet as well, and he’s not starving, and getting all his caloric needs met.
Q. I’m going to die anyway, why shouldn’t I die happy?
Answer: Oh boy. Diseases like diabetes don’t kill you in your sleep. It takes years and years and years. It takes going through things like blindness, amputation, severe depression, and a multitude of other ways that are just no way to live out your life.
I think this is what kills Americans more than anything else – the notion that we must kill other creatures, eat horrible foods that kill us, kill nature in order for us to be happy. We have this death wish that is really troubling. Most things that a typical American associates happiness with have to do with their eventually dying from it, or killing something first. Does that make any sense? Why can’t we be happy for other reasons? Why can’t we be happy with food that is in nature? Food that is delicious and benefits our bodies, and does not come from another living being?
Being a vegan is life giving in a lot of ways, and I can assure you that it will add so much more to your life, than the way you might live your life now. Sustaining life, giving life, protecting life does wonders for your own happiness as well.
Q. But isn’t it so hard? Won’t my life be so miserable? Won’t I just HATE healthy living?
Answer: Hard is having to have your spouse rush home from work because they think you might end up dead. Hard is shooting yourself with injections of insulin every day – injections that cause even more side effects. Hard is spending 100′s of dollars a month on medications and doctors visits. Hard is being faced with losing part of your leg. Hard is being told that your eye sight will not be all there in a few years. Hard is having severe depression that renders you useless. Hard is having to quit your job because you don’t have energy to do anything anymore. That is hard. Hard is having to go against the way that our bodies were set up. Hard is trying to reconcile killing millions of lives. Those things are hard.
Going plant based, and becoming vegan is one of the easiest things I have done in my life. It takes the guess work out of every thing, it takes far less effort to figure out, and does so much good for so many things. On the food side, it is so much easier the more you go, and the more you learn. Your tastes will change, and your body will start to change.