What is a Vegan, Anyway?


What is a Vegan, Anyway?

What is a Vegan, anyway?

I’ll always remember the day that I decided to go vegan. This is a major life choice for anyone, but it was even more drastic for me. I grew up in a family of hunters in West Virginia and, I’m ashamed to admit, steak was one of my favorite dinners. I had never heard of a vegan until I opened up one of my mom’s magazines to an article about them.

This was not a reputable magazine. It was a women’s magazine that had a new fad diet in it every week. The article about vegans was, of course, targeted at the weight loss benefits of a plant based diet. It exclaimed, “All of the women in Britain are doing it! And you know they’re all skinny!” As obnoxious as it was, I’m thankful for that article. I immediately logged onto the computer and started searching for more information. I soon found that there is a whole lot more to being vegan than losing some weight.

There are as many types of vegans as there are reasons for being one. At the core, a vegan is defined as a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products. Some types of vegans go beyond this and do not use leather, wool, fur, or silk. Many people come to veganism for health reasons.

Either they have been diagnosed with a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease or they are obese and want to lose weight. Some people find that they simply feel better as a vegan. Then there are the ethical vegans. Ethical vegans abstain from animal products because they feel that it is wrong to use them or because they feel that animals are being exploited by the current food system. Environmental vegans are a relatively new type who have decided to be vegan based on the environmental impact of raising animals for food.

There are many vegans, such as myself, who fall into multiple categories. As I researched on the internet, I ran into undercover videos of animals being abused in slaughter houses. These videos pushed me to my decision to become a vegan. Around the same time, I had become fatigued and gained 40 pounds on my normally thin frame. I discovered that I had hypothyroid disease.

Through being vegan, taking thyroid hormones, and adding in exercise I lost the weight plus more. I also felt better than I had in my entire life. I not only cared for the animals but I also enjoyed the health benefits of veganism. A couple years later, I learned about the environmental hazards of factory farming and raising animals for food. I now consider myself an ethical/health/environmental vegan.

If any of these issues ring true with you, consider giving veganism a try. For you, for the animals, for the earth.

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4 thoughts on “What is a Vegan, Anyway?”

  1. Pingback: Planting your own Garden and Vegetable Garden

    1. I am not a vegan, however do enjoy many vegan meals. I am and have been for some time now on a quest to betetr my health. So far, it has been pretty successful.although I have never been obese, I have been overweight, and I was teased a lot as a child. Even as an adult when I had a desk job and was at my heaviest (non pregnant) weight there were comments.I recently turned 30 years old, and began making changes to my lifestyle at 29, after the birth of my 2nd child. My cholesterol was too high, at a whopping 235, even with beginning to eat betetr. It was then I decided to do more research on foods, and began to work out regularly.I am now at a much more healthy cholesterol level between 180 and 190, and several pan sizes smaller.I eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and use soy milk (I have a moderate degree of lactose intolerance, so anything more than a little cheese upsets my stomach)Now I get comments asking how I did it.several years ago, at the worst part of my life when my 1st husband was terminally ill, I strictly controlled everything that went into my mouth, eating no more than 1200 calories a day, and working out (mostly cardio) 3 days a week. I am 5’5.5 and I was down to 118 lbs. according to my bmi I was at the low range of normal. I had never been as small, and then I got the opposite end of the spectrum. people telling me I was too skinny, that I needed to eat, etc. mean comments like be careful in the shower, you might go down the drain All I knew was that I felt good, and proud of my accomplishment.After the death of my husband, I began to put weight back on, as I slowly stopped controlling every little thing I ate. I met a great man, and began a new relationship, became happy, and gained a little too much weight back, and then became pregnant. I didn’t even know I was overweight until the ob told me not to gain more than 29 lbs since I started out overweight!I am now in the same size I was in when I was 118 lbs, but weigh nearly 10 lbs more than that (I think it’s muscle) I do weight training now.I do not, and have not counted calories in a long time, since it appears that eating the right foods seems to be the key for me instead of obssessing over the numbers.I hope to continue to learn more healthy recipes, and meeting great people like you. Thank you for your story.

  2. Wonderful piece! There are so many good reasons! I would love to see another article detailing perhaps a day of your meals, meals on the go, or the trials you may have encountered raising a vegan child! Looking forward to more, Ms. Marshall!

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