Going vegan means avoiding animal foods and other animal products. But it doesn't stop there. This change changes you.
I went on a vegan diet for my health (translated: "to lose weight") - these days that's called a plant-based diet. It worked a treat and I'm featured as one of Dr McDougall's early Stars. I've kept most of the weight off, even after two kids, which is great for me.
And while I was learning how to eat only plants, the best information around was from vegans.
Vegans talk about food
One huge myth about vegans is that they're not that into food (so that's why they don't care about giving up animal foods). BIG lie. Pop into a vegan potluck someday to learn the truth. Don't forget your plate.
But vegans don't just talk about food. Food is just the most obvious marker of a society doomed by its dependence on killing animals for food and other body products.
Vegans examine basic assumptions I grew up with and expose the propaganda.
Vegans talk about health
Eating animals is bad for human health - everybody's. I learned to look beyond the personal concern for my own body and imagine my country as healthy instead of in a health crisis caused by rich animal foods and rich processed foods.
Vegans talk about hunger
Most of the food livestock eats could have been fed to a starving person.
Most of the land growing food for livestock used to feed people (if it wasn't simply being the earth's lungs).
Vegans talk about happiness
I did not go vegan for the animals. But now that I have shared the vegan perspective, I cannot go back. I won't return to the dissonance of pretending that a package of sliced flesh on a supermarket shelf is just another product.
As if I could choose flesh or a can of beans, and it makes no difference.
I can't pretend that a slice of cow or sheep is dinner when a slice of cat or dog is horrifying. I may not be able to help all the cows in all the fields I see, but I am happier knowing they are not there because of me.
Vegans talk about hurting
It might just be possible to eat an animal without hurting her much. But most animal producers don't bother because they want to make more money.
Animals get hurt - in horrifying ways and numbers - in their lifetime role as your food. Vegans and other animal rights activists risk their own safety to show it to you.
When you ignore suffering, your personality changes. When you eat animals, you ignore suffering.
Vegans talk about the world
The world is overpopulated - with livestock. Not people. End of story.
Without livestock overpopulation, we could
- feed all our people, and more
- solve much of our pollution
- save the world (maybe)