This term one of my teachers required that each student in her class do an “experimental diet project” where we would be randomly assigned one of thirteen diets to follow for seven days. The diets ranged from paleo to vegan with many in between. I, of course, was not phased by this assignment since I’ve been doing “experimental diet projects” of my own (and writing about them in this blog) for a while now. In fact, many of the diets on the list were one’s I had experimented with already. That is why, after some negotiating with my teacher, I ended up going vegan for one week.
Since I normally eat paleo for the most part, meaning lots of meat, no grains, no legumes, no dairy, a week of eating vegan was not my favorite. I didn’t feel good physically the whole week. I had GI issues since I was eating a LOT of soy for protein. I really missed fat and was generally uncomfortable the whole time. I only ate out twice while on the diet, and one of those times was with a friend who is vegan which made it very easy. The second time was with my aunt and cousin who made it a little tougher, just because they couldn’t resist giving me a hard time. It was fine, though because we found a restaurant where we could all enjoy a meal – vegan or not. I’ve actually wanted to try eating vegan for a while now just to experience it, but never did because I don’t believe it’s healthy. This is why I talked my teacher into letting me switch to the vegan diet. I knew that I would stick to it because it was an assignment that I had to do. I’m glad I
was forced had this opportunity to do the diet because it assured me that I never want to be vegan, kind of like the juice fast.
I think when most people think of veganism or vegetarianism, they also think of health. I know that was something I thought several years ago, but it is definitely not something I think now. It is certainly healthy and important to eat fresh fruits and veggies, but it is just as healthy and important to eat fresh animal protein. In most cases, a person who goes from eating an omnivorous diet to eating a vegan diet, becomes “healthier” because they weren’t eating the most healthy diet as an omnivore. On the other hand, you can be just as unhealthy (or more unhealthy) as a vegan than as an omnivore. But, health is not the only, or even the most important reason, many people turn to veganism. The ethical reasons are usually the most important reasons. This is the other reason I think this diet was difficult for me – I don’t believe that eating meat/animal products is bad.
Most of the meat that is produced in this country is produced unethically and I do have a problem with that. I have a problem with animals in feedlots. I have a problem with people having to work in feedlots. I have a problem with cows eating grain instead of grass. I have a problem with farmers having to raise corn to feed those animals just to survive. I have a problem with slaughterhouses that abuse the animals they kill and the people who do the killing. In short, I have a problem with factory farming. But there are many people out there who are raising, slaughtering and selling animals and their meat in an ethical and kind way. These animals are happy and healthy. They live the life a cow, pig, chicken, etc. is naturally supposed to live eating the things a cow, pig, chicken, etc. is naturally supposed to eat. They are treated with respect their entire lives and during and after their deaths. This is the meat I choose to eat and enjoy. I am grateful that there are people out there producing this kind of meat. Without them, I would be vegan, but, thankfully, I don’t have to be.
Everyone has the right to eat what they want. If you choose not to eat animal products, I respect that, but I ask you to realize that there are ethically raised animals as well as unethically raised ones. I also encourage you to look into the benefits of animal protein and fat in the diet. If you choose to eat meat, I respect that as well. I would just like to ask you meat eaters out there to think more about where your meat comes from. Think about what that animal went through to get to your plate. And if you don’t like what that animal went through, realize that you don’t have to stop eating meat altogether. Realize that there are animals out there who don’t go through that to get to your plate.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to ask questions/leave comments. And go Ducks!! (Only 106 days until kickoff).