“Eat socially. And I don’t mean eat with other people necessarily, but rather eat with other people in mind. When we make decision as to what to eat, it impacts a lot of people. And of course the environment, which impacts us all. If we choose to eat food that has taken less land, water, and fossil fuel to create, and produces less C02e, it will be better for us all. So plants. Eat plants.”–Brendan Brazier
If every American dropped one serving of chicken per week from their diet, it would save the same amount of CO2 emissions as taking 500,000 cars off the road.
Chickens, turkeys, pigs and cows are collectively the largest producer of methane in the U.S.
It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat.
1 pound of wheat takes 25 gallons.
Raising animals for food uses 30 per cent of the Earth’s land mass… that’s about the same size as Asia!
Source: Infographics by The Mindful Word
The statistics go on and on, but really…let’s talk about being a vegan. Let’s *really* talk about it! The prevailing view people have of vegans is that we are are proselytizing lot, perching on some sort of a moral high ground of sanctimoniousness and telling everyone who will listen of our impossible-to-please palates. Or that we are sitting there constantly wondering what we *can* eat…because there is nothing for us to eat.
They might even call us vegangelicals! (ha, here I go with the puns again). The truth is that’s one really broken stereotype. So is that the one that you can’t take us out to dinner anywhere. Don’t worry–we play surprisingly well with others (although, don’t show up at said dinner in a fur coat. We will have problems!)
Let me share a little bit about my gastronomical journey. I grew up eating meat–I am Bulgarian, what did you think!? But I also grew up on a farm, where I saw what it takes to put that meat on a plate and where the animals were always treated with thoughtfulness and care. I never had any illusions about exactly what happens to an animal before he/she provides sustenance to you. One day when I was in my 20s, I decided to go vegetarian just on a whim, wanting to “minimize, downsize, and simplify.” The month I had given myself as a trial period quickly passed and eating meat was no longer something I had any desire to do. Transitioning was easy–I had always done a lot of cooking and I simply cooked all of my meals, not being concerned at all about what I could and could not find in the store. Fast forward several years–now let me preface this by saying that no, I am not so naive that I make lifestyle choices based upon the viewing of a documentary, I assure you. But watching Earthlings, easily the most violent and grotesque movie I have ever seen (yes, it trumps Requiem For Dream in that department), made me so violently ill that I stopped eating dairy. Now, do I have an issue with this documentary? Oh, most definitely! It is exploitative, biased, and…runs like a snuff film. Yet, did it turn me away from eating dairy? Was it my Requiem For An Animal Product Diet, if you will? Sure.
There are so many reasons to transition to a vegan diet–ethical, animal right-based, environmental, health, cost-saving and you will find the people who are vegans espouse the very spectrum of these reasons. There is no “vegan” type. If there is anything that is most definitely true about it, it is that it certainly is a *mindful* way of eating, even on the most literal, basic level. But moving beyond that, I feel that rather than getting bogged down on whether your bread contains honey, veganism is about switching off your auto pilot when it comes to what you put inside your body. It’s about considering how you *can* make a difference on a global scale with your very “small” personal choices.
Veganism is not about a Draconian, impossible-to-follow lifestyle of privilege and entitlement. PETA will not come knocking on your door if you ate an egg and fell off the vegan wagon once (although, I sure hope it was a cage-free happy chicken, for your sake!)
To me, it’s a true return to our roots. Literally. For eons, our ancestors have been eating plants, nuts, and berries (Paleo diet converts, if you want to argue this, come to my workshop! I will do my best to disabuse you of our ancestors as meat eaters myth :). Finding those plants made us grow socially–it taught us to cooperate, to spend more time together, to watch out for each other. This is why veganism is often called the “kind diet.” It’s about being kind to your tummy, being kind to all of kind, not just our fellow Sapiens.
Food for thought, no?
Written by Toni T.
If you’re interested to know how you can move towards a plant-based diet, join Toni on Saturday, April 25 at Yoga District 14th Street for our two hour Vegan for Beveganers workshop (in honor of Earth Day!).