Are you going vegan for the right reasons?

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Disclaimer: I am in no way a medical expert or dietician. Always consult a doctor or medical professional if you have questions about changing your diet and the potential risks involved!

In the age of social media and nearly unlimited access to health and diet resources, it’s no surprise that the culture of trend dieting is stronger now than it ever has been. With Instagram and Pinterest making it ever easier to follow the every move of slender celebrities and fitness gurus, for many electing a wholesome diet becomes a way to be relevant and gather a following on social media platforms.



Veganism, especially, has seen a huge percentage increase of new vegans in the last ten years and has been faulted as being “just a hipster fad” by some yet praised as a sustainable living lifestyle for others. Today we will explore some of the most popular reasons people choose the vegan lifestyle and why some reasons fall short of being informed decisions.

Health
One of the biggest reasons many people choose to experiment with veganism is to improve their health. My personal stint with the vegan diet arose as a result of wanting to clear my system of processed foods, chemicals, and the like. To some end, I was successful in reducing my cravings for greasy, heavier foods and having more energy. However, this success came after suffering through an intense depression that seemed to come out of nowhere. It turns out that many people experience depression on a vegan diet if they are not careful about including high energy foods (bean sprouts, pomegranates, and dark chocolate to list a few) into their daily regimen.

Veganism certainly has its fair share of health benefits and while we all should be consuming plenty of greens and fruits, it must be said that veganism isn’t always right for everyone’s specific health and specific body type. Many people jump into veganism without researching potential health risks (vitamin B deficiency for one) which puts them at risk for new health problems, rather than resolving old ones. Make sure to do your research before diving in and make the best choice for your personal health!

Weight-Loss
Another popular reason for going the vegan route is to lose weight, and while this is a healthy solution for many people, for others it just isn’t the right call. One drawback of vegan dieting can be a poorly functioning metabolism. For some people (myself included), metabolism just doesn’t fire as well on a meat-free diet as one with a balanced amount of animal protein. Many women become frustrated when reaching a weight loss plateau when they are doing and eating all the right things, when really the issue is choosing the right wholesome diet for their body types. Just because we see that something works for other women doesn’t mean it will automatically work for us! Make sure that your decision to go vegan stems from wanting to care for and nourish your body - not starve it into looking a certain way.

Environment
Sustainability - a word with so much potential for good and a word that we sometimes don’t know what to do with. In a time where many political voices are saying many different things about what is best for the planet, we can all agree that something for certain must be done! For some, that positive change for the climate and the earth we love is found in the vegan lifestyle. Numerous documentaries and research reports have pointed to farming plants as a solution to the damage that mass animal farming is doing to lands all over the world, and often recommend readers and viewers to adopt a plant-based lifestyle to do their part.

But there are two sides to every story, and with the rise in number of plant-only dieters, there has also been a rise in demand for certain produce world wide that is resulting in shortages that are affecting the economies of entire countries. Mexico, the world leader in avocado exports, is considering importing the popular product for the first time in its history and is currently dealing with avocado farmer strikes. Sometimes the answers to our biggest problems aren’t as straight-forward as we might like. Make sure you know where your food is coming from and who it is affecting!

Animal Cruelty
I think we can all agree that there is never a justifiable reason for an animal to be treated cruelly. The issue arises when we begin to discuss exactly what the definition of animal cruelty is. For some, taking the life of an animal is never the right thing to do. Others are more interested in fighting for humane treatment and human killings of animals on farms. There is no right answer for everyone as diet is a choice everyone must make for themselves. Again, research is critical to be able to fully understand where our food comes from. I would add that it should be equally important to fight for humane treatment of farmers and field workers, groups of people who are often cheated and abused so buyers and resellers can make more money. This is a personal choice for everyone and it is important to be informed.

So, which of these reasons is a right reason for you? Only you can decide, but if you are passionate and informed about your decision to choose veganism then go you, girl! Do what is best for your body and your world and live your truth!

By Natalie West





Natalie West is an international travel blogger from Colorado, US currently living in northern Spain. She is an online English teacher, freelance writer, and full-time adventurer who loves Pinterest, sushi, and reality TV. For more from Natalie, visit her website at InternationalNat.com.







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