I’ve Decided to Stay Vegan – and Here Are 10 Reasons Why

Believe it or not, I don’t have a lot of vegan friends on my personal Facebook page. Whenever I happen to meet a cool vegan person, I sometimes get too lazy to look them up and send them a friend request. So when a vegan Facebook friend of mine recently announced that he was getting off the vegan grid after advocating for it for many years, I felt a familiar tinge of disappointment. “Oh man, now all of his non-vegan friends will be convinced that being vegan is unsustainable…” Eventually, I managed to overcome my initial judgmental thoughts and wished him the best of luck. At the same time, I asked myself, “Why is it that I never feel like I don’t want to be vegan anymore?”

10 reasons to become and stay veganThe ex-vegan movement seems to be on the rise these days. In the past couple years, some big-name vegan bloggers have announced that they were no longer vegan, and some of them even managed to make a few extra bucks off of this by publishing books. And yet every time I come across their reasoning for quitting their vegan diet/lifestyle, those reasons never sound 100% convincing to me:

“I was just feeling too weak!”“Were you eating enough calories, or was it an all-day, every day feast of green juice and salad?”

“My doctor told me I should add some meat for health!”“Does your doctor know enough about nutrition? Most doctors get a mere 20 hours or less of nutrition education during their entire time in medical school!”

“I just felt like eating eggs!”“Do you know how chickens are tortured on factory farms, and is that torture worth the five minutes of your satisfaction eating some scrambled eggs? Also, getting eggs from the happy chickens in your neighbor’s backyard still supports the cruel practices of the chick hatching industry where those chickens first came from, with male chicks being ground alive because they aren’t of use for the buyers or sellers.”

I acknowledge that everyone has their own path, and it’s none of my business how other people choose to live their lives. However, when it comes to our dietary or lifestyle choices, I think it’s important to remember that the way we decide to go may affect more than just ourselves. For example, if we choose to eat meat, some living creature has to die, and if it had an option to express its feeling about our meat-eating ways, it probably wouldn’t be very happy.

So in a sea of people striving for ‘balance’ and ‘listening to their bodies’, I listened to my head and came up with the following reasons to stay vegan:

10 Reasons Why I Choose to Stay Vegan

1. Because I’m not the center of the universe. Other living creatures’ lives matter, so the fact that I may get an occasional craving for their meat or bodily secretions doesn’t justify their abuse or death.

2. Because animals didn’t give us their consent to consume their bodies (or products of their livelihood). Mainly, because they can’t. A chicken at a ‘happy’ backyard farm may have laid that egg for her personal use. If I take it, she might get stressed out and lay another one. Do I want to cause unnecessary stress to an animal? Nope. My memories of fried egg sandwiches from my pre-vegan days don’t give me a justification.

3. Because animals suffer, both on factory farms and in small, ‘grass-fed’ farm operations. (Warning: things are about to get kind of graphic) Regarding factory farms, the info on animal suffering is widely available on the internet. As for the ‘grass-fed’, ‘happy cow’ farms, here’s the reality: some small-scale farmers prefer to butcher their cattle on-site instead of taking the animals to a specialized slaughterhouse. It’s a known fact that animals create a bond with their young, with some (if not all) species developing special ‘voices’ to communicate with their babies. So imagine the horror of an animal mother who sees her baby screaming when it’s pulled away from her, and then hears their shrieks when they are being butchered mere yards away on the same farm, all for the sake of fancy restaurants getting their veal or lamb.

4. Because being vegan is better for my health. Do I even need to list all the health benefits of a plant-based diet? Where do I start? Let me just say that if we take out the #1 source of dietary cholesterol (animal products) from our diet, we may significantly reduce our chances for developing heart disease – the #1 killer of people in Western civilizations that may start developing in our bodies as early as during our childhood. Before you get seduced by paleo and ‘bulletproof’ bloggers, please keep in mind that the connection of cholesterol and heart disease has been traced in thousands of scientific studies over many years, and just because an occasional study pops up showing the opposite, it doesn’t mean that all previous research should as well crumble.

Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org describes the connection of our diet and the top 15 diseases killing Americans every year in his brilliant new book, How Not to Die. Don’t believe me when I talk about the benefits of a plant-based diet? Take the word from the doctor who “every year… scour[s] the world’s nutrition research (so you don’t have to)”.

5. Because being vegan is better for the environment. The world’s supplies of fresh water are nothing to mess around with: people in California know this firsthand as they are going through the longest drought in the state’s history. Some are quick to point out that almond trees require a whole gallon of water to grow a single almond. However, the production of a single hamburger calls for upwards of five hundred (!) gallons of water! The latter fact is mostly swept under the rug by large environmental organizations. If you haven’t seen Cowspiracy, the eye-opening documentary about how animal agriculture is affecting our environment, please do yourself a favor and go watch it (available on Netflix).

6. Because we were not built to eat meat. From the structure of our teeth (lots of molars for grinding plant matter, fairly weak canines that would never bite through an intact animal’s hide) to our digestive systems (stomach acidity ten times weaker than that of carnivorous animals, as well as much longer intestines for getting all nutrition out of plants) and inability to produce vitamin C inside of our bodies unlike the natural meat-eaters in the animal kingdom, everything pinpoints that Mother Nature intended us to be herbivores.

7. …or dairy. Just think about it: no animal in the world continues to consume their mother’s milk past infancy. (And certainly no animal consumes the milk of other species!) Why so? Because nobody needs extra growth hormones! “What about the milk from ‘happy grass-fed cows’ – it says ‘hormone-free’ on the package!” Despite the grass-fed dairy producers’ claims that they don’t add any additional hormones to their product, that happy cow’s milk naturally contains growth hormones because Mother Nature intends baby cows to pack lots and lots of weight quickly after birth. So don’t drink milk unless you’re in a hurry to get ten times bigger like a baby calf! Oh, and that calcium in dairy doesn’t get absorbed well in our bodies – we’re better off eating green leafy vegetables like kale and cabbage for a calcium boost.

8. Because we can survive just fine on a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds provides us with more than enough nutrition, protein, and whatever macro- or micronutrient is destined to become the next big media obsession. Just make sure to eat plenty of calories, and keep things interesting by not eating the same darn thing every day.

9. Because if I believe that something is morally wrong but everybody around me is doing it, it doesn’t mean that I should be doing it too. A few gruesome historical events like slavery and holocaust come to mind. Without going into detail, let me just say that during those times in history, there were people who disagreed with the majority of the society supporting those forms of human abuse – and those people were a minority. However, today the majority of us are appalled looking back at slavery and holocaust, all because the beliefs and the actions of the few who disagreed eventually won. That’s why as vegans, we have an important job to do sticking to our beliefs and spreading the word.

10. Because I don’t have to deal with a moral dilemma at every meal. That used to be a big problem for me before I went vegan: I would admire cows in the countryside, and feel ashamed later for going out to eat and ordering a steak. Or, I’d struggle trying to figure out why we love and pet some animals like cats and dogs, and kill and eat others. I would do all kinds of moral gymnastics trying to find explanation, but couldn’t find any. These days as a vegan, I am at peace at every meal.

So Just as I don’t expect to lose my memory anytime soon, I also don’t expect forgetting any of the reasons above for staying vegan. Sorry ex-vegan movement, we’ll have to go our separate ways…

Question for you: What was the biggest reason why you decided to go vegan/plant-based? Please let us all know below!

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About Alina

Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Being vegan eventually opened her eyes on the issues of animal welfare, environmental protection, human rights and feminism. Alina hopes that her blog will help its readers on their path to making this world a better place.
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30 Responses to I’ve Decided to Stay Vegan – and Here Are 10 Reasons Why

  1. Trish says:

    I have zero vegan friends and I live in a small town where there are lots of hunters 🙁
    I choose to be vegan because I don’t want any part of the abhorrent slaughtering of animals. I often have awful visions of the fear that these innocent sentinel beings must experience. That alone is why no one will ever be able to change my mind to be anything other than being a vegan. The environment comes second. And my health is an added bonus,however, I’m probably one of the very few vegans that are carrying added pounds!! Urgh 🙂
    Thanks for your post!!

    • Alina says:

      You’re very welcome Trish! Sorry to hear that you are the only vegan in your town – I definitely know how that feels since my husband and I first went vegan when we lived in a small town in Alabama where people were puzzled by our requests for meat and dairy-free food at restaurants. The empathy you feel towards wild animals who are about to be hunted down is also very familiar. Stay strong, because as you know, your choice to be vegan affects more than just yourself!

  2. Janine says:

    “Because I refuse to live my life on my knees” …. As long as I can remember I’ve protested eating meat…the smell the texture and the animal of course….of course a 4 year old child doesn’t know or understand the whole process of obtaining meat but something always felt weird and wrong and gross about it. I guess I gained an understanding of it early when I peeked in the garage to see a bloody (dripping) deer head or the whole body hanging from the ceiling and just put 2 and 2 together about the rest of meat. I’ve always felt a deep almost spiritual connection with nonhuman animals and it felt as if I was betraying them. Back to my first quotation, I felt throughout my life that my dietary choices were being controlled by an outside source. For the most part it was family. I remember plugging my nose to drink my mandatory 1 glass of milk a day as a 5 year old and being told to eat disgusting calcium chews when I grew older and refused and when I grew older still and chose a salad over a hamburger at McDonald’s during a family trip and my father cussing under his breath and then the protein bars I was told to eat (that also tasted like chalk) because my parents were worried I wouldn’t develop without enough animal products, to making a deal with my mother to only eat chicken and fish as a teenager because “you have to eat something” to becoming vegetarian and then realising that my lifelong digestive issues were due to dairy to years later vegan. One day I just up and decided that I was going to be in control of my own dietary choices. My mother mocked me, ridiculed me. She cried at thanksgiving. But I held my ground. I had made up my mind that once and for all I would hold my ground. It will be 2 years that I’ve been vegan in May (2016). For me, it’s about a willingness to open your eyes where others turn away to not ignore another’s suffering because it’s uncomfortable. I’ll never look back.

    • Alina says:

      I applaud your strength, Janine! We didn’t have hunters in my family, but whenever my parents took me on trips to the ‘meat market’ in our town, I was always so grossed out! I remember having said to my mom once, ‘When I grow up, I’ll be a vegetarian!’ My mom laughed and replied, ‘What man would ever marry you if you’re a vegetarian?!’ That was in post-Soviet Russia, where nobody ever had the idea that a woman should be valued for who she is, and not for what kind of marriage material she makes. So, here’s how the ideas of veganism and feminism are connected for me – going on a tangent here 🙂

  3. Sheryl Marra says:

    Alina: Your 10 reasons mirrors very well my feelings. I will never stop being vegan at the very least for the animals. I never waiver and feel fortunate that I know how to cook delicious vegan food. If anything I must struggle to keep my calories down. I am 68 years old, married to a carnivore and still working full time. I have stopped talking about it even though I am so enthusiastic and am amazed that most people think so little of what they are putting in their bodies!! Thank you for being “out there” with your website/blog. Keep up the good work.

    • Alina says:

      Thank you so much, Sheryl, and thank you for sticking to your beliefs living in the world full of meat eaters!

    • Curlieq55 says:

      I’m just shy of 62, and have been vegan since May 2013. My bf and his 13 yr old daughter, who now lives with us, are carnivores, but at least they don’t eat red meat. Bf is very supportive of my choice (he’s the chef at home), so I’m lucky.

  4. Laurie says:

    I am just like you were when you felt guilty every time you sat down to eat. I feel like that all of the time. I would love to have the will power and discipline to go vegan. I also struggle with meal planning because my husband is a meat and potatoes guy and thinks people that don’t eat meat are crazy. I often don’t get home until 6:00 or later in the evening and then have to make dinner and making two different meals every night is not appealing.

    I am and always have been an animal lover. I despise how they treat those poor animals and feel guilty that I am just coming to this realization at 40 years old. My health would also benefit from this change. I had a stroke right before my 40th birthday and heart surgery to patch a hole in my heart right after my birthday. They also found another problem with my heart that will inevitably get worse over time but I can slow down the progression my eating better, exercising more and stressing less.

    Although I have ready many of your other posts, this one was definitely an eye opener for me and my poor excuses for eating meat but any additional advice and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • Alina says:

      Laurie, I feel your pain! Believe me, you have all the willpower and strength to go vegan – or at least to cut out most animal products from your day-to-day meal routine. You just need to realize that! I hear a lot of people bringing up the fact that their significant other is not vegan, and that they don’t have the time to make two types of meals every time. My first suggestion: make vegetable and/or grain-based dishes, and then top your serving with cooked beans, tofu, etc., and your husband’s with meat. A lot of veggie stews, soups, salads can be made that way. Second, check out Lindsay Nixon’s plant-based meal plans: she emails weekly recipes and grocery lists to her subscribers, and from what I’ve heard, all recipes can be made in 4 hours or less on the weekend to eat all week –> time and money saving right there! BTW, I’m not affiliated with Lindsay, so don’t get any kind of kickbacks for suggesting her meal plans.

      Anyway, I hope that you find the courage to make the vegan plunge, and feel free to message me your questions!

  5. Rachel says:

    Thank you so much for this!

  6. Jen says:

    Thank you so much for this! My hubby and i have become vegetarians recently, along with our 2 & 4 year old ;). We’re going vegan next month for 30 days as a trial period because I’m so curious about it. So glad that i found your blog!! Your reasons for being vegan make all the sense in the world and are nudging me to take the next step and do what i know is right intuitively. Keep it up woman! You rock!

  7. matt says:

    Excellent post.

    I went vegan for moral reasons.

  8. Alicia says:

    After reading Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and The China Study I became convinced a plant based diet was the healthiest way to eat. I stopped eating animal products four years ago. Seeing fit healthy family members sucumb to cancer and heart disease has strengthened my resolve.
    And as I read and researched more I have become vegan, avoiding all animal products. Not purchasing wool or leather. Buying vegan cosmetics and cleaning products, etc.
    I believe my lifestyle is best for my body, my spirit and the earth.

  9. Lee says:

    All very good reasons and certainly all of mine. It makes me wonder if general society isn’t teaching our children to be a little schizoid. All baby animals are in toddlers books; little kitties and puppies and yes little piggies and bunnies and lambs and on and on and they’re all friendly little creatures with mommies and daddies and little problems that are solved by love and hugs.Then, suddenly, they animals are split into groups. Kitties and Puppies stay as playmates but the others-oh no! the others are FOOD! Kind of sick isn’t it and quite confusing to small children.

    • Alina says:

      I agree, Lee! I was recently watching a Red Riding Hood cartoon, and even though I’ve known the story since I was a kid, it was appalling to me that an animal (wolf) had to be killed at the end for all humans to feel happy again. The idea of exploiting animals is entrenched so deeply in our conscience that it might be a challenge for me one day to pick stories and cartoons to expose my future children to.

  10. Angela says:

    Hi, a really interesting post. I became vegan 20 years ago but I’d never really liked meat or fish anyway; the texture and the thought of blood in my mouth had always horrified me. I became vegetarian at 10 years old with so little knowledge that I realised years later I ate very badly and then I was persuaded by my first boyfriend ( I married him and we are still married 50 years later) to go back to eating meat. I used to push it round my plate and add so many lentils to meals, it kind of shoved the meat out anyway. I know I was meant to be vegan anyway. I’m allergic to dairy, eggs and wool and when I ate animal products I always had a bad body and feet odour problem which disappeared completely when I became vegan. My husband and family all eat meat but we have developed a way of mostly not cooking two meals. My husband cooks the meat component of a meal and I cook a vegan alternative and we share the same vegetables etc. Freezing portions helps when we don’t want to cook and also makes it more economical. I’m sometimes sad that my family haven’t joined me but I don’t preach and they will eat vegan meals sometimes. Ps, I’m not a thin vegan either and the Vegan Society used to sell t-shirts in many sizes that said, Vegans come in all sizes, so we are not all alone.

    • Alina says:

      That’s such a wonderful story, Angela, thank you for sharing! Glad to hear that you and your husband and family have found a peaceful way to coexist. So many people struggle to find common ground with their meat-eating relatives, it’s truly great that you’ve found a way!

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  12. Liam Rooney says:

    I’ve been a year (as of yesterday) and I really agree that it’s tough seeing people leave the movement, causing more damage than they would ever have hoped while being vegan. For me I’ve never been healthier both physically and mentally, I entered and got a great time in my first half marathon a few days back and wrote a bit about the experience as a first timer, if you have a moment check it out here 🙂

    https://homeinsideourselves.wordpress.com/

  13. Joey says:

    I love your article.

    I do have one thing to say in response to reason number six. If you look at our physiology and the chemical composition of our saliva and digestive acids you’ll note that we actually share the physiology of a frugavore not an heribore.

    It sounds nit picky and small potatoes I know but I just wanted to chime in my 2 cents 🙂

    Thank you for the great read

  14. Andrea says:

    Hi I have been a vegetarian for 25+ years and vegan for the last year. I actually have never had a steak or hardly any red meat in my life as I refused to eat it as a child to the horror of my parents. I feel so much better being vegan that it’s a shame I waited so long but it was an organic transition; with Pinterest and blogs about these days with amazing recipes, it was super easy. I don’t crave cheese or any diary at all and at this point think of it as glue in my body. Although I am 100% plant based I don’t feel I need to put a label on myself and perhaps when I go to Europe this year I might try some blue cheese as European cheese is so much better than North American.
    There is one downside to this lifestyle — I am approaching 50 and none of my friends are even close to me in energy so I do a lot of things by myself! Many of my friends fell on the Paleo Diet bandwagon and it’s just not something they can do long term. These friends continue to take cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc meds (don’t forget ar around age 50 the bill comes due for what you have been doing to your body for the last 50 years). My husband is a reluctant vegan — he likes meat (less and less though) but eats vegan with me because he feels so much better.
    Since going vegan and following the starch solution diet, I went from size 4 to size 0-2, have been able to run more without injury, my persistent rash I have had most of my life went away (must have been dairy related) and just feel so good that many of my friends are starting to take notice and are re-evaluating their own lifestyles. For those that are the only vegans in their towns or families that are relentless … Let your health and energy speak for itself — and eventually people will notice.

    • Alina says:

      Hi Andrea, thank you for your comment! Glad to hear that vegan diet is working out so well for you! My husband was a reluctant vegan too for the first few months of our transition. It’s great to see how others eventually start putting two and two together looking at us. Keep up the good work!

  15. Hey Alina, thanks for that post and the reminder why I live vegan for 8 years now. I would add the following point: because it’s making my life more wonderful in any aspect. I feel more connected, healthy and happy. Since I am vegan I met so many interesting individuals that I never had if I haven’t changed my lifestyle.

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