"Vegan", "Plant-based", "Dairy-Free", are all things that we are slowly but surely hearing more and more about these days but still not as much as we should be. My husband and I switched to a vegan/plant-based diet in August of 2017 and it's been quite an adventure, one that we are so thankful for. My goal in this post is to be transparent with you so if there is anything I don't cover please feel free to leave a comment and ask any questions! Talking about these things is my passion and I would love to start a conversation about it in the comments. I believe that what I'm going to discuss in this post could really help some of you who are unsure of this diet. I want to try and help answer questions, debunk any confusing myths and simplify the idea of "vegan" and "plant-based". I believe that truthfully, a whole food plant-based diet is the original perfect diet for our bodies and if you are educated and go about it correctly you could have absolutely everything to gain and nothing to lose from it. Our research was extensive and we made sure that each decision we made felt right and was thoroughly educated. We constantly consumed information and learned so much in such a short time and it left us feeling like for the first time in our lives our eyes were opened to our health and the health crisis that is all around us in the US. I hope this post will help simplify any misunderstanding you might have about this lifestyle and if nothing else, is an enjoyable read.
Reason #1. Everyone is eating the same way, and (almost) everyone is sick or in pain.
Have you ever heard of someone getting heart disease from eating too many greens? If I had to pick one reason we are doing this it would be this reason alone. Noone is dying from a healthy and abundant plant-based lifestyle but 1 in every 4 deaths is meat-based diet related. That's the number one reason we do this. Meat-based diets are killing while plant-based diets are keeping people alive and thriving. It's no secret that the meat industry is a billion dollar one where quantity wins over quality almost every time. Has it always been that way? Maybe not. But it would take SO much change to reverse the ways things are handled today. Meat is so mass produced and the rules and regulations that go into the handling of agriculture are vague and skewed. We need to come to terms with the fact that we have been deceived and there is absolutely no way to guarantee the health or safety of the meat this country is consuming or the welfare and humane handling of the animals. There is no humane way of killing something that does not want to die. You cannot believe everything you read on packaging and labels. If we haven't caught on by now, FDA approved doesn't really mean much and neither does "cage free, hormone free or pasture raised". To learn more I would HIGHLY recommend watching the documentaries listed below or reading the China Study. I know that for some reason those documentaries get a bad rap and I think it's because of how uncomfortable they make us feel but they are filled with nothing but truth and have invaluable and life-changing information to share.
Reason # 2. The standard American diet is the farthest thing from humane.
We are lied to when we're told the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, etc are raised and killed humanely. It's as simple as that. We've been lied to. Just do a few google searches and you'll see what I mean. When we watched these documentaries we felt sick to our stomachs and were filled with so much sadness. God did not intend for this to be the way we treated the animals he put on the earth for us. If dogs and cats are our companions, why did it become ok to torment and eat all the other animals? Pigs, cows, chickens, etc all think and feel the same as the dogs that we let live in our homes. There is no difference. The only difference is that when other animals are being beaten, shocked, gassed and tortured, no one does anything. But if the same happens to a dog, everyone would be running to save them. All animals feel pain and all animals are beings. We are told to treat others as we would want to be treated and we are also told not to kill. I believe that the days of animal sacrifices are long gone and things have gotten WAY out of hand. Millions of animals die cruel and horrible deaths every day simply because people like the taste of their meat. We do not need meat. Another lie we have been told is that protein is the most important and we can't get enough protein without meat which is the farthest thing from being true. Protein is not as important as we've been taught BUT we can get all the protein we need from plants. We can get all the nutrients we get from meat from plant-based foods and the major difference is that these foods come with NO disease and no negative life-threatening side effects. Why? Because we were given the plants to eat, not the animals. "And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." Genesis 1:30. The original perfect diet. I don't know about you but that verse got me.
How have things gone so wrong? We are told to love and be compassionate to not only humans but to animals too.
Reason #3. Our own health issues.
For a while my husband suffered from random but intense heart palpitations and joint pain. It was something that I started to worry about a lot more once we got married but after seeing a few doctors about it and going through a couple different tests, it was determined that it was really just stress, mentally and physically. So he tried to lessen the amount of red meat he was eating but that was difficult for him to do and the palpitations and pain did not go away. My issue has always been anxiety, hormones and bad periods. I've had anxiety since I was probably around 14 years old and was always told it was a hormone imbalance. When we got married I started on the birth control pill and that made everything a million times worse. I tried to ignore the symptoms and how crazy it was making me feel but I was not myself and couldn't go on like that for much longer. Right around the same time we went vegan I switched to a natural form of birth control. I don't want to get too TMI on everyone in this post but if you would like more info on that let me know and I'd be more than happy to write a post on it! So fast forward almost a year into marriage and we made the switch to a plant-based diet. The first thing we noticed was that my husband's heart palpitations were gone! To this day he hasn't had one and before we went vegan they were fairly regular. So thankful!! We both realized that we had not been getting enough omegas in our original diet and and the lack of nutrients plus the inflammation in his body was causing that pain. We were getting more omegas, healthy fats and other vitamins and minerals than ever before and our bodies were thanking us in so many ways. Joint pain went away because the inflammation from meat and dairy went away. As far as my issues, my hormones seemed to really smooth out within the first month and for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I had regular periods! This was so exciting for me because I felt like I was finally starting to get in tune with my cycle and my body. It's like all the hormones I was ingesting from meat and dairy had just been getting in the way of hearing what my body needed and was trying to tell me. I have felt less anxiety within the past 7 months than I ever have. So many of our issues simply went away when we switched our way of eating and living. If that doesn't tell you that this is the diet we were made to live by, I'm not sure what will. There are countless stories of people dying from cancer and other disease, who were given months left to live, and by switching their diets to a fully plant-based one were able to literally save their own lives and live on enjoying longer and fuller lives. Plant based diets can reverse disease. We cannot trust everything the healthcare system tells us. They simply were not trained in the healing power of diet or in the way that certain foods are being processed and made.
Reason #4. The health of our future children.
Sometimes I sit back and think about our future children and I'm so excited to be able to pass this way of living and eating down to them and watch them grow up as healthy, happy babies having such a compassion for the beings around them, human and animal. Obviously, I am not a mama yet and haven't gone through the difficulties that pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding can bring so I won't act like I have but I will share the way I envision raising my kiddos and the way I envision walking through pregnancy. I have done so much research on this subject over the past few months and I have been so fascinated with learning more and more on the topic of plant-based pregnancy, breastfeeding, and raising plant-based babies. I am so excited to one day go on that journey and document every step of the way. I want my kiddos to be raised knowing that the only milk they needed is breast milk and that we don't need to take milk from cows because it isn't meant for us, it's meant for baby cows. I believe that the hormones and fat in dairy products were not meant to grow baby humans, only baby cows. Cows don't drink human milk and we shouldn't drink cows milk. I'm excited to pick fruits and veggies out of our own garden and feed my children whole plant-based foods that will keep them thriving, satisfied and compassionate.
It's been documented that around 7,500 years ago cows milk started to be consumed simply because some humans could digest it without getting sick. Could you imagine eating everything we could get our hands on simply because our bodies had the ability to digest it? We would be eating everything, plastic, metal, so much junk that isn't meant to be consumed. This is what I believe: I understand that milk may not have been AS bad for humans 7,500 years ago as it is today but I can tell you two things: there are WAY too many negative side effects that come with dairy products to be allowing that in the diets of our children today. The second thing is this, there is nothing good about the way mama cows are ripped from their babies right after giving birth to be used for their milk and artificially inseminated once again and watch their babies get drug away and tied up to be used as tender meat for human consumption. Supporting that is not something I want to be a part of. And I know there are arguments about whether it's ok to drink the milk from farmer Bill's cows down the street because you see that they are happy cows and raised right but again, is it something we need? Does it do more good than harm? In my opinion, no. If everyone would stop feeding their children dairy we would have way less pre-mature puberty, child obesity (which naturally turns into adult obesity), development issues, and sickness/disease in children and adults today.
Reason #5. Disease prevention.
If you have not read The China Study I would highly recommend picking it up or ordering it off of amazon (linked below). Its such a great read on the scientifical evidence behind a plant based diet and the diseases it can prevent and heal us from. The documentary Forks Over Knives, is actually made by the same authors of The China Study. So much invaluable information that is truly saving lives. This again was a no brainer when my husband and I made this decision. If our previous diet was the cause of so much disease in so many people and a plant based diet was preventing and healing people of those disease why wouldn't we make that change?
Reason #6. Peace
There is something about knowing that the way we're choosing to eat and live is sustaining and kind to the planet that God created that fills us with joy.
The NCBI states that "It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes."
I plan to write many more posts on this subject but would love to hear your feedback and know what you want to see!
I truly hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions about going vegan or anything else discussed here please feel free to leave a comment or reach out!
Documentaries we watched:
Forks over Knives - Netflix
What the Health? - Netflix
Vegucated - Netflix
Books we read/are reading: