Why are you vegan? I’m happy for you whatever the reason!

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I've seen across the interwebs many posts about going vegan for health or to lose weight. Subsequently, there have been posts from angry vegans who feel that if you change your diet for those reasons than you aren't vegan enough or at all. Who are we to judge? There are no statistics that show those who go vegan for health are more likely to fall off the wagon. From what I can tell, if you go vegan for any reason, over time as you continue a diet devoid of death and violence your connection to the animals and all of nature grows, as well as your compassion. My friend Natala, of Vegan Hope, talks about this very thing which happened to her after going vegan for health. She brings up the point that we are all on a great big journey. No one is perfect. Enjoy the ride. 

I think we should be encouraging instead of judgmental to anyone on the path to veganism. And those who do make the commitment (for whatever reason) should be praised! There are so few people who go whole hog with the diet part of veganism. With Meatless Monday (which I like to think is a gateway program to veganism) and so many people flirting with vegan meals during the week ("Vegan Until Dinner"), but not going all the way, those that do go vegan 100% with their diets get a high five from me. Last week my friend Marla posted a great blog, Of Babies and Bath Water, discussing this issue. Why have we become so damn superior? Don't get me wrong, I've succumb to the holier than though attitude a few times. We can all do better at being compassionate toward all beings. We don't have the luxury of treating vegans who may not have the same views as us (or aren't as vegan as we are) like crap, because they aren't very many of us. Let's be inclusive and hold on tight. 

What is your experience or opinion of this issue? What have you learned recently on your journey with veganism?


Comment List

  • Christine 23 / 09 / 2011 Reply

    I personally find the "veganism for weight loss" bandwagon annoying since it's not a guarantee for all people. I do like the fact that people are converting and willing to try the lifestyle, because many people will start questioning the animal rights and environmental issues after they've started eating vegan food. Like you said, we should take what we can get – more vegan friends is a good thing! 

    • Christy Morgan 23 / 09 / 2011 Reply

      I hear ya! I actually have another post brewing about the weight loss issue, restricted diets, and appealing to people's vanity to get them to go vegan. We are just so obsessed with our looks, I just want people to be healthy and happy, while inflicting the least amount of harm to all living beings. 🙂

  • Katie 23 / 09 / 2011 Reply

    It seems to me that no matter what someone's main reason is for going vegan, eventually they come to learn about the other reasons over time and embrace them as well.  So people who go vegan for health reasons will probably start caring about animal welfare, the environment, what not.

    I agree that the 'veganism for weightloss' bandwagon is annoying though, and so are the people who feed into it.  I don't think it's right to make claims like:  you will lose weight, your skin will clear up, your seasonal allergies will disappear, etc.  It kind of implies that there is something wrong with the people that doesn't hold true for.

    • Christy Morgan 24 / 09 / 2011 Reply

      Thanks Katie for your comment! I do think if people want those things it is all possible with a whole foods vegan diet, but it can take hard work and time. Every body is different, so everyone will not have the same results right after going vegan. 

  • Kelly Klepfer 24 / 09 / 2011 Reply

    I recently went Vegan after four years of heading that direction. My family and I started with organic and avoidance of processed because my husband has Rheumatoid Arthritis and the doctor wanted to add injectibles to his medication list. Veganism has become a natural progression for us. He is still on meds but is no longer having painful flareups, and being mindful of what I pop into my mouth has slowly melted weight off of me. In the process, I've learned about the horrors of animal treatment and the cost on the environment.

    My motivation is health, whether health of my body or the planet, one person's Vegan eating is a ripple that affects the entire pond.

    It is fascinating to watch our friends and family become curious because they've seen the weight come off or my husband's knuckles beginning to look normal again. We now have three friends who are asking us to teach them and countless others who just keep asking questions and eating up whatever we make with gusto.

    People who are motivated to lose weight may give Vegan eating a try, find success and then give up. Or they may choose to stick with it. And a Vegan lifestyle, heavy on processed, doesn't mean health, and some will find that out. Right now Vegan diets are "hot" but as with every fad the hotness will fade and wither. In the meantime there is plenty of press pointing to animal treatment and the benefits of Vegan eating for the planet. Without the platform of the fad the word would not reach as far. 

    I understand the philosophy of Vegan for animal reasons. Fully. But as a new Vegan who is relearning everything. I mean EVERYTHING, I appreciate grace and compassion. My pond ripple might not move a big boat like someone who actively pursues animal safety, but my paddle in the water is helping with the flow of the current.

    • Christy Morgan 24 / 09 / 2011 Reply

      Thank you for your insight Kelly! Totally agree. And thanks for being a great example to your friends and family!

    • gail 30 / 09 / 2011 Reply

      Very well said.  I have a similiar story.  I don't think it matters much what the motive is – it's the outcome that's important.  Every vegan meal consumed is movement in a positive direction  –  better health and a cleaner more compassionate planet.   A little support and encouragement goes a long way towards this end – We're all in this together!

  • Andie 24 / 09 / 2011 Reply

    Thank you so much for this post!!! I have recently become vegan (for a number of reasons) and in all honestly the judgmental and superior attitudes of many "vegans" have caused me to refrain from calling myself a vegan. I mean, correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the ultimate goal to stop as much animal cruelty as possible?? Isn’t it a step forward when someone is willing to replace even one meal!!!

    If vegan’s really want to change the world and get more people to live this lifestyle they have to stop condemning people who don’t fit their stringent definition of being vegan, and start praising them for the changes that they are making!!

    If we are going to promote “kindness”, “love”, and “compassion”, then I think we should practice what we preach!!

    • Christy Morgan 24 / 09 / 2011 Reply

      Congrats Andie! Keep on keepin' on and don't worry so much about what other people say or think. 

  • Molly 25 / 09 / 2011 Reply

    I recently started eating a vegan diet, 3 weeks exactly. I've watched so many documentaries and read many books about the health aspects of a whole foods, plant based diet, about how the animals are treated, and the impact the industry has on the environment. I'm also quite aware of the treatment of animals used for meat and dairy. For ME, I believe humans are actually meant to eat a little meat and a little dairy. Not the vast amounts we humans do these days, though. My issue with it is the treatment of the animals and the life they are forced to lead. I believe in treating them with love and giving them a great life, and ending that life as peacefully as possible. I'm a church going Christian and I fully believe God intends this and is happy with it. However, this isn't what is happening in our meat/dairy industry today and I wonder what God thinks of the cruelty. Therefore I'm happy to stop supporting that and start eating vegan. My biggest reason for going vegan, however, is because I believe it is the healthiest way to eat. I have no weight to lose and am a healthy person, I just believe a whole foods, plant based diet is best. I don't call myself vegan, but I do say that I eat a vegan diet. I realize that "vegan" is actually an entire lifestyle, which I don't follow.  The transition is easy for me because this has been a journey over several years. Starting with organic many years ago, cutting out hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, msg and more many years ago. Eating many whole grains and becoming familiar with new grains. Cutting out all sodas. In doing all of this I brought my cholesterol down to a very healthy number (it was high since I was 16, I'm 36 now. It's genetic, but I proved it doesn't HAVE to be high!). So my final step was cutting out the animal products. I can't imagine anyone going from a conventional American diet to eating vegan in one foul swoop. If people take baby steps over time, I believe they will succeed. Also learning all they can about nutrition and how it affects your body. I only know one other vegan/vegetarian, so I have to deal with people asking me why, giving me weird looks, rolling their eyes, or feeling like I'm somehow imposing on them and making THEIR lives harder. Let's just say I haven't told my parents yet….that will not be a fun conversation to have ;o)  My husband and kids support me, though, and that's all I need 🙂

    • Christy Morgan 01 / 10 / 2011 Reply

      Thanks for sharing with us. I think it's hard to say what we are "meant" to do. No one really knows for sure, so we do our best and hopefully inflict the least amount of harm possible. Best of luck on your vegan journey! You wouldn't get resistance from others if it wasn't worth doing, so stick to your guns. You are not being an inconvenience. I like to look at it as education for others to help them see how their choices affect more than just themselves. 

  • Nikki C 05 / 10 / 2011 Reply

    Great blog post!  I chose to become vegan after I got my first dog, Chloe.  I realized that if I loved my dog and wouldn't in a million years eat her, why would I eat any other animal?  I started doing research on farming and the abuse, violence and murder that happens to bring meat and animal products to the table and was horrified.  From that day on I have been 100% vegan in all aspects of my life and have never looked back (I actually got the word "vegan" tattooed prominently on my wrist a few weeks ago because to me the word is like my new mantra, my new way of life).  It is very true, there are so few vegans in the world, we really are in no place to be putting down those who choose the lifestyle for different reasons than our own.  Staying positive, encouraging and approachable is the best way to encourage others to live a vegan lifestyle, and to encourage those who have adopted a vegan lifestyle to continue with it.  I would, however, hope that the people who do choose to go vegan for health reasons coincidentally have respect for all living creatures.  Even if they don't, by choosing a vegan lifestyle they are subsequently saving thousands of lives, not to mention doing good for the environment, and as an animal rights activist/vegan myself I don't see how can be a bad thing 🙂 

    • Christy Morgan 07 / 10 / 2011 Reply

      Wonderful that you made that connection and committed yourself to it!! And I’m so happy to can affect positive change in others by being a great example!

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