10 totally true (if tongue-in-cheek) reasons why going vegan rocks
1. You can save up for that jet ski you always wanted.
Contrary to what you’ve heard, veganism is affordable. I always get confused when someone tells me that they tried being vegan but found it too expensive. You’re cutting foods out! How can leaving the cheese off your pizza or the meat out of your chili cost more? (Alright, I guess you do have to substitute a few things, for nutrition’s sake.)
I figured those folks must just be eating a lot of faux-meats and processed foods, and thought perhaps that was more expensive. But then I actually looked at the prices: in my grocery store, a 4-pack of veggie burgers is $4.29. A pound of ground beef? Also $4.29. Or course, if you were to buy the ingredients to make your own black bean burgers at home in 15 minutes? About a buck. So basically, eating vegan shouldn’t cost you more, and can cost you considerably less.
If you’re trying recipes with a lot of specialized ingredients (or if you’ve been living on Chef Boyardee up to this point), yes, veganism could be more expensive. But if you avoid faux-foods and instead build a diet around vegetables, beans, fruits, and grains – trust me – you’ll save money.
2. You can scoff at Prius owners like they scoff at Hummer drivers.
The meat industry is an environmental nightmare. The statistics – exactly how much meat production contributes to global climate change – will shock you. Animal agriculture contributes more greenhouse gasses than all forms of transportation combined. The Prius is a nice touch, but driving one while eating meat is proverbially spitting into the wind. The single most effective thing that you can do to fight for the environment is to go vegan.
3. You can stop being a wimp about trying new things.
I’m not just talking about learning to cook with tofu, or getting up the nerve to try the local Indian restaurant. Going vegan teaches you to get creative with even common foods. My friend, who went vegan several months ago, has tried making hummus with every different bean known to humankind. (As it turns out, black-eyed peas make pretty killer hummus.) Before you know it, you’ll be going “Wait, I can make pudding out of the stuff they sprinkle on chia pets? Awesome!” For extra credit, you can join a local organic buying club or CSA, and break out your Google-fu for recipes when confronted with kohlrabi or dragonfruit.
4. You can have more cheerleaders than Bring It On and all its unwatchable sequels combined.
Want 237 new friends? Tweet this to any vegan: “Giving #vegan lifestyle a try. Who has advice?” Before you know it, you’ll have a whole new circle of friends ready to support, encourage, and argue over which is the best vegan free-trade chocolate.
Not on Twitter? Facebook, Livejournal, Blogspot, Meetup… wherever you happen to be online, reach out to the vegan community and be prepared to feel like you just got invited to the cool table in the high school cafeteria.
5. Those better things you have to do with your time? You can do them.
When I first went vegan, Sunday dinner was always two hours early. I was so used to starting dinner at two or three o’clock in the afternoon, and I didn’t realize how much time and effort I would save by cutting out the meat. My mom’s famous soup takes one third of the time to cook when you substitute tofu grounds for the lengthy process of browning, simmering, and shredding the beef. Until you go vegan, you don’t realize how much of your life you waste waiting on a slab of meat to reach a safe temperature to kill all the bacteria!
6. You can celeb-watch and tell yourself it’s not shallow.
You can feel free to fawn like a fangirl (or fanboy) on a wide variety of vegan celebs because – duh! – obviously you aren’t just falling prey to the cult of celebrity, but respect and admire them for their vegan values and advocacy. (Wikipedia even gives you a handy list, sorted by country of origin.) Also? You’re totally free to vocally and vociferously hate on the fur-wearing Kardashians. It’s practically a new sport – soon folks will be organizing leagues.
7. You can become the Chuck Norris of disease-fighters.
Chuck Norris will never have a heart attack; his heart isn’t nearly foolish enough to attack him. Your heart, on the other hand, may not be quite so intimidated. But you can keep it in line with the power of plants. Check out The China Study or the film Forks Over Knives for the research. Studies show that with every veg meal, you’re fighting heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke – without even trying! That’s pretty bad-ass, if you ask me.
8. You can do without either “-or.”
Neither Crestor nor Lipitor, nor any other cholesterol medication is likely to be in your future for the long-term as a vegan – a cholesterol-free diet. (Sure, you might be the freak of nature whose body still manages to produce copious amounts despite having no dietary intake and require medication, but for most folks, cholesterol drops to a healthy level on a balanced vegan diet.) You might also be able to avoid or reverse the need for medications for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, anti-inflammatories, and a whole host of other medicines people take for everyday ailments. How is this different from the previous point? Think about all the potential side-effects you’ll be ditching, and all the money you’ll be saving. One hundred percent of sane people agree, it’s great to be free to say no to drugs.
9. You can help make those depressing Save the Children commercials go away already.
Allow me to demonstrate this with some slightly sketchy math. (I admit, this involves some guestimating.) Stats say the average American downs about 200 lbs of meat, poultry, and fish per year. Cattle consume 16 lbs of grain or soy per pound of meat generated. Chicken consume 2.6 lbs of corn for each pound of flesh. Averaging that out and subtracting a wild guess of 25 lbs for fish (which are not consuming farmed resources), that’s a whopping 1627.5 lbs of grain, corn, and soy that’s being consumed by animals to create your 200 lbs of meat. Very inefficient, yes? If you swap out your 200 lbs of meat for 200 lbs of farmed resources, that still leaves you with over 1400 lbs. At 200 lbs a year, that’s food for seven hungry people.
10. You can attain a state of enlightenment. Not necessarily in a hippie-dippy yoga-Om way.
You believe in myths. That’s not a judgment – we all do. Our world view is defined by the stories we’re told. One myth you probably grew up believing is “Milk does a body good.” The truth, as it turns out, is that the ability to tolerate lactose begins to decline at age 2 (by which age humans would normally be weaned), and that as many as 60% of all adults lack the ability to digest milk products at all. Scientists think that the fact any of us retain the ability to digest it is weird, considering no other mammal does.
When you go vegan, you start to question many of the myths surrounding food. Why do we drink cow’s milk instead of milk from any other mammal? Why not primate milk, since humans are primates? Why do we eat chickens and turkeys, but not peacocks and parrots? How is eating a dog any different than eating a lamb? Why is the government subsidizing the meat and dairy industry, but giving no subsidies to vegetable farmers? Can the government’s nutritional advice then be trusted? Once you open your eyes, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll see.