Nowadays, it is hard to find a person who does not care about a healthy lifestyle. Everybody seems to be eating more than 5 portions of veggies and fruit a day. On social media, they brag about their next extensive cardio workout at the gym. The Internet is bursting at the seams with easy-to-stick-to diets, articles about superfoods for weight loss or videos of fat-frying bikini-body workouts.
Being healthy is a must. I’ve always tried to eat healthily – avoiding junk food, eating frequent but small portions, etc. – still, I felt I wasn’t doing enough, and this is when I came upon veganism.
Just like other people, I chose to eat more healthily, it’s just that my diet is frowned upon rather than praised. I discovered that a lot of unhealthy fat is found in animal products which can be successfully substituted with plants, cereals or nuts. On the whole, vegan people tend to eat more healthily than non-vegans as they tend to vary their diet and include more vegetables and fruit. What is interesting is that it’s quite hard to encounter a fat vegan person, my vegan flatmate told me. This gave me some food for thought.
My flatmate was quick to let me know of all the positive aspects of staying away from animal products. I found out that mass production of meat is the biggest source of pollution in the USA and massive amounts of water are wasted during such production, let alone the inhumane conditions in which animals are kept, transported and killed only for humans to indulge themselves with tasty food. What if my healthy diet turns out to be beneficial not only to me but to the well-being of the whole planet? I thought I’d give it a try.
A few months have passed and, sadly, I am still not 100% restricted to vegan food. Apart from my sweet tooth for any kind of non-vegan snack, I simply find it impossible to stay fully integrated with everybody around me. Everything goes just fine whenever I stay at home and have the possibility to cook for myself or my friends. I have a wide array of vegan meal options. I started eating more vegetables, fruit, nuts and healthy cereals such as brown rice or various types of groats. I’ve discovered new tastes and there is no place for boredom in my kitchen.
Unfortunately, I find it extremely hard to stay vegan in any other circumstances, such as when I’m travelling, having a family dinner or ordering food with friends. What am I supposed to say to my poor grandma when she sees me refusing a whole lunch? Where should I dine in a little Czech ski resort if the only vegetarian dish they have is non-vegan fried cheese? I get that going on a particular diet is not easy but what really bothers me is people’s condemning attitude towards veganism.
Social conditioning has made people think that there is no logical reason for leaving out meat and other animal products. People think that we are born to eat meat and it is impossible to get all the nutritional values from plants and cereals. This is not true, though you can’t prove them wrong because as soon as you start defending yourself, you are accused of being a freak who, just like Jehova’s witnesses, will try to convert them to your beliefs. I am already sick and tired of all the conversations I’ve had with my family and friends about how immature I am to skip meat, dairy products and eggs for the sake of cows dying in slaughterhouses.
I am aware of the fact that mass production of meat is a powerful business and one person will not make a big impact. I know a lot of products on shop shelves contain milk or eggs and it is impossible to make them all vegan. I just don’t want to be a part of this. I feel I want to help save animals and the environment, even if it’s only of little help. Why am I ridiculed then for trying to be a better person? I’m not trying to change others’ lifestyles if they don’t want to. I just want to be vegan without being criticized in advance, that’s all I want.