What is VEGANISM?
The image that comes to mind is certainly not someone who is huddled in a dark corner munching on a raw carrot, but more like a person who just has a vibrant glow to them.
What is veganism anyhow? Well according to Wikipedia, "veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals." Any person(s) that follows this ideology or diet is known as a vegan. Now I don't know about you, but this is a long winded statement for "Don't eat animals or anything that comes from them, and don't support animal abuse in any industry." Although it's a viable definition, there is a different definition that I do enjoy, which I just recently came across. Straight from the mouth of an English activist in 1944 who coined the term "vegan"; Donald Watson stated that veganism is, "a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” I really stand behind "as far as is possible and practicable" because it is difficult to be 100% vegan.
With veganism, the responsibility is to more than just what we eat, but it's also what we wear, what products or furniture we use around and in our house, what we use on our bodies and face, and what brands we choose to support. Here are some sites to look into if you're board, and also because the holidays are coming up:
https://www.theveganprophets.com/ ( A Hattian born owner Chris, who gives percentages to animal foundations)
https://www.whiterhinobags.com/ ( Created by Claire Carreras, a woman of color, providing beautiful bags and accessories)
https://www.bangsshoes.com/ (A brand of awesome looking shoes!)
https://www.herbivoreclothing.com/ (Has all kinds of vegan goodies from clothes to household items.)
https://us.inikaorganic.com/ (A make-up company based in the UK.)
There are so many more and lots of websites who also provide lists of companies all around the world! The world of veganism has evolved dramatically since 1944 and also WAY before that, and still is, but all around it's wonderful for so many reasons that will come in later blogs. For now I'll share my personal journey into veganism.
I started the journey as a bet, yes you read that right, a bet. It was the summer of 2012, and my bestfriend who was a vegetarian at the time said I couldn't be a vegetarian, so my 13 year old self decided "YES I CAN!JUST WAIT" Four years later I was still rockin' the lifestyle. During those years I was actively playing softball, loosing weight from having borderline juvenile diabetes, and genuinely researching the ramifications of my bet. I found so many articles (from PETA), documentaries (like Forks over Knives, Cowspiracy, and Earthlings), and Youtube channels (Like AvantGarde Vegan) that taught me about animal cruelty, the impacts of a carnivore diet on the environment and my health, and the awesome recipes that can be created in place of meat, or simply for the enjoyment of cooking and creating. These four years were shortly outdone because I broke my vegetarianism and started to eat meat again for about 2 1/2 years. Granted at the end of my highschool education I was diagnosed with Chronic Migraines, and my coach along side with my neurologist reiterated how I wasn't getting enough nutrients or protein because I wasn't eating meat. If I could go back I would have never stopped. Anyhow, during those years of consuming meat, I lost a lot of weight, I was consistently tired, sluggish, and felt drained of my energy, and I thought "okay, I can't keep eating like this anymore because I don't feel or look good in my body or my spirit." It was a long and hard journey back to plant based, but this time I wanted to shoot for veganism instead. There were so many times that I felt genuinely addicted to meat, that even though I knew all of this information about my health, the environment, and my love for animals, I couldn't shake eating chicken wings, bacon sandwiches, or extra cheesy pizzas, but somehow (with consistency, perseverance, and willpower) I made it to veganism, until the COVID-19 hit and I spent a couple months in the "meat-eating relapse" (Which was not with out the painful side affects I experienced in my body)and a label on myself as "plant based". As of current date I am vegan, and much more strict with what I consciously choose to put into my body, for moral/ethical, spiritual, environmental, and health reasons, reasons which will I go deeper into for later blogs.
Ultimately veganism is a philosophy to adopt and practice in everyday life. Is it easy, no, but is it rewarding, yes wholesomely. It will take dedication, empathy, and time. There will be many things to explore and discover, but through this blog I hope to educate, answer, and provide any tools I have and will continue to develop to help anyone willing and open to this lifestyle change! Thanks for reading, and feel free to ask any questions!