After being fully vegan for over eight years I guess I could write books about my personal motives, thoughts and points of views, experiences and continuously growing knowledge. But let me just introduce you to my three main reasons that made me become and stay an ethical, enviromental-friendly, healthy & compassionate vegan human being. I just want to say this: We are not here to be perfect. We are here to do the best we can with what we know and what we have.
The word 'vegan' does not equal 'healthy' - let's get that out first. And yet, what I am talking about is a whole plant foods diet including a huge variety of organic, fresh and preferably seasonal and local fruits and vegetables. I am talking about eating large quantities of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains as unprocessed as possible. I am talking about healing the relationship with food and developing well balanced and intuitive eating habits that fit our individual bodies and needs, preferences and lifestyles. I am talking about a diet and lifestyle that nourishes and satisfies us on all levels.
When I first came across the vegan way of eating I did not know anything about nutrition at all. I was growing up in northern Germany and never really questioned what we labeled as healthy and normal. But I knew I needed to change something as I was dealing with painful digestive and skin issues since being very little and no doctor was able to help me until then. So I decided to take the responsibility for my health and started to educate myself. I read many books, watched even more documentaries and listened to people who have been sharing their years long vegan experiences online. I reached a point - a level of information - that made me decide to go vegan over night. Here I am - over eight years later - and I can honestly say: this was the best decision of my life!
I was able to heal my digestive and skin issues faster than I ever thought would be possible - after trying many different kinds of medications and protocols that did not work or made it even worse. I learned about macronutrients and micronutrients and about the human body and health. I educated myself, studied holstic health and became a certified coach for holistic nutrition and health. I tried many different forms of a vegan diet until I found my own way and I am continuously learning, evolving and educating myself.
Even though I am talking about the wonderful effects a whole plant foods vegan diet has on our human body I cannot finish this without telling you that the biggest shift happend in my mind and soul. After my body went through a cleansing phase I noticed as I was getting lighter that I started to be way more sensitive to what happened inside of me and around me. I was starting to reconnect to myself, my body, mind and soul and I started questioning what I have learned to be true. Adapting a vegan diet was the door opener for a journey back to myself.
I deeply believe that if we continuously support our body, mind and soul in the most nourishing and loving way possible, we not only live - we thrive.
This was a hard one. I turned vegan over night and for about half a year I was really busy trying to figure out what to eat, how to make it and how my body feels and adapts to it. As I continued to educate myself about nutrition I more and more came across the ethical side of veganism. It shook me to the core. How is it possible that we as individuals and as a society became so desensitized? The more I knew - the harder it was to bear. I began to question literally everything that I have been taught to be right. I figured that no habit, no tradition, no convenience and definitely no taste was worth causing any kind of suffering in this world. There was no other way for me than living my life vegan.
From my own childhood I know what it means to suffer from emotional and physical pain. After reconnecting to myself, my truth, values and ethics, feeling myself again and opening up to life it just seems obivous to me. I do not want to contribute to causing any kind of pain to another living empathetic being.
Thinking about the uncountable amount of animals suffering, being exploited, tortured, slaughtered and killed in the most horrible and disgusting ways because of human habits, traditions, convenience and taste preferences causes endless amounts of sadness, grief and anger insight of me. It makes it hard to breathe watching other fellow humans contributing unconciously or conciously to it. But if I have learned one thing on my journey then that people cannot change people. People can inform and inspire people. But people can only change themselves. With this said I am aiming to continuously expand my compassion and sensitivity and show my highest respect not only for animals but for all living beings including us humans, knowing that each and everyone is doing the best they can every single day of their lives. I am deeply grateful for all the animal rights activists dedicating their life to protecting the voiceless and informing and opening up peoples hearts to compassion.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
- Mahatma Gandhi
How does a vegan lifestyle benefit our planet? Well, in fact food is one of the biggest contributors to our enviromental footprint and it appears that animal products have by far the worst impact. Studies have shown that cutting meat and dairy products from our diet would reduce each individual's carbon footprint from food by over 50%. Since livestock requires an unimaginable huge amout of farmland, by going vegan, the global farmland use could be reduced by 75% - an area equivalent to the size of the US, China, Australia and the EU combined. This would not only lead to a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions, it would as well free up lost wild land used for animal agriculture which happens to be one of the primary causes for mass wildlife extinction.
Factory farming's most notable impact on the enviroment is water pollution. Animals raised for food produce approximately 130 times more waste than the entire human population combined. When you concentrate these animals in massive factory farm facilities, it is incredibly difficult to keep these giant facilities clean without using a massive amount of water. To run the flushing systems that clean excrement off the floors of dairy farms, 150 gallons of water are required per cow, every single day. In fact, the majority of water used in factory farms does not go towards hydrating animals, but rather to cleaning and processing animals during slaughter. Once this water is polluted with animal waste, it is so polluted with antibiotics, hormones and bacteria, pathogens (such as Salmonella, E.coli, Cryposporidium - which can be up to 10 to 100 times higher than human waste) as well as heavy metals and pesticides, that it cannot be returned to the water system.
Fast growing animal agriculture and industrialized livestock result in global deforestation, massive amounts of wasted and polluted water, mass wildlife extinction and greenhouse gas emissions, which fuel climate change. It supports world hunger especially in third world countries where land is being used to feed livestock for food in the western world.