Veganism: It Is Not About Us.

Veganism: It Is Not About Us.
​There are many different reasons why people go vegan – for the sake of the animals, to help stop and reverse the damage done to our planet by animal agriculture and factory farming, to prevent or cure a disease, to improve their athletic performance, or just because people are following a trend. I’ve always believed that any path that led to veganism was an excellent path to embrace and support. But, now I am starting to feel that all of the different reasons are starting to muddy the waters about the real reason behind being vegan. 

There are many promises, especially about the health benefits, that people make to encourage others to go vegan. Some people experience positive benefits after going vegan. I felt better physically and mentally, I didn’t have the stomach issues as I did while I was eating animals and animal products, and I did have a little more energy. But, my health was not a deciding factor in my transition to becoming a vegan. Those positive effects I experience were just side effects. And everyone experiences different effects or none at all.  Veganism isn’t about restoring your blood pressure to normal levels or shredding weight. It isn’t about having a holistic health plan in which to turn to, or the cure for all ailments. It isn’t a diet. It is a way of life. 

Veganism is about living life with the firm intent to do no harm (or the least amount possible) to non-human animals, by excluding them from our food, products, clothing, entertainment, or using them for any other purposes. As Gene Baur says, “If we can live well without causing unnecessary harm, why wouldn’t we?” 

I can see how people could quickly jump on the veganism bandwagon because of how many news outlets, articles, and social media influencers hype up all of the benefits of being vegan. However, those benefits they speak of – weight loss, reversing diabetes, preventing or curing cancer, having boundless energy, having perfect skin, or creating the ideal body – are not guaranteed, and they have nothing to do with being a vegan. Those ideas or thoughts or benefits, or whatever you want to call them, are focused on eating a plant-based diet. That is fine if that is how you want to live. And if you do, thank you. You are too helping reduce the use and abuse of non-human animals. But if all of those benefits are not realized or do not come to fruition, will you maintain that diet? A vegan never questions if they will remain vegan because the driving force behind their lifestyle is compassion and causing the least amount of harm possible. It is not about living a perfect life, that is simply impossible. 

Honestly, it is easy being vegan. At first, you have to check every product label to make sure it does not contain animal ingredients, you learn about hidden animal ingredients in food, beer, wine, and everyday products, and then start becoming conscious and aware of how many ways non-human animals are used in our everyday society. But you fall into a routine, and everything becomes second nature. You will continue to learn more about how animals are used and exploited daily,  and sometimes you will have to adjust your living because what you thought was animal-free, really wasn’t or the manufacturer switched up the ingredients or testing requirements. 

I do think veganism should be expanded to different aspects, such as making sure the foods we consume are not picked or produced by humans working or living in slave-like conditions or being exposed to harmful chemicals.  Vegans work towards creating a life that causes the least harm. In the end, it is not about us, it is about them, and only about them. 

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