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Veganism: All the Questions You Have Answered

Kennedy+Cox+discusses+her+vegan+lifestyle.
Kennedy Cox discusses her vegan lifestyle.

Kennedy Cox discusses her vegan lifestyle.

Kennedy Cox discusses her vegan lifestyle.

Kennedy Cox, Staff Writer

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At 14, I decided to change my life forever by making the stand to stop eating meat. I have been vegan for nearly two years and I humbly believe I am qualified enough to give all of you “Average Joe’s of Diet” an overall understanding of what veganism is. I will be covering what a vegan lifestyle is really like (not just what the memes make us out to be). However, I think the most appropriate way of going about this is by answering the most common questions I receive on the daily.  So, let’s get started.

“What is veganism anyway?” 

I can’t really get annoyed with this question since it seems that a lot of people are just simply unaware of what being vegan really means. Many believe it is the same as being vegetarian, which only entails of the absence of meat, not dairy or eggs. Some vegans also incorporate veganism in not only their diet but in household, fashion, or beauty products such as not purchasing leather or things that include animal by-products like soap, etc. Many vegans and vegetarians also buy items that are labeled cruelty free, especially with makeup. I personally try to purchase vegan and cruelty free items as much as possible, however sometimes it is hard to get around.

“Oh, so you’re vegan. But, where do you get your protein?”

I swear, if I were given a dime for every time I had been asked this question, I would be a millionaire.  I didn’t really notice how much people cared about protein until I became a vegan. Usually, I would answer this question simply by stating that I get protein from nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dark green vegetables – which becomes repetitive after a while. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to eat meat to get a healthy amount of protein. In fact, many meat eaters are unaware that they over-consume protein, so, vegans aren’t really lacking in their amino acids as much as you might think. Next time you *meat* a vegan, you might just want to skip asking them this question because 11 times out of 10 they have been asked this countless times before.

“Do you eat fish?” 

If you would like a textbook definition, veganism is when a person does not eat any animal products or byproducts. This includes eggs, milk, cheese, and meat – all kinds of meat. I’m not exactly sure why people ask me this question, because as far as I know fish are animals and always have been. So, no. I don’t eat fish. Sorry to disappoint.

“Vegan? Why?”

Every vegan has their own story and reasons, but for me, it all started with freshman year health class. Our class was watching a documentary on America’s food industry and it opened my eyes to the horror of the meat industry. Not only do the animals get treated horribly (which is an absolute and definite understatement), but the meat that is processed is infested with hormones and bacteria alike – so, it wasn’t hard for me to make the switch to stop eating meat. I realized my health meant much more than what I craved, or what I was raised to eat in my previous daily lifestyle. I didn’t stop consuming eggs and milk until a year later, when I watched another documentary showing how cruel the cows and chickens were treated in the dairy industry. I am vegan because I choose to increase the amount of health I receive by eating good food, (which I believe is the cure to any sickness) and to lessen the amount of violence I was inadvertently participating in. Now, being vegetarian for three years and vegan for two, I can see the benefits in my weight, my skin, and my attitude on life.

“Being vegan must be hard for you, and expensive? Right?” 

Well, I guess being vegan in the first month was a little difficult. I wasn’t accustomed to eating vegan and I had no idea about what I should eat or what I should buy. But no, being vegan is not a chore. It is my lifestyle. I don’t even have to think about what I eat, I just know. I also don’t have cravings for meat, eggs, or milk. When you are really passionate about being vegan and bettering yourself, the craving for meat disappears.  This might not be the case for all vegans in the beginning, considering I have extremely good self control and can cut things cold turkey (no pun intended). However, I do not see myself eating meat ever again, which most veteran vegans could also agree with.

When it comes to vegan food being expensive… yes and no. If you think about it, I am just replacing the price of meat, eggs, and milk with more fruits, veggies, and organic products. Fresh fruits and vegetables are relatively cheap, even more so with frozen fruits and veggies. Just because you are vegan doesn’t mean you have to eat organically, however many vegan products come as non-gmo and organic, which tends to be more expensive. Things like rice, pasta, oats, quinoa are relatively inexpensive as well. In general, a vegan lifestyle could cost about as much as or a little more than a meat-eater’s diet would. As you all know, eating healthy is relatively more expensive and I have a price to pay for bettering my health. That’s just how it is. So, spending a few more bucks on healthy eating isn’t much of a detriment to the bank account.

I’m sure that the more people understand veganism, the more people will come to be open to the possibility of incorporating healthy food habits into their everyday lifestyle. My hope is to encourage people with my story to try something new when it comes to their health. After learning a little bit more about my lifestyle, I hope it inspires you to change up your own.

 

 

 

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