Why go vegan? Entire species of animals enslaved for their flesh, eggs and breast milk. Billions slaughtered each year mere months after birth, with most tortured at factory farms. Laying hens crammed by the thousands, baby chicks ground alive, dairy cows milked like machines for 3+ years and marine life virtually vanishing with trillions killed each year. Environmental degradation beyond comprehension, outside of most people's immediate awareness: deforestation and clearing of precious rain forest, nitrous oxide and methane gas emissions, pollution at many levels (especially animal waste), ocean dead zones, depletion of marine life, species extinction, extreme water use, desertification, destruction of ecosystems and the sheer amount of land necessary to feed billions an animal-based diet. The human species fat, sick and diseased at epidemic proportions. There's world hunger, pollution of poor local communities, corporate aggrandizement and almost countless other ways to answer.
There's no shortage of reasons, but I'm talking about those you might not quite realize at first. Keep in mind, there's no such thing as a 'vegan diet'. You can live on raw fruits and vegetables, oreos and french fries and a whole continuum in between. Many of these apply to being vegan in general, while others are more relevant when living a more whole-food, clean way of eating. Just some little things you pick up on after the fact...
1. Cravings. What if you craved a tomato as much as you did pizza? Well, eating more raw and cooked whole foods, your pallet and cravings change. Best part is you can eat lots and lots without destroying your body and feeling like complete sh*t afterward.
2. Feeling. Of course no getting around good memories of BBQ and birthday dinners. Change doesn't happen overnight, but it's such a breath of fresh air to have habits that really just agree with your overall health and feelings. Both new and old habits may bring a smile to your face, but so much nicer when you're not sacrificing your health and how you'll feel shortly after eating.
3. Body weight. Being thin and fit feels nice, as does enjoying food and not feeling like you have to restrict yourself or turn eating into some complex calculation. Being able to eat an abundant amount of flavorful foods, without putting on weight is just pure bliss. The more whole foods, especially raw (so many amazing fruits out there), the better.
4. Creativity. Enjoying how you're feeling, you start to be more creative in creating or finding simpler, healthier recipes. You think more about your favorite foods growing up, what really defined it and eventually make different versions that you just feel tons better about and are still amazingly flavorful. You learn a ton about food along the way.
5. House. Your garbage smells nicer and your fridge is more colorful. No worries of contamination from the processed animal stuff. Fruits and vegetables, the decoration for your kitchen, make for a happier, more colorful environment.
6. Smells. You pass by a dead animal, fish market, slaughterhouse or farm, and breath a nice sigh of relief that while it smells, you are thankfully not eating it or anything remotely like it.
7. Imagination. You drive by strawberry fields, orange groves, vineyards or tomato farms, and the smells and sights are enchanting. It draws you in and your imagination runs wild. You drive by the slaughterhouse or dairy farm, and you cover your nose and try to somehow forget that you may be having a disguised version of it later on.
8. Visibility. No need to hide from how your food came about. Watching a plant or tree fruiting is a rather cool, welcoming sight, versus the dark emotions involved in watching or knowing how animal based food is produced.
9. Variety. You can make anything you've eaten in the past plant-based. Obviously, there are subtle differences, nevertheless, loads better to eat the "chicken parm" or "burger" from a tree or plant, versus a dead body and processed milk for a baby cow.
10. Filling up. You just polished off a big meal. Super full, perhaps ate a bit too much. So much nicer to realize your stomach is full of something from a plant or tree, versus dead animal flesh.
11. Smiles. Growing plants and harvesting is a happy time. Out in the sun, moving around and enjoying nature. Kind of tough to smile when enslaving an animal for its by-products or slaughtering it. It subconsciously extends to what you are buying. There's just an overall relaxed, pleasant feeling eating plant-based, like you can really let loose.
12. Children. We're not out in the Siberian tundra fighting for survival. It's the 21st century and we have choices. No need to traumatize young children on farms with what happens to the animals they love. No kid wants to eat that big hunk of meat and most would be completely horrified to see their food produced. Such a happier sight to let them follow their intuition, like all animals in nature, then forcefully and surreptitiously inherit our customs.
13. Digestion. Plant-based eating is quite simply cleaner, and you feel it inside. It comes in and out much easier and quicker, and going to the bathroom is generally a rather pleasant and cathartic experience. Without eating animal based food, it just feels like you're no longer carrying this excess baggage internally.
14. Body odor. Especially if eating super clean (i.e. low-fat whole foods or high-carb raw), you literally smell good. No need for rubbing chemicals under your armpit or all over your body to mask rotting on the inside. An animal-based diet produces very intense smells, from both your body and waste.
15. Exercise. It's just something you want to do and you feel like you can just keep going. Not some form of torture or something "to get in". The less processed/oily foods you eat, the more you feel called to get out and move around.
16. Recovery. Muscles primarily grow from using them and exercise. Bodies break food down into invisibly small particles to use as energy, no matter how big the animal. The less energy going into digesting, the more that goes into recovery, building muscle and expanding fitness levels. Your body just feels much more efficient when eating plant-based (especially when primarily whole foods).
17. Connection. You're more connected with your body and are more sensitive to how it's working, and have more of a sense of ownership with your health. Your life is less lived in a doctor's office managing varying levels of sickness, and you're more in tune with thriving and enjoying the simple beauty of a healthy, functioning body.
18. Identity. Given the choice, eating plants is more intuitive and seems to flow more with humans. No one salivates at the sight of a live animal, blood or a dead animal. Most just salivate at the disguised after product. There's just a deeper sense of awareness and familiarity following intuition and common sense.
19. Peace. Knife, gun, fishing rod or your wallet in the store. Finding challenges and pleasures in life that don't involve unnecessary death, destruction or the spread of darkness in some way just feels much nicer. Not necessarily some guaranteed happiness, but definitely a sense of inner peace striving for your best.
20. Animals. It's really awesome to see animals in your backyard, in the ocean or in the woods and know you don't ever have to kill them or fund another to do it. You can just quietly admire them alive.