A Short Guide to Going Vegan
The news headlines are awash with stories about the climate crisis. Grocery prices, especially for animal-based products, are skyrocketing with inflation. And on a personal level, you feel like you need to make a positive change to the way you eat.
If you’re ready to switch to a plant-based diet, now’s the time to try. This article offers a short guide to going vegan, exploring what veganism is, its benefits, and how you can transition easily.
What Is Veganism, Exactly?
In its simplest terms, a vegan diet eschews all animal products and by-products. In this way, it differs from vegetarianism, which permits (or at the very least, doesn’t restrict) things like dairy, eggs and honey.
Every vegan on the planet has their unique mix of reasons for sticking to a plant-based diet. But most people you talk to will cite the unfair treatment of animals in the egg and dairy industries as a reason for switching from vegetarianism to veganism. Besides, there are more than enough calories, micronutrients and protein to go around in the wide world of vegetation.
What Are the Benefits?
Why do people go vegan? As mentioned above, reasons vary. Some people do it because it makes them feel better physically, while others make the switch on purely ethical grounds. For most people, however, it’s a confluence of reasons.
Here are some of the benefits of a vegan diet:
- Sustainability: As the climate crisis becomes a more present and immediate threat, switching to plant-based diets helps mitigate our collective greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, UC Davis reports that cattle are the leading source of agricultural greenhouse gas globally.
- Ethics: According to Vox, even the so-called “good” animal product purveyors can be guilty of “human ewashing.” The fact of the matter is that meat, dairy and egg industries strike their profits from animal suffering and labor.
- Health: Some people report feeling better on a vegan diet, especially a balanced one that includes sufficient plant-based protein.
- Cost Savings: Plants are cheaper than meat, eggs and dairy products – they require less water, processing and transportation, lowering the overall price. As the cost-of-living climbs in North America, switching to a vegan diet can be a judicious move.
There are other reasons one could add (i.e., vegan diets help combat water scarcity in vulnerable countries), but these are the most commonly cited.
How to Make the Switch
To start, find a vegan restaurant that makes plant-based eating fun. It’s important to begin your journey on the notion that veganism doesn’t have to be boring or bland; it can be even more flavorful than other diets if you look in the right places. Take Parka vegan restaurant as a great example. The Toronto eatery dishes out plant-based comfort classics like poutine, eggplant parmesan burgers, cashew mac n’ cheese and spaghetti with black bean meatballs. Vegans and non-vegans alike flock to the restaurant because – at the end of the day – it’s just good food, period.
Once you start understanding the potential in plant-based cookery, strike off on your own in the kitchen. Test out new plant-based protein sources like tempeh, seitan and various legumes. Try dairy substitutes like cashew cheese (mentioned above) or nutritional yeast. And capitalize on the overflowing bounty in your local grocery store’s veggie aisle.
Hopefully, this article clarifies the meaning, advantages and process of going vegan. Try it out for a while and see what you think.