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One Year Vegan – Why & How We Started

Hey everybody!

It’s already been a year since we both switched to a completely plantbased diet! Yay! 🙂

In this blog post we would like to tell you why we did it and how it worked out for us. We will also explain why we can’t imagine to eat animal’s byproducts or meat again and how we managed to come to this conviction. If you’re curious about veganism or if you would like to inform yourself more about your food in general, you will find some great sources of information in this post as well. This post does NOT claim to cover every topic around veganism perfectly. I will try to explain as short as possible without leaving out some of the most important information.

I will list all sources and further links to information down below!

How We Went Vegan:

In November 2016 Ken and I made the decision together, to change to a plantbased diet. We have both been vegetarian before for about 3/4 of a year. I’ve also been vegetarian from the age of 13 to 17 but then changed to eating meat again (why the heck, I don’t have a good explanation for that).  We both slowly transitioned to an almost plantbased diet before we completely cut out all animal products. We started by not buying eggs anymore, then we switched from cow’s milk to plantmilk and the last thing we quit was cheese. Especially for me this was pretty hard in the beginning, since I’ve always loved cheese so much. While Ken became vegan almost over night, I finished all the products with dairy and eggs in it that I had bought before (such as pesto, crackers, müslibars with honey etc.). Ken gave the non-vegan food he still had to his roommates, so that nothing went bad. We both found different ways to transition and we strongly believe that everybody needs to find their own path when it comes to changing habits 🙂

I quickly want to say something about the cheese topic, because I see and hear that so many people struggle with quitting cheese. Maybe it helps to get more information about why this is so hard for us – it has definitely helped me and I can say I don’t miss it anymore!

I guess the reason why so many who transition to a plantbased diet struggle with quitting cheese, is because it contains casomorphins, a substance similar to an opiate. Casomorphines attach to the same brain receptors as heroin and other drugs, which means that with every bite you get a small hit of dopamine – this is addictive. The casomorphins are found in any mammal’s milk (in human milk as well) and they make the baby come back to the mother’s milk, so that it can grow very fast as an infant.

(Source: https://nutritionfacts.org/2012/06/21/cows-milk-casomorphin-crib-death-and-autism/, earthyandy on instagram, a better explanation than mine: http://blog.healthkismet.com/casomorphins-cheese-addiction-diet-health).

Why We Went Vegan:

Let’s talk about why we went vegan. For us, it was mostly because of ethical reasons. Also we realised it made no sense to quit meat because of the animal suffering, but still eat diary and eggs. Through all the information we realised that the diary industry is at least as cruel as the meat industry, if not worse. In the egg- and dairy industry millions of animals die, not only for meat. If you want to know more about this, please read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, watch Earthlings or some of the many other documentaries out there.

Ethical Reasons: 

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, rainforest destruction, greenhouse gas emissions, drinking water scarcity, ocean dead zones, water pollution, habitat destruction, incredibly high amounts of waste, extinction of wildlife and hunger crisises mostly in threshold countries.

So many bad things we don’t want to have in this world. To us when we first got into the topic, it was overwhelming and it discouraged us. What could one person change? We asked ourselves. But think about so many revolutions the world has seen already: they were all started by only a handful of people and they became bigger and bigger, until they really changed a lot! To us it was clear, we could not support all of these things any longer if it was possible and even healthier to live fully plantbased!

“Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life. “

You can save a life by eating vegan one day – why not try it out? It feels very good. 🙂

If you’re interested in a specific topic of the mentioned above you can find more about them in many surveys and articles in the source here: http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts. And there are many more sources, just try and google it!

Cruelty Against Animals: 

Another topic we are very passionate about and which was the most important for us to go vegetarian at first, were the animals. As an explanation: we call ourselves vegan, because we eat plantbased out of ethical and moral reasons as well! People who eat plantbased mostly for their health (which is great as well, don’t get me wrong!) and don’t have the ethical connection, could be called plantbased.

I don’t want to show you the most drastic videos and images of dying and suffering animals now, but if you would like to know more about the inhumane slaughterhouse practices, again, please read the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (bestseller!) and watch documentaries such as Earthlings. It’s so worth it! Always remember: there’s a reason why people take their children to greenhouses to pick vegetables, but not to slaughterhouses!

Here’s a video of standard slaugtherhouse practices, which are the norm and can be compared to the practises in the US and Europe as well!

http://watch1000eyes.com (“This video was filmed in Australia but also depicts the same standards practices in the U.S. Not as much footage is captured in America because it’s illegal to film in factory farms/slaughterhouses in America and one can be tried as a terrorist if caught doing so. That’s how much they don’t want you to see this.” – Ellen Fisher)

Please ALWAYS keep in mind that animals from organic farms end up in the same slaughterhouses as animals from industrial livestock farming. There’s no such thing as an organic slaughterhouse and there’s no way to “humanely” kill a being that in fact wants to live. Also be aware of the fact, that even if it’s better to buy organic products instead of “regular” ones, the industrial livestock farming makes up 98% of the animals and animal’s byproducts we consume. The differences in living condition of organic farm animals are not very high – in the end they suffer immensely as well!

Carnism: 

We do not distinguish anylonger between pets such as cats and dogs, and farm animals, such as pigs, cows, chickens, goats etc. We feel this is unfair and that there’s no reasonable argument behind it. The biggest argument though is that of tradition. For us, the argument that it has been a tradition to eat certain animals and let others into our homes and love them, is no real argument. In some areas of the world it is normal to eat cats, horses and dogs, in some people don’t eat cows at all – traditions are very different in different places & there’s no one right way to do it. Somebody will always be offended by what other people eat. Just think about people eating dogs – that’s how I feel now about eating cows and pigs as well. These animals are of course from different races but THEY ALL WANT TO LIVE AND THEY ALL SUFFER! There’s no difference in that! If you didn’t know before: fish also feel pain and they also suffer. There’s no difference. We all are equal in the desire to live, be happy and in the ability to suffer and feel pain.

In our opinion tradition isn’t always good and something that should stay the same: just think for example of the tradition of slavery or of the discrimination against people of colour, women and LGBT people.

If you are interested in why we believe  it’s not okay to eat one animal and love the other or if you’ve never heard about the belief system of carnism, check out this video by Melanie Joy. She explains what carnism is and how it developed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao2GL3NAWQU.

Health reasons: 

Meat: meat, especially red meat, has been proven to be carcinogenic on the same level as cigarrettes. Not by a random small scale survey, but by the World Health Organisation (WHO)! Look it up if you can’t believe it. Meat and dairy products are the biggest reason for the leading world death causes such as: coronal diseases, heart diseases, diabetes and so on and so forth. Meat has no health benefits at all. Instead it’s packed with trans fats, hormones, cholesterin, fatty acids and most of it has anitbiotics in it as well. Also many convenience products such as hot dogs, pre packaged burgers, sausages etc. are often made of waste of the meat industry. This waste includes: ears, bones, feathers, cords, tails, genitals, anusses and also sick animal body parts such as tumors! Many many animals are sick due to their bad living conditions and these sick body parts are included in human food, since the regulation in this area is not very strict!

Diary: to begin with, remember what I wrote in the beginning about cheese. Cow’s milk (as well as goat’s milk, sheep’s milk etc.) is made for babies. It’s packed with oestrogens and other stuff that is meant to help to develop an infant being to an adult in a very short time! For a human adult, it contains just too much of that stuff. For example men who are overweight and eat lots of diary often get men boobs (because of the female hormone oestrogen), it promotes growth of cancer cells and puts you in a higher risk of prostate cancer for example. (Source: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/prostate-cancer-and-organic-milk-vs-almond-milk/). About the topic of osteoperosis: “Calcium is important. But milk isn’t the only, or even best, source.” more about the topic here: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/calcium-and-milk/. The lie that we need milk to get enough calcium for strong bones was initiated by the US diary industry and spreaded all over the world. An initial, very unrepresentative study which was supported by the milk industry, was the beginning of this delusion. There are many recent studies which show the opposite!

And I would like to add a list of:

““Ingredients” Added to Cow’s Milk

  • A Veritable Hormone Cocktail: including pituitary, steroid, hypothalamic, and thyroid hormones (remember most cows are extremely stressed)
  • Gastrointestinal Peptides: Nerve and epidermal growth factors, and the growth inhibitors MDGI and MAF
  • rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone): a genetically engineered hormone directly linked to breast, colon and prostate cancer. This is injected into cows to increase milk production. [1]
  • Pus: National averages show at least 322 million cell-counts of pus per glass! [2] This is well-above the human limit for pus-intake, and has been directly linked to paratuberculosis bacteria, as well as Crohn’s disease. The pus comes from infected udders on the cows known as mastitis.
  • Blood Cells: The USDA allows up to 1.5 million white blood cells per milliliter of commonly-sold milk. [3]Yes, you are drinking cows blood in the milk and the USDA allows this!
  • Antibiotics: Currently, cows are in such a state of disease and mistreatment that they are continually being injected with antibiotic medicines, and rubbed down with chemical-laden ointments to deal with their chronic infections. Currently, regulating committees only test for 4 of the 85 drugs in dairy cows. This means that the other 81 drugs in cow’s milk are coming directly into your glasses and bodies. Estimates show that 38% of milk in the U.S. is “contaminated with sulfa drugs or other antibiotics,” according to a study by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest and published in the Wall Street Journal on December 29, 1989. A study from the FDA data showed that over half of all milk was laden with traces of pharmaceuticals yet nothing has been done to control this.” –(Source: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/dangers-of-cows-milk/ )

Eggs: Eggs are meant to become chickens. If an egg isn’t fertilized, hens often eat the schell because they need the calcium to produce more eggs. Humans eat eggs before they are fully developped into what they become. Imagine again, what an egg has to be made of for it to be able to develop into a whole chicken.  Eggs are the most concentrated dietary source of cholesterol, which makes them very unhealthy. “Freedom of Information Act documents reveal that the U.S. Department of Agriculture warned the egg industry that saying eggs are nutritious or safe may violate rules against false and misleading advertising.” –> Basically the egg industry is not allowed to describe eggs as healthy, nutritious or even safe to eat! Source and more information about why eggs aren’t healthy: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/who-says-eggs-arent-healthy-or-safe/

 

These are only some facts about why eating animal’s products isn’t necessary or healthy. There’s tons of information out there and we advise everybody to do their own research! But please always keep in mind that many studies or researchers are paid and funded by the industry of animal livestock farming. The people who do big business with us eating animal product’s want to keep it that way of course.

 

Puh. I know this was a lot of information to read. I really tried to keep it short but it’s so difficult to rein yourself about a topic you’re so passionate about. If you’ve felt it was too much text please let us know, I apologize for it! As I said, there’s so much more to say and this blog post isn’t complete in any sense. Nevertheless, I hope it was helpful for you, that you could take something from it or that you’ve read something you’ve not known before. I tried to provide you with all the sources but it might be that I forgot something. If you want to know more about a certain topic, please let us know and I will try to provide you with more information! 🙂
If you now would like to change your eating habits or atleast rethink them, it would make us so so happy! Please do not hesitate to text us here or on Instagram with any questions you may have. Remember that you don’t have to become a vegan over night – every small step in the right direction is a good step! It will get easier along the way when your tastebuds start to change & I promise you, you will be rewarded in so many ways! Sometimes it’s hard to change habits, especially if you’ve been growing up with them your whole life. Don’t be angry or frustrated if it’s not easy for you or if you can’t change as quickly as you wish. This is totally normal! Just concentrate on yourself and don’t loose track.

We know you can do it! 🙂

Lots of love to you & give peas a chance 🙂
Anouk & Ken

 

List of sources & information (the last thing I watched before I went vegan was Cowspiracy, I highly recommend it):

Documentaries about health:

What The Health (watch it on Netflix or buy it here: http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/)

Forks over Knives (watch on Netflix or buy it here: https://www.forksoverknives.com/the-film/#gs.cbpoIT0, they also have an informative Youtube channel with the same name)

Food Choices (Watch on Netflix)

A nonprofit and science-based website that compromises the latest surveys about nutrition and health: https://nutritionfacts.org/

Documentaries about livestock farming and about the effects on the environment:

Earthlings (watch on vimeo)

Cowspiracy (watch on Netflix or buy here: http://www.cowspiracy.com/)

A book written by a meat-eating father who wanted to research whether he should give his son meat or not:

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (https://www.amazon.de/Eating-Animals-Jonathan-Safran-Foer/dp/0316127167)

A speech about 100 reasons to go vegan by Gary Yourovsky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6U00LMmC4

A German article about milk & oesteoperosis: https://www.peta.de/osteoporose#.WgMaxGjWzIV

More about all the ethical reasons (summary of articles): http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

About carnism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao2GL3NAWQU. find more when googeling Melanie Joy and carnism

Video of standard slaughterhouse practises: http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

The World Health Organisation (WHO) about meat: http://who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/http://who.int/nutrition/topics/3_foodconsumption/en/index4.html

A few of our favourite vegan influencers:

Everybody who understands German should definitely watch Vegan ist Ungesund on Youtube!

Caitlin Shoemaker (frommybowl on Instagram and Youtube) –> mostly healthy vegan recipes

Ellen Fisher (ellenfisher on Instagram and Youtube) –> lifestyle, parenting, mostly raw vegan meals

Claire Michelle (plantifulsoul on Instagram and Youtube) –> consciousness, positivity, sustainability, inspiration

Bonny Rebecca (bonnyrebecca on Instagram and Youtube) –> mostly healthy vegan recipes, sustainability

Maddy Lymburner & Kyle Fraser (maddilymburner on Instagram and Youtube) –> healthy meals & fitness

Bjönr (bjonr on Instagram) –> food inspiration, fitness

Gaz Oakley (avantgardevegan on Instagram and Youtube) –> a lot of great recipes

Sarah Lemkus (sarahlemkus on Instagram and Youtube) –> parenting, lifestyle, healthy vegan meals

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