Is it easy to be a vegan? Will traveling as a vegan make your life complicate? We asked a vegan.
Food habits are crucial for our well-being, health, and in turn for our happiness.
Although I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan, I like gathering as much as possible information about any nutrition style, in the belief that food habits are one of the most important things we can work on in order to fully and happily live our lives.
Today I asked my friend Dora some questions about the ins and outs of a vegan diet. Dora is a fellow ex-pat who moved her whole life to the other side of the ocean, by relocating from Italy to the U.S.
What was your reason for becoming a vegan? I became vegan almost two years ago’ after one year of vegetarianism. I am an ethical vegan which means that the reason for my becoming vegan is the love and respect for all living creatures which I believe should not be exploited for food, research or clothing, by the human being.
After I made my decision on an ethical basis I started to investigate the health factor of veganism and found out that a vegan nutrition is very healthy for humans. Vegans, in fact, have very low rates of diabetes and cancer, compared to omnivores and heart disease is almost unheard of in vegans.
Could you notice a change in your body well-being after turning a vegan? Absolutely! I feel much more energetic, I am healthier (my bad cholesterol has gone down several points and keeps getting better and better) and I eat a lot but don’t gain weight.
Is it difficult to be a vegan in your country of residence, the U.S., which is well-known for consuming a huge amount of meat and dairy products? Not at all, after the first couple of weeks I learned to substitute all the animal ingredients with their non animal counterpart and I now can cook anything I want to. As per eating out, all the restaurants (even the steak house) have vegan options, a salad would do, but Ruby Tuesday for example has vegan burgers as well and if nothing really is available I will take a plate of French fries (I know it’s not healthy but I don’t go eat out everyday). There are also different restaurants that specialize in vegan cuisine.
Did you find it easier being a vegan in your new country or in your old country? I was not vegan when I lived in Italy but when I go there for vacation I don’t find it particularly difficult to find food. A pizza with cherry tomatoes is delicious and vegan.
When you are traveling and can’t eat something you cooked yourself, is it easy to keep up with a vegan diet? Are there some countries where it is more difficult than in others? Yes, some countries are more difficult than others, I found it very easy to be vegan in Jamaica, for example, most dishes were already vegan and didn’t need any type of modification.
What about your child? My daughter is vegan. She is one of the tallest girls in her classroom and is healthy. The pediatrician has approved of our diet and complimented me for the good nutrition I provide to my child.
Between well-being and ethics, which is the main reason that convinced you to become a vegan? Ethics, but well being is also an important factor, even if I would be vegan even without a gain in my health condition.
What do you think of people who eat animal products? Is it just a matter of choice, or you blame them for something? I think they should embrace a more compassionate lifestyle but I can’t blame them for not understanding how much cruelty there is behind their nutrition choices, after all I didn’t know either before I became vegan. Is when they know and don’t care that I kind of lose my admiration for a person.
Why not just a vegetarian? The dairy and egg industries are just as cruel as the meat industry. For example, in the dairy farms, baby calves are taken away from their mother as soon as they are born because otherwise they would drink the milk that the human being drinks instead. The male calves are killed right away, while the females (which will produce milk) will be raised with substitutes and will live a life of exploitation. In order to produce milk, in fact, a cow must get continuously pregnant and will never get to live with her baby after he is born. The eggs industry is just as bad, male chicks, in fact get grounded alive after birth, while females are raised because they will produce eggs. Here are some videos that you can watch if you want to know more. To this I must add that milk is correlated to heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes and prostate cancer (among the other types of cancer). We must understand that cow milk was intended for baby cows and not for humans, just as human milk is intended for baby humans. Once we grow old our ability to digest lactose diminishes and in fact 70% of the human population has a certain level of intolerance to lactose. Casein, which is the milk’s protein, has been classified as one of the highest carcinogenic substances by Colin T. Campbell, a world famous researcher and expert in nutrition and epidemiology.
What do you do to help animal rights other than avoiding animal food? I adopted as many animals in need as I could and I try to help animal rescue and advocates group with donation (for example I really care about the Animal Asia Foundation and I try to help their moon bears), but I think that veganism is the biggest part. Each one of us eats several thousand animals during their lifetime and you can save their life with a very simple food choice as long as you want it and put your mind to it. Veganism is not for weak minded people.
All pictures are creations by Dora and her associate from LeVeganelle, a Vegan-Italian cooking class’s service. Any Latitude receives no money from LeVeganelle.
To the reader: are you a vegan? What do you think about this choice?
Please feel free to express any opinion about your food habits in the comment section.
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