Welcome to our 10-day collaboration with Lolë Atelier West Edmonton Mall. In the next 10 days, we will share with you the basics to help you ease into a plant-based lifestyle. Whether you regularly enjoy veg’ products or you think veganism is just not for you, we invite you to join us on this journey with an open mind. We will be sharing our best tips, some simple healthy recipes, debunking myths about veganism, and hopefully lighting a spark for a more sustainable and health-conscious future.
We are launching this project on Wolrd Vegan Day, which is annually celebrated on November 1st. The whole month of November is now known as World Vegan Month. Many events are held all over the world to raise awareness about the vegan lifestyle and all its benefits for humans, animals, and the planet.
What is Veganism?
The founder of the Vegan Society of the UK defines veganism as “a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose. “
It might seem like a vague definition and that is exactly why we believe it is the best one. Veganism is about doing your best to live compassionately and responsibly. It’s not about being perfect. Veganism is about compassion and kindness towards all living creatures. This normally entails avoiding all animal products and by-products including meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool and anything that contains any animal products or by-products.
The reasons to adopt a plant-based lifestyle are many. Some may resonate with you more than others and that is absolutely fine. Mainly, there are three big reasons that drive most vegans
- Ethical reasons: For the animals. The amount of cruelty and abuse in the meat and dairy industry is unbelievable and heartbreaking but most of all it is unnecessary. Why kill and torture when there are so many other alternatives readily available? We urge you to do some research on the subject and see for yourself how bad it really is. What most people don’t realize is that consuming animal products also hurts people. All the grain and water wasted to produce meat and dairy can be used to feed the hungry. The workers in industrial farms have the worst conditions. According to the Human Rights Watch “[m]eatpacking is the most dangerous factory job in America.” The workers usually have low wages and immigrants are often exploited and work in dangerous and filthy conditions.
Environmental reasons: Animal farming is one of the most polluting and wasteful industries. By cutting out animal products, we can greatly reduce our carbon footprint and save water and precious resources. As shown in the infographic on the right, it takes 200 times more water to grow one pound of beef than it takes to grow one pound of wheat. It takes much less land and water to feed someone on a plant-based diet than it does to feed a meat-eater. We can no longer ignore the fact that our dietary habits are destroying our planet.
- Health reasons: Our #1 reason it the most frowned upon reason amongst vegans. It is viewed as a selfish and vain reason. That may be right, but it is still as valid as any other reason. The impacts are still the same and depending on your interests it might be more motivating than others. Veganism is not a diet so there are no claims for weight loss. It is very easy to be a junk food vegan and actually gain weight after going vegan. However, if you eat more plants and whole foods and exercise regularly, there is no doubt that you will feel more energized and drop some pounds if that is your goal.
“Veganism sounds great, but I just can’t do it”
It does not matter why or how you start. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to give up before you even start because of all the restrictions and all the prejudice and misconceptions. “Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything.” We absolutely agree with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, vegan and animal advocate. Even the smallest changes can have huge impacts on your health, on the planet, and on animal welfare. We bet that you do not consume animal products with every single meal you eat and we’re sure that you do not actively avoid ethical cruelty-free products. You might already be a part-time vegan without even trying. Imagine what you can achieve once you make a conscious effort to adopt healthier more ethical habits. This fun website gives you an idea of the lives and resources you save by going vegan even for a day or a month. Below are the stats for just one day
Letting go of old habits can be hard. That is why we recommend focusing on adopting new healthier habits and the bad ones will be pushed away organically. You may miss out on a few things by changing your ways, but you will gain so much more, discover new joys, and raise the bar higher than ever. Nowadays, there are alternatives and substitutes for almost everything you might miss out on by going vegan. We dare you to find something that has not been veganized yet. Maybe you just don’t know about it yet and we’ll gladly help you find it.
We would love to hear about your personal journey. Let us know of any questions you have and any challenges you face while transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle. If you are vegetarian or vegan, please share with us why you took the plunge.