would you rather watch the content? Find my related video here:
So, there are many, many reasons to go vegan, and I would be amiss if I did not include the big three here first.
Usually the reasons a person goes vegan (I’m not talking Plant-Based, there is a difference) includes one (or all) of the following:
1. The Animals
This should come as no surprise to anybody reading this post. Most people associate vegans with animal activism, animal rights, and animal welfare in general. I’ll have to admit-this was not originally the main idea that brought me to veganism, however it has become the MAIN reason why I continue to live my life in a way that does as little harm as possible to the other beings we share this earth with.
Watch my video that includes my story (in part) of why I went vegan:
Watch Earthlings-you will never view the animal agriculture industry the same again.
WARNING-This is very intense. It truly is life changing and I recommend that every person who includes animal products in their lifestyle watch this. It is NOT for the faint of heart-and don’t expect an awesome date night out of this movie! It is very thought provoking, and unfortunately very sad. You don’t want to watch this with the kids around. Even though we are raising three beautiful vegan kids, who we are teaching to learn about the world around them and make informed choices- we still protect them from the vast majority of the heartbreak that happens in this industry.
2. Your Health/Weight-loss
This is still a topic that serves much debate in the internet world. There are countless Paleo, Keto and other diet advocates who say that a Vegan diet is yet to be proven “healthy”. However, the large body of empirical evidence does point to a reduced risk of all cause mortality, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes-to name but a few. Dr. Michael Greger of Nutrition Facts.org and Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine can speak to these findings in more depth than what I am going to get in to here.
Weight-loss was actually the main reason I ever even looked at the vegan diet. It was after having my first child. I was struggling to loose weight (and had been my whole life). I’m sure a lot of you can relate. I was tired of trying the same old thing. I came across vegan advocates like Freelee the Banana Girl who showed me a whole new perspective on eating. This led me down the rabbit hole of veganism-and I’ve never looked back.
Now, my diet is not perfect, my blog does focus on Vegan COMFORT Food after all! And although I have not become a string bean, I have lost a total of around 40 pounds since the first day I came home from the hospital after having my daughter 6 years ago.
For more information on veganism and weight loss check out:
As an aside-I really don’t advocate eating a fully raw food diet, or going over board on only one food group or food item (ie: only fruit, only bananas, only potatoes etc.) As they say, everything in moderation (except saturated fats, cholesterol, high refined sugar, processed fats, and high sodium foods!!!) Of course – I am NOT a dietitian, and although I have studied nutrition and I do have a nursing background, I am not qualified to give any kind of dietary advice-so please, just go talk to your doctor, and do some research:)
Watch What the Health!
3. For the Environment and the People
This topic has gained a lot of momentum and press over the last few years. Animal agriculture is contributing in a much larger way to global warming, increase waste production, and desertification than anyone had really guessed (myself included). A TON of water and grain is wasted every year in the most INEFFICIENT use of resources for calories.
People are literally starving all around the world, while in their own backyard, cattle are grazing and eating the grains that could be used to put food on the family table that night. Of course, there are so many other politics and complexities that go into this whole set-up that I am not able to talk about here.
Watch Cowspiracy. It explains a lot!
But, now that those, much more important reasons are covered, I want to dive into a more light-hearted, and exciting reason to go vegan!
My Top Culinary Reasons to GO VEGAN
Never in a million years would I have thought I could become the sort of home cook that I am today. I remember the first time I started to fiddle with a recipe.
It was back when I was a pre-teen. My dad and I were having a lazy day around the house and we decided to have some cream of mushroom soup for lunch. Good old Campbell’s. I was in charge of cooking the soup. I remember thinking I really wanted to impress my dad with my culinary skills, especially since I was placed in the important position of Head Chef. I decided to doctor up the soup-with a bunch of garlic powder!
So here I was-so totally impressed with my idea! I brought the soup out to my dad and to my disappointment he was less than enthusiastic about my adaptation.
Regardless of my early culinary failings, I still kept a great curiosity and passion for creating great tasting food. And this leads me to my very first, and most important culinary reason to go vegan.
1. Challenge Your Culinary and Creative Skills
You name it-and I can make it. Even BETTER than the original!
Take tofu for example. Most people when they hear tofu think-gross! Actually I have a funny story about that!
One day when I was still in nursing school, I had brought a vegan lasagna to lunch. This was fairy early in my vegan change of diet, so my friends were still getting used to my “weirdness”. This particular day, my friend turned to me after looking at my lunch and said, “I thought vegan’s couldn’t eat cheese?” so I told her, “I don’t eat cheese, this is tofu” (pointing towards my tofu ricotta). She literally did not even skip a beat! “Eww Megan, that is SO GROSS!” Seriously, if you could have seen the horror in her face, you would have thought I was eating the concentrated secretions from a bovine animal (haha vegan cheese joke!)
But in all seriousness-I absolutely LOVE the science, art and ingenuity that comes from challenging yourself to create new and delicious meals to entice even the pickiest omnivore.
2. Expanded Flavour Diversity
Back in my meat and potato days I found that I didn’t really explore a lot of the ethnic foods and flavours that I am so fortunate to be able to include into my diet. We live in a very privileged age (If you are reading this, you have internet, which means you, too are privileged my friend!) where we have access to fresh fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, spices and sauces from all around the globe! Yes, there is something to be said for the “eat local” movement, and I do my best to support my community where I can, but expanding what you use in the kitchen can really make cooking and creating fun! Which leads me to…
3. Not Stuck in a Rut with the Same Old Pork chop!
Seriously, how many of you can remember a time (or maybe you still experience this) when your choices for dinner included steak, chicken breast, pork chops, roast, and hamburger meat (in some recipe or another).
What about all of the amazing legumes and lentils? Have you TRIED Dal?!
What about everything chickpea-from salads and hummus to pot pies and soups.
Don’t even get me started on the possibilities of tofu…Did you know there are 3 main textures, and sub-categories of each?! And they all have different consistencies and uses! Tofupedia is an excellent resource.
Watch my video on how to properly prepare Extra Firm Tofu:
4. Learn New Techniques You Would Never Need Before
Of course, now that you are working with a whole host of new and interesting ingredients, you need to learn HOW to use them! This is by far, one of the most fun things for me. We are so lucky to have a wealth of information at our fingertips these days. With Blogs, and youTube, you can literally learn ANYTHING you want, and then learn what you didn’t know you need to know!
This is actually the main reason why I started my blog and YouTube to begin with. I have learned so, so, so much from the people who put content out there, that I wanted a chance to add value as well.
5. Gain a Better Appreciation for Food
This is absolutely true. Once you start to expand your world of food choices and techniques, you really gain an appreciation for the wide variety and choice you have when it comes to vegan cooking. I am so grateful for all that I have learned up to this point, and by looking at a lot of the other vegan food bloggers out there, I am so excited that I still have more to learn!
6. No Cross Contamination
This is definitely a more practical reason to go vegan. I always hated trying to prepare a big turkey or stuffing a chicken breast. My hands would get covered in gross chicken juice. Not only is that slimy skin gross to touch and look at-it can actually be DANGEROUS to your families health. For me this was a huge bonus to going vegan.
I know that you can contract salmonella, listeria and e coli from greens such as spinach, but the incidence of these cases seems to be far less prevalent than with contaminated meat. (And not to be THAT vegan, but usually the spinach fields are contaminated from dirty water run off from cattle farms-just sayin!)
Just think-no worry about spoiled mayo ruining your picnic lunch. No stress about your authentic Caesar salad causing your family to get sick. With going vegan, you almost eliminate the possibility of food poisoning-especially if you locally source your greens (where you know the farmers), or grow them yourself.
7. Get to be a Part of a Growing Movement
Okay my friends I guess this isn’t really a culinary reason per se, but it is the icing on the cake;)
You can already see how the world is shifting to include more plant-based options. Adam and I often do reviews on all of the new products coming out-not just because we are serious foodies who LOVE treats (because we are!) but also because it gives us a sense of happiness that the world is changing.
You can read more about why it can be hard to go vegan in my post here, but basically it’s really nice to feel “normal” again. And, to be honest, vegans can get a lot of hate from their omnivore counterparts.
A & W just launched the Beyond Burger. How HUGE is that?! Now my family and I can pick up good old road food again when we are out and about. Not only that, but it encourages people who would have NEVER gone out and purchased the beyond burger, and cooked it up at home themselves, to try a meatless option. It encourages herd mentality in a very positive way. People now can think, “well, if this fast food chain I love says it’s good-then it must be good! I’ll give it a try”. Oh, and is it ever good-see our review here.
What side of history do you want to be on?
I don’t like comparing the vegan movement to other civil rights movements because I think there is a HUGE difference between humans being treated horribly and animals being treated horribly (and I actually think that vegans who say it’s the same make it difficult for non-vegans to relate…)
Although I’m aware that the laws are not perfect, and there is still work to be done in these areas, for the most part the majority of society is on the same page that it is wrong to be a racist, a sexist and a homophobic.
The next fastest growing social justice movement is veganism. People generally do not enjoy contributing to another beings suffering and death. Now that there is a growing demand for animal free products on the market, its easier than ever to make a choice to remove yourself from contributing to harm.
Once it becomes a little more normal and socially acceptable to be vegetarian, plant-based or vegan, more and more people will jump on the band wagon. I really think that in 50 to 100 years from now when our children and grandchildren look back on this time they will be in utter disbelief about how we live now.
For me, my choice was made the moment I found out the truth. I really couldn’t be okay with contributing to that kind of industry. I’ve said this before to close friends and family, but a lot of days I kinda wish I still had the blinders on! It’s not always easy to be vegan, but knowing what I do now, I feel like I have no other choice. You can read more about why it’s hard to be vegan in my post here.
I really think that people trying to make any kind of movement towards eating more plant-based options are the heroes of our time. Every meal you choose to have beans instead of a chicken you make a direct impact! You save a chickens life! Obviously the one on the menu already bit the dust, but by not ordering it that means the restaurant owner doesn’t need to order the kill of another chicken to replace it as soon. Plus, you are going to feel a little healthier for all that extra fiber and reduced cholesterol and saturated fat. AND you get to earn extra environment points for eating as close to the source of calories as you can-instead of wasting water and food to fatten up that chicken! The more you choose plant’based, the more of an influence you will have on your friends and family to choose healthier options. And, as long as you aren’t a jerk about it, people will be inspired by your efforts.
You don’t need to be vegan. You don’t even need to be vegetarian. Just make one choice at a time and feel good about it!
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Megan Kerry is a Vegan Lifestyle Educator and Licensed Practical Nurse. Her content focuses on vegan recipes and ethical living. She is a mom of four children, a long time vegan, and an even longer time foodie. She loves veganizing any and all dishes and sharing her recipes and lifestyle tips with all of you!