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Why I Am Vegan
19 Aug 2013

I intend this blog to cover much more than the narrow subject of veganism, but since this is The Vital Vegan I ought to start with an explanation of how I got to this point.

More than 30 years ago I was introduced to vegetarian food and realised that it was actually not only delicious but also healthy. Over the next few months I ate more and more vegetarian meals until most of my diet was vegetarian. Then one day in 1982 I watched a TV documentary about how animals are treated in the food industry and I was so disturbed by the discovery that I stopped eating all meat entirely.

At the time, soya-based dairy substitutes were still somewhat primitive (soya milk often had a chalky texture and was unappetising, and the few vegan cheeses were tasteless). However, this situation rapidly improved and in 1990 I stopped drinking cows' milk because it seemed totally unnatural and unhealthy to drink the breast milk of another species. There my situation remained for some years. I saw the point of being vegan and had many periods of veganism but every time my love of cheese eventually got the better of me.

Finally, in 2006, the penny dropped at a point when I was seeking a change in many aspects of my life. I realised that vegetarianism was a dead end; that if I had any principles at all I MUST adhere to them, otherwise they're not principles. The craving for cheese disappeared instantly and I have been vegan ever since. After all, our tastes in food are largely determined by what we're used to, and it really takes no time at all to develop new tastes. Since that day in 2006 I have never once craved cheese, and I have thoroughly enjoyed almost every mouthful of food I've eaten. The quality of vegan foodstuffs has improved, and the quantity expanded, enormously over the last few years and it is not in the least difficult to be a vegan gourmet every day.

So what are the principles on which my lifestyle is now based?

Firstly, I believe it is wrong to treat other sentient beings as commodities, to be exploited, industrialised and disposed of for our own benefit. Everything on the planet that lives and breathes deserves better than this.

Secondly, I believe (and more and more doctors and nutritionists now believe) that a plant-based diet is much healthier. When did I last have a serious illness? Never.

Thirdly, most people now accept that the planet can't go on supporting the ever-growing exploitation by humans. It requires ten times more land (and many, many times more water) to produce the food to feed a meat-eater than a plant-eater. Being vegan immediately reduces my own personal drain on the planet manyfold.

So it's a win, win, win situation. I benefit, the planet benefits, and most importantly of all, the whole of life benefits. This is what I mean by 'Veganism is Vitality'.