In 2020 it’s easier than ever to become a vegan around the world, and in this article I discuss some changes I’ve seen during the last 10 years. Growing up I consumed very little fruit and vegetables, but I made a big switch around that changed my life for the better. Firstly I became vegan for animal rights but then found the massive positive impact it has on the environment and human health. It’s incredible to see how popular this lifestyle has become, but we still have much more to do.
1. Plant-based options have massively improved. I remember when I could only get chips and salad at restaurants. I believe this growth will continue and it is incredible to see how popular it has become in the last 2-3 years.
2. Compassion: It feels so much better to know I’m not contributing to the slaughter and suffering of hundreds of animals annually. I have become more compassionate towards other animals, dedicating my life to the cause. The vegan community is full of passionate people; it’s been incredible to be part of such a positive movement. Having struggled with various mental health issues as a teenager, it gave me more of a purpose.
3. It’s much better for the environment. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction. Trillions of fish are taken from the ocean each year (also killing sharks, whales, turtles etc) and 91% of the Amazon deforestation is due to animal agriculture. This is not sustainabile. Elliminating animal products from your lifestyle is one of the easiest and best things you can do to tackle climate change.
4. I’ve been to lots of countries as a vegan. There are always options, but some locations are harder than others: for example in Japan and Korea it is quite hard if you don’t speak the language, but in England and Germany it is quite easy. Surprisingly, it was quite easy finding options in lesser-developed countries such as Ethiopia and Nepal, as animal products are often more expensive than rice, lentils, vegetables etc. I wrote a guide on how to travel as a vegan for Plant Based News here .
5. There are literally thousands of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes to eat. I used to eat a lot of fast food and changing my diet literally opened my pallet to everything, I have a new-found love for taste.
6. Awareness has increased massively. People are becoming increasingly aware about veganism and the plant-based lifestyle. Incredible documentaries, companies, organisations, foundations have developed.
7. I aligned my values to my actions and changed other aspects of my life. Growing up, I loved spending time in nature and with animals but I did not make the connection that I was choosing to eat some and love the others.
8. I’ve not heard a valid reason not to be vegan. I’ve spoken to many people about this lifestyle choice over the years and many people have told me excuses as to why they couldn’t do it, but in reality it’s possible for almost everyone from any background or location. Generally when I’ve told people, they say “I could never do that” or “Where do you get your protein from?”
9. I have not died from protein deficiency, in fact I have become healthier. Animal products are a leading cause of many serious health conditions such as heart disease, some cancers, dementia, and diabetes and gallstones.
I have actually become more active and healthy since adopting a plant-based diet. My recovery has improved. My fitness has got better.
10. It became my career. I started working on issues involving animal rights, sustainability, humanitarian issues and education. I believe many of these are linked and I have made it my life’s purpose to focus on these issues. Let’s be honest – abstaining from eating animal flesh is a big thing you can do to eliminate animal suffering, improve human health and having less impact on the environment.
So, what’s stopping you from trying Veganuary!?