This is the first of a series documenting of my 3 step transition to a vegan lifestyle:
- Plant Based Diet(Our Current Stage)
- Vegetarian Diet
- Vegan Diet
Vegan Transition: Why?
It is my belief that the contributing factors affecting my father’s death were partially or completely avoidable. This week marks the one year anniversary of his passing. Poor nutrition was the cornerstone of behaviors that led to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It saddens me think about the countless quality life moments lost in treatment. About the family and financial burden incurred. But mostly, it is the moments that will never be. My children were fortunate to have him in their lives, but my nephew never got the opportunity.
Sixt-five years old is too young to die.
I want to be a presence in the lives of my children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren. Motivated to enhance/prolong my longevity, my wife and I sat down, and came to the conclusion that going vegan may be one of the most influential factors towards “sticking around” for the long haul.
We are equally motivated to prolong the longevity of the environment. Our goal is lower our carbon footprint and live greener. We practice the 3 R’s (“reduce, reuse, and recycle” ), drive only when we have to, and are streamlining the practice of growing and preserving our own food. That unfortunately is just drops in the ocean of the global carbon footprint. The biggest thing we can do above and beyond our current practices is to stop supporting the business of agriculture.
Global emissions of greenhouse gasses as a result of agriculture total 24%.
Carbon dioxide from agriculture is responsible for more than half of the total carbon dioxide emissions globally, but there is more. Exponentially more destructive than carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide flood our atmosphere as a result of animal waste and fertilizer. Not to mention the exorbitant water demands, pollution byproducts, and the degradation of entire ecosystems.
It is equally absurd to turn a blind eye to the toxic nature of global agriculture as it is to pretend that there is no solution.
Ethical Treatment of “Food Animals”
Years ago, driving through the back roads of rural New Hampshire, we came across a farm, and I saw something I will never forget. On the side of the road, farmers were butchering a cow that had just been slaughtered. Not more than 20 feet away, a group of cows gathered at the pasture fence as the chainsaw ripped through its flesh. They literally wailed as their pasture-mate was being dismembered. They could have gone anywhere in the expanse of the pasture, but they were there watching and expressing their objection. The sentient nature of what I witnessed was undeniable; a fact that no matter how much I try to compartmentalize or rationalize, can not be dismissed.
In a survival situation, I would undoubtedly do whatever necessary in order to live. That includes taking the life of an animal. The thing is, I am not in an everyday survival situation, and I don’t have to. There are resources available to sustain life everyday that do not include inhumane slavery, genetic modification, and the slaughter of a species for my convenience. Making the less convenient choice is the essence of living a vegan lifestyle. I’m pretty sure that
if every person were physically accountable for the slaughter of their daily animal food consumption, then we would have a lot more people practicing veganism.
Stage 1: Plant Based Diet
We currently eat an almost completely organic plant-based-diet. A large portion of our food comes directly from the backyard when the garden is in season. We preserve what we can for the colder months by pickling, freezing, and dehydrating. What we can not or do not grow, we get from the local Farmers Market. The bulk of our “store shopping” is done at Whole Foods Market. We consume very little red meat. When we do consume meat, it is in the form of skinless chicken breast, ground turkey, fish, or shellfish. The fridge is also regularly stocked with dairy and eggs.
Stage 2: Vegetarian Diet
It has been a full week since I have had any meat. I have not experienced cravings nor have I felt like I was missing out. My physical performance in workouts and yoga practice have not suffered any negative effects; in fact, I feel energized. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I will be participating in the traditional holiday dinner. This will be the last supper. By the weeks end, the fridge will be bare and ready to be filled with the ingredients to support a complete vegan diet. My next post will list the items, their source, and associated costs that will feed us for the next week. Daily posts will detail my food intake and feature the recipe we put together for the family’s evening meal.
I am excited and motivated to transition to stage 3!
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-Dom of Ebb & Flowmotion
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