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Why I live plant-based

For our future, for the Earth, for my health

Where I began

I grew up on a farm and we would eat cows that my extended family raised and eventually we raised our own chickens for eggs. I personally don't have an issue with this. 

But, what I recently found out was that commercial animal farming for the sole purpose of feeding us is one of the leading causes of CO2, one of the most potent green house gasses.

I thought to myself, if I am going to strive after this sustainable lifestyle and change my life in so many ways, why not try to cut out meat. And honestly, that was easier that I thought. In January 2019, I had already cut out most butter, cheese, and other forms of dairy because of how unhealthy I thought it was. Whenever I baked, I was already baking vegan. The only meat I was really consuming was chicken so for me, the switch wasn't that hard. 

Where I Started

I basically quit meat cold turkey (*ba dum tiss*) and my body did not thank me for it. When adopting a plant-based diet, you will be eating more fiber than normal (usually) which might upset your stomach and quite frankly make you fart and poop more. This goes away with time.

While quitting cold turkey is an option, I would suggest slowly phasing out meat and other animal products. For example, once you run out of dairy milk, switch to plant-based, and so forth.

Just like any life change, veganism or a plant-based diet takes time (read more below as to why I don't call myself vegan). Listen to your body and allow yourself time to adjust before calling it quits

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Benefits to plant-based

Health and environmental impact 

Health

I used to suffer from painful, daily migraines. Until I challenged myself to go vegan for a whole month to see if I could do it and to see what changes it had on my body. In those 4 weeks, I had only 1 migraine and it was no where near as strong as they used to be.

Additionally, I feel more energy throughout the day. I don't feel like crashing after each meal or when I come home from work. 

Eating plant-based means that you are more likely to get your daily value of nutrients. This helps keep you healthy and can lead to fighting against some cancers and heart disease.

Environment

Like I mentioned above, animal farming is the second leading cause of CO2 in the world, making it have higher contributions than all transportation combined.The land used for commercial animal farming also takes up about 70% of agricultural land, leading to deforestation.

Not only is commercial animal farming one of the leading causes of CO2 in the world, but it also requires a lot of water. Not only do we have to grow crops to feed ourselves but we have to grow crops to feed the animals which in turn feed us. The water used for these crops is about half of the fresh water used in the US. Animal farming consumes between 20-30% of all fresh water world wide, water that we could use to feed and hydrate ourselves.

I felt wrong to call myself an environmentalist and sustainability enthusiast when I was still eating meat. 

Why I was not always "vegan"

Veganism is a journey

Like I mentioned before, veganism is a journey, it rarely happens over night. I have been eating *mostly* plant based since January 2019, but I have come across a few challenges:

1. Okinawa does not have very many vegan friendly options and it is hard to find vegan options while traveling, so I resort to vegetarian (for now).

2. We only have the basic grocery stores on the military bases with limited options. Although I do eat completely vegan at home, some people might also have this struggle which prevents them from being vegan.

3.  I still have food in my house that contains animal products that I need to finish up before transitioning completely.

4. I still use other household objects that contain animal products which prevents me from being an all-around vegan (for example, I use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. To me, though, I would rather use wool balls than dryer sheets any day to reduce my waste).

I think I will eventually transition into a fully vegan lifestyle when it is more convenient. Just like everything else in life, veganism is a journey and this is where I am starting. No one does veganism perfectly and no one does zero waste perfectly. All I care about is reducing my carbon foot print as much as I can while still enjoying life and without breaking the bank.

Since then, I have learned to come over a lot of these obstacles and I would say I am 99% vegan. I say that because I still own wool and sometimes I truly am not 100% sure what I am eating in foreign countries. I use Google Translate to order the best I can, but in the end, we are not all fluent in every language. I do my best and I hope you can at least appreciate my transparency :)

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