I recently finished reading a fascinating book titled, Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a non-Vegan World, by Bob Torres. It’s a book, obviously, about the vegan way of life. It’s a great resource for long and short time vegans, for those contemplating making the shift, and those who look at vegans and become repulsed by them, wondering why anybody would ever seriously consider it. I starting making the transition in 2004, and while I’m not a 100% vegan and don’t really want to be, I try to eat more that way than not eating that way. I thought I knew everything about it, but I learned a few new things.
The thing I liked most about this book is the way the authors help vegans be more at ease amidst the criticisms they (we) face, and the books break down what the “freakdom” or rather, the odd way carnivores try to make vegans and vegetarians feel. I kept thinking it must be a lot like the way a Rhodes Scholar would feel if she attended the Redneck convention in Beckley, West Virginia. It also did a nice job of addressing how a heavy carnivorous eater can begin to make the transition.
One of my criticisms is that the book didn’t focus on the various reasons why people become vegan. Most carnivores presume it’s to protect and preserve the lives of the poor little animals. But there are three primary reasons people pursue a plant-based diet. But before I address that, people don’t realize that a vegan is also a vegetarian. Vegetarians fall into different categories:
-You have your Lacto-Ovos – who don’t eat meat but consume dairy products and eggs;
-Then you have Lactos – who eat dairy but do not eat eggs
-Then there’s the Ovos – who eat eggs but do not eat any dairy
-Lastly, are the Vegans – who do not consume any animal products at all. Some staunch vegans try to avoid all products that are derived from animals and won’t wear leather, wool, satin, or other fabrics that are animal-based.
There are three reasons people pursue some form of vegetarianism. Some people do so for one of these reasons while others do so for all three. The reasons are:
A. Environmental: large gallons of water are needed to raise livestock. This is especially important given laborious process our governments go through to ensure we have fresh water to drink. The more animals we don’t eat, the more water we’ll have for human consumption;
B. Ethical: some people have empathy for the pain and suffering animals go through just so people can have food to eat. So, they avoid eating animals to show support. Some people even make their pets following a vegetarian diet; and
C. Health (this is the one that applies to me): vegetarians and vegans tend to maintain a healthier diet than non vegans/vegetarians. Yeah, I know. You can be 100% vegan and still be obese and have a lot of food-related health problems. But that isn’t the norm. The biggest contributor to cholesterol and clogged arteries is the consumption of animal products — eating and drinking them. I have a coworker who craves, longs for pepperoni pizza and chicken wings. If that’s all he ever ate, he’d get no fiber, because animal products do not contain any. Additionally, those who follow a plant-based diet tend to have a healthier weight and a blood pressure and glucose level that is in the normal range.
That’s pretty much it. The book, Vegan Freak was an easy read, and you may be able to find it at your library or perhaps a second hand book store. Another one of the things I really liked about ths book is, it doesn’t attack people for not being a vegan. It just presents the facts in an easy-going way with tips to help make things easier. Lastly, I want to share this little clip from a documentary, Cowspiracy and how the agriculture industry has such a strong hold on the American economy. Despite what you hear about broke farmers, it’s a billion dollar industry and the farming lobbyists spend lots of money to ensure their voice gets heard. So, check out this short clip from Cowspiracy about drinking milk. It’s amusing but sure does make you think.