The Top 5 Reasons I am Vegan

WHY WOULD ANYONE CHOOSE A LIFE WITHOUT ICE CREAM AND CHEESE?!

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Jayne Forest pre-veganism

I worked in the fine-dining and hospitality industry for 10 years. Short ribs and ice cream were a huge part of my passion for life. I made fun of vegetarians and ate entire marinated calamari squid bodies to make my friends squeal and squirm. I thought it was annoying when I had vegans at the tables I was serving. I would roll my eyes internally and think to myself “Why go out to eat at all if you can’t eat meat or dairy?!” I was a tomboy, and I considered it a mark of pride to be a girl who hung with the boys and proudly and unabashedly enjoyed meat. Ice cream was one of my favorite things about life! I considered cheese and ice cream to be a part of my personality. I was always an animal lover, and was always mildly lactose intolerant, but a proud and happy, contented person eating meat and dairy.

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One day while pregnant with my son, I watched the documentary “Food Inc.” I had a rude awakening from the self-imposed ignorance I had shrouded myself with. My previous thought process had always been, “I know that meat comes from dead animals, of course! I don’t need to see slaughterhouse footage, I’m sure it’s awful. I will feel bad and then I won’t want to eat meat! Don’t show me that sad shit!”

 

What I didn’t realize is that by watching that “sad shit” I cemented a new understanding in my heart that I could never again provide any kind of support to such horrible atrocities. Once I started studying the food industry, I dove into a deep rabbit hole that quickly became one of my biggest passions: veganism and animal rights. How could I love animals and pay for them to be tortured and stabbed/bled out/boiled alive by desensitized professional animal murders? What is the difference between the soft fur and beautiful eyes of a cow, or those of a dog? If I saw someone hurting any animal on the side of the road, would I just drive by? Absolutely not! So how could I continue feeling good about myself while supporting and consuming animal cruelty with my own money and mouth?

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The transition was not easy. I cried for days and felt panicky not knowing what options I had to eat other than chips and salsa, or apples and peanut butter. I was changed forever, and since I wasn’t ready for this change, it was jarring and made me question my entire personality, who I was, what defined me. It shook me to the core to realize that I wanted to be vegan. I had found vegans previously so annoying! And now suddenly I was one, and there was no going back.

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BECOMING VEGAN IS A VERY PERSONAL AND CHALLENGING CHOICE.

This post is to provide information to individuals who desire to know more about why I choose to live this unorthodox lifestyle. This post is not meant to make people feel badly for consuming meat. It is information that I have been studying and collecting for years. Becoming vegan took years of vegetarianism, cheese relapses, fish cheat-days…It was admittedly difficult to adjust to this completely foreign lifestyle. Now I don’t consider animal parts and secretions food, and I absolutely love the lifestyle. I’m leaner than I’ve ever been in my life, my skin and my conscience are clearer than ever, and my energy levels soar without coffee. The best part is knowing I am not voluntarily contributing to the animal agriculture industry’s devastating impact on the environment, and, most importantly for me, not contributing to animal suffering.

photo by Jayne Forest

 

5) Water consumption. The USGS (United States Geological Survey) states that the livestock industry in this country uses 2 billion gallons per day. There is much conflicting information on the internet, but to produce one hamburger is said to use between 440 -1,800 gallons of water. Beans take on average 5 gallons of water per gram of protein, as opposed to 9 gallons per gram of protein for chicken, and 29 gallons of water per gram of protein for beef. An 8 minute shower uses approximately 17 gallons of water. Taking shorter showers may make you feel as though you’re helping the drought, but consuming meat is using exponentially greater amounts of water.

photo by Jayne Forest

4) The environment. The leading cause of deforestation in tropical countries is creating land for livestock to graze. The Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations (FAO) says: “Livestock production is one of the major causes of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.” This same organization estimates that “livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport.” Meaning livestock industry is more of a contributor to global warming than cars, planes, trains, all of it.

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Photo by Jayne Forest of the Yuba River

3) Health. The top two leading causes of death in this country are heart disease and cancer. Atherosclerosis is the narrowing and thickening of arteries and develops for years without symptoms. Atherosclerosis is caused by excess deposition of cholesterol in the arteries. Cholesterol is only found in animal products. When cancer researchers were searching for links between diet and cancer, one of the most noticeable findings was that people who avoided meat were much less likely to develop cancer. Studies in England and Germany showed that vegetarians were about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat eaters.

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photo by Jayne Forest

2) Anarchy. The American government spends $38 billion each year to subsidize the meat and dairy industries so that meat can be affordable. The USDA then indoctrinates children with the food pyramid and other false information that has been disproven in huge studies such as The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, which is the largest scale and most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted.  The most heavily subsidized commodity crops are corn and animal products, which are used to produce the foods that are the leading causes of disease in this country; Corn is used to make corn syrup which is prevalent in cheap convenience food, and induces spikes in blood sugar which is associated with developing type 2 diabetes. Animal Products are the leading cause of a build-up of cholesterol as stated above, which is what leads to Atherosclerosis and eventually sudden heart failure as the deposits cause little to no symptoms until the condition has become dire.

So basically what I’m saying is, the government is subsidizing food that makes humans die of cancer, then makes it cheap and markets it to impoverished communities with fast food and highly processed , antibiotic-ridden public school lunches.

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When people start getting fat and sick, what must they do? Go to the doctor. The doctor that you definitely have because the government forces you to pay for health insurance. The doctor finds that you have high cholesterol and high blood pressure and gives you a prescription for blood pressure medication instead of telling you that 2 celery stalks a day will help you decrease cholesterol up to seven times. Celery also stimulates the secretion of bile acid that is responsible for the elimination of cholesterol from the body. The doctor can’t make money if they tell you that! Why do you think the government wants you to have health insurance? Is it because they care about your health? Or is it because they MAKE MONEY off of you being sick?

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1)THE ANIMALS. Did you know that animals in slaughterhouses are legally completely exempt from animal cruelty laws because they are considered commodities, inventory, as opposed to live beings? This is why the idea of “humane slaughter” is utterly meaningless. Do you feel that rape could ever be considered humane? If not, how could murder of a struggling, sentient, innocent being that desires to live, possibly be considered humane? Cows, pigs and chickens are imprisoned, tortured slaves and to try and believe that the disembodied body parts belonged to an animal that lived a happy life and died a painless death, when meat is purchased from massive wholesale retailers like Costco and Safeway, is unfortunately the farthest thing from the truth. Cows are routinely dehorned without anesthesia, baby pigs are castrated without anesthesia, baby chick’s beaks are sliced off with a hot blade. Animals in these environs are unhealthy mentally and physically and are regularly given antibiotics and growth hormones. No matter if they have huge tumors or disease, all are slaughtered and consumed just the same. Ground beef is all processed together, so diseased cow flesh is mixed with the ground flesh of 100-400 other cows, which is then cleaned with ammonia to eliminate pathogens. So it’s safe?

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photo by Jayne Forest

Being vegan isn’t easy, and the jokes about bacon never cease. The most exciting thing for me about being vegan is how I feel. I used to think that burping, farting, and feelings of bloating and lethargy were normal symptoms of digestion. After I eat now, I feel light and energetic, as if the food I ate was actually fuel for my body. Knowing my money is voting for foods that don’t use animal bodies or bodily fluids as commodities, makes me feel fantastic. I know most people won’t be willing to make the extreme choices that I have, but if reading this post makes someone think twice about ordering a burger or makes the connection in their mind of seeing pigs as individuals with intelligence and feelings, equally as worthy as dogs to a long, healthy, happy life, then I will be overjoyed.

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