Paleo to Vegan – Part 2 – Why I’m Vegan

“So Stephanie, I get that you now think the Paleo diet is fad, then why are you vegan? Isn’t that too radical?”

Well, check out here to see what some other people talk about being Extreme or Radical, which most of them I actually agree.

Anyways, I thought I would explain here why I went vegan after coming out of ‘paleo.’

1. Plant – Based is Healthier.

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I believe there are enough well-researched information out there about the benefits of plant foods. At the same time, there are hundreds of studies since 1950s starting from the famous Ancel Key’s study showing the harm of animal products, especially its fat content. The most currently famous one is probably the China Study by Dr. T Colin Campbell, which proposes animal protein causes cancer. As I’ve mentioned in my last post, despite few criticisms this book receives by ‘meat & cholesterol – advocates,’ it’s hard to ignore this extremely thorough study that covers the entire Chinese population’s diet for over 30 years. What does the book say? MEAT & DAIRY ARE BAD FOR YOU. IT CAUSES CANCER, DIABETES, AND HEARTDISEASE.

And then of course, there are other books such as Reversing Diabetes by Dr. Neal Barnard and the Starch Solution by Dr. McDougall, Eat to Live by Dr. John Furhman, and Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Esselstyn Jr. that presents CLINICAL RESEARCH & DATA about the benefits of the plant-based (aka. low fat vegan) diet.

Have I noticed any noticeable Health Benefits yet? Well, it’s hard to say because it has only been a month I’ve committed myself to this diet. (In fact, I ate some salmon on my Grad Dinner two weeks ago because there was seriously nothing to eat. Well, I felt incredibly tired after the buttery, fatty meal and almost did not want to dance that night -_-)Β  The thing is, I’ve been eating incredibly healthy for few years (even with animal products, I always ate organic, grass fed, wild etc.), so I think that’s why I think my changes are more gradual.

I will mention few things though:

First of all, I have much less headaches. Before, I would always have a really bad headache after a high protein meal, anything with eggs, fish, dairy, and meat. I no longer have those headaches since I’m not consuming these anymore.

Secondly, my endurance improved when I’m working out. I work out 4 times a week, 1 hr each, half cardio, and the other half doing weights, toning, and stretching. I have noticed an increase in energy while I’m doing cardio, and can do up to 40 minutes cardio without much swet or difficulty. I actually enjoy my workout – singing, dancing, moving my hips, etc…

Thirdly, I smell less. Seriously. Hope you don’t get offended, but I want to mention that in Korea, people generally think that “white people sweat & smell more.” Well, I think I now know where that came from.

Fourth, I don’t need coffee anymore. CARBS CARBS CARBS (will talk more about this in future posts). Carbohydrates and glucose is the real fuel for human body. Not stimulants, nor ketones (except for emergency situations.) When you give the right fuel for your body, you won’t need coffee or any other stimulant which just puts strain on your adrenals and leave you more tired in the end. In fact nowadays, a stimulant, even tea, makes me feel weird and headache-y.

Last, I’m not constipated. I have been struggling with IBS for nearly 3 years now with severe bloating and constipation. My constipation has always been the worst when I ate fish (high protein) or dairy. Now my bowels are much more smoother and regular.

Now that I’ve written these out, there are actually many beneficial changes I’ve experienced…haha;

(for others, benefits include: weight loss, reduction in serum cholesterol & glucose levels, better regulation of weight and blood sugar, decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, etc etc…)

2. Plant – Based is better for the environment.

OK, I’m terribly sorry for the animal rights – activists that my second reason is not for animals, but for the planet Earth.

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Before we think about our automobiles emitting green house gases, let’s think about how much green house gas all those livestock is emitting. Not to mention its feces, and disease-prone blood that’s polluting our earth every minute. Check this out:

Percentage of overall greenhouse gas emissions:
(United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization)

  • due to livestock: 18%
  • due to transport vehicles (cars, trucks, airplanes, etc.): 13%

As a 98% Geography student, I have to say Deforestation is a huuuggeee issue. Guess what the number one reason for cutting out trees is? To grow more grains. And guess what?

Percentage of:

  • soybean crop grown to feed livestock: in the US: 90%
  • corn crop grown to feed livestock: in the US: 80%
  • all grains grown to feed livestock: in the US: 70%

(source: David Pimentel, Professor of Entomology, Cornell University)

I should also mention that due to the whole “grass-fed” trend, people are using the land as large ranches. The problem with that is that after the cattles live on a grass area for a while, the grass DOES NOT GROW BACK FOR YEARS. All the toxic gases and the stepping of cows make the soil nearly infertile.

And lastly, while we complain about water shortages all the time, where do you think half of those fresh water goes to?

More than a third of all raw materials and fossil fuels consumed in the U.S. are used in animal production. Beef production alone uses more water than is consumed in growing the nation’s entire fruit and vegetable crop. Producing a single hamburger patty uses enough fuel to drive 20 miles and causes the loss of five times its weight in topsoil.

(source)

3. Plant – Based is better for not only you, but the mankind across the globe.

If we were to reduce our meat consumption, where would all those excess grains go? Answer: the starving children in Africa, Asia, and perhaps in your very own neighborhood.

If we did not have all the demand for the precious natural resources on earth, would we need to cut down more trees? Would we need to exploit even more oils? Would we need to worry so much about our climate?

(watch from 0:10 to skip intro)

4. Plant – Based is OBVIOUSLY better for the animals.

Here: No explanation needed. I also suggest reading the book Skinny Bitch, which 3 years ago convinced me to go vegetarian (which didn’t last long because I was eating too little).

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Pigs, cows, chickens, turkey…they are all CONSCIOUS organisms with highly developed brain and nervous system. These animals are locked in the cage their ENTIRE LIFETIME jacked up with some weird- hormones to induce rapid growth. Cows are basically “raped” almost consistently to produce milk. Once the calf is born, it is taken away immediately and these cows cry out loud for days – just like your own mother would if you were kidnapped away.

“Humanely Grown” animals? I don’t believe they exist. At one point these animals would also be slaughtered and I am not so sure how ‘murder’ can be put together with the word ‘humane.’

5. KARMA. (Consciousness)

This is continued from reason # 4, and this is something that not all of you may believe in. I, who come from Buddhist parents and traditional Asian philosophies, believe in a thing called Karma. You can google more about Karma yourself, but it basically means whatever you do, it comes back to you. If you do something good to others, others will do good for you; if you do something bad to others, you will be treated badly. Giving up animal products (including leather jackets etc) have allowed me to become much more conscious about my actions to all the other organisms on this planet. Now I even feel guilty about killing a small bug; my compassion is growing every minute. By not being the cause of the death of many animals on this planet, I feel much more relaxed, and happier in the whole.

My parents too, have become vegans recently following the teachings of Buddha. My dad, a former meat lover, still has some difficulties giving up meat, but my mom is very committed now. Our family did not only change our diet, but the entire lifestyle. Check out what she wore to my graduation few weeks ago:

It might look strange to you, but these are all-naturally-dyed cotton hat, shirt, and skirt. She even wore some shoes made of some kind of plant (not sure what it is in Korean). Our family now refuses to wear any leather, fur, or animal-derived clothing. This lifestyle makes you feel more connected to nature and spiritually grounded. It’s not about just me, me, me anymore. It’s about everyone, and everything.

Whoa, I think that was the longest post I’ve ever written! It was almost like an essay! But there: these are the reasons why I am a vegan and why I love being one. If you have any questions or concerns about the vegan diet, please leave a comment below, I’ll try my best to answer them.

Thanks for reading!

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5 thoughts on “Paleo to Vegan – Part 2 – Why I’m Vegan

  1. Ali Seiter says:

    Congratulations on your realization, Steph! I couldn’t agree more on the benefits of a vegan diet and the dangers of a paleo one. Have you listened to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s podcast on the topic? It’s fascinating. You can find it on her website: http://www.compassionatecook.com/media/podcast-media/the-newest-diet-fad-paleo.

  2. Gina says:

    Wow Steph, this makes me feel so bad because I haven’t been eating my leafy greens lately. But the sad thing is this: meat-lovers will still eat meat. I don’t eat that much meat (once every one or two week? only when I have to) or eggs or dairy (except with coffee, and I kinda quit yogurt) so I don’t feel that guilty. But it’s like using a reusable bag when everyone else is using dozens of plastic bags each week. There’s only so much we can do to change the entire population’s diet. :S

    • aspiringsteph says:

      I no longer use plastic when I go grocery shopping (unless I go to Safeway). I use paper and reusable bag, and it makes me feel so good about myself. Don’t feel guilty Gina! It’s all about making small changes for the better word πŸ™‚ And you really should try So Delicious Brand Coconut Creamer!!

  3. […] mentioned before that I quit coffee and dramatically reduced my intake of stimulants like chocolate since going […]

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