There are many reasons why people go vegan. Some do it for their health, some do it for the planet, some do it for ethical or religious reasons. Other people just don't want to contribute to animal suffering. For me the main reason of going vegan was the health question. We are brought up believing that being ill is something inevitable, that conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are bound to strike most of us in old age. Only recently have I realised that you don't have to spend the last decades of your life fighting with horrible diseases like many of my ancestors did. I decided to take my health in my own hands.
At first I felt like I had been living in a lie. Like I mentioned in my previous blog post, I was raised following the standard Western diet in the Nordic countries where meat, fish, and dairy were considered the most important parts of a healthy diet. Luckily my family had relatively healthy eating habits. We usually didn't consume much processed or junk food and my mother is an excellent cook. But nonetheless we did consume a lot of animal products. So at one point when I started my research about veganism I felt like I had found the Holy Grail of health and prosperity. I couldn't believe that all of this information was kept from me. Right now it feels almost ridiculous that I believed myths like "cows give milk all the time" and "protein equals meat". It wasn't that I'm dumb, I just hadn't had the need or chance to educate myself with the truth. As they say: ignorance is bliss - and I truly was in bliss.
After years of research and on-off relationships with plant based diets it finally dawned to me after having a child of my own. The moment I had her I realised that I don't want to raise her in the same lie I was brought up. I can gamble with my own health but I can't forgive myself if I don't offer her the best I can - giving my knowledge. Satisfying our taste buds or living within the norm isn't worth compromising my child's life for. The final step to going fully vegan I owe to my wonderful and supporting husband. Together we decided that we won't teach our child to live an unhealthy lifestyle just because most of the society thinks it's the norm. We truly believe that a plant based diet is the only option for the future generations. Even now veganism spreads every passing month, we can barely imagine what the situation will be when our daughter grows up.
I also felt the need to raise her with love and compassion towards all living beings. Animals aren't there for us to consume, and cruelty isn't something you should be comfortable with. Eating meat is usually the easiest part to change, but giving up dairy products is nearly a sin this far North. Especially for a cheese lover like me. (Today I know I was just addicted to the casein). But after having a baby and breastfeeding myself it finally hit me. How would I feel if someone would steal my baby's food? I immediately felt enormous compassion towards dairy cows and as it turned out - cutting out cheese isn't an issue if you're aware of the true cost of your food.
Although my vegan journey started with the desire to be healthy and get the most of life, I now feel like all the other causes are equally important. And now I can proudly call myself a true vegan.
In today's world everyone should have the right to access information about their food, be aware of its origins and know how it affects your body - even if they don't intend to become vegan. And to be fair I truly wonder how somebody can still be living in the dark in - especially in technically advanced countries where via the Internet all of human knowledge is easily accessible.