6 Reasons to go vegan
People decide to go vegan for many reasons, but whether you are doing it for the animals, your health, the environment or something else, at the core of veganism is a commitment to kindness.
Be kind to the animals
Animals are living beings seeking life and freedom, and avoiding harm and danger. Just like human beings, all animals have a right to life. Yet this right is taken from them when we turn them into consumable products. Animals are unnecessarily exploited in many ways: as food, entertainment or clothing.
In the food industry roughly 60 billion land animals and over a trillion marine animals are killed each year, merely to satisfy human taste preferences. At the same time, plant-based diets are possible in many areas of the world. Avoiding animal products is one of the most obvious ways we can take a stand against animal cruelty and animal exploitation everywhere.
Be kind to the trees
All around the world, forests and rainforests are cut down to make way for cattle grazing to meet the demand for meat, and in a time when carbon emissions are rising cutting down these trees means we will go faster and faster into irreversible climate change. If there wasn’t such a demand for meat, then this drive for environmental destruction would disappear, and we could help the ecosystem recover, let the trees grow and get back to doing their job of cleaning our air, looking majestic, and providing a habitat for countless animal species.
Be kind to the ocean
Factory farms wash animal waste into rivers which carry it to the sea, whilst fishing vessels take more and more fish out of the ocean. The environment of these animals is poisoned, and the animals that survive this are taken from the ocean and killed in greater and greater numbers. The ocean is as important as the rainforests for the planet's environment and climate, and no one likes to see our oceans rising and becoming more polluted. Reducing demand for meat and fish is a huge step towards keeping our seas blue.
Be kind to your body
Our bodies and health are complicated and vary a lot from person to person, but medical research has shown time and time again that animal products such as meat, eggs and milk cause huge problems to health, worldwide. Cutting these items out of your diet can play a crucial part in living a longer, and healthier life.
BE KIND TO YOUR tastebuds
People talking about veganism often focus on what you are giving up, but you shouldn’t forget what you gain. Before going vegan, many people say they made simple, uninspiring food: a piece of cheap meat and a couple of vegetables, because meat is the centre of any dish, right? Wrong! There is a world of flavour out there, and cuisines from all over the world have been cooking vegetables in all kinds of ways for hundreds of years. Explore new tastes, new ingredients, and experiment with new dishes, with thousands of vegan cookbooks and recipe blogs to help you along the way.
We love to explore recipes from all over the place and are always checking out BBC Good Food, Jamie Oliver, Vegan Richa, Isa Chandra, Munchies, and One Green Planet for delicious stuff. There are some great food blogs in Norwegian such as Green Bonanza, Veganmisjonen, and Vegetarbloggen.
BE KIND TO Each other
People often list the ways that animals are different from humans in order to justify the suffering and death that humankind inflicts upon them, fish cannot talk, cats cannot read and horses cannot drive cars. At the same time humans do not have wings to fly, the ability to live under water, or the strength of the elephant. We discuss animals in a way which is centered around our human experience, ignorant to the individual needs and experiences of animals.
This abject justification of suffering sadly has a huge effect on the way that we treat our fellow human beings too, as instead of trying to understand and embrace each others complex personalities, emotions and experiences, we center our own experience as the most important with little respect and understanding for others who live outside of it. It is this fear of our differences that has given way to a complex system of struggle in which we all live as both the oppressed and the oppressor.
This inequality makes us some of us powerful, and some of us vulnerable. We have the option to use our power to protect vulnerable humans and animals, and going vegan is just one of the ways we can show compassion and respect to those who are different to us.
Where do I begin?
So you have decided to go vegan, now what? First of all, it's really important to not be too hard on yourself. Don't expect to change overnight, and approach your veganism practically, gradually replacing the animal stuff in your life with vegan stuff.
To help you along your way, we have written a handy guide to the first three weeks as a vegan.