Some Thoughts About Veganism
By Chris Bell
Have you ever wondered what caused someone to 'go vegan'? I always did... I never really even knew someone who was trying the vegan diet until I was in my mid-twenties. They were close to me, and I tore their ideas apart with what I strongly believed was... logic. I don't really know if it was because of me or not, but this person stopped shortly after starting due to backlash from their family and me.
Looking back on this, it was one of the things I most regret, but I also believe continually pondering this experience over the years has reminded me of just how "correct" non-vegans are when assessing and addressing their vegan friends or family. Look - I was there too, I was that guy - a meat eater by culture or custom, or simply because my parents taught me what their parents taught them and so on and so forth. And I would never change. But, I did...
One interesting fact about veganism is that today, 7% of US citizens identify as vegan, whether for dietary and health purposes, or for ethical purposes like animal rights and sustainability - that's up 700% from 1% in 2014. A similar phenomenon exists in the UK where over 1.5% of the population identifies as vegan, up 400% from 2014. And that's just today. Consider the rate at which vegan meat alternatives and other supplements are growing in the US economy: according to Forbes, US plant-based food sales grew 31.3% from 2017 to 2019 -> nearly $4.5 billion, while US beef production grew just 4% in the same time frame. Data scientists predict a major shift in industry market share throughout the coming years.
Enough economics and shiny facts.
I wanted to share this to illustrate that times are changing. People and their tastes are changing. Whole cultures are changing. Here in Canada, we saw the Federal government introduce a new Food Guide in 2019, which introduced quinoa, chickpeas, tofu, lentils, nuts and seeds alongside meats as suitable protein alternatives. 87% of the food guide is plants. Eighty-seven. And this has been introduced into schools nationwide, and commercialized and conveyed as the healthiest diet a Canadian can consume. While it did cause an uproar the political and educational communities, the dairy industry suffered the most, as cheese and milk were, you guessed it, removed.
We're feeling it and kindflies.ca as well. Our customers, generally speaking, are not vegan, although many of them purchase our products because they are searching for plant-based products. I always ask people why they would choose plant based over 'conventional' products. Their responses are generally consistent: ethics.
Over the coming years, many will consider and move to veganism. It's important that vegans and future vegans remember that you were there too. Being vegan makes one no better than a meat eater. Treat others with respect, while learning about and communicating the urgency of the matters at hand:
1. No animal is different from another. They all live, breath, walk and communicate with each other. They have families, groups, pods, friends, personalities and love for one another. If they spoke our language, they would never agree to living in despicable conditions, being torn from their families, or being slaughtered. No matter how you spin it, there is never, ever such a thing as humane slaughter. We can't rationalize our tastes or love one kind of animal and eat the other. It doesn't work that way.
2. The meat and dairy industries are killing the earth, and it's us fuelling the fire. Whole forests are mass-ploughed to make space for animal grazing and the farming of feed crops. Factory farming is the #2 contributor to global warming, and this is a more serious issue than we think: we are continually learning the meaning of global warming.
3. The consumption of meat and dairy is destructive to our cellular makeup, disruptive to our bodily functions and immune system, and is a major contributor to the most common diseases and cancers affecting the ones we love. In short, it drastically impacts our health. A whole foods plant-based is the fastest path to wellness, and in so many cases, the reversal of conditions that affect our everyday life. Eating meat and dairy is plain bad for us.
No matter how big the world is, I am always reachable, and not judgemental, although truthful and with the best of intentions for everyone I speak with. Please reach out to me if you are wondering about veganism. Whether you're opposed to it and want to vent, considering it as the next phase of your life, or you're already there and are facing opposition or a barrage of questions that you don't know how to approach, get in touch with me and I would love to be a friend.
As our world community grows, so does the industrious 'machine' and supply chain that feeds it... but so does the conscious population: those who question their beliefs or customs and challenge them by introducing new ways to look at things. As that occurs, there is a growing number that will drastically reduce its footprint on the earth and those who live there, including our innocent animal friends.