Happy World Vegan Day!

Hi Everyone! We’re writing this from sunny Fuerteventura as we start our final week in the Canary Islands. It’s been an amazing holiday so far and we look forward to sharing the highlights with you once we are back in the UK. The reason we tuned in today is because it is not only a Monday and the first day of November – it’s also World Vegan Day. As such, we thought we’d share with you why we are vegan and what being vegan really means.

First of all, there is a difference between eating a plant-based diet and being vegan, and it’s important to share that distinction. People who choose to adopt a plant-based diet are usually doing so for health reasons. Research shows that a mainly whole-foods, plant-based diet minimises the risk of developing chronic conditions, which are the biggest killers in the Western world – illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even some forms of cancer. A diet rich in plant foods provides the body with essential macro and micronutrients, and protects it from the effects of oxidative stress, which is caused by toxins and pollutants in our environment. A variety of plant foods also nurture our microbiome, which is the collection of microorganisms that live inside our gut and play a key role in the strength of our immune system. It comes as no surprise that the most important thing we can do for our health is to treat our body as a garden that needs to be looked after rather than as a dumping ground – what we eat and drink, how well we sleep, how much we move and how we deal with stress, as well as our internal narrative make a huge impact on our health & wellbeing.

So what does it mean to be vegan and why would someone decide to adopt a vegan lifestyle? According to the Vegan Society, veganism is defined as “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practicable – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, other animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, other animals and the environment“. So you could argue that compassion for all beings is at the core of a vegan lifestyle. Below are the three main reasons why we have chosen to become vegan.

For the Animals

Roughly 70 billion land animals and over a trillion marine animals are seen as commodities and killed every year, simply to satisfy the taste preferences of the 7.7 billion human population inhabiting this earth. These numbers are shocking when you think that all animals are sentient beings seeking life and freedom, and avoiding harm, danger and suffering. Being vegan means standing up against the violence towards all non-human animals with the aim to end all exploitation.

But what if I go vegetarian – isn’t that good enough?‘. Whilst it’s great to hear that you’ve taken this big step towards minimising animal suffering, the honest answer is ‘no’. The dairy industry is built on cruelty and abuse. Like humans, cows produce milk in order to feed their young ones. In order to get as much milk as possible, farmers artificially (and forcibly) impregnate cows every year. The production of dairy products necessitates the death of countless male calves that are of no use to the dairy farmer, as well as the premature death of cows slaughtered when their milk production decreases. Not to mention the distress and suffering caused to cows and their calves, as they are separated hours after birth. Similarly, the egg industry is also perpetuating cruelty, as even ‘ethical’ or ‘free range’ eggs involve the killing of the ‘unnecessary’ male chicks when just a day old.

For the environment

More than 80% of farmland is used for livestock, which produces just 18% of our calories. Research from Oxford University shows that going vegan is the single biggest way to make a positive impact on the environment as an individual, by reducing food emissions up to 73%. According to the paper, “this reduction is not just in greenhouse gas emissions, but also acidifying and eutrophying emissions which degrade terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Freshwater withdrawals also fall by a quarter. Perhaps most staggeringly, we would require ~3.1 billion hectares (76%) less farmland“.

Additionally, we now know that an area of the Amazon rainforest roughly the size of a football pitch is being cleared every single minute for animal farming. Why does this matter? The Amazon rainforest is crucial in our fight against climate change, as every year, the leaves absorb a huge quantity of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be left in the atmosphere, adding to the rise in global temperatures. It is also the richest home to biodiversity on the planet, a habitat for perhaps one-tenth of all species of plants and animals, and home to one million indigenous people.

For individual health

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, adopting a whole-foods, plant-based diet makes a positive impact on our health as individuals, by maximising nutrition and minimising the risk of developing chronic conditions. Another reason why being vegan is important for human health is that a world where animals are not exploited would significantly decrease the risk of pandemics in the future, and would also slow down the rise of antibiotic resistance.

There is a lot more to say on this topic, but we tried to keep it as brief as possible 🙂 So if you’re wondering ‘why should I go vegan?‘, the answer is for all the above reasons, and also to get to tell everyone you know that you are one 😉

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking around, and we look forward to sharing more with you soon!

Andreea & Chris x