Veganism is a very controversial and misunderstood topic. There is too much confusion and hate towards it and too little comprehension about its true purpose. My goal here is not to impose my views, but to share with readers my personal story and opinions — why I have become vegan, what is veganism, and my views on some common and controversial topics within vegan communities.
Sharing is caring. Let’s go.
Why Have I Gone Vegan?
As you probably know, most vegans are not born this way. Most of us have been eating an omnivore diet most of our lives. But something made us change; something called awareness.
It all started somewhere around 2016–17. I started flirting with the idea of veganism much because of my parents, who had become vegan years before that. Red meat 🥩 was uncommon in my house as my mom stopped eating red meat as a child and we relied mostly on white meats. However, I was a big sucker for fast-food 🙊.
Up until this point, veganism sounded too extreme. However, something about it seemed to make sense. As I started to dig more into veganism and to seek out information, the more sense it made to me. When I finally had the courage to watch vegan documentaries such as ‘Earthlings’ (there are plenty of other free, related documentaries on YT), my world turned upside down.
They made me sick to the bones. I cried. I felt revolt. I felt deceived.
I remember I used to buy Coca-Cola’s milk Fairlife 🥛 due to its extra protein and zero lactose marketing. However, the name itself unconsciously comforted me, making me think that these cows had a ‘fair’ and happy life.
It’s the same principle behind ‘free-range’ eggs 🐔. These are the type of lies and malicious propaganda that deceives us, customers, and turns us into clueless consuming puppets.
The seed had been planted. There was no going back.
After that, every animal product I saw came with the horrific scenes I had seen before. I had become more informed. And the truth hurts.
Becoming vegan became my goal. However, I still felt not ready to fully commit. In some way, it sounded too hard yet. Nowadays, I acknowledge that this conclusion was based out of ignorance and fear.
Myth: Eating a plant-based diet would make weaker and lose muscle mass.
Even though I did not want to admit it to myself at the time, that was the mental block hindering me from going vegan. This is the consequence of years feeding myself with bro-science and ‘must-eat-protein’ way of life 🙈 .
As you can see here, the opposite happened.
Ignorance puts us in a very dangerous and compromising position because it leads to the creation of irrational fears and consequential biased decisions. It sustains a comfort zone that limits you. It is easier to influence someone out of fear and lies than out of reason and truth.
I knew that the only way to burst this bubble was to seek knowledge and information and apply them into my daily choices. Only our consciousness can tell what is best for us.
However, I needed to set goals. Without action, there is no progression.
First Step: Ovo-Lacto-Pesco-Vegetarianism
It all began with my diet. In fact, even vegetarianism sounded too advanced at the time. So, I decided to stick to an ovo-lacto-pesco-vegetarian diet starting in January 2018. Yes, I felt like a hypocrite the whole time. I was still a carnivore, but it was something. I was focused on progression, not perfection. It was my first baby-step towards veganism.
Looking back, I can see how easier it is to neglect dairy, eggs, and fish simply because these three have one thing in common: we cannot capture emotion out of them. Unfortunately, fish and sea life have no facial expression 🐟 , so it is more difficult to sympathize with them. However, this does not mean that they do not suffer and we should explore them.
I was able to sustain this diet for over a year, with very few relapses. I gained around 10kg much because I was still eating a lot of animal fat. However, I was happy because I had been trying to bulk during this period. Everything seemed to be working out well.
Until I got sick 🤢 in March 2019.
The Day I Became Vegan
As a person who rarely catches even a cold, this sickness hit me very hard. I would explain it better here if I understood exactly what happened to me (it might become a future article). But little did I know that day would be my last meal with an animal product 🐟.
As I was sitting down next to the toilet, shaking, unable to stand up and freaking out because I was sure I was dying ☠, an epiphany suddenly hit me. That moment I decided that if I survived this episode, I would become vegan for the rest of my life.
It sounds overdramatic, but it’s true.
Maybe this decision simply came out of fear. I honestly do not know. But I’m sure that it was expontaneous. Perhaps deep inside I was ready to move on to the next step and needed an extra ‘push.’ Who really knows?
It did not start out as planned, but it happened. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Even if it was one of the scariest moments of my entire life, I am grateful that it happened.
The good news is that I was able to gradually recovered on a plant-based diet. And I have never looked back ever since.
Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet
I cannot say that switching to a plant-based diet was hard by any means simply because I was already accustomed to having full plant-based meals every once in a while for years. Also, my mom has always been an excellent cook and I have been eating my vegetables since I was born.
Even though I loved sushi 🍣, eggs 🍳, cheese 🧀, and other things, a plant-based diet can be equally delicious if not superior. It is all about your cooking skills 👨🍳.
I vividly remember the taste and the pleasure I experienced consuming animal products. However, I do not see them as food anymore; they have become unnecessarily lost lives. Even imagining eating animal products makes my stomach upset.
Nevertheless, once I recovered from my sickness, I felt like an upgraded machine. I finally debunked the myth of getting weaker for myself. Even better, I gained my weight back, got stronger, and lost belly fat. I have never felt so energized and ‘alive’ my entire life.
Veganism did more for me than I could ever possibly imagine. It made me a better person in so many ways that I could write an entire book about it. For the first time in my entire life, I feel that my actions are truly aligned with my morals and values.
It became clear to me why veganism is considered a philosophy. Once you start, it is very hard to not feel passionate about this way of living. Everything about it makes sense on such deep levels that people that have no plans of becoming vegan would hardly be capable of grasping. It’s comprehensible; I could not blame them because we all were there at one time.
Foremost, I feel that veganism gave me a sense of purpose. Something I had been seeking my entire life but had never found. I feel more connected with myself than ever before. This way of living resonates toward other areas of my life and motivates me to always seek improvement (not perfection).
The True Purpose of Veganism
The Vegan Society’s formal definition of veganism is:
“a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”
Thus, it’s not a diet, a religion, a cult, or some conspiracy theory (though I believe in many). It’s simply a way of living based on compassion for animals. It’s a moral and a life philosophy.
However, some people seem to forget that humans are animals as well. Compassion applies to all forms of animals. When the ego starts to take control, people start imposing their views and ideals, which do not consent with the principles of veganism.
My Position As a Vegan
Vegans vs. Vegans
(I know that bears are omnivores)
Nowadays there are too many vegan ‘factions’ and hatred towards each other's opinions and decisions. This is not the way it is supposed to be. It should be about union and inclusivity, not segregation and exclusivity.
Vegans fighting other vegans is pointless 🥊. I’m fully supportive of open debates because they help us create the habit of questioning things. However, it only works when open minds are involved. Constructive criticism is important to challenge the status quo and ourselves. But if you only decide to hear one side of the story, the one that is more convenient for you, it’s not a debate anymore; it becomes a fight for the ego.
Sometimes I feel that many people that sympathize with veganism avoid it because of the fear of making a mistake and being roasted by other vegans. We see that on YouTube all the time. Instead of scaring them away, we should show them it’s okay to make mistakes because veganism is not about perfection.
We all make mistakes. It’s okay to be wrong. What is not okay is to neglect your mistakes.
Unhappy people, regardless of their views and choices, will not think twice before pointing the finger to something or someone else other than themselves. It’s an emotional reaction; a self-defense mechanism; a desperate act of their fragile ego to release some of their anger. Veganism has nothing to do with this. This is a humanity sickness.
Contrary to religion and other forms of oppression, veganism is not a centralized power that imposes dogmas and limitations into your life to enslave you. Instead, it is a free movement that everyone is welcomed to join. We should strive to be united as a movement and not waste time fighting each other.
Veganism is not about perfection either, but about progress. Many people blame the plant-based diet for not working out as a vegan; however, this is a fallacy. Most times (unless you have some rare type of eating disorder), it was not the diet that failed, but their interpretation of veganism or their necessity to seek the extreme instead of sticking to the basics.
The moment you start seeking perfection rather than progression is the moment that things go bad and you start losing yourself to your ego. It will always tell you that others are wrong and that you are special. However, we all are special because life is precious. The only thing that sets vegans apart from non-vegans is our courage to challenge the status quo by example.
Veganism only gives us a direction towards becoming better human beings. It helps us to become more compassionate beings and use love as our driving force. The rest is up to us. It’s only a piece of the puzzle 🧩 that is life. It’s a race towards better vibrations (and you better catch up!).
Can Veganism Save the Planet?
Yes, according to one of the most comprehensive studies to date on ~40,000 farms in 119 countries about the detrimental effects of animal farming on the environment and our planet (1).
There is a plethora of studies done on global warming and other environmental issues out there available for free. There are free documentaries and anecdotes spread all over the Internet as well. Everyone should do their own research, and not rely on what they superficially read on an article or heard on a video or podcast.
The deeper you go into the sources, the closer you get to the truth 🪕. Reality is absolute, but our interpretation of it is subjective. It takes time and commitment to investigate what is unclear. Mass confusion is generated for a reason. However, it is upon us to decide if we really want to know the truth.
Despite all the scientific warnings, we keep killing our forests 🌲 so that we can raise animals for slaughter and human consumption while we overproduce food to sustain those same animals. As a consequence, forests are vanishing, entire ecosystems are getting destroyed, fertile soils are becoming deserts, and greenhouse gases (methane, carbon dioxide, etc.) are accumulating in the atmosphere, trapping heat and contributing to global warming.
Despite that, many people choose to believe that global warming🌡is a hoax and humans have nothing to do with it, arguing that it’s a ‘natural’ cycle of the planet and there is nothing wrong with our current practices. Aren’t they seeing only the tip of the iceberg?
Meanwhile, many insects, including pollinators 🐝, and other important animals are losing their natural habitats and keep on dying across the globe. Entire ecosystems are being destroyed, many species are on the verge of extinction, and nature’s balance is being disrupted.
In the media, the government tells you to save water 💧, while the livestock industry consumes more water than the entire U.S. population together. Technology improves on a daily basis and we still cannot get rid of an outdated agricultural system that proves itself to be unsustainable and unreliable (GMOs). And the list goes on and on.
You get the point. It’s an endless, unsustainable cycle that keeps destroying our planet by the day. Who is benefiting from that? Perhaps only that ‘1%’ that we hear about but have never seen.
I believe that we, consumers, and regular citizens have the power to change the world in our hands. The more people we welcome (not drag) into the vegan movement, the better it will be for the animals, to the environment, and our planet. It’s a win-win scenario (perhaps not for that ‘1%’ 🙊).
It’s inevitable that, as a vegan, you start seeking more information since your options are more limited. Once this becomes a habit, it becomes part of your life. As you start making more conscious decisions, you start relying less on momentum and propaganda. Everything that you once believed in starts changing (for better). This is the magic behind it.
Our planet can survive without humans, but we cannot survive without this planet.
I fully support the idea of colonizing other planets 🚀. Perhaps this is what advanced civilizations are supposed to do. Exploration is part of our DNA. However, why not take care of our own planet 🌎 first?
Many vegans support the idea that we should boycott big companies involved in animal cruelty and stop buying their products once for all.
I believe this to be not fundamentally wrong, but counterproductive.
Before I move on, it’s important to establish that anti-capitalism has nothing to do with veganism. Veganism is a way of living, an option. Capitalism is just the reality we live in. Countries and governments are dictated by power, money, and influence. There is not much we can do about it. The truth can be scarier than science fiction.
However, these big industry players depend on us to make a profit. It’s within the power of consumers to dictate the demand. We can tell them what we want and do not want 📉. This is the reason why veganism has become a market itself (and a powerful one).
Trying to boycott these companies is counterproductive because we would be discarding our most powerful source of influence: demand.
If we want change, we need to demand it and show them through our consumer behavior. Our decisions translate into data, which dictates the decisions of fast-foods, pharmaceuticals, beverage companies, and other big players out there.
And this is exactly what vegans want. It’s already working within the food industry, lab testing, fashion, clothing, and other industries. All this came out of public demand, so why slow down the progress now?
For instance, I’m not a fan of fast-food anymore not only for the ethics behind it but for nutritional and health reasons. But the fewer Big Mac’s 🍔 and french fries 🍟(which are not vegan in McDonald’s) people order and the more we demand plant-based options, the faster change will come. If one thing is certain, is that they will follow the money 💰.
Carnivore vs. Plant-Based Diet
All the research about this topic that I bump into (not founded by the dairy or livestock industries or a representative of the same) seems to support the conclusion of the World Health Organization (WHO) and many other professional bodies of the world.
A plant-based diet not only is safe for all stages of life and athletes, but it’s also linked to less chronic diseases (heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc.) and a longer life span.
This is not me saying, it’s science.
However, we must remember that any diet can fail without knowledge and information and application of the same. What really kills us prematurely is bad choices. Science only says that a plant-based diet is more optimal for our health.
Not eating animal products will not make you healthier either if you rely mostly on junky and processed foods. Whole-foods are undoubtedly the best fuel for our body. Nature provides us with everything our body needs. Why waste money on things that we know will make us sick when we can feed our bodies with cheaper and more nutritious food? Or would you rather live life recklessly and deal later with hospital bills 👩⚕️ and medications 💊?
Another thing we need to understand is that humans beings have been omnivores for as long as my knowledge and research allows me to comprehend. We have been eating both meat and plants along the ages because we need calories of survive. While plants would be more nutritious and be more readily available, meat would contain more calories but be more scarce.
We tend to forget to implement the element of context when debating which diet is more optimal.
All this reference comes from a time prior to modern civilization and before the surge of capitalism and industrialization. Ever since the beginning of civilization, humans moved away from nature and the natural food chain. We do not need to go hunting all day for food anymore; we drive to the grocery store or local market or order fast-food through an app.
Humanity has become a self-sustained system in which your ability to make money is what dictates your survivability, not your hunting skills.
Another thing is that the animals our ancestors were hunting were wild animals and not cattle, pigs, turkey, chicken, fish, and other farm animals from today. These hybrid animals live in unsanitary confined spaces, which are not their natural habitat, and are fed food that is not optimal for them. These practices generate all sorts of problems that require intervention methods such as supplementation and antibiotics.
Moreover, the majority of people are sedentary and barely exercise. That is another reason why obesity has become a global chronic problem. Athletes and people living in the wild are the ones that get the closest to our ancestors' life. Maybe this is the reason why they can thrive on a carnivore diet better than regular people.
However, meat is not as necessary as it used to be for us living in modern societies. Science is consistently proving that we can thrive on a plant-based diet. It’s calories with the same macronutrients, but less saturated and trans fats and more micronutrients and antioxidants, not forgetting that they are cheaper and more sustainable.
There is a reason why people are overfed and undernourished nowadays.
Even with today’s technology and the Internet, the number of people dying from chronic diseases, especially heart disease ♥, keeps increasing. We are eating more calories and animal products than ever before, but still, we are getting sicker and obese. Is it that hard to see a pattern here, a correlation?
Unless you are planning to live excluded from society in someplace like Alaska or a deserted island, there is no reason to argue that a carnivore diet is optimal for people living in the context of modern society. Not only that, a plant-based diet is the only one capable of reversing heart disease and controlling diabetes without the use of medication.
Is Eating Meat a Choice?
Free will is a product of democracy. If a vegan tries to impose their views rather than inform you or openly debate, he is fundamentally wrong. However, you can only consider a choice conscious if there is awareness involved; otherwise, it becomes a conditioned, unconscious choice.
To make a conscious choice, we only need one thing: the truth. Without it, we are just puppets living a life dictated by lies and propaganda.
Take the cigarette 🚬 example. Not long ago, the U.S. government marketed it as a healthy habit even if the science at the time had already established a link between smoking and cancer. It was not an honest mistake, it was a political propaganda tactic. People were kept in the dark for a reason ($). Why justify their actions when they can just lie to people?
And history repeats itself. Got milk 🐄?
Let’s go into a more recent time. Processed (or cured) meat 🌭 has been officially classified as a definite cause of cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015 (2), the largest global professional body of cancer research.
However, we still do not see processed meats — bacon, salami, ham, sausages, hot dogs, turkey breast, etc. — with a stamp warning consumers that these products cause cancer on their package. Should we not be informed about these things? Isn’t it for the public interest?
Do not get me wrong. I understand that vegans can be annoying. It’s not the point of veganism to argue that we are superior and you should follow us. Sometimes some of us might not take the best approach. But regardless of the methods, the common goal is to spread awareness for everyone and not doctrine people.
An equilibrated person, vegan or not, will always respect your choice of eating animal products. However, a vegan will probably try to warn you about the inconvenient truths behind this choice. We all want to get out of Plato’s cave and see the truth for ourselves.
The truth might not be pretty or convenient, but it is the reality. We can only make truly conscious choices if we understand reality as it is. Beyond this point comes free will; then it’s up to you what decision to make.
Vegans fight for the interest of animals because they do not have a voice. They suffer silently and away from the general public’s perception. They want to enjoy life and fulfill their purpose just like we want to. We are capable of reasoning and have the power to make a difference, they do not.
The best thing is that we do not need guns to fight for our cause, all we need is love and compassion.
Every animal on this planet deserves justice and equal rights. Why farm animals should be the only exception? Isn’t life more precious than 10–15min of sensory pleasure? If we truly love animals, how can we support an industry that relies on violence, abuse, and murder? Or are farm animals only commodities and should be treated like such?
The best exercise, in my opinion, is to think about this paradox: put yourself in the position of the people/machine that killed the animal on your plate, would you be capable of doing it yourself 🔪? If the answer is no, there is already a vegan seed planted within you.
I hear many cases of people distancing themselves from non-vegan friends, getting annoyed when someone is eating meat next to you, or when you hear a joke about vegans and those sort of things.
My question is: why getting away from them when we can embrace them?
Losing self-control and composture only fuels non-vegans and give them ammunition against veganism. Avoiding them shows weakness.
We should not try to change everyone around us. Neither should we be preaching by words, but teaching by actions. This is not a religion, but a movement towards awareness and compassion. If people find it annoying or not, it’s not our problem. It only becomes a problem when we try forcing our views into others’ lives. We would not like that either, right?
I personally have no vegan friends. However, we can all sit down and have our meals together because I do not judge them for their choices. I respect them the same way I did before I became vegan, and they respect me back. You will always hear jokes, but this is just a way of them acknowledging your decision of becoming vegan. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Instead of trying to preach people close to you, wait for the right moment. Do not bother reaching them out, they will come to you if they want to. When this happens, take the opportunity to answer their questions and spread awareness. It’s much easier to have an open discussion when the initiative comes from the other party. It’s useless trying to change people that do not want to be changed. Just focus on the ones that are seeking change.
Once you align your actions with your values, there is no need to justify to others the things that you do.
What can be seen as extreme in someone else’s eyes, it’s simply living life for you. Extreme is going against your morals and values. It’s much more efficient to show other people that we are happy with our choices and way of living and that we do not bother with others that have different views from us.
Do not try to change people around you, changing is a consequence; awareness is the vehicle. Instead, exercise your compassion and embrace them for what they are. Just by living the way you choose to, you are already spreading awareness because people are curious and observe. Your actions speak louder than words.
The Bottom Line
Although there are many other topics to debate, I focused on the ones that have been bothering me the most lately. Of course, these are just my opinions. I believe that being honest and sharing our thoughts is the best way to connect with each other and find common purpose.
What’s most important for me is that people understand what veganism truly is. We are trying to be the change we want to see in the world. We are not trying to spread awareness and change non-vegans as much as we are trying to be a voice for farm animals and a tool against injustice.
“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” — Albert Einstein
If we want change, we need to be the change. Vegans are not perfect, we make many mistakes as well. However, we have the best of intentions. We do not want to deceive people, but enlighten them.