11 'Legitimate' Reasons for Becoming a Crazy Vegan

Health Check 15

steak dinnerJust say "no thanks" to steak!As trendy as it may have become in recent years, going vegan is no small feat. It's a serious, hands-on, full-time-job-like commitment. Or at least that's what I hear from my sister, who did it pretty strictly for a year. Inspired by her efforts (and okay, weight loss, too), I actually tried my hand at a pesca-vegan regimen for a couple of months only to throw in the towel when I realized I actually felt better overall -- more energy, better weight management, higher satiety -- while eating lean poultry, low-fat cheese, Greek yogurt, etc. While I still opt for almond milk and coconut milk desserts more often than cow's milk and ice cream, I now know veganism and I just weren't meant to be. As for my sis, well, she quit recently, too, because she was "hungry." Ha.

So, in retrospect, I started thinking about reasons people might -- for better or worse -- believe veganism is their diet soul mate. Here, 11 "legitimate" reasons for going vegan ...

  1. You have a chronic illness. Like Kris Carr, New York Times best-selling author, wellness activist, and Queen of Crazy Sexy Wellness, maybe you were given a diagnosis that is best kept in check with a super-strict, very clean, vegan diet. Awesome.
  2. Commercials about animal abuse set to Sarah McLachlan tunes make you cry. And thus, you don't wanna eat animals. Or their products.
  3. You watched Food, Inc. And it skeeved you out and made you want to strangle meat eaters and boycott all the companies and farmers that profit from animal abuse.
  4. You loooooove to cook. As in, you don't mind spending 24 hours per dish you prepare -- collecting a recipe, special ingredients like faux vegan cheese and nutritional yeast, thinking about how it is gonna turn out, and finally while cooking it, you strong-arm the dish into becoming what you want it to taste like. Like beef stroganoff. (Even if it'll never taste anything even close to actual beef stroganoff.)
  5. You're sure you can be a "relaxed" vegan. As in, if you see a jelly doughnut at a party, you're perfectly capable of convincing yourself that it's okay to eat, because a.) there's no ingredient list available, and b.) you know for a fact they're filled with, err, jelly -- not beef!
  6. Dairy makes you ill. No, really! What's up with that mucusy stuff it creates in your throat after you eat it, and why does it cause such noxious flatulence? Eww. I'll take the almond milk, thanks.
  7. You think celeb vegans like Alicia Silverstone and Lea Michele and Bob Harper are really hot. And if you eat like them, you'll totally look like them, right?
  8. You're experimenting in an attempt to address a chronic wellness issue. Maybe it'll clear up your acne or give your weight loss program a boost? Hey, worth a shot.
  9. It's a way to go green. You believe industrialized animal farming is a huge factor contributing to environmental degradation and are trying to live a more sustainable or eco-friendly lifestyle.
  10. You couldn't care less about food. Flavor shmavor. Gourmet shmoremet. Pass the iceberg!
  11. You read The China Study. AKA the really well-conducted, reputable research that theorizes that casein (milk protein) feeds cancer cells.

What do you think are "legit" reasons for going vegan?


Image via waferboard/Flickr

vegetarian, eating healthy

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cleig... cleigh717

I would be more interested in "legit" reasons to torture animals. Hmm . . . And money is the only reason. :-(

Or legit reasons to eat animals at all. And what's a bad reason to go vegan anyway? The less meat you eat the better. Everyone knows that. Quite frankly in this imperfect world, my reasons are animal rights and its what I can do. I can't donate a ton or adopt every animal in the spca but I can stop treating my body like a burial ground. My skin looks great, I have a healthy colon, my eating habits aren't selfishly motivated. And yes cheese disgusts me. Its incredibly mucous forming and I had suffered with severe allergies until I cut it out when I was 13. I have been veggie for ten years. Yea its kinda awesome knowing premature death isn't likely. :-) yay me!

lalab... lalaboosh

I eat vegan meals regularly. There are tons of vegans where I live and it's pretty easy to get vegan food, even when eating out. Plus eating raw makes eating vegan a snap.

Groove Groove

i'm vegan, been one for almost a year. I don't eat just iceberg lettuce and if anything, the food I eat has MORE flavor. I'm not waifishly thin bc i'm not a raw food-ist. My metabolism has been reawakened bc its not stuck digesting meats and dairy. I'm happy i went vegan and i will not be going back.

EnidA... EnidASophiaA

There are many good reasons for being vegan. I chose to eat meat because I like to eat meat. Some people don't. Who needs a reason other than that?

nonmember avatar Food & Loathing

The 11 reasons you listed were pretty legit, so I thank you for the ones on your list that ring true, like the environmental benefits, health benefits, and the benefit of being responsible for less suffering on Earth.

I'll admit, I'm one of those ones who looooooves to cook, but I would argue that, although some ingredients are somewhat obscure, it's possible to avoid all such ingredients, or to order them cheaply in bulk from the internet. But mostly I love to cook with vegetables and grains and spices and beans -- things you can buy at any grocery store.

I definitely care far MORE now about the flavor of food than I used to, not less. Now, I cook and know how to make things taste good! However, since stopping eating processed food and animal products, I have to admit that I've lost my tolerance for salt. I used to pile the stuff on, but now I'll make a trail mix of unsalted nuts and dry fruit and snack on it. I know that if my past me ate what the present me eats, she'd be like, "This needs salt. And, also, chocolate chips." So, I'll admit, simpler foods will start to taste better to you once your addiction to processed food and animal products is less profound. BUT, I still contend that when I cook, it's full of flavor. And, also, I make the greatest hummus (the trick is just good tahini).

Carrie Ann Knauss

As a long term, strict vegan, I find this article incredible offensive, misleading, and inaccurate. And how is eating "pesca-vegan" vegan???

Jim Corcoran

There are many reasons why the number of vegans has doubled in the US in less than 3 years. Here are two uplifting videos to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE and http://www.veganvideo.org/.

Rodolfo Palma

I've been vegan for over half of my 35 years of life, and it is easy.
I guess you need a reason if it's difficult... but right now, I'd need a reason of why stop being vegan.

nonmember avatar booklover

Since when does one have to provide "legitimate" reasons for their choices about what to eat? What would qualify as "non-legitimate"? And more importantly, why on earth does it matter?
I eat vegan because a) I can't eat dairy to begin with due to severe lactose intolerance, b) eggs freak me out, c) meat makes my stomach hurt, and d) the meat, egg, and dairy industries are unnecessarily cruel and ecologically disastrous.
If you expect vegan food to taste just like non-vegan food, of course you're going to be disappointed. Nothing tastes like beef stroganoff except beef stroganoff. Doesn't mean vegan food is tasteless or boring, or that all we eat is iceberg lettuce. I love food, and have yet to find myself hungry or bored by a vegan diet, or exhausted by trying to cook and live by one. It's really not that big of a deal. And if you're hungry, you're doing it wrong.
And finally, I just have to say - "pesca-vegan"? What? Just...no. "Vegan" means you consume no animal products, period. Not "I'm vegan but I eat fish." That's not vegan. That's pescatarian. Don't try to claim experience with living vegan because you gave up all animal products besides seafood for a couple of months.

nonmember avatar booklover

Since when does one have to provide "legitimate" reasons for their choices about what to eat? What would qualify as "non-legitimate"? And more importantly, why on earth does it matter?
I eat vegan because a) I can't eat dairy to begin with due to severe lactose intolerance, b) eggs freak me out, c) meat makes my stomach hurt, and d) the meat, egg, and dairy industries are unnecessarily cruel and ecologically disastrous.
If you expect vegan food to taste just like non-vegan food, of course you're going to be disappointed. Nothing tastes like beef stroganoff except beef stroganoff. Doesn't mean vegan food is tasteless or boring, or that all we eat is iceberg lettuce. I love food, and have yet to find myself hungry or bored by a vegan diet, or exhausted by trying to cook and live by one. It's really not that big of a deal. And if you're hungry, you're doing it wrong.
And finally, I just have to say - "pesca-vegan"? What? Just...no. "Vegan" means you consume no animal products, period. Not "I'm vegan but I eat fish." That's not vegan. That's pescatarian. Don't try to claim experience with living vegan because you gave up all animal products besides seafood for a couple of months.

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