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  • Leanne Ammon

My Vegan Family — advice and ideas for a plant-based life!

There are many sound reasons for leading a plant-based life. The reduction of carbon emissions is one. The health benefits of a vegan diet is another. But, for me, the greatest single reason I choose to eat a vegan diet is entirely ethical. So many friends and family members have said to me that they couldn’t do it, that they’d miss eating meat too much. I say, if you can’t do it for yourself, then at least do it for the animals.

Eating meat has a massive detrimental impact on the health of the planet, as well as the health of those who consume it. Cardio-vascular health is one of the areas most affected in those who eat a diet heavily based on meat. The amount of methane produced by cattle farms is one of the single greatest causes of global warming. We are now facing the facts that the diet so many of us consider standard and normal is actually harmful and unnatural. If we are serious about saving our planet, as well as saving our health, we need to start committing ourselves to a different way of thinking about food and eating.

The nutrient myth: if I’ve heard it once…what about zinc? Protein? Vitamin B12? You name the nutrient, and someone will have already questioned where you get it from in a diet devoid of meat and dairy. The absolute truth of the matter is that you do not need to consume meat or dairy to get any of those things. Every single nutrient we need to function fully and healthily as babies, children and adults can be found in a plant-based diet. Yes, it takes a bit of re-education (I have saved tons of google searches of varying vegan recipes) but it is possible. It is doable. It is achievable. And it is imperative if we really want to do something good for the planet, for the animals, for ourselves. You can find out where to get any nutrients from plants with a little research. The only exception being vitamin B12, which you can find in nutritional yeast. Sounds yucky. Really isn’t. It makes a nice white sauce for lasagne and cannelloni.

The real myth is that dairy products are natural sources of certain nutrients, like calcium and B vitamins. In actual fact, studies have shown that dairy products are themselves fortified with nutrients, just so that claims can be made that they are ‘good sources’ of those nutrients.

Foods to be excited about when researching plant-based ways to eat include; kale (so much calcium), broccoli (ditto calcium), tomatoes (loads of B vitamins), bananas (literally heaps of health benefits) berries, oats, turmeric, garlic, lentils (iron)… it’s pretty hard to go wrong with a plateful of plants.

The compassionate truth: Regardless of the numerous health benefits of turning to a vegan diet, the number one reason I choose to eat this way is all to do with compassion. For all those defenceless and innocent souls who are brutally tortured and horrifically killed just to feed the demands of an industry considered normal. It is not normal to barbarically kill a living being so that it can be packaged up and consumed or possibly even discarded uneaten (oh the utter pointless suffering and waste). It is happening every day. Have you ever wondered why no-one sees or hears slaughter houses? If they were nice, cosy, humane places, they’d be visible to all as a ‘look how nice we are’ perk for the farming industry. They are not. They are images of absolute horror, so much that they are kept hidden, out of sight and out of earshot, lest we all turn our backs, and stomachs, in horror and disgust at the barbaric practice going on inside. And that’s the problem. Out of sight, out of mind. But it is never out of my mind and, consequently, never out of my heart. So, the vegan way is the only way for me, my husband, my baby.

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