Let me start off by saying:
this post is "Why I am vegan". It is in no way a "Reasons why you need to be vegan" post.
I do what works for me and keeps me happy and healthy.
I recommend you do what works for you.
The short list:
1. I don't like hurting or killing animals
2. less chemicals (with unwanted antibiotics &chemicals on meat &through organic eating)
3. it is better for the environment
4. zero guilt lifestyle (especially in terms of eating)
5. I feel emotionally and physically better
6. I'm healthy
7. I love it
The longer version:
I became vegan for one reason and I am still a vegan (and plan on staying vegan) for a variety of reasons. I chose to stop eating red meat at the age of 12. Simple: I knew I was eating a cow and it grossed me out. I stopped eating chicken two years after that. I loved the taste of chicken, but again, the idea of eating an animal grossed me out. The thought of something that was once living, breathing, feeling, having sex, pumping blood through its veins now being dead on my plate grossed me out. A little ridiculous sounding? Maybe. Maybe not. I proclaimed myself a vegetarian &that was that. I ate fine. I wasn't the healthiest eater, but I wasn't the worst either. My food choices were comparable to most people my age, but with meat substitutes instead of animal meat.
I'm not sure exactly when or why it happened, but about 4 to 5 years ago I started questioning my choices. If I wasn't eating meat because of cruelty to animals then why was I eating dairy coming from a cow who was suffering with metal clamps attached to her utters all day long? (This is relevant now, more than ever, after breastfeeding a newborn for 12 hours straight everyday). I knew the cows weren't living in a field with grass to graze &being milked by hand by a friendly and gentile farmer. I knew that cow was being strapped to a machine standing in its own waste with hard metal clamps attached to it, being pumped beyond its limits. I started questioning everything. I didn't care much for eggs, I only ate them mostly in baked goods or veggie burgers, I never cared much for milk and I only had it in cocoa, cereal, or cooked into baked goods, meals, whatever. One problem: I loved cheese. I was addicted to cheese. I ate it everyday in almost every meal. I tried multiple times to go without it and never lasted longer than a day. Eventually, after many efforts, I was finally able to make the switch after a two week detox. In this time I started researching.... A LOT. Every article I found led me to another and during my search I found many reasons to continue being vegan.
I was forced to start putting creativity into my meals. All my usual fall back meals were no longer an option. I started to attempt cooking vegetables I had never prepared before. This was exciting for me... and of course, anyone can do this.. it just took me becoming vegan to really put an effort into it.
I started really, REALLY looking at and researching food ingredients. I realized how many chemicals were in the everyday "foods" I was buying (even the vegetarian ones). I realized how many animal derivatives were in so many store products (food, body, everything). Casein, rennet, albumen, carmine, isinglass... the list goes on and on and on. While making my switch I had picked up a bottle of juice and found carmine listed in the ingredients... I had had enough. After that, I looked at EVERYTHING. If it had too many ingredients, ingredients I didn't understand, or ingredients derived from an animal I wouldn't eat it.
I once heard somewhere (it was most likely a Bittman quote from his TedTalks speech) that you can't consider yourself an environmentalist if you eat meat. This is undeniably true. I do everything I can to not waste, to recycle, and to keep this earth clean. It makes sense that I would continue to not eat animals to further decrease my footprint. Factory farming is one of the biggest pollutants on this Earth. If everyone stopped eating meat, or at least ate farm raised meat, our Earth would be a much healthier planet. Choosing to stay away from all animal bi-products of factory farming further supports our environment. With less demand there is less supply and a lesser need for pollution causing factories.
Not only do I feel better knowing that I am: 1. not hurting animals 2. keeping my body free of extra chemicals 3. helping the environment, but also, the biggest factor in me staying vegan is simple: I feel better. My mind, body, and soul feel better. I am the healthiest I've ever been &my body feels incredible with little effort. I have zero problems dealing with cholesterol or blood pressure, I no longer have allergies or stomach problems, I have a great body weight, healthy skin, &I rarely get sick. I had the healthiest pregnancy imaginable, and I am now nursing an extremely healthy &happy growing baby.
I am happy being vegan. I am pleased with my food choices. I feel content knowing: not only am I am not hurting anyone or anything, but also: I am actually doing some good for myself, my child, animals, &the environment.