You have probably heard the phrase ‘You are what you eat’ used in conversations about food choice, health, wellness, and even our values. For many, what we eat correlates to who we are, how we want to live, and the type of world we want to live in.
When we launched our new plant-based company, Arlene, we reached out to people online, many of them influencers. Sure, we wanted them to try our food and give us feedback. We also wanted to learn from them. We wanted to know what motivated them to go vegan and hear their thoughts on the importance of food and its connection to our bodies and the planet.
Pooja is a mom and lifestyle blogger at @thepoojasblog. For her, animal welfare is a major concern. She sees animals, especially mammals, as sentient beings with feelings and perceptions. She knows there are many other food sources available including plant-based foods. There is no need to harm other beings to enjoy delicious and nutritional food.
“Being vegan allows me to enjoy tasty meals without feeling guilty,” she says. “As a result, I do not have to go through the hassle of detoxification or cleanse diets, which is always necessary when you consume a lot of meat.”
For Hannah McNeil, a former researcher at Southampton University, shifting to veganism was easy as her parents were already vegetarians.
“It was easy for me to give up meat at home, but I was never pressured into it. As time has passed by, I really don’t miss meat, and I am fairly certain my taste buds have changed to genuinely appreciate vegetables.”
Like Pooja, Hannah’s decision to avoid meat was reinforced as she learned more about the environmental, animal welfare, and public health side of food production. For example, some animal husbandry and meat production practices can introduce emerging diseases and antimicrobial resistance - both of which are risks to people.
“Ultimately, I know I don’t have enough desire for meat to be able to look into an animal’s eyes, betray any trust it has, and slaughter it. I also don’t feel I can ask or pay someone to do it for me.”
Lizelle van Graan explains that health concernprompted her to change her own eating habits and that of her family. To inspire more people to eat healthily without harming animals, Lizelle created @vegankidsdubai.
“I wanted to show people that vegan children are raised with a greater understanding and appreciation for the food they are eating, and they are also exposed to a much wider variety of foods.”
“As time went on, our motivation shifted to animal welfare after we became vegans in 2017,” she said. Shifting to a vegan diet was not easy for Lizelle and her family. “When you first remove animal products from your home, it can be challenging, especially when you are hosting or attending parties. We make sure we always have plant-based snacks with us so our children can have a choice of what they want to eat,” she shares.
In order to get children to try going vegan, she advises: “Talk to your children about food and the effects certain foods can have on their health and the environment. That way, choices will be easier.”
What are your stories? What made you go plant-based, vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian? We would love to hear from you and help inspire others with your story. Share your comments on our FB and IG pages and, who knows, you might be in our next blog post!
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