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How It All Vegan

By: Caroline Miazgowicz

“I bet you can’t go vegetarian for a whole month!” Sibling rivalries live strong in our house with three competitive girls. People laugh when I tell them that’s how my path to veganism began, but it’s true, my sister bet me and I had to do it.

Naturally, I turned to the only vegan I knew, my best friend’s dad, Marcelo. “Don’t put that garbage in your body,” he used to tell us in his thick Argentine accent as we chomped on Nacho Doritos after school. Marcelo was excited by my new vegetarian lifestyle and encouraged me by listing the many health benefits. Sure enough, the more research I did, the more I found that living a vegetarian lifestyle was environmentally friendly, ethical and disease preventative. Thus, three global social issues could be connected to vegetarianism: global warming, human morality and health. Simply removing meat from my diet had such dynamic potential for healing. Since December of 2005, I can proudly say that I have been personally making food my resolution for issues I am passionate about.

If you saw An Inconvenient Truth or the less dramatic Wall-E, you probably left the film feeling environmentally determined to improve your carbon footprint. Eliminating, or even reducing, meat consumption is by far the easiest ways to help heal our ailing planet. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock farming creates 18% of the world’s greenhouse emissions, while a combination of all cars, boats, trains and planes is 13%. The planet we live on that has supplied us with resources is suffering. How can we, after centuries of taking, not give back? Food choices we make every day can heal the planet so that we may flourish in a more give-and-take relationship.

In Japan, the obesity rate is about three percent. In the United States, it is about 30. Obesity increases heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure problems and respiratory struggle. This astonishing fact is evidence enough that the food we consume is literally making us sick. Instead of injecting ourselves with engineered medicines, let’s fill our bodies with natural cures. Vitamins C from oranges, iron from spinach and antioxidants from berries. The food we eat is natural medicine, no added chemicals necessary.

Remember when you didn’t finish your supper and your mom would say “There are starving kids in Africa! Finish your food!” to make you feel guilty? Well, she was right about the starving kids, but there is a more plausible solution. For all the grain we produce to feed cattle, we could feed millions of people around the world facing hunger. Converting the consumption of these grains from cattle to humans would therefore lessen global suffering. Similar to improving health and global warming, everyone can personally contribute to the mending of an international issue just by changing what they eat.

The most common statement I hear when I tell people I am a vegan is “But meat tastes so good.” Hearing this makes me concerned that despite the arguments I propose, people will continue to choose taste over moral reasoning. Diet does not just mean cutting calories. Diet can mean the healing force for personal health, world hunger and the environment. Let food choices you make reflect the issues you care about. Let food represent the future you wish to see for yourself and others. Let food by thy medicine.

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