I’ve always been an animal lover, growing up with many dogs and cats, and even a cockatoo. In 2004, I was delighted to finally be able to adopt my own cat and kitten (in the photo, all grown up). They had such unique personalities and expressed such a variety of emotions that I very quickly came to see them as family members. I also became friends with a vegetarian and began wondering why I felt comfortable eating some animals and loving others. I remembered hearing about mistreatment of farm animals years ago, but had dismissed it at the time. It seemed too far-fetched to be true, and being such a meat and potatoes girl, I probably didn’t want it to be true. But I started to wonder.
I turned to research for guidance. I read about factory farms, and how many of their outrageously abusive practices are industry standard and perfectly legal in the U.S. I then became vegan very abruptly after watching a documentary that made it all very real.
Since then, I’ve seen many, many unexpected benefits from my decision! My “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol have reached superhero-like levels, and I lost 30 pounds without trying. In transitioning to vegan cooking, I learned so much about nutrition and unfamiliar cuisines, ingredients, and cooking techniques. It also makes me feel good to know that I’m helping to save animals (after 10 years it’s been hundreds) and preserve the environment (growing plants is much more resource-efficient and better for the environment than livestock).
Now on to the most amazing benefit I’ve experienced from a vegan diet. For years I had symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)–I even worried that I wouldn’t be able to have children if I decided to. After becoming vegan, this gradually became a non-issue and has stayed that way. I’m a psychologist making a living through my research, so I know this doesn’t prove that going vegan was what changed things; it could have been something else. But it’s a heck of a coincidence, and according to the Mayo Clinic, dietary changes may be helpful for PCOS.
At this point, I’m vegan for both animal welfare and health reasons. Even if lab-grown meat becomes an option, I’m sticking with what works for my body. Cheers!