Historically, vegetarianism has always been around and in the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths, humanity began with a vegan diet which included only plants and no animal products. In fact, Eve would have had vegan pregnancies as the first time meat is mentioned is when Able, her son, slaughtered an animal as a grown man. So is it any wonder that more and more people are choosing the ways of the ancients? According to this article in the New York Times:
"Three percent of American adults, 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian diet, and one million of them are vegans, who eat no animal products at all — no meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, even honey. (And 23 million say they rarely eat meat.)"
There are even more numbers out there that know they need to change their diet if only for their health. Some want to change their impact on the environment and others want to live more compassionately. Yet, old habits die hard and humans are generally creatures of habit. Kathy Freston acknowledges this. She says time and time again in interviews and articles that she was a girl who, "lived on chicken fried steak and cheese grits!" Of all the people in the United States...Southerners may have the hardest time changing their diets as they have some of the best tasting food in the country, if not the world. But...if she could do it, so can you. And I might add...if I could do it, so can you.
Her book is not laid out so much in chapters, but rather promises. These promises are backed up by science, true stories, theology, and many, many medical facts. Each promise takes a little bit to digest, but the theme through her whole book is that not everyone can make this change overnight. Some people need to 'lean in' instead of 'dive in.' I am a diver by nature, but we really took the path of 'leaning' in on our journey. One thing that she suggests is trying a Meatless Monday. That is one day a week where you have no meat. Perhaps after awhile you can try one day a week with no animal products and slowly increase your days with no animal products. I don't think there is a set routine for everyone to follow, if you really are interested, you will naturally find what works for you and your family.
If you are looking for facts about taking the animal products out of your diet, I strongly suggest reading Veganist. Every chapter has references to books, articles, websites and other knowledgeable people. This would also be the book to suggest to those who are skeptical of a plant based diet. My extended family thought for sure that I would kill my children by choosing to eat this way. I did not. They are healthy and thriving and we do not have the adolescent problems (acne, mood swings, ADHD or ADD) that many other people seem to have with teenagers. The largest problem we have with our children being vegan is the "uncool factor" as explained by a twelve year old here:
"I’m going to be blunt: being a vegan kid is going to severely decrease the number of people willing to be your friend. Even if you don’t advertise and promote the fact that you are vegan, this fact is going to make you less likely to get ‘cool’ (cool being used as a derogative term representing the unintelligent, petty, uncontentious, intolerant jerks generally regarded by the majority of the school population as ‘cool’) friends. This is a benefit, in my opinion. If you advertise and promote the fact that you’re vegan, the people who are willing to be friends with you are more likely to be uncool, and therefore nicer people who are more likely to be good friends. With your friends, as long as they know why you’re vegan and find it reasonable, you’re good to go – you don’t need to convert them to veganism then and there, just giving them a positive attitude towards veganism will make them more likely to be converted in the future. Also, if you have your friends over, introducing them to some of the things you eat is a plus."
In conclusion, I will say, just keep educating yourself. That is the key to being a conscience consumer. What is on your plate will affect far more than just your tastebuds, please keep that in mind. If you are interested in learning more about Veganist, please visit Kathy Freston's website here and be sure to watch some of her videos below. Enjoy!
Kathy Freston on the Martha Show
Kathy Freston on Issues With Jane
Kathy Freston on The Talk