I’ve been thinking about veganism lately.  It’s because I go to a lot of vegan websites, I read a lot- some because I want to learn more about the physics of being vegan, and some just because I just want to be entertained.  I’ve recently noticed a trend, more and more bloggers are dedicating pages on their sites to respond to the question, “Why vegan?”

I read them all because I enjoy reading about what other folks have to say. I suppose it’s because I like to know that there are other folks out there who actually think like me. If you are a vegan, then I’m sure you know what I’m talking about when I say that I don’t personally know very many vegans. Oh, I know a few “live” vegan folks (that are totally rad, that are doing rad things- things like making sumptuous vegan lip balms and aroma-tastic soy-based candles), but I’d like to know a lot more. It’s so refreshing to be around folks of a like mind, you know?  So it’s interesting to see how other folks stepped onto the vegan path.

Being vegan is the single most important thing in my life. Now, hold on- don’t get me wrong. I love my family and my friends very much, they are an integral part of my life- and I don’t take that for granted at all. But my veganism embodies who I am at the core and provides me with ethics in which I believe in and adhere to.

There are a lot of reasons that folks list out for being vegan, a lot of them focuses on the health aspects or environmental aspects of veganism.  For myself, I believe that non-human animals have a basic right to life, period. I don’t analyze whether non-humans have the same abilities (IE: Can they reason?) as humans because, to me, it doesn’t matter. Their life agendas do not have to be given my seal of approval for them to matter.  Non-humans deserve an opportunity to live a free and natural life.  And quite honestly, nothing will ever make me change my mind on that.

I don’t care that being vegan can prevent heart disease.  The American Heart Association states that vegans have a “lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart attack), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer. ”  Even the American Dietetic Association (ADA) tells us that a vegan diet is “healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatments of certain diseases.”  But the health benefits (including the radiant skin, super silky hair, the fastest growing nails this side of the Mississippi, and an awesome immune system) that I’ve gotten from being vegan doesn’t dictate whether or not I’m vegan.  I am not a vegan because I want to be healthy.  Rather, I am healthy thanks to my vegan diet.

I’m not vegan because I care about our planet either, even though our environment needs us now more than ever.  I am not trying to be “green,” the whole “green” movement makes me grit my teeth.  Why do we need a movement to live mindfully?

In the end, I just don’t care about the benefits I get from being vegan at all.  I only care that I’m not contributing to an animals death.  That, by living a mindful and compassionate life, I can save other lives.  I can’t look into eyes of another being and tell them that they don’t matter as much because they are a cow and I happen to be human.  For me, it’s about respecting all life- not just the humans.  It’s just as simple as that.