The 30 days vegan facts challenge
In august 2017, we went to a conference about how our diet will either destroy or save our planet. The man doing the speech was Gerard Bisshop, he used to work for the Queensland Government on deforestation studies and now works for the World Preservation Foundation. Because of his job and studies, he is convinced that in a maximum of 10 years, all governments will have to promote a plant based diet so we can keep living happily on our planet. After he finished his talk, he introduced a time of sharing, letting us ask questions and talk about the subject. We all agreed on the fact that change will be coming from the base, from us. Veganism won’t be a minority but the norm.
This inspired me to do my first challenge: 30 days of vegan facts. For 30 days, during the whole month of September 2017, I shared on my Facebook page , in what I hope was a fun and educative way, the reasons why we should all make our first steps towards a plant based diet and a vegan lifestyle. I say first steps because everything that last is built by small steps. I’m not trying to convert you to anything, I myself had been flexitarian for a year before going vegan and before that, had no idea of what was really happening out there. Just remember that anything you will do, even the smallest thing, in order to minimise your impact on animal cruelty or damaging the planet, is awesome!
The point here is only to add some information that you probably didn’t have and could change your life and health. Feel free to ask questions or more details, I’m not here to make any judgment just here to spread the vegan love. On this page I have combined all the facts together. You can share this with someone you think might be interested, visit my Facebook page or instagram @alternativefrenchgirl for more information or use any of the information below in your next conversation with an omni friend to share the vegan love.
We are going to start with an easy one! What is veganism? The definition given by The Vegan Society is “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as possible and practicable- all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”. You will hear about plant based diet and vegan lifestyle. A plant based diet is a vegan diet, which mean avoiding all animal products such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey etc… Being vegan, on top of not eating anything from animals, means that you will also avoid anything in your everyday life that comes from animal or had been made/commercialised through animal exploitation, like leather, make up tested on animals, circus etc…
Vegan food is not just made of salads and fruits! On the contrary, vegan food is pretty amazing and delicious. And on top of that, it contains all the nutrients, protein, vitamins and minerals you need, and the best kind of them !
All the food is made by myself as are the pictures.
Vegans are not miserable, angry or unhappy people. On the contrary you wouldn’t believe how much better we feel knowing that we are not contributing to animal’s mass murder, have a much smaller carbon foot print than meat eater, and an overall better health. So why is this, one of the stereotype that stick to the vegan community? Imagine that you try to explain to your friend that 2+2=4 but he is adamant that the answer is 6. It’s frustrating right? Because you know for certain the answer is 4, it’s logical, it’s math. Well that’s exactly what vegans feel like 24/7. There is nothing more irritating than trying to fight for a better and more compassionate world and then be called an extremist or a hippy; or see some so-called “animal lovers” eating a cheese burger. This isn’t about being angry people but about being constantly ridiculed and mocked because we are doing the right thing and it bother those who don’t want to. Vegans are not angry, they just encounter disrespect and bullies way too much in their lives. But other than that, we’re like you, cool and happy peeps!
Veganism is the new black: google search of the word “vegan” had never been higher. Australia has topped Google’s worldwide searches for the word “vegan”. Even google is in for it and had tried to buy a meatless company, if that’s not proof that veganism is the new thing I don’t know what is!
According to a report from the UN, “a change in the world alimentation towards a plant based diet is vital to save the world from hunger, from fuel shortages and avoid the worst impact from climate change.” Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production – Priority Products and Materials – p82 – 2010
Veganism is more than just a new hipster trend or another hippy thing, it has become a worldwide topic. Barcelona, economical capital of Spain, is part of that shift since 24/03/16 when the mayor has declared Barcelona as 1st veggie friendly city.
It’s interesting to see that 12% of the UK population identify as vegetarian or vegan, and this percentage goes up to 20% when it comes to people between 16 and 24 year old. Even more, the number of vegetarian and vegan has increased of 360% in 10 years in the country!
In Germany, although their national dish is the wurst (sausage), the country is also the most vegan-friendly in the world. Berlin, is the capital of veganism in Europe. You can even find there vegan supermarket or vegan shoe shops.
In New Zealand, a court decision had been made last month that is probably going to help change things in the animal welfare area. It extends to all animals similar rights as any other living creatures, stating that animals are sentient who can think, be happy or on the other hand, feel pain, sadness and distress.
The World Health Organization, the UN, and multiple health organisations, all advise a vegan diet for health and ecological reasons.
In 2010, the UN published a report encouraging the world to adopt a plant based diet for its environmental and health implications.
The world health organization has classified processed meat – “any meat which has been modified in order to either improve its taste or extend its shelf life”, includes bacon, ham, hotdogs, sausages, salami, pate, any aromatised meat, etc – as a group 1 carcinogenic product to humans, just right next to cigarettes and alcohol.
An anti veganism argument debunked : the only supplements vegan needs to take is for vitamin B12. BUT! Vitamin B12 comes from a bacteria in the soil, so probably dozens and dozens of years ago we were able to get this vitamin from animal flesh who were eating it when grazing outside. This doesn’t happen anymore. 90% of the world B12 supplements is fed to animal farming, which means, meat eater also get their vitamin B12 from supplements. Why? Well mostly because, animals farming don’t have a happy life outside in the nature anymore and also because pesticides used in our modern agriculture, kill B12 producing bacteria. So, the only difference between me and a meat eater is that I choose my own B12 supplement, which a high quality one, when meat eater only gets the very low quality one because farmers don’t have money to waste on this.
It is not an instinct for human to eat meat. If you had to run after your next meal, kill it with your own hand/teeth (we don’t even have what’s needed to kill an animal!), and eat it straight away, hot blood, flesh still warm and smelly, well, be honest, you’ll go and pick a couples of apples from the tree in the garden . Same than if you put a 2 year old in a room with a cute baby rabbit and an apple, I think we all agree that the kid is never gonna cuddle the apple and eat the bunny, is he??
You have a pet that you love? You wouldn’t eat that cute little head would you? So why would you eat a cow or a pig? Did you know that a pig is as clever as a dog or than a 3 year old child? So this is just a cultural thing, isn’t it? But if you wouldn’t do it to your best furry friend, how come you feel it is okay to make another species suffer for your own taste buds? What you feel when someone says “Did you know that in `enter a country`, they eat dogs!?”, is what we should all feel for any other animals. There is absolutely no difference between any of them. They are all our friends and none of them deserve to die for us. By the way, you wouldn’t go, look a lamb in the eyes and shoot him in the head, would you? So, how is it ok to pay someone else to do it for you? It’s not because you don’t have the gun in your hand that you are not responsible for this murder.
We DO NOT need animal’s protein. This is one of the myth created by very good marketing team in the meat industry. Did you know that when you eat meat, you only get 4% of the amount of protein it contains? You can find all the protein you need in a plant based diet, and guess what, they are even better sources than meat! Also, have you already heard of someone in the western world with protein deficiency? No! Because as long as you have enough calorie (good calorie not high processed food obv) in your day, you will definitely have enough protein. Look up these people, they are athletes, bodybuilders, runners, cage fighter and they all won some world championship, on a plant based diet! Pictures below are vegan bodybuilders and athletes who don’t have anything to envy from meat eaters.
The national cancer institute have realised one of the largest study so far linking the consumption of processed and unprocessed red meat with some types of cancer. The study was done on over 536 000 people for 16 years and it showed that people who ate the most red meat were 26% more likely to die of one of nine diseases* than those who consume the least (so imagine what is the percentage with those who do not eat any animal product!). *Those major diseases are : Cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, infections, Alzheimer’s, and diseases of the kidneys, heart, respiratory tract, and liver and are all linked to red meat consumption according to this study.
There are testimony of people reversing their diabetes type 2 thanks to a vegan diet all over internet, but if you don’t trust the people maybe you will trust an international health platform made to support people with diabetes of any type who encourage to adopt a vegan diet in order to reduce or reverse their diabetes.
As for today we are using 1.5 time what the earth can produce, mostly because of the way we use our land to feed our livestock (73% of the land is used for this). Which mean we are using more than what our planet can offer when we could use less AND protect our planet PLUS put an end to world hunger if we were all on a vegan diet.
84% of deforestation is for agricultural purposes. The reason for 80% of it, is livestock and feeding livestock. Our amazing rain forests (which is like THE element of our survival on this planet) have only 100 years left if we keep going this way. Adopting a vegan diet can stop this.
You wouldn’t drink milk from your cat, or from a horse, would you? So why is it ok to drink it from a cow? Yes, this is a society thing, you’ve been told your whole life to think that way. But think about this : when a cow gives birth, the calves weight around 35kg, he/she will then needs to put on around 30kg per month until he/she reach his/her adult size, mainly by drinking his/her mum’s breast milk. So alllllll the nutrients, but especially the fat, that there is in this milk is meant to support the calf growing this big this fast. And you want to give that to your baby and/or your body?? No other animals drinks milk after being weaned, only humans, and it’s not even its own! Cow’s milk for baby cow, human’s milk for humans. Don’t you think it makes more sense?
According to WWF, our lands only have 60 years left if we keep using them this way. By intensive farming, we are turning our rich soil into dirt that we can no longer use: we are losing 2millions hectare per year.
By 2030 we will need 40% more water to live and feed the world, agriculture uses 70% of our water. We will only have enough water in 2050 if we reduce by 75% our meat intake.
Being vegan does not cost more money, and if you are a bit organised it cost even less. Meat is one of the most expensive food product out there. This idea of plant based diet being too expensive is based on stereotypes created by meat eaters who thinks vegans eat processed soy version of every animal based food which are a bit more expensive because still quite new. Which is absolutely wrong. For example we rarely have processed food, and if we want mock meat we can do it ourselves, it’s easy, very cheap and ultra-healthy. So we mostly eat fruits, veggies, legumes, beans, rice, pasta, ancient grains and nuts. We are both foodie people and would never go for anything less than plain deliciousness.
Did you know that 80% of the antibiotics of the world are produced for animal farming? Why would they need all these if their meat is so good? And where does it go? In your body!
We can argue that man first didn’t eat meat but then only evolved because of eating meat etc…ok. We are not millions of years ago though, we are in 2017, we have the opportunity to make a choice, and we have the power and the possibility to say no. Maybe they did need to eat meat back then, maybe not, but the point is that TODAY we don’t need it. And if this is your argument to eat meat, then you should also delete your Facebook account, get rid of your laptop and your iPhone and go live in a cave. You cannot compare what is not comparable. The same way you can’t say “this is the circle of life”, you can’t compare humans to lions, they are carnivore we aren’t! They kill to survive, we pay people to torture and murder innocent animals only to please our taste buds for a few minutes per day.
The climate changes we are enduring since a few years is only going to get worse. We might not see the real devastation that eating meat does to our planet during our life time, probably will our grand kid’s grand kids. But we will suffer from climate changes and its ravage like hurricane, rising of temperature, rising of sea level, flooding etc…
So where exactly do climate changes comes from? Opposite to what we’ve been told, the main sources of greenhouse gazes is not transport, intensive farming is. It is responsible for 14.5% of it, which is more greenhouse gas emission than all transport put together. We always hear about CO2 emissions, but never about methane. For a reason, Co2 comes mainly from transport when most methane comes from animal farming. By cutting off all Co2 sources, climate will still raise up of 1.5 to 2degrees because of methane emission which the biggest source is ruminant (by breathing, not by farting). Put in other works, it’s nice to take the bus or ride your bike to work, but if you want to have a real impact on your planet’s well being, the solution is in your plate. The good thing here is that methane can totally disappear in 10 years. So if we were to stop eating red meat, we could slow down the global warming in just 25 years.
Did you know that a milk cow naturally can live up to 20 years but only lives up to 4 or 5 years in our farms because of exhaustion?
We artificially inseminate them (the farmer put his whole arm in there in the process…), then to keep the milk coming, on top of getting lots of hormones, they will endure pregnancy and milking in the same time, having 1 baby a year, without never really meeting them because they will be taken away and either slaughter on the same day or used for milk / meat purposes.
Cows are a lot cleverer than what we want to think and have a very high family sense. They will cry for days for their baby missing, it is, as you can imagine a horrible and traumatic experience.
Because this is way too intense for them, they will develop all sorts of disease, like infections that will cause pus on their teets, etc… and to try to prevent this, they will be fed tonnes of antibiotics.
There is of course, a limit of bacteria that milk can contain to be used and sold as milk. But if the level is higher, they still use the milk, only to make cheese.
So I thought it’s nearly the end of the challenge and if you are not asking yourself some questions by now, then real and proven facts of how bad animal products consumption is for your health and the well-being of other species, are not for you. Maybe vegan celebrities will have more impact ?! So here is, some of the most popular vegan in our western society.
Guess who else was vegans / vegetarians !? All those very clever people who for most, have changed our world for the best. Sounds like being vego makes you smarter, or is it the other way around ?!
Let’s talk about vegan LIFESTYLE. What does it mean? Well, on top of not using any animal products in our everyday life, like leather or wool, it is also reminding ourselves that animals are not here for our personal entertainment. Places and activities like zoos, marine life parks, treck on an elephant back, pony ride, and so on, are everything but ethical or natural.
Zoos are prisons for animals, and it’s quite easy to understand that something is wrong when you are able to see a giraffe and a polar bear at 100m distance from each other… You should know that many of them never have enough money to take care of the animals carefully, which can end up in lack of food and medical care for example. But they never forget to give them enough anti-depressant to keep them calm and despondent.
Animals like dolphins or orcas are highly intelligent and, in the ocean, lives in large and complex social groups like we do, they also travel very long distance each day. But all of that is taken from them as soon as they are captured (in the most horrible way) and put in tanks -what would be a bathtub for us- for the rest of their very short life, alone.
Circus is hell on earth for animals who are forced and tortured to act in a very unnatural way, only to entertain us. No matter what the circus will say about “their own friendly way of educating the animals”, an elephant or a tiger will never accept to obey a human unless it has been beaten for it.
Fortunately, they are lots of other natural and ethical way to show your kids (or yourself!) what wildlife looks like, ways that are much closer from the reality than those harmful venues.
Unlike what you might think, honey is not vegan.
Big news, honey bees don’t make their honey especially for us to consume! I know, crazy right?! Harvesting honey is very dangerous for the bee’s health and survival and here is why.
Honey bees visit millions of flowers to create honey (they collect the nectar in their 1st stomach, break it down in the 2nd and then regurgitate it once in the hive where house bees will chew the substance to make honey, delicious right?). This honey is the only source of food the bees will have during poorer weather and winter time. When harvesting honey, we take everything from them and replace it with a very poor quality sugar that doesn’t contain any of and vitamins contained in honey that bees need to survive.
The harvesting and “caring” methods can also be deadly for the bees, from dying after stinging the farmer, being gazed because too expensive to maintain during winter seasons or just to avoid the bees to protect their home and sting the farmer when harvesting, cutting wings so they don’t leave for another hive etc…
Fortunately, unlike bees, we can thrive without honey and we have lots of replacement for it that don’t imply cruelty or exploitation of any animals: date syrup, maple syrup, rice syrup, butterscotch syrup, golden syrup, agave nectar…
Something else that you might not know: eggs aren’t vegan. In fact, the egg industry is known to be one of the the worst, ethically speaking. And we are going to discuss the reasons why. They are 3 different kind of eggs and at least as many reasons on why not to eat them.
First, the regular eggs you will find in any supermarkets. Through them, we will see all the basics reasons why vegans don’t eat eggs. As you can probably imagine, it is not just about eggs, as they are not future babies because not been fertilised. It is also about how the hens are treated during their very short life, here again they live a much shorter life than if they were wild. In their natural habitat, a hen will only lay eggs to get a full nest and then will start nesting.
In the egg industry, we have genetically modify hens to be more productive, and we also interrupts this natural process by removing the eggs everyday so that the hens keep laying more eggs. Something that very few people know is that laying an egg is an immense effort and loss of nutrients for the hens. In many cases, hens suffer from tremendous loss in calcium (creation of the shell) which leads to diseases and painful deaths. If they do not die this way, then they will be slaughtered as soon as the farmer consider the hens production is not good enough anymore.
They live in tiny wire battery cages, which lead to feet malformation and have their beaks cut off with a burning hot blade (without pain killers obviously) within hours of birth, to avoid them killing each other as they live so close to one another. This procedure will let the animal in pain for weeks, which will lead to dehydration and hunger as the hen can’t feed herself.
Regarding the males, they will be killed in the hours following their birth by having their spine snapped or sent into a huge blender (sometimes still alive) or electrocuted.
Second, the “free range” eggs. I’m very sorry to have to let you know that “free range” is just a very good marketing smoke screen to get you to buy the same eggs but for more money. The only difference with the cage eggs is that the hens in a free range farm (which very often is the same farm than the cage eggs one) will see the outside for a few hours per day. That’s it. All the rest is exactly the same.
And finally, the backyard chickens. I think this one is a personal choice, and probably will be based on health reasons. As we all already know, eggs are very bad for you and are causing the artery walls to thicken which is an indicator of heart disease risk.
Besides that, there are still some ethical reasons on why we shouldn’t eat eggs, even from your backyard chickens. First off, there is the question about where are your chicks from. Because if it comes from a breeder, a farm or anyone connected to the egg industry, you are still supporting this cruel environment.
Then there is the question about are you really providing your chickens with the right conditions: place, shelter, food, vet care, love and attention, as for any other pet you would have.
And then there is the fact that the hen should eat her eggs herself to restore the loss of calcium and nutrients. You will find a lot of websites telling you how to prevent this from happening so you can steal the eggs from her, but the ethical way is to let her do it so she can get her energy and nutrients back.
In this case also, there are lots of different way to replace eggs depending on what you are doing. I, for example, make a killer tofu scramble “eggs”, you wouldn’t even know it’s tofu! If you are using eggs in a recipe, have a look in the pictures below to find different way to replace them.
Look better, feel better. I guess anything is never just about the others.
And here also, being vegan is (in my opinion) mainly about the animals and the environment, but also about my health & state of mind, and then about my appearance. But everyone is different and has its own ranking!
I remember once I asked my doctor why did I have spots and she said “you eat too much yoghurt and cheese”. I didn’t really understand what she meant by that, we are both French, how can a French eat too much cheese, right??! And because I didn’t really like her ^^ I didn’t ask more. Now I know! Dairy is known to be one of the worst offenders for acne-prone skin. And I can testify that stopping dairy had done wonders on my skin.
Also eating more fruit and vegg, give your body more water and fiber, which helps detoxify the body, which mean a better digestion but also better mood. Indeed, the high level of antioxidants in plant-based foods help with anxiety, depression and fatigue.
There are as many reasons of being vegans as they are vegans. It doesn’t matter why you are doing it, it could be for the animals, the environment, to save developing country from hunger, your health, because you have bad digestion, because you want to get healthy or just because. It also doesn’t matter if you want to start by only having 1 meal without meat per week, as long as you are making one step in the right direction. You could join the #meatlessmonday, and not have meat on Mondays, you could start by buying soya/almond milk instead of cow milk, or you could just decide to never go to the circus again. It doesn’t matter. There is no police to say what is right or not, or to say what enough is or not.
What is important, is that you start asking question, about what you eat, about how animals are treated, about what kind of person you want to be. Every time you choose animal product over plant based food, just remember that this was a living being, a soul, a sentient that never wanted to die, especially not for your own personal happiness.
Don’t take my words for it, my only goal is to inform and spread the message, but the best way for you to understand and accept that this situation is “not just in America”, is to inform and educate yourself. Read books (“The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell PhD and Thomas M. Campbell), watch documentaries (on Netflix or YouTube : Blackfish, What the Health, Fork over knives, Earthlings, Cowspiracy,…), watch small videos on YouTube about vegan facts or how it is really like in animal farms, do some research on google…
The information is out there! It is just waiting for you to find it. Governments and meat/dairy/eggs industries are not going to make it easy for you because it doesn’t make them any money, on the contrary, it make them loose money. But information, studies, scientists, doctors, there are all there to testify for it, you just need to open your eyes and open your mind.
Veganism is not a religion, a sect, or any other weird things attributed to the community. For me veganism is really simple, it’s leaving in peace and harmony with any other sentient on this beautiful planet of ours, without exploiting any of them. It’s learning respect, love and compassion for others than myself.
We’ve spent so much time trying to create things make technology better, that we forgot the most important: us and the planet. What we really need to survive is already on this planet. We don’t need medication, antibiotics or else, because food is the first medicine, we can prevent disease and heal our body with the right diet.
So, one last fact before we close this challenge, a fact that I have also discovered myself just yesterday (yes, I’m still learning too) : “research done by Drs. Dean Ornish and Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn […] found that a vegan diet caused more than 500 genes to change in only three months, turning on genes that prevent disease and turning off genes that cause breast cancer, heart disease, prostate cancer, and other illnesses. This is empowering news, given that most people think they are a victim of their genes, helpless to stave off some of the most dreaded diseases. We aren’t helpless at all; in fact, the power is largely in our hands. It’s on our forks, actually.” Huffpost.
Have a wonderful journey through what I hope will be the next chapter of your life.