30 Vegan Days
In the past couple of years we have had different challenges going around the internet, some of them were funny, some interesting and others just simply silly. It doesn’t matter if you took part on any of them, the most important thing is that some of those challenges brought your attention to an issue you might have never heard of, or care, otherwise.
We bet that you are aware of the many crazy, heart-breaking things happening in and to our world right now, such as (just to name a few): poverty, drinking water scarcity, hunger, climate change, extreme levels of pollution, recurring appearance of new untreatable diseases, etc.
What can you do about them you ask? What if I told you that if you stopped eating meat, even if just occasionally, it would be a huge contribution to solving ALL of the issues above and probably many other more?
Sounds crazy, right? How can changing someone’s diet could have such an impact? Well, everything is interconnected and by supporting the animal agriculture industry, which is one of the biggest polluters (along with the oil industry) we are killing our planet and endangering our own existence. Not to leave aside that in the process we are also encouraging practices that are causing suffering to millions of animals per year. There are hundreds of documentaries and books showing the damage that this industry is causing to our planet. So please do your own research if you do not believe me. The two links above would be a good starting point. In the meantime please ask yourself the following questions:
- Would eating meat that has been treated with growth hormones (to speed up the animals development), stuffed with antibiotics (to prevent or cure the animals diseases due to their awful “living” conditions) be good for my health? Would drinking milk from animals under the same conditions is ok for me or my family? Do you know that “about 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to livestock”*?
- Do you know what a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is?
- What about the waste produced by the millions of slaughterhouses around the world? What effects does it have on land, water and air quality? According to Rajendra Pachauri, former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “1 kg of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 km,and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 20 days”.
- Considering the high levels of pollution in the sea, is it safe to eat fish? Would you eat fish that was catched using potassium cyanide? Do you know what are the current fishing practices? Ever heard of bottom-trawling?
- Do you know how much grain it takes to produce a kilogram of meat? Or how much water?
We could ask you many more questions about the impact an omnivorous diet has on the planet, and many other about the impact it has on your personal health as well. It is no wonder that an unbalanced diet is one of the leading causes of obesity, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and many other illnesses. Nevertheless, vegans and vegetarians are less prone to develop these diseases as plant-based diets are generally much more balanced: “Vegans are leaner; they eat more fiber, more non-starchy vegetables, more fruits, and more legumes; and they consume greater amounts of folate and antioxidant vitamins from foods. Vegans don’t eat meat or animal fat; they avoid dairy products and eat less total fat.”*
Since Sum Mundus was created we have shared with you plenty of recipes, most of them either vegan or vegetarian, because we believe that through food we could generate consciousness. It seems we are right as a lot of people have told us that since they started paying more attention to what and how they ate, they also became more aware on how other personal habits, choices and/or actions impacted their and other people’s lives.
The #VeganChallenge: #30VeganDays
While our diet is mostly plant-based we occasionally ate meat and, specially since we moved to France, we ate cheese everyday. Honestly I have always been a glutton for cheese so when this challenge came to our minds, the biggest question mark was cheese, but why not?
The challenge is quite simple: we are committing ourselves to a full vegan diet for 30 days straight, ergo the #30VeganDays. We have already started about 4 days ago but we would like to start counting them as soon as this post is published in order to get some public support and hopefully to get some of you to join us. We will be posting – ideally every day – what our thoughts are, what we are eating and how we are handling it in real life in a cheese-centered culture such as the French one 😀
We have read some books on the topic which have strengthened our commitment and we have even ordered some supplements to compensate a potential nutrient deficiency. Be aware that while a vegan diet can provide all nutrients your body needs, you need to pay special attention to getting enough vitamin B12 (at least 250 mcg daily for adults up to 65) and vitamin D (at least 15 mcg per day for individuals from 1 to 70 years) so consider getting a supplement that can provide you enough of those two vitamins. Taking lab test to see where you’re standing nutrient wise before, during and after the challenge is also a good idea.
Why 30 days? It’s been said that it takes at least 21 days to develop a new habit so the original idea was to make it for 21 days but we wanted to go an extra mile, plus the number 30 is catchier 😉
Compassion At The Core
The whole idea of veganism is based on extending our compassion to all living beings and we definitely love that. Let us share the definition we found in the book Becoming Vegan from Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina which is considered a must for anybody interested in veganism (portions of this article marked with * also come from that book):
Vegans avoid consumer products derived from animals, including foods of animal origin; clothing produced from fur, leather, wool, or silk; and animal-derived ingredients in personal-care and cleaning products. Instead, animal-free alternatives are promoted. Vegans also avoid activities that involve the mistreatment of animals, including animal research and animal-based entertainment. A vegan diet excludes meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, gelatin, and other foods of animal origin (except human breast milk). Vegan diets include all foods of plant origin, including vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds.Vegans avoid consumer products derived from animals, including foods of animal origin; clothing produced from fur, leather, wool, or silk; and animal-derived ingredients in personal-care and cleaning products. Instead, animal-free alternatives are promoted. Vegans also avoid activities that involve the mistreatment of animals, including animal research and animal-based entertainment. A vegan diet excludes meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, gelatin, and other foods of animal origin (except human breast milk). Vegan diets include all foods of plant origin, including vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds.
We have reached a point were veganism is not only a way to becoming healthier, or an approach to proactively protect and care about animals but also an opportunity to reverse the destructive path we have put our planet into and consequently to ensure our very own existence and that of our planet.
It is entirely up to you to take only a vegan diet or adopt the full vegan lifestyle during this challenge. Ideally it would be better to choose the latter but whatever you decide you can be completely sure that you will be doing something incredibly good to yourself and to our Mother Earth.
It’s easier than you can imagine, especially if other people join you along the way so share this challenge with all your loved ones. Remember to use the hashtags #VeganChallenge and #30VeganDays with your posts and pictures around the web. Let’s inform others and inspire them. It is time to act, to do something good, to extend our compassion to all beings, to share, to heal, to love.
Quoting Emma Watson: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”