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Nina Nelson

Nina Nelson

Posted January 8, 2010

Published in Lifestyle

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Why I'm Vegan

Read More: animal acres, teen vegan, veganism

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I have been vegan for my entire life (16 years) and I love it! Many people do not know what a vegan is, however. A vegan is someone who does not eat any meat or animal products. Animal products include dairy and eggs. Vegans also try to avoid animal products in every area of life, such as clothing.

I believe that the slaughtering of animals for meat that we do not need is inhumane and outrageous. I feel that animals should not have to suffer and have such terrible lives to feed humans who do not need to eat hamburgers or hotdogs. The animals that people eat not only had to give up his or her life to feed you, but he or she also had to live an unbearable and painful life beforehand. Does this really seem fair?

I believe that people should not eat anything that could be a mother or a father. If you were a baby piglet, would you want your mommy to be eaten by a person who does not need it to survive? The answer to me is no.

Why should animals have to live in such misery when they are already being sacrificed for you? This is one of the few reasons why I do not eat any animal products. There are plenty of other foods that a person can eat that will make them healthier and live a longer life, including grains, beans and nuts for protein, vegetables, and fruits. If everyone eats healthier, then humans and animals will live happier and healthier lives, making us all win.

Even though I was born and raised a vegan, I still was able to make the choice of staying a vegan when I was mature enough.

When I was twelve years old I had an unforgettable experience at an animal sanctuary by the name of "Animal Acres." I got to see all of the animals that they rescued from slaughterhouses. When I walked into the sanctuary, the turkeys followed me and greeted me with cute cat like purrs, and I didn't even know that turkeys could make those noises! These turkeys were so sweet and affectionate, just like my own pets. The turkeys allowed you to pet them, and they would walk by your side. After seeing how cute a turkey really was, it made it more difficult for me to understand how anyone could eat these loving creatures.

I walked into the barn to see the baby piglets, and I smelled hay and poop. Even though the poop smell was not particularly pleasant, I still loved feeding milk to the piglets. I noticed that the baby pigs did not have cute curly tails. The lady who helped me feed the pigs explained to me that their tails had been cut off when they were born. She told me that the reason people cut their tails off was so that when they would be stuffed into tiny cages with a bunch of other pigs, the other pigs will not try to bite off their tails! I thought this was horrible. If farmers do not want pigs biting each other's tail off, then they should not cram pigs into small cages! This explanation made me confused because I wondered why someone would still want to eat a pig knowing about this sickening information.

I have been educated about the benefits of being a vegan since I was very young, so I believe there is karma that goes with eating meat. By eating meat, your heart gets the karma in two ways. Your heart gets the greasy and unhealthy meat with antibiotics in it, and it also gets the grief that the animal had to live for you to eat it. The great Paul McCartney has said, "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian." I live by this statement and many other Paul fans do as well. This statement is entirely true, and I reckon that many people should think about what they are eating before they eat.

I plan to remain a vegan because it has kept me healthy for my whole life. I am happy that I have found an easy and peaceful way to avoid the many diseases that plague Americans, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. I also feel good about the fact I am not contributing to suffering in this world.

 

Nina Nelson is the 16-year-old daughter of VegSource.com owners Jeff & Sabrina Nelson.


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Why I'm a vegan. Of course, the animals, first and foremost. The more you know about these animal concentration camps the more you want no part of it.

When I was eating meat, I suspected things weren't groovy in slaughter houses, but, probably like most people, I just didn't think about it much.

Then I saw "Food, Inc." and saw that there were trouble in paradise. The chicken farms hit me the hardest. I ate chicken. But I was sickened by what I saw.

Shortly (like about five minutes) after I saw "Food, Inc." I gave up chicken. It was no sacrifice.

Then my cousin turned me on to "The China Study." She had been standing in a book store and this woman came up to her and said, "Read this book, it'll save your life." And my cousin, bless her heart, said, "Why thank you! I will."

I've never liked eggs and my husband and I hadn't eaten much dairy, but after reading that book, it was NO DAIRY.

I decided to take T. Colin Campbell's online course and I have to say I wasn't happy to learn that oils, even plant oils aren't conducive to good health.

Damn! All the rest of that stuff -- meat, butter, milk, ice cream, cheese, eggs. No problem! But I have this Annie's Woodstock salad dressing that I love. Coconut Bliss ice cream. Olive oil to saute everything. And, in the spirit of saving the best for last, almond butter!

It was hard giving up those things and I struggle.

But there are payoffs to walking the straight and narrow. My husband who has Type I diabetes got his blood test results last week and the doctor was amazed. Total cholesterol 151 and A1C (a diabetes number) was 5.8. "This is fantastic!" the doctor emailed. "It would be great even if you didn't have diabetes. Keep doing what you're doing."

Now, my struggle is to try and not annoy my friends and family so much by talking about eating plants. Certain people in my life don't what to hear about this even though they're suffering from various illnesses and they could probably be helped by changing their diets. I have to respect their wishes but it's very very hard.

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I'm glad you're enjoying the vegan diet! It does amazing things!

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Yes friends and family are a struggle. You see them on meds for life - with nasty side effects, as their weight goes up and the problems increase.

It's hard because these problems are right in their face, limiting what they can do - but they're not so much as willing to try a whole food vegetarian diet for a few weeks to see how it affects their blood sugar, cholesterol or weight.

Perhaps I'm being cynical right now; but I can't think of anyone that I've moved towards even a vegetarian diet.

Yes my own cholesterol was cracking 180 and after going pretty well vegan I'm down around 135.

For us it was Diet For a Small Planet that made us go veg - and further reading like The China Study that made me vegan. Well, it was the struggle to give up 2 tubs of icecream per week. I hate eggs and cheese - only the icecream held me back. The rest of the family has cheese addictions.

What's hard is that my Indian friends who are vegetarian because of their religon have a community, if you will, that re-enforces that belief. But for us we're kind of oddballs, and the kids are 6 but are not capable of thinking thru any diet decisions yet. So they see their friends eat hot dogs / burgers / fish and on and on and they wonder why they can't. They've seen chicken cages and have been told what's happening to the fish in the sea and the pollution ... but their friends are eating X and they just forget that.

I don't believe that it's good to be dogmatic. People who wind themselves up the tightest (religon, diet, whatever) end up flying in the opposite direction when things go wrong in their life.

For the most part I try to push a whole food, minimally processed diet. We're all going to die and if the first step that I can get someone to take is to eat local, free range meat - then so be it. I know obese vegetarians - they know their weaknesses and a more whole food diet would do them a world of good.

The protein paranoia really is strong among parents of young kids. I can think of friends who make sure that their kid gets 2 cups of milk per lunch (already 2/3 of the recommended protein intake) in addition to more milk at supper, egg for breakfast, meat and cheese for lunch and, of course, some "protein" for supper. They're thinking of having a vegetarian supper once a week and so set the bar impossibly high - they don't know how the can turn beans into a meal. All of my talk about how it's virtually impossible to be protein deficient fell upon deaf ears - they're still worried about it even if it's just one veg meal in a week!

You can lead a horse to water; but you can't make it drink. I've long since stopped recommending books .... If they show enough interest - like asking me for some recommendations then I'll give them.

Another friend has a daughter that had the misfortune of being in an osteoporosis study where she took fluoride in an attempt to build strong bones. But they were more brittle than ever. In that family the drums, for dairy/calcium intake, beat loud and clear and dissenting advice, or printing a truck load of Dr. McDougalls newsletters, just falls on deaf ears.

But then perhaps it'll be as it was with me. I read Diet For a Small Plant many years ago and it changed my diet; but I forgot about the book. Then I got married and it was discovered by my wife and the next day we were vegetarian.

Change does happen and it can happen fast - but at the free choice of the individual.

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Eric,
Thank you for your post. It's the message I need to hear over and over: Live and Let Live. It IS difficult having this information and watching the uninformed do what they do. I just remind myself that I feel very good eating this way for so many reasons. And that is a gift. That is enough.

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I admire anyone who becomes a vegetarian. I am starting to learn about it and want to be one also.
Years ago, I read John Robbins, Diet For A New America and it upset me badly. No one in my family cared enough to stop eating meat so I also continued. Shame on me. I am ready to learn all about it now and to actually do it.
Thanks for all the inspiration. And the reason will be because of the life of the poor animals.

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I recommend you read a book called Skinny Bitch. It's written by a Vegan woman named Rory Freedman, and it is the best book ever! It talks about healthy foods you can buy and delicious vegan meals you can make or buy from a health foods store. Obviously, I'm already a vegan, but I still learned new things from reading this book. If you are serious about becoming a vegan or vegetarian I highly think that you should give this book a read. Not only does it talk about the vegan diet, it also talks about other types of foods. GOOD LUCK!

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Thanks so much Nina for your inspiration and advice.
I love all animals and want to help honor them by not eating them. That is the least I can do right now. I ordered the book and am looking forward to reading and learning about it. I added your link to my blog so maybe others will explore new possibilities.

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