Have a Heart and Go Vegan

January 30, 2011
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I am a vegan. It’s not difficult, and it’s not unhealthy. To tell the truth, for me, it’s the only way to go.

I’d say the only hard part of being a vegan is explaining it to others. People just don’t understand! They can’t pronounce it, they try to get me to eat things that aren’t vegan, and they can’t realize why I became a vegan in the first place. And that’s why I’m here to help you understand what veganism is all about!

Veganism (say, “Vee-gun-ism”) is a lifestyle practice of consuming and using no animal products. That means no animal flesh, dairy products, eggs honey, bone char (found in some brands of refined sugar) and a few other “foods” that are less common. But veganism is more than a diet. We will not use animal skins (including leather), wool, fur, and animal bone.
Oh, are you wondering what vegans can eat? It’s pretty obvious to me—grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes (a.k.a. beans, chickpeas, and lentils), nuts, and soy products. And there are vegan versions to everything—vegan “mock meats”, soy milk, soy cheese, soy yoghurt, even soy ice cream! I don’t get sick of soy, because I don’t eat that much of it. I don’t have to.

So, why am I a vegan? Well, I have to break my answer into parts: first, why I am a vegetarian, and second, why I have taken it a step further to become a vegan.
I don’t eat animals because it just isn’t right. I love animals. They are my allies and companions. And they are just as important as humans. They can think and feel, just like we can; only their languages are difficult for humans to understand.
(Think about it this way: when the Europeans came over to the Americas, many of them thought that the Aboriginals were uncivilized and a little barbaric. Of course, now we know that they weren’t. But since they couldn’t understand the Native people’s culture, they just labelled it “savage”. Humans have done the exact same thing to animals.)
It really bothers me how non-vegans say that they love animals, because they certainly have an odd way of showing their affection. I have stopped using all animal products because animals are raised in inhumane conditions for their milk, eggs, honey, and wool. For example, queen bees are killed after they turn two years old by the farmers, because older queen bees are more likely to leave the hive and take half the colony with them to resettle. Other animals are abused in their own situations, but we don’t always realize it, because it happens behind the scenes. Vegans believe that animals do not deserve to be the prisoners or slaves of humans.
I have decided that the only way for me to go is to be consistent. Along with the diet, I do not use leather. It’s just like wearing and playing with animal skin! Animal rights activists put it this way: “Wear your own skin.” I avoid wool as well. This is because I don’t want to encourage wool to be used and bought.
There are many other benefits of going vegan besides the consideration for animals, such as environmental and health concerns. I recommend that you look further into these issues if you are more interested in them. I care about the environment and my health, too—I just decided to talk about animals in this article.
Basically, veganism is all about choices. I think that every vegan has slightly different standards, but the idea is the same for all of us. We will not eat any animal products, and we will not use them either. If you are considering going vegan, don’t get too anxious about things like whether to wear wool socks. The answers will come to you over time.
If you are a vegan and you happen to meet another teen vegan, you will most likely become very close friends. There will be so many new ways in which you can relate to your new friends. All of you will be compassionate, interesting people.
Being a vegan is fun! So embrace this new lifestyle with all the vigour and happiness that’s hiding under the surface, just waiting to be called upon.

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This article has 14 comments. Post your own now!

MaybeImCrazyButIThinkILovedYou This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm
Very well written!
ConstanceContraire said...
Jun. 16, 2014 at 5:50 pm
Find out a while ago that soy is actually really bad! Just google 'dangers of soy' and you'll get all the info. 
ProSoyVegan replied...
Jul. 27, 2015 at 12:15 pm
You might want to see the British Dietetic Association's take in their food facts page entitled "Soya and Health". Quote: "Research on soya foods is ongoing, but it is clear that soya is nutritious, safe and healthy. Potential health benefits include lowering cholesterol and reducing the severity of hot flushes. Evidence shows that soya foods can be consumed by all members of the population including men and women with breast cancer. Soya foods can also help us to achieve an increasingly plant-... (more »)
ConstanceContraire said...
May 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm
The only problem I have with this article is that humans are higher than an animal. You dont compare a human with an animal, not to say that I dont like animals. I love them
DiamondStar replied...
May 4, 2012 at 6:11 am

It's good that you love animals. But why would you consider humans to be "higher" than animals? Dolphins' brains are extremely complex, and chickens are considered as intelligent as primates (and humans are primates, too!). And all animals are capable of suffering, wishing for happiness and prosperity instead (humans are like this, too). The Dalai Lama said, "Real compassion extends to each and every sentient being".

Even if you were to believe that humans are more impor... (more »)

ConstanceContraire replied...
May 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm
I actually like the idea of going vegan but i dont think that an animal should be compared to a human, and i dont believe in evolution. your right we shouldnt put animals in any unnessary pain. in your article you talked about leather and how why dont we try to use your own skin for it. Well that sounds a bit extreme. Its a little hard for me to explain it in a comment but if i could email you that would be great but i dont think that would be possible. there are more things i would like to add ... (more »)
DiamondStar replied...
May 6, 2012 at 7:13 am

That's a really good idea. I should probably go out to a farm that grows GMO crops to get more info. I'll be interviewing some organic farmers sometime soon, though, so I'll ask them about GMO crops there. Then there's always the Internet and library, too...

Look for my article within the next month or two; thanks for the idea.

ConstanceContraire replied...
May 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm
Your welcome I will be submitting my own article sometime soon so keep a look out for it.
rcs21 replied...
May 19, 2016 at 4:46 pm
you're is what you were supposed to say
ConstanceContraire replied...
May 19, 2016 at 6:20 pm
@rcs21 Nah, man. I'm supposed to say 'Your' because I enjoy messing with people who cling to grammar like it's the secret of life.
puppy said...
Feb. 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm
I liked this article and meant to give it full stars but the silly system entered just on star!  Sorry...
DiamondStar replied...
Feb. 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm
No  problem. I'm just glad you liked it.
Dian =P said...
Feb. 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm
Wow. This is a great article and well wrriten! It's so cool you got published! I guess this really shows you can make a difference!
DiamondStar replied...
Feb. 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm
That's for sure :) Thanks!
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