What Happened When I Went Vegan

On December 2, 2015, I weighed 232 pounds… about 53 pounds overweight.

My “bad cholesterol” levels were too high.

Lab tests indicated I was heading towards diabetes and heart disease.

When I looked in the mirror, and saw the bloated, fat person staring back at me, I felt despair and self-loathing.

I wanted to die, and in fact, due to eating animal-derived food, I was dying.

The weird thing is, I’ve been an athlete most of my life.

I exercised daily, and yet I’d gained weight.

I tried all kinds of diets and eating fads: Paleo. Vegetarian. Pescatarian. Low fat.

You name it, I’d tried it.

But I still consumed dairy products.

I loved pizza, ice cream, gelato, brownies.

If there was a special occasion or social occasion, I sometimes ate meat.

I ate like almost all Americans eat, and it hurt me.

My exercise wasn’t exciting and fun like it used to be.

I was lethargic. I never felt that coveted “runner’s high” I used to feel.

I was trying hard not to be fat, but I was fat.

I was desperate to lose weight and have more energy.

But going vegan wasn’t just about improving my health.

I also did it because my conscience is troubled by the way humans treat animals and the biosphere.

In the months prior to going vegan, I’d been riding my bike on scenic farm roads in rural Michigan.

I’d stop at corrals, farms, and horse ranches and look into the eyes of the horses, cows, pigs, goats, chickens, and other imprisoned animals.

I watched them interact with each other, tried to “be” with the animals as if we were all equals, not the usual human superiority attitude.

It was easy to see that non-human animals have their own lives, thoughts, feelings, and social networks, their own “personhood.”

I realized that if I consume animal-derived food products, I’m complicit in a brutal system that harms me, the environment, and tens of millions of innocent animals.

I realized that all my life I’d been taught that other animals have no rights.

That we can do whatever we want to them.

And that we shouldn’t much care about the cruel ways we make them suffer and die.

So on December 3, 2015, I went 100% vegan.

As I write this today, only a few months later, I weigh 181 pounds. I’m elated to have dropped 51 pounds in less than four months!

I’ve cut the amount of money I spend on food by 35%.

I’m lighter, more agile, more energetic.

I have almost zero body fat.

The XL and XXL size clothes that I purchased as a fattie are literally falling off of me.

People don’t recognize me.

Athletic activities that had been painful or impossible, such as running long distances outdoors, became pleasurable again.

It feels so nice to rediscover my musculoskeletal system.

I realized that the fat was like an anchor, a suit of excess, that had been weighing me down.

My skin cleared up.

My mental clarity, mood, and self-esteem also improved.

My relationship to food has completely changed for the better.

No longer did I crave certain types of food, or feel controlled by food.

But is it hard to be a vegan?

In some ways it is, and that’s the main reason created The Vegan Samurai website and the Vegan Samurai code of honor.

Because as I’ve researched veganism, animal rights, health, culture and other related topics, I’ve discovered that being vegan is like being a samurai… a warrior.

As a Vegan Samurai, you battle internal cravings that come from being raised in a society that programs you to view animals as mere fodder for your dietary pleasure.

You also deal with moral qualms and PTSD that you as a person of conscience feel from living in a society based on harming animals and the earth.

You may feel socially ostracized, or even morally indignant, when you notice everyone around you blindly participates in harming animals and the earth.

The good news is that being a vegan samurai gives you the strength, knowledge, and encouragement so you can become vegan and stay vegan.

Read all the articles here on my website.  You’ll find information and inspiration so you experience the health, joy, and other benefits of being vegan.

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Time for Vegetarians to Go All the Way

I was in a health food store this evening, buying vegan goodies–organic sauerkraut, barley, lentils, millet, aduzki beans, celery, carrots, cabbage, and lots of other delicious foods that help me stay healthy.

One of the sweetest things about being vegan is knowing nobody had to torture or kill an animal to produce the food I eat.

The person ringing up my order noticed I had no processed foods, no animal foods, and asked if I was vegan.

I mentioned that since I became vegan in December, 2015 I’ve become lean and fit, losing at least 45 pounds of fat, my food bill is reduced, my digestion purrs like a happy cat, my skin cleared up, I have more energy, I run, swim, and bike faster.

Because my life is focused on ethical principles of non-harm, the most important aspect of being vegan for me is I can look a baby cow, a pig, a chicken, or any other animal in the eye and assure them I’m not supporting systems and people who enslave them, torment them, murder them.

I’d been a vegetarian for years.

It hadn’t given me the health benefits and the clear conscience that being vegan gives me.

 

“I’m vegetarian,” the health store staffers said. “I’ve never thought about a lot of of the things you just said, never heard these concepts or ideas about food. I think I might need to become vegan too.”

The idea that seemed most intriguing and persuasive for her is that vegetarians aren’t being morally or logically consistent if they say they’re vegetarian because they care about animal welfare.

Vegetarians consume dairy products and eggs taken without consent from other sentient species.

Some people who call themselves “vegetarian” consume fish as well.

I explained to her how dairy products are sourced:

I said to her:

“Imagine if a gang of cows captured you, forcefully impregnated you, kept you in captivity for nine months while your fetus gestated, then after you delivered your baby, the cows stole your baby from you, put your baby in a tiny crate, attached machines to your breasts or handled your breasts with their hands, stole your milk from you, and drank it themselves,” I said.

“How would that make you feel?” I asked. “Would you allow anyone to treat you the way humans treat cows?”

“Of course not!” she replied, shocked.

I could see the dawning of vegan truth in her eyes as she realized the obvious fact: if it’s not right for cows to do those things to her, it isn’t right for her to buy dairy products sold by people who do those bad things to cows.

Of course, you often hear vegetarians defending so-called “humane” dairy farming, claiming that only factory farms harm animals.

But we must admit there’s nothing humane about imprisoning another sentient animal so you can handle its breasts and take its milk.

“Why are people so mean to animals, why are we raised to eat them?” the staffer asked.

I explained to her that part of the reason is a meme called speciesism.

It’s the mega-conceited idea that the human species is the best, the only species that really counts, the one that gets to do whatever it damn well pleases to all the other animals and organisms on this planet, and indeed… to the entire planet itself.

The next time we talked, she said our conversation helped her realize that from the moment we’re born, the adults around us hook our attention and plant a bunch of speciesist memes in our head.

The most pernicious memes are the ones that tell us we’re better than all other animals.

These memes allows us to justify the fact that we cage, rope, plunder, corral, imprison, experiment on, tear apart, torture, chain, flay, skin, hook, trap, shoot, chop, slaughter, and butcher millions of other animals… and plunder the earth itself.

Just take a look at the videos embedded in this article and you’ll see the terrible things caused by these pervasive memes.

And when you see past the culturally-implanted desire to consume products made from milk meant for baby cows, you’ll transition from vegetarian to vegan.

You’ll give up dairy products and all other foods derived from exploiting animals.

If you’re vegetarian, now’s the time to give up the ice cream, omelets, cheese, and other animal-exploited products, and go all the way.

Time to really get a clear conscience in relation to how you view and interact with animals, and become a Vegan Samurai.

If you want to see more truth on this topic, read my article about the Vegan Samurai Golden Rule.

You’ll be healthier, happier, and have a blameless conscience when you transition from being vegetarian to being vegan.