I know what you are thinking… Oh, do you mean to tell me you are no longer Vegan (ish)? I am a woman; changing our minds is what we do! But seriously, with all changes, especially the big ones, they unfold slowly. For me, this meant being vegan (ish) for a while.
The Transition to Full Vegan
Deciding to eat primarily plant-based foods was a prompting from within. I didn’t wake up and start a new diet one day, but received little nudges pointing me in a specific direction. I didn’t question this nudge, I just followed. What unfolded, as you know, is eating healthy, 90% plant based. A month passed before I questioned if I should continue eating eggs, goat cheese and honey. I convinced myself that if I ate free-range eggs, local honey and goat cheese that it was O.K., but something was telling me I needed to dive deeper.
With that, I went to the best source available; the internet. I made some posts on vegan based sub reddits and did my research. I admit, there were some nerves before posting questions like; “What is the stance on cruelty free eggs?” on a vegan sub reddit. To my surprise, I got good feedback, with information leading me to direct sources to support the claims.
Still, I was undecided. My reason? The sources were from vegan sites. This to me made the claims biased. I needed to find some more information. What I found left me wanting to stop eating any animals products.
The Egg Debate
Are they healthy?
The first argument regarding eggs is that they are not healthy. This has been a debate for years. It isn’t just a vegan thing. Eggs have a reputation for being high in cholesterol.
I needed to have a non-biased opinion, so I sought research papers on the matter. I found a Harvard study on eggs, asking this very question; “Are eggs healthy?”
How much cholesterol does one egg have? Just one large egg yolk has 200 mg of cholesterol, this makes it one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol. However, eggs also contain additional nutrients that may lower your risk for heart disease.
The bottom line: eggs in moderation are fine to eat. A 2 or 3 egg omelet every day may not be the best choice, but it is far better than a triple stack of pancakes. If you are eating eggs for protein, it has been my conclusion that there are plant-based options that are healthier for you. If you are curious to read more in-depth; you can read it here.
Free-range & cruelty free eggs
I found a few resources that advertised free-range and cruelty free eggs. The claim was that these farms are rescuing hens that are no longer producing at a commercial level and facing euthanization. This, on the surface, sounds good. I believe the better option would be to rescue them and not require egg production. What I found is that naturally a chicken only lays 8-10 eggs per year. On a commercial farm, chickens are laying upwards of 200+ eggs per year. This puts enormous strain on them. This for me sealed the deal. Eggs would no longer be in my diet.
What’s wrong with honey?
Honey! Oh, how I love honey! It is not only sweet, sticky goodness, but local honey has many health benefits and can make great homemade beauty treatments. I did not want to give up eating honey. I have fond memories of eating honey toast as a child, putting it on my oatmeal, in my tea, or just eating spoonfuls of it. But what is the cost of this?
We all know how important bees are to our environment. We need bees, and bees need their honey. They produce honey as food for themselves. When we harvest the honey, we leave them without food. In its place, commercial bee farmers will often use other inferior sugar syrups. And this one made me sad. Bee farmers will often clip the wings of the queen so she can never flee. The queen is there to lead and protect, if she deems the hive as no good, they move on. By clipping the wings, farmers are creating a prison for the bees.
You can read more in-depth on how bee farming harms the bees health and other concerns that keep vegans from eating honey here.
The Evolution Continues
I didn’t look further into eating goat cheese; I decided that I would not consume any animal products. Truth be told, one day, when I have my dream home and a farm of my own, I want to have a hive for personal use, for pollination and honey. But who knows, I could change my mind again.
My relationship with our world has changed. Even with the smallest of living creatures, such as spiders, which terrified me my whole life. Suddenly I am looking at them with gratitude. They are my natural solution to other bugs, like mosquitoes. My next step; implement ethical and cruelty free items all throughout my house. This does mean being more mindful of what I buy and perhaps doing without some things that I can’t afford now, or making my own.
I never thought I would be vegan. I have loved meat my entire life. It developed over time, a short time. I became more aware, more open and my body lead my eating choices. For me, that means no animal products. I don’t miss eating the things I gave up. In fact, I feel amazing and challenged to make all my favorite childhood recipes vegan.
I am not perfect at this vegan thing, I am learning. The more I learn and become aware the more natural my choices become.