When people find out I'm vegan, they usually ask why. Great question! People go vegan for all sorts of reasons. Since weight-restricte...

Reader Question: Why Veganism?

When people find out I'm vegan, they usually ask why. Great question! People go vegan for all sorts of reasons.

Since weight-restricted athletes also often have very specific eating habits, a lot of people assume I'm vegan to help me make weight. At first, I thought it might help as well. Not the case! It's actually quite difficult to balance making weight, athletics and veganism.

I can't go more than 3-4 hours without eating—no matter how much I eat, it's like throwing twigs on a bonfire. This is especially true when I'm cutting calories to lose weight. When I'm hungry, I descend quickly into hangry (so hungry I'm angry) and that's bad for everybody. If I'm out and about and hunger strikes, I often can't find balanced food to eat, so I have to bring my own snacks everywhere.

Of course, that means I eat better food when I'm on the road, and stick to normalcy even when traveling. But I have definitely been caught out longer than expected with nothing to eat!

So why did I become a vegan?

That's a hard question to answer, but it all starts with vegetables. Have you ever tracked your daily vegetable intake? Are you getting the recommended servings? When I was really honest with myself, I wasn't eating enough vegetables (unless you count cookies as vegetables).

Vegetarianism was a step in the right direction—it got me thinking about my food, branching out to new plants and generally eating better foods. But cookies, muffins, cakes and fried mozzarella sticks are all vegetarian. Veganism has pushed my diet in the healthiest direction and I needed that help.

Trying veganism/eating more vegan food is very different than being vegan, though. The reason I've stopped buying leather and wool, started using cruelty free soaps, and opened my eyes to the exploitation around me? It's the right thing to do.

Once you make the connection between the items around you and the life that provided them, it becomes very difficult to ignore. I would abandon my dreams before abandoning that compassion for the lives around me. There are certainly drawbacks to veganism—but nothing that justifies taking an animal's life or free will to avoid.

Are you vegan? If so, why? If not, what's your favorite vegan food?

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