Born Again Vegans
Updated: Jul 26, 2019
As a vegetarian for over 25 years, in January 2018, I took the last and final leap into the world of veganism. For me, switching to a vegan diet has been a huge turning point. I'm not sure why it took me so long to make that switch and I can't be the only one to have asked themselves why they didn't do it sooner. But I have never felt better about my health, my body and the planet I live on. And I feel so completely relieved that I have no personal input in the horror story that is the meat, fish and dairy industry, the ending of which is so long overdue.
And in August 2018 something very unexpected and surprising happened, a thing I never thought would. It all begun when my husband decided to watch What the Health on Netflix. For those of you not in the know, it’s an award-winning film and documentary promoting plant-based, whole-food eating and how veganism can transform health, reverse health conditions and literally save our planet. When my husband announced at the end of the documentary that he was becoming a vegan I didn't believe him. But, quite unbelievably, from that point onward he never ate meat, fish or dairy again. He really was a born again vegan! The way I am thinking is that if my husband can suddenly wake up one day and embrace veganism then anybody can. The icing on the cake for him is that he is a huge sports enthusiast and he can't believe how full of energy he is since switching to a vegan diet. He is very athletic and his endurance levels have increased in all his sports, including Ju Jitsu, and this has made his journey into veganism even easier.
On 31st October, it was World Vegan Day. As a jeweler I feel connected to all the pieces I create but this was the perfect chance for me to create a piece of vegan jewelry that I had a direct link with. I took the humble leaf as inspiration and created two designs. The leaf traditionally symbolizes life, hope, renewal and fertility. Leaves have deep-rooted symbolic meaning in virtually every culture. It is said that a single leaf is an ancient heraldic symbol that represents happiness. In recent times, the double leaf emblem has become a symbol of veganism. The term vegan is fairly new. It was coined in 1994 by The Vegan Society founder Donald Watson. And something you may not know is that the word ‘veganism’ is simply an anagram of the words ‘saving me’.
So I made two very simple and easy to wear leaf necklaces in honor of World Vegan Day and my fellow vegan friends. Both in solid bronze on 16 inch bronze chains, one features a single delicate leaf, detailed to both sides. The other features two leaves with contrasting detail. They are available on my website and a booklet on veganism is included with each piece as well as a handcrafted decoupage gift box, made with eco-friendly natural cardstock.
There are clear environmental and health benefits to becoming a vegan, the most compelling ultimately is an ethical one and is the only truly humane choice. If we all turned to a plant-based diet, the decimation of the rain-forests would also cease. Whilst rain-forests seem a world away for most of us, we know that trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in order to produce oxygen. With rapid rain-forest depletion, the level of carbon dioxide reduces, which increases global warming. Rain-forest decimation means animals and plants lose their food and shelter leading to extinction. Hills and mountains alone cannot hold back water which causes severe flooding and loss of biodiversity. Biodiversity sustains life as we know it.
To sum up, veganism is straight-forward. By following a plant-based diet it is a way of living which seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. A person who follows a vegan lifestyle will improve their own health and actively help the environment by producing the equivalent of 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than a meat-eater and uses 1/11th of the oil, 1/13th of the water and 1/18th of the land. Australian-born Elizabeth Blackburn, a Nobel Prize Winner in physiology and medicine, found that those switching to a vegan diet for three months caused more than 500 genes in the human body to change, turning ON genes that prevent disease and turning OFF genes that cause breast cancer, heart disease, prostate cancer and other illnesses.
Opting for a plant-based vegan diet will end animal exploitation and save the lives of billions, stop species extinction and rain-forest depletion for agriculture, as well as vastly improving human health. Despite what non-vegans like to convince themselves of, humans are not designed to eat animal or dairy products. Humans do not have sharp carnivorous teeth to grip, slice and tear flesh from bone, nor the highly acidic hydrochloric stomach acid which rapidly breaks down that flesh. Only human breast milk is designed for human babies and fewer than 40% of all humans on earth have the ability to digest lactose beyond babyhood. If they do consume lactose they have an abundance of gastro intolerances and allergies stemming from cross-species lactose consumption.
Veganism has skyrocketed in recent years, with more people than ever across the globe choosing to enjoy a plant-based life. If we take a look around the world at polls on veganism, based on 2018 data, 7% of British people are now following a plant-based diet, which is approximately a population of 3.5 million vegans in the UK. These statistics show a huge increase since the last figures published by The Vegan Society in 2016, which revealed approximately 540,000 vegans, over the age of 15, in Britain. There are a reported 1.62 million vegans in the USA, which is remarkable seeing that the USA is 40 times bigger than the UK. In Sweden, a huge 4% of the population follows a vegan diet. In Australia, another vast country, with a population of 24.6 million, 2% state they are vegans whilst over in Israel, which is a tiny country in comparison with a population of only 8.7 million, they have a staggering 5% vegan population, making it currently the highest vegan population in the world. There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans across the globe have in common is the desire to live as nature intended, in harmony with nature, and to lead a natural plant-based life. Try it. You’ll never look back !
"The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different".