Anna – Everyday Vegans
Anna is a doctor who also works part time at an animal shelter.
She lives with her husband, six rescue cats and two rescue dogs and also fosters animals who need a bit of extra love and care. After eating a mostly plant based diet with occasional lapses into vegetarianism for over ten years, she decided to completely cut animal products from her diet about four years ago. Anna is part of our ‘Everyday Vegans’ and ‘Why Vegan’ series.
Why are you vegan?
Because it just makes sense on so many levels! In medical school there was a lot of emphasis on being able to teach yourself by reading everything with a critical and scientific mind. The benefits of veganism for human health; prevention of climate change, prevent loss of forests etc is just staggering. The first rule of medicine is generally accepted as being “first, do no harm.” I think being vegan is a good way to embody the oath that I took.
The main reason that I’m vegan though is because I love animals! I’ve always had a lot of pets in my life. Once I started learning about factory farming and the cruelty that the animals go through there was no way that I wanted to support it. Whenever I see a truck pass with terrified animals, my heart breaks because there’s nothing I can do. I am able to take some solace, though, from knowing that by being vegan and speaking out for animal rights, I am helping to protect future generations of animals from the same fate. I don’t think that you can call yourself an animal lover if you consume animal products or support industries that profit from animal cruelty.
Veganism is also a great way to connect with other like minded people and make new friends! However, when you’re newly transitioning to becoming vegan there can be a lot of resistance from those around you who feel confronted or threatened on some level that you’re rejecting a way of life that they continue to live. I’ve learned to save my energy by only engaging with people who are genuinely interested in your reasons for going vegan, or who have some element of curiosity about it. There are some people who just want to argue and to tell you that you’re wrong.
The only other negative that comes to mind is that I’ve made the rookie mistake of not taking B12 supplement seriously and ended up deficient. Take your supplements, vegans!
What’s your favorite food?
I’m going through a bit of a “junk food vegan
” phase at the moment and I’ve really been enjoying eating out
…Eggplant parmigiana is my favorite at the moment!
What’s your go to dish to impress non vegans with?
I think starting off with vegan sweets is pretty easy! There’s a bakery in our city that does amazing donuts and cookies that are just like I remember getting as a child. I think when people realize that being vegan doesn’t have to be about being deprived or missing out on fun treats it makes it seem more realistic.
What are your views on raising vegan children?
For the record, I don’t have any children. I think that raising children as vegan is great. They would probably be healthier than children fed on a ‘standard” diet of processed foods, because there has been more thought and care into what the children are consuming. If I have children in the future I would definitely raise them vegan until they were old enough to have a discussion about where animal products come from and why mum and dad choose not to eat them.
We absolutely agree with you, and agree, it is heartbreaking knowing it’s still going on. Do you have any positive/negative experiences from your vegan lifestyle?
I’ve definitely had more positive than negative! Around the time when I first became vegan, I was getting caught up in restrictive eating combined with over exercising. I was eating a lot of ‘diet’ dairy products and actually thought I needed them to healthy and thin. As I started discovering vegan resources online, my world opened up to so many new foods that I wanted to try! I was able to see food as more than just something I had to strictly control to keep my body in line; I learned to be kinder to myself and also animals. I have more of an appreciation now about food in general. I also eat a wider variety of foods as a vegan than I ever did even when I was vegetarian.
What are your top 3 tips for transitioning to veganism?
1. “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” I don’t think that becoming vegan necessarily has to be a dramatic, overnight change to be worthwhile. Every choice that we make to choose the kinder option is great.
2. Have fun with it! There’s so many delicious vegan alternatives available now to try, enjoy trying new things, visiting new restaurants and making new friends.
3. Do your research. You need to find a reason that really motivates you to adopt veganism as a lifestyle. Knowledge is power and there’s so much information about the benefits of veganism out there now.
What animal do you most identify with and why?
Probably cats, that’s why I have six of them!
Do you think it is ever too late to go vegan?
Of course not! If you’re older and concerned about making changes to your diet then you can always find a good GP to monitor your health throughout the process.