It seems like veganism has become one of the new hot "things" today. Celebrities try vegan diets to lose some extra weight, environmentalists fight for less lifestock, and even doctors start recommending eating more plants. With all this buzz, one might wonder "But why be vegan?"...
This is why we decided to reach out and ask 10 amazing vegan experts for their opinion and personal reason as to why they went vegan in the first place as well as what still motivates them today (even after as many as 20-30 years) to stay on this path.
They really came through with some priceless wisdom which will help you kickstart your motivation and get into both eating and living vegan! Here is what they had to say.
Julieanna Hever from Plant-Based Dietitian
The greatest benefit I have encountered when going vegan is actually infinite! I have had major health transformations personally and I have witnessed incredibly dramatic improvements in health outcomes with my clients. Perhaps most importantly, is the spiritual peace I have gathered from living in my authentic truth. I had wanted to stop eating animals the moment I learned about how they ended up on my plate. Now that I have the confidence to know how to easily make this healthful and beneficial, I am grateful and want to share this information with the world.
What We Love: Julieanna has inspired many with her uplifting attitude and continues to reach thousands of people via her website Plant-Based Dietitian. It's easy to lose track of all the wonderful things (both expected and unexpected) that veganism brings along. We can strongly relate to following the path of authenticity, since we both stopped eating animals when we were little children and understood where the meat on our plate came from. This is a huge spiritual and emotional step one can take towards becoming truly whole and happy. Follow her around for more practical tips from an actual vegan RD!
Victoria Moran from Main Street Vegan
My motivation wasn't about a benefit; it was about saving animals. Nevertheless, benefits started accruing almost immediately, one being that after a lifetime of binge eating, I was able to eat reasonably, feel satisfied, and not have to worry about my weight or fighting off food cravings. True, I was also doing a lot of inner work around my relationship with food, but getting to eat well and feel satisfied helped a lot. That benefit has remained all these thirty-two years, along with good health and vitality. I'm sixty-six and not on a single pharmaceutical. I continue to write books, travel a lot for speaking engagements, and I run intensive Main Street Vegan Academy courses several times a year to train others as vegan lifestyle coaches -- all this at a time of life when most people are 'retiring.' These are great perks, but not promises; vegan living isn't some key to immortality. The really wonderful thing about, though, it is that the original and morally unassailable motivation -- not to support the killing or enslavement of my fellow beings -- will be with me forever. It's a treasure.
What We Love: Victoria's words describe a deeply personal story and growth which is incredibly touching. Her wisdom goes beyond the benefits of being healthier in general - it's more about living in peace with oneself, the world, and what the future may bring. Her work on Main Street Vegan has helped and inspired countless individuals to follow a similar path and turn their lives around. Her amazing 32-year long history of being a vegan has had a huge effect on our world, the animals, and other people - and it will continue to do so.
Cathy Fisher from Straight Up Food
Aside from gaining a healthier body, the greatest benefit of going plant-based has been how happy I feel overall. I’m now more conscious about my actions when it comes to my eating, health and well-being. Feeling that I’m making a positive impact every day on myself, on animals, and on the environment (through how I eat) is really powerful. I had no idea that just changing the food on my plate would affect so much in my life and cause me to feel happier and more confident. In addition, I benefited by learning about farmed animals and how they are raised and treated to become our food. Before I changed my diet in 1999, I had no idea of the suffering and exploitation that permeates animal-food industries. Not wanting to contribute to this has been very motivating to me to stay on a healthy, plant-based diet, and, through my work, to keep creating recipes that people love eating that are health-promoting and that do not include animal foods.
What We Love: Cathy and her website Straight Up Food have been a huge inspiration for us over the years. Her stunningly healthy, easy, and delicious recipes are made of whole plant-based foods and, on top of that, are also completely free of any sugar, salt, or oil. Her work has been teaching many people on the McDougall Program and TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, CA, how they can easily apply healthy vegan food principles for perfect health and longevity. For most of us, we don't change our diet until we're confronted with health problems - but once we find our path towards a fully plant-based diet and become more educated, the moral aspect of our daily choices follows right along.
Masha & Michael from The Minimalist Vegan
Wow, naming one benefit of becoming vegan is so challenging for us because we've experienced so many! However when it boils down to it, the greatest benefit of becoming vegan has been the ability to unlock our hearts to the world. It sounds corny but hear us out! What we mean by this is the ability to be compassionate towards others. Others being fellow humans, animals and the environment. Before we become vegan we were focused on ourselves. We were consumed by our endless to-do lists, seeing family and friends, and building our own future. Veganism forced us to think beyond our own little bubble. It taught us to be more aware of what is really going on in the world, which is basically an obsession with consumerism at the cost of the others we mentioned earlier. This in itself has been a profound development and has completely changed our perspective on life. Sure, we physically feel better from eating plants, but it’s just a by-product of aspiring to live a compassionate lifestyle. This is what makes veganism special to us and why we continue to learn and share more each and every day.
What We Love: Our connection with Masha & Michael goes beyond just eating a vegan diet. We love their compassionate approach to living a mindful life, wanting to make this world a better place for every habitant. And it's true - only when we are able to look beyond our own ego and actions, we find what's really important in life and how much of an impact we have on a daily basis. Their blog The Minimalist Vegan gives beautiful insight into letting go of what's not necessary in order to become happy, free, and start a whole transformation. Living compassionately goes beyond our eating choices and has to do with every single item we purchase, the way we approach others, and giving ourselves enough room to expand.
Rebecca Kinderman from Rawfully Wholesome
The greatest benefit I encountered, when I became a vegan, that also still motivates me today, is the huge amount of health and vibrancy that I gained!! Of course, the animals are a contributing motivator, but nourishing my body is really SO unbelievably important to me. When I began researching and learning about the body's mechanics and metabolic system, I really understood just how important it is, to take care of the ONE body we get, in our lifetime - which is a contributing key to living a most vibrant life. Of course, now that I'm a mum, my motivation, is also my children. Knowing that it is my responsibility to nourish them, and instill healthy habits and compassionate and ethical values in them. As parents, it is our job to mold our children into good, compassionate and healthy human beings, because they will be part of the new generation of leaders - that will take over our world, one day - and that starts from when they are kids.
What We Love: Rebecca of Rawfully Wholesome is such a beautiful and wise woman. The Australian mother of 2 is a great example of how vibrant and energetic a healthy vegan diet full of fresh food can make you! Even though she lives a busy life, her eating choices never suffer and she always has some amazing food on hand to feed herself and her children the best way possible. We are so grateful for all moms like her who teach their children these important lessons, so one day the world will be much brighter and healthier for all of us! Follow her around the internet for beautiful inspiring pictures and more wisdom.
Jasmine Briones from Sweet Simple Vegan
What inspires me the most? I would have to say the amount of positivity that it not only contributed to my life, but to the lives of others, the environment, AND the animals. Unfortunately, I was introduced to a plant-based lifestyle during a low point in my life, when I was struggling with an eating disorder. Well, I should actually say fortunately as it saved me from my negative mindset and further physical illness. I started to focus on providing my body with nutrients, fuel, and health as opposed to the numbers on the scale. Veganism helped me love myself, and to also live my life with a more positive mindset and outlook. Not only was I aiding myself and regaining my health, but I was also helping out with so much bigger than I am. Being able to benefit the environment AND the animals by simply making better choices on what I put on my plate in front of me, and sharing with others all that I have learned in order to inspire them to make the positive change brings me so much joy, and is what I want to do with the rest of my life.
What We Love: Jasmine's positive and loving attitude shines through all of her work. The Sweet Simple Vegan blog is all about a loving relationship with oneself and preparing healthful vegan recipes. She found her way to healing and recovery from an eating disorder by choosing to feed her body well and treat every living being - including herself - with kindness. This loving approach is a recurring theme throughout many vegan biographies and a huge reason as to why people find it so easy to stay on this path long-term. Because if you put all the pieces together, you'll easily find that everything is connected and this one choice simply benefits every area.
Osha Key from Become The Best Of You
I initially was motivated to go on a high raw plant-based diet because of my health and weight problems. And it did help me heal all of my health issues and finally achieve my ideal body shape, which I struggled with for years. Although later I found many other reasons to continue on a vegan path: environmental, metaphysical, animal rights and practicing kindness towards all beings. I’m still motivated to stay on track because it makes me feel wonderful. I’m full of energy, which is vital if you want to lead a meaningful life. It also supports my fitness and helps me maintain a healthy weight. I wake up in the morning refreshed, light and bouncing with energy. Another great thing is that plant based food is so delicious, varied and beautiful, and you never feel deprived!
What We Love: Osha's struggles are similar to what countless people face today: weight and health issues due to poor nutrition and lifestyle habits. Whereas the majority tries a few fad diets and picking up running here and there, Osha did something different and very important: she focused on long term success, feeling good, and making healthy choices. On her blog, she shares her vibrant meals, her focus on self-love and kindness, along other pieces of wisdom. If you start by wanting to feel great and love yourself, you will soon see how this attitude goes a long way and actually makes the world a better place due to all the amazing consequences.
Brandi Doming from The Vegan 8
There are many amazing benefits to becoming vegan, too many to name them all. I would say the greatest benefit immediately after becoming vegan was knowing I was no longer contributing to the suffering of animals, as I was when I was eating so much dairy and meat. Of course, I instantly felt better and the digestion issues I had all went away and I also lost a lot of weight, but the thing that gave me the most peace and why I am still vegan today and will remain, is because of the animals. I am so grateful to become vegan at this point in my life too because my daughter (who is 4) is being raised vegan and I'm so grateful that she will be raised knowing that not only do we not need to eat animal products, but she already understands that animals have to suffer in order for us to eat them. She is being taught compassion at an early age. Of all the benefits that becoming vegan has done for my health and my husband's gout being healed, the truth that keeps me committed, and always will, is because of the animals.
What We Love: Even though for some people this seems to be the most important part of following a vegan diet, Brandi kind of mentions her health and physical benefits in just one sentence. Her sense of peace and equality was very strong and made her focus on others instead of just her own great results. She also wants to teach the next generation (especially her own daughter) how important compassion is and how it can change the world. Her amazing and easy recipes over at The Vegan 8 can tell stories of the deliciousness and simplicity a vegan diet can offer. This really seems like a way of living that brings more joy to everyone!
Trinity Bourne from Trinity's Kitchen
One of the first things I noticed about eating a healthy vegan diet was how good it made me feel inside. I had more energy, more enthusiasm for life than I’d ever known. I felt ever deeper levels of love and compassion for sentient life, people, and nature. I could sleep at night with peace in my heart, knowing that I was making a stand against animal cruelty, by ‘being the change’. I made a commitment to being vegan in 1995, motivated by my love for all sentient life, for the planet, for my fellow human beings. Once you make that connection, there is no looking back. There are so many things that keep me on the path. For me it has never been a question, because I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
What We Love: Trinity's love and compassion are absolutely admirable and something that needs to be spread out into the world. If more people were in touch with their values (like not harming others if it can be avoided), then we'd all be in a very different place right now. Her strong commitment is keeping her on the vegan path even after 21 years - and just like her, we couldn't imagine looking back in regret one day. Since the plant-based world is so full of variety and you can literally make every dish vegan, there is no feeling deprived. On her blog Trinity's Conscious Kitchen, she shows us not only delicious ways of eating vegan foods, but also ideas on health, inner peace, and happiness.
Iosune Robels from Simple Vegan Blog
I've been vegan for almost two years and it was the best choice I've ever done in my whole life! I feel amazing, my digestion has improved a lot, my skin is better and I'm happier than ever. I'm following a high carb, low fat vegan diet, so I can eat until I'm satisfied, which is great because I don't have to starve myself to maintain a healthy weight. It can be challenging at the beginning, especially in a country like Spain, where it's hard to find vegan food or vegan places, but it's totally worth it. Besides, I'm not hurting any animal and is also great for the environment, which is the best part of being a vegan, at least for me!
What We Love: Following a low fat vegan diet has been proven to be most effective when it comes to losing weight and staying thin effortlessly. The secret here is that carbs have a lot less calories than fat and bring along a nice amount of fiber, which can fill you up very easily. This healthy approach towards getting slim is exactly what we promote as well! Really experiencing this change in your body that comes with eating these types of food is priceless. On her lovely simple vegan blog, Iosune shares what she likes to eat - including beautiful pictures. So no matter if you've been vegan for 2 days or 2 years: persistence is key. Don't throw your morals over board simply because you don't dare to ask for a baked potato at a restaurant. It's always possible!
We sincerely thank all of the experts for contributing and hope they have inspired you. Which one resonated the most? What is your personal reason for choosing veganism? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Alena has been eating a plant-based diet for 6 years and is passionate about sharing her learnings in the fields of nutrition, wellbeing, and vegan ethics. She is the co-creator of nutriciously and loves music, reading, nature, traveling, yoga & good food. Alena received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy, and social work.