There’s a common misconception in today’s society saying that a youngster CANNOT go vegan. To support this thought, various arguments have been created over the ages and it seems, that they are widely spread. While ranging from fictional health problems, like protein “deficiency”, to lack of knowledge and skills in order to follow a sustainable plant-base diet these reasons might make an impression that it’s impossible for an under-age person to successfully transition to vegan lifestyle. However, these alarms seem to be false as there’s many perfect examples of healthy and happy teenagers, children. For some of them, who had transitioned together with their families, it was easier, of course, and for the others, who wanted to cut loose from their omnivorous folk, it probably had been more challenging. But all difficulties can be solved with the right approach.
If I wanted to come clean, I’d say that I’ve been vegan since May only (I was 17 at that time) and before that – a vegetarian for a few years. I’d also state that I’ve never felt better than now and that I’ve finally got rid of my diseases that had been torturing me for some time. Or that I’m finally feeling at peace with myself. So I’ve proved this myth wrong but maybe I was lucky just because I was a fruit-lover since childhood? Or that I’ve never had any interest in meat and dairy products? Maybe this plant-based diet is not for everyone?
Well, sorry but not sorry, I’ve got to disappoint all those critics around here. This diet IS for everyone, no matter what’s their background. And here I have a perfect example – a 16-year old (who is mentioned in the title – also he’s my beloved brother) who was a typical dairy products lover and never even touched fruits like bananas or peaches (unless was literally forced to). I guess it would be more accurate to say that he still is, it’s just that now he consumes yogurt and milk made not from real cows’ milk, but from soy beans and nuts. Believe him, there’s not a big difference in the taste. There’s only a huge difference in the ethics of the industry and the nutrition of the products. For example, if a vegan decides to have a fruit jelly he surely won’t use gelatin, that’s made from animal protein extracted from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as domesticated cattle, chicken, pigs or fish, but instead will add some agar – a gelatin made from algae or, simply put, seaweed. Now, explain to me, why should we torture animals and use their parts for our food if there’s a better, healthier alternative? As you can see, there’s an alternative to almost every product you can think of and usually it will be even more nutritious.
Let’s get back to my brother. On the 3rd of November after watching the movie “Speciesism”, which was shown during one of the Tušti narvai events, he accepted Kotrynos Cikanauskienės challenge to try out veganism for at least 3 months. Kotryna is a medical school graduate and a book called “Plant-based diet. How to eat green in Lithuania?” author – she gave one of the copies to my brother that evening so he would have something to begin with. Now the book has passed to one of my dear friends who is also interested in veganism as a good wills’ symbol and my brother has finally found some time (it’s Christmas holidays after all) to write a quick recap of his transition together with a review of her book. So, I leave you here to read his thoughts and also, we wish you Merry Christmas!
Going vegan was a pretty major step in achieving happiness in my life. It was a big choice, but in my mind there was only one option. Personally, I like to base my decisions on logic and continuing to eat products, that had costed suffering of others and were unhealthy to me, simply wasn’t logical. I thought about it for a while, and made my final decision after seeing the movie “Speciesism”. I was given a book by the author Kotryna Cikanauskienė, called „Augalinė mityba. Kaip maitintis žaliai Lietuvoje?” (Plant-based diet. How to eat green in Lithuania?).
Everyone around me said that this choice would be hard, but during the first weeks of being vegan, I found myself waiting and waiting for the hard part to come. I guess you can say I’m still waiting. To my surprise, stopping eating animal products was really easy. Now, I’m not saying that if you go vegan now, it will be just as easy. I had a lot of help, guidance and support. Most of it came from my sister, who had been vegan for 6 months or so at that time. The other bit of guidance came from the book that I mentioned previously. As advertised, the books goal was to be a basic instruction on what to eat and avoid, when you decide to go vegan. And personally, I think it accomplished that goal perfectly. In it pretty much everything is mentioned what you need to know when starting out and more. Ranging from why being vegan is healthier, to facts why you should avoid rock salt. There is proof provided to almost everything that is written. The author also talks a lot about the environmental impact of the animal industry, but after seeing the film “Cowspiracy”, I wish that there would have been more information about this subject earlier – but that’s not really important if you’ve already decided to go with this lifestyle. Since the book is all about pure information, I found it very easy to read, add the fact that it’s only about 140 pages long. So you get a book that provides you only the useful knowledge.
In conclusion, I would say that going vegan is a very good choice. It benefits everyone, and if you do everything right, I think you’ll be as satisfied with the results as I am. Also, the book is a very good read and I definitely recommend it to anyone who thinks of going vegan, or has already chosen to.