I’m Vegetarian Should I Go Vegan?

By Kayla Byerley | Last Updated: May 15, 2017

Cows on Farm. Black and white cows eating hay in the stable.
Cows on Farm. Black and white cows eating hay in the stable.

I’m vegetarian should I go vegan? We have an answer for you!

Veggies First

Most vegans I’ve met started out vegetarian then slowly made the move to an entirely plant-based diet. I’m one of the few people I know who went straight from an omnivore diet to a vegan diet. However, from 2005-2009, I was a vegetarian. Strange, right? As a freshman in high school I became vegetarian, but then gave it up my first year in college because none of my friends were vegetarian and it was difficult to keep up, and I developed lactose-intolerance, which limited my food options greatly. The idea of giving up both cheese and meat was simply too much.

So I started eating meat again, but I never stopped feeling bad about it. I just lied to myself, pushed the guilt to the back of my mind, and I told myself I needed the meat because I couldn’t have dairy.

This is an odd line of logic, because we never needed dairy. All human infants are born with the enzyme lactase. This enzyme’s only job is to cleave the bond that holds the sugar lactose together, which is found in a woman’s breast milk. Theoretically, we all lose our lactase enzymes when we wean off of a mother’s breast milk, but now we have a food culture that includes copious amounts of breast milk from other animals. This may have served a survival purpose eons ago, but do we really need cow dairy today? The answer is no. Why? Because we’re not baby cows.

However, I completely understand why dairy is so difficult to give up. I mean, look what we have done with it! Ice cream, cupcakes, creme brulee, pizza, mac and cheese, alfredo pasta, buttered biscuits, pizza and many gelatinous desserts ooze with milk fat and sugar and it- is- glorious! But if we made all of these fabulous cuisines out of cow’s milk, doesn’t it make sense that we could one day develop equally wonderful treats from cashews, soybeans, almonds, coconut, or hemp?

Ask Yourself Why

If you’re asking yourself, I’m vegetarian should I go vegan? Then you need to first ask yourself why you’re hesitating. If you’re a vegetarian and have wondered about going vegan, it’s important to ask yourself: what’s holding me back? Are you afraid of not getting enough nutrients like Iron, Calcium, and B-12? Are you fearful of the mockery that may befall you should your friends and coworkers find out? Is it impossible for you to imagine a life without grilled cheese sandwiches? For me, I felt like I was doing enough. I was a vegetarian, so I was saving close to a hundred animals a year by not eating them. That’s all I really cared about. I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless and help those who weren’t able to help themselves.

But the truth is, as a vegetarian I was still contributing to the death of cows and chickens. Besides being kept in deplorable and disgusting “cage-free” shelves, hens are still killed when they stop laying eggs, or once they are “spent.” Any male chicks they hatch are killed within the first three days of life. The American Veterinary Association deems suffocation, cervical dislocation, and being thrown into a high speed grinder as appropriate ways to cull unwanted male chicks.

Mother cows have life just as bad, and maybe worse, thanks to their higher levels of cognitive reasoning. After being forcefully inseminated each year, the mother cow then has her baby taken away immediately after its birth. Female calves are kept to one day become dairy producers, while males are either left to die or are sold to the veal industry. After 3-5 years of this cycle, the mother cows are sent to slaughter.

No matter how good my intentions were when I became a vegetarian, I was still supporting the death of animals, and I was still supporting one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington. Eventually, I made the decision to go fully vegan, and haven’t looked back. It hasn’t been easy, but as Albus Dumbledore once said, “there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”

So, I’m vegetarian should I go vegan? The answer is “what are you waiting for?!” from our point of view.

We have a variety of great vegan recipes here, and our sister site VegKitchen.com is entirely vegan!

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