Here are my answers to questions from Clarah G. who is interested in being vegan, has tried being vegan, and has been mostly vegetarian for two years. I hope you enjoy. -MM
CG: When did you become a vegan? Why did you make the switch?
MM: I was born in 1958; have loved fruits and starches as far back as I can remember; met a cow and chicken as a child and began to avoid them on my plate preferring fruits, veggies, and starches; quit bacon in 1972 due to migraines (nitrates); was vegetarian for about a year in 1978 and again in Feb 1990 for health, earth, budget, and animals; went plant-based August 8, 1990 for health; went vegan (lifestyle) October 1990 for animals; raw-vegan in 1999 for health; 80/10/10 HCLF vegan in 2010 for health; and rawtill4-vegan in December 2012 for warmth and socializing in addition to the previous stated reasons.
CG: What has being a vegan done for you?
MM: Being vegan helped reverse my symptoms of allergies, migraines, endometriosis, hypoglycemia (pre-diabetes), breast calcification (pre-cancer), astigmatism, myopia, PTSD, hyper-lipidemia (pre-heart-disease), etc.
CG: Are there any negative effects of veganism that you weren’t aware of before adopting the diet and lifestyle?
MM: There are so many positive effects to being vegan and now veganism is becoming socially mainstream with plant-based options available in many large chains like Chipotle’s sofritas bowl, Dunkin Donuts Beyond Sausage (extra on side), Burger King Impossible Whopper (without mayo), UNO Beyond Burger and Garden Vegan Pizza, Subway plant-based meat ball sub (soon), Taco Bell, etc. and we even have a 2020 vegan presidential candidate, Cory Booker. Maybe just find an Italian, Mexican, or Asian place that has vegan options like pasta marinara, veggie burrito, or veg stir fry? Also bring your own avocado. That’s the old school way to be vegan. :)
CG: Are you vegan in all aspects of life (clothing, companies, etc.) or just in food consumption?
MM: As a vegan I try to cause the least harm to animals, earth, and humans in my choices of food, clothing, entertainment, products (vivisection), digital-camera (film), etc. I’m not “perfect” – for example I do not wear leather, wool, or silk but still own some dance shoes and ice skates that I’ve had since before going vegan and I think there are animal by-products in glue in walls and in rubber in car tires; but at least I have a Smart ForTwo car which gets 40 miles per gallon, I stay home a lot, and I believe that more alternatives to animal byproducts will be developed as animal factory farming deceases. (Btw, the second part of your question describes a plant-based eater which is also good for earth, health, budget, and animals.)
CG: What has been the most difficult part of veganism for you, if there are any?
MM: Being vegan is super awesome and finding vegan friends is easy on Meetup and social media and Plenty of Fish even has a vegan category that can be searched on.
CG: Have your expenses increased since becoming a vegan?
MM: I have saved lots of money on food, healthcare, heating, hot water, cleaning products, clothing, etc. – high-carb-low-fat vegan food is so clean it even keeps kitchen and dishes much cleaner.
CG: For people who would like to be vegan but don’t have the resources, what advice would you give about living a similar lifestyle?
MM: Eating simple whole plant-based foods including bananas, raisins, oats, rice, legumes, potatoes, and greens saved me money on groceries and health care. The approximate price per pound for bananas is $.50, oats $1, rice $1, and dried lentils $1. Also there free wild edible plant-foods, food pantries, soup kitchens, and food stamps.
CG: Have you heard that people could stop climate change in 50 years or so if everyone became a vegan or vegetarian? What are your thoughts on this?
MM: I think in a hypothetical scenario in addition to renewable energy progress if one fifth of people went vegan each year over a period of five years the climate crisis would stop because factory farmed animals are slaughtered by age five. Right now there are more factory farm animals on earth than people, methane is worse than carbon, and plants sequester carbon in the soil and produce oxygen. Even if most people cut back on eating animal flesh, it would make a big difference for climate. Also, clean meat (aka lab meat, cloned meat, cultured meat) has a small carbon footprint and will be available soon and the price will come down as demand rises with 80% of people being environment and health conscious.
CG: Due to an interest in fresh and nutrient-rich food, imports and exports have increased– specifically in high protein crops like avocados and quinoa– this is worse for the environment. Do you think the benefits of being a vegan outweigh the negative environmental aspects?
MM: I read that vegan food has much lower carbon footprint than animal flesh. It takes about 17 pounds of feed grain or legumes and about 1,800 gallons of water to make one pound of beef. Much animal feed is grown in Africa and South America and transported to USA factory farms and then slaughtered animal flesh is transported all over and flesh requires refrigeration energy while grains and legumes and dried fruits and seeds do not and dry weight is much less so costs less to transport. The pounds of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per serving of beef is 6.61, cheese 2.45, pork 1.72, poultry 1.26, eggs 0.89, milk 0.72, rice 0.16, legumes 0.11, carrots 0.07, and potatoes 0.03.
By the way, avocados are 19% carbs, 4% protein, and 77% fat.
Humans only need <10% of calories from protein – for example babies double their birth weight in six months on only breast-milk which is <10% protein. Also strong apes eat mostly fruit and strong horses eat grains. We can get our protein where they do. As long as we eat enough calories (approximately 2,000 calories per day for women and 3,000 calories per day for men) we get enough protein. Carbs are quickly used as fuel or stored as glycogen in muscles to be used the next day, proteins are generally used as enzymes and muscle, and fats are used primarily in the brain and nervous system and excess are stored as fat.
My Macro-Nutrient Ratio is >80% Carbohydrates : <10% Protein : <10% Fat
Thank you for the opportunity to answer some questions to the best of my ability at this time. I will try to update if I learn more.