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Why I Chose to Be a Vegan (A Recovered Bulimic’s Story)

Food plays such a big role in overcoming bulimia that I think it’s important to give you some of the reasons I became a vegan, and share with you how it can help with bulimia.  Changing our eating habits is a major part of bulimia treatment, and veganism offers another option for you while you are rethinking your relationship with food. Being a vegan means removing the use of animal products from your life. Vegans comprise a diverse group of people, who have changed the way they live for many reasons, and I’d like to share with you three of mine.

Getting Healthy

As I took a look at my overall health and wellbeing, I found that veganism offered not only food that was a healthy diet, but food that can actually help me to avoid the most common medical problems today.

For instance, a vegan diet can help to prevent the development of cancer. One of the reasons for this is that vegans eat more foods loaded with things like anti-oxidants and other cancer fighting ingredients. For example broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have cancer fighting properties.

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Another great reason for going vegan is how avoiding animal products helps protect your heart. With heart disease topping the charts as a major health problem in the US, it’s pretty clear that the way most American’s eat has a lot to do with the top medical killers amongst Americans. Plants are cholesterol free, whereas meat, eggs and dairy all contain saturated fats. Those fats are what build up in your arteries, and clog things up, leading to heart disease. A vegan diet can not only help to prevent this if you are already healthy, but the change can make huge improvements if you’re having problems with high cholesterol and blood pressure. Veganism can help with bulimia, because when you are living a vegan lifestyle, your fridge will be packed with fruits and vegetables, serving to reduce the risks of emotional eating.

Environmentally Speaking

It’s easy to see that Mother Nature is under attack because of the Western lifestyle.  People are making choices to help improve the environment through reducing waste, recycling materials and reusing what they already own instead of buying new.

I was a big proponent of saving the environment starting in 2007 when I first learned about what we’re doing to the planet.  In fact, I was handing out leaflets about saving the planet at Al Gore’s live presentation of his slide show called “An Inconvenient Truth”.  At that presentation someone walked up to me and handed me a flyer with the headline “how can you be a meat eating environmentalist?” Until that moment I had no idea the #1 way we as individuals can make to reduce our carbon footprint is by not eating factory farmed animal products.

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Factory farming, especially in the United States is a huge contributor to the release of green house gases (methane). Aside from polluting the air, they are responsible for contaminating the ground water for hundreds of miles around their farms.  Additionally, it takes up to 10 lbs of feed to make 1 lb of beef so we’re actually cutting down rainforests to raise food to feed our factory-farmed animals.

Friends Not Food

 Veganism is also an ethical choice for me.  In fact, it’s the number one reason I chose to be a vegan.  As a lover of all animals, justifying the consumption and use of animal products wasn’t something I could consciously do. I believe all life is precious and no other living creature is being killed for my lifestyle .

If you study the way animals are treated during their short lives in factory farms, whether they be chickens, cows or pigs, it would shock you.  Most people turn the other cheek because they want to continue to consume unconsciously.  They let their stomach dictate their values.  I choose differently.  I choose to be conscious of the impact of my decisions – in what I eat, what I wear, and what I buy.

I’ve found that being a vegan offered help with my bulimia. By knowing that I’ve made healthy choices in the foods I consume I have no guilt and live consciously knowing my food didn’t suffer for my survival.

 A Few Famous People Who Are Vegetarians

1. Leonardo DiCaprio—Long-time environmental and animal activist Leonardo DiCaprio has been known to enjoy a meat-free diet for several years. It’s unclear whether he’s a vegan or a vegetarian, but it’s clear that he stays away from meat.

2. Portia de Rossi—Portia de Rossi and her partner Ellen DeGeneres have both become vegans. The Arrested Development star said “It feels like such a compassionate choice. We are such animal lovers, why stop short of cows and chickens? It didn’t make any sense.”

3. Jenny McCarthy—The beautiful actress and comedian shared during a visit to The Rachael Ray Show that she is a vegan.

4. Zooey Deschanel—The adorable star of 500 Days of Summer revealed she was a vegetarian when she was a guest judge on Top ChefMasters. She also added “no eggs or dairy” to her instructions, which lead many of us to believe she’s vegan. However, she identified herself as vegetarian, so that’s all we have to go on.

5. Emily Deschanel—Healthy eating seems to run in the Deschanel household as Zooey’s sister Emily, star of Fox’s Bones, is a prominent Hollywood vegan. She’s even turned her costar David Borneaz into a part-time vegetarian.

6. Sandra Oh—The Grey’s Anatomy star has been on a crusade to expose her castmates to the her meat-free lifestyle.

7. Natalie Portman—In an op-ed piece in the Huffington Post, Natalie Portman revealed that Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals changed her from a “twenty-year vegetarian to a vegan activist.”

8. Alicia Silverstone—Alicia Silverstone released her own vegan cookbook called The Kind Diet. She told Oprah that her switch to a vegan lifestyle helps her sleep better, have more energy, and just look more beautiful.

9. Alanis Morissette—Early last year, Alanis Morissette shared that switching to a vegan diet helped her lose 20 pounds. She said she felt like a 12-year-old again with a lot of energy.

10. Joaquin Phoenix—The vegan star of Walk the Line can be found in various PETA ads campaigning against animal abuse and consumption of animal products.

11. Carrie Underwood—In 2005 and 2007, Carrie Underwood was named by PETA as the “Sexiest Vegetarian Alive.” The country singer and American Idol winner first shared her lifestyle choice by wearing a “V is for Vegetarian” shirt during a TV performance.

12. Brad Pitt—Pitt has been identified as a vegetarian by numerous sources throughout the years. His love interest, Angelina Jolie, was even a vegan until she said that her diet nearly killed her. There are even rumors that Jolie’s meat eating habits have started to upset Brad.

13. Tobey Maguire—Not only is the Spiderman star a diehard vegan, but he’s also partially responsible for helping Natalie Portman take up a diet completely free of animal products. Talk about a vegan crusader!

(partial list courtesy of NakedHealth.Avvo.com and a few more below that I’m aware of)

14.  Former US President Bill Clinton

15. Paul McCarthy from The Beatles

16. Actor Woody Harrelson

If you’re a vegetarian, vegan or considering becoming one, please share your comments below on why you chose this for your life.  Was it for  ethical, health related, or environmental reasons?

I’d love to hear from you and thank you for your feedback!