The obvious question that my husband and I have been asked over and over since we have talked about becoming vegan is: Why? Many people understand and respect a vegetarian lifestyle, but believe veganism is too restrictive and too... extreme. Truthfully, I have thought the same way, even since becoming vegetarian this past February. However, my thoughts over the past months have changed, and I'm here to share why.
Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food...
Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of god and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."
...Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name...
(From Genesis 2)
Before the fall of man, this is what life was. Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God for the first time, their commission was cultivation of the land and stewardship of the animals. They were told they could eat from the trees. They cared for the animals, giving each a unique name. It does not say that they ate even the eggs of chickens or the milk of cattle. I believe that God's ideal for man was a vegan diet. It was only after sin entered into the picture that the first animal was killed--to make garments for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21).
In the New Testament, the eating of meat is expressly allowed. I would never try to say that a non-vegan lifestyle is a sin. Biblically, the truth is that we live on a fallen planet, one that is so different from God's ideal that to try to re-create one single aspect it would be vain and, to me, defeat the purpose of trying to live a godly, Spirit-driven life.
However, let's look back at the idea of stewardship. In the world today, we are simply not being good stewards of God's creation. When we became vegetarian, we did a lot of research about the cruelty inherent in factory farming practices. Additionally, we learned about the inefficiency of producing enough animal flesh to satisfy the normal meat-based diet--and how many more people could be fed if lands were instead used to cultivate grains for human consumption. There is plenty of research out there--look it up for yourself. I will be posting some helpful links as I come across relevant information.
Doing further research, I have found how cruel factory farming even of eggs and dairy must be--and how bad for the environment. Again, do some quick searches on the topic or click on some of my (forthcoming) links. Stewardship of the earth means living with respect for what God has created. And in today's world, unless you are a small farmer who produces all your own animal-based food by all your own compassionate methods, it is just unrealistic to think that the foods we are getting are coming out of good stewardship practices. Humanity has completely forgotten its responsibility for the environment--look at the state of things today. It makes me so sad to think of what the world is coming to.
So for Bob and me, this is a personal conviction. Let me stress, a personal conviction. I would love it if everyone around me were vegan, but I would never judge anyone who does not share these values. I just hope that, with our lifestyle, we can raise awareness around us. Even in a non-vegan world, if everyone is just a little more conscious of where their food is coming from (and what their actions, beyond even cooking and eating, are doing to the environment), then all those many little efforts can make a great difference.
For some quick, concise facts, check out the FAQs at Vegan.com.
So, with all that said, I'm ready to begin my new adventure! Researching vegan cooking has shown me how fun and exciting going vegan can be! So for updates on our experience, for my experiments in the kitchen, for all things vegan in the Jesser life, check back again and again!