By: Krystyn Decker
Newfoundland born food blogger and proud vegan Amanda Tracey shares the benefits of veganism and debunks common myths and misconceptions
Going on a meat-free diet has been rapidly gaining popularity over the past few decades. However, vegans – those who eschew dairy, eggs and honey, in addition to meat and seafood – now make up nearly a third of all vegetarians.
You could try and call it a trend, but in all honesty, as a vegan myself, it takes a lot more than a trendy appeal to become vegan and stick with it. It is
fundamental to a person’s core beliefs, not to mention the possibility of withdrawal in the beginning, due to the amount of artificial hormones, antibiotics, and mucus in dairy products.
Once you get past the cravings and withdrawals, you’ll realize that being vegan is not limited at all, which is a major stereotype towards the community. No – we do not live off salad, beans and fruit.
As a matter of fact, manufacturers have even been stepping up to the plate of veganism. If I want a big, greasy cheeseburger with a side of poutine, or an extra “cheesy” pizza, well – I can eat just that.
Amanda Tracey is a loud and proud vegan, originally from St. John’s and currently living in Vancouver. With thousands of followers on her blog and Instagram account, All She Does Is Eat, Tracey shares her insight on the vegan lifestyle with The Newfoundland Herald.
“I see the words “humanely raised,” “cage-free,” and “free-range” come up a lot. Most people believe they are making a kinder choice, and avoiding harm to animals. Sadly, this is not true. There are so many ethical issues that exist in “humane farming,” Tracey shares.
“There is genetic manipulation. On “cage-free” farms, chickens are de-beaked without anesthetic so that they don’t injure other chickens. Animals are transported for long periods of time without water or food, some of them are found dead or frozen upon arrival, due to the cold Canadian winters. This is a supply and demand thing. The more people want to buy these products, the faster they have to produce. They don’t have time to make sure each animal is okay.”
Animals feel pain just as humans do. We are both built around the nervous system. It is surely reasonable to suppose that nervous systems that are virtually identical physiologically have a common origin and a common evolutionary function, which would result in similar forms of behaviour, in similar circumstances. So, imagine yourself in the same position as an animal – mutilated, abused and killed for the indulgence of another species.
“Most of the stereotypes that I hear about vegans are that we are malnourished and weak,” Tracey explains.
“This is beyond true. We are all just regular people who have come across this lifestyle and want to make a difference in the world and for our bodies to thrive. Patrick Baboumiam is a record strongman holder, and he is a vegan. Rich Roll is an ultra-marathon athlete, he is a vegan. Some of the strongest animals on earth like elephants, rhinos, horses, hippos, are all vegan, and we aren’t asking them where they get their protein from.”
It is, of course, important to have protein in your diet. However, it is a complete myth that vegans struggle in getting enough protein.
“Fibre is so important and most people forget about it,” Tracey elaborates. “The focus now is protein, protein, protein, but fibre is so important. It promotes movement in our digestive system, and can help prevent weight gain. Protein is the least of our worries. If you are eating a well-balanced plant based diet, you will get enough.”
Health wise, the benefits to going vegan are numerous. A plant based diet is linked to lowering cholesterol, lowering cancer risk, heart health, and weight loss. Not to mention the benefits on our environment… avoiding all animal products lowers our carbon footprint.
“Adopting a plant based lifestyle, I’ve witnessed people lose weight, minimize the medications they were on, lower their cholesterol levels and increased their energy, and mood. It’s so fantastic to see! I truly believe the world is starting to shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle – and we kind of have to because of climate change,” Tracey concludes.
Visit Amanda Tracey’s website for more information on how to live more compassionately, and a ton of plant based recipes at allshedoesiseat.com