I started at a very young age learning a vegan lifestyle. Ironically, we lived on a small chicken farm before my family made the change. I vividly remember walking outside the house and seeing chickens with their heads cut off, hanging on the clothesline. Even at a very young age, this felt wrong. This memory has forever left an impact on my journey. Not long after, when I was 3 years old, my parents made the change to a vegan lifestyle and sold the chickens.

The reasons I am vegan are vast and wide. However, I would say there are two big reasons why I continue this lifestyle, besides my health. The first is the environmental impact that consuming animals or animal products has on this planet. Here are a few facts that opened my eyes to the horrors that were really occurring:

    1. Every hour in the United States, 500,000 innocent animals are slaughtered.
    2. 2,500 gallons of water are used to produce one pound of beef.
    3. Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of destruction in the Amazon Rainforest.
    4. Livestock and their byproducts are responsible for 51% of all greenhouse emissions, worldwide.
    5. At the rate we are going, we will have fish-less oceans by 2048.

The second reason is a bit more spiritual in nature. As vegans, we at one time or another encounter or watch a documentary or awful videos of farm animals being skinned alive, tortured, overfed, caged, crying, I could go on with the tortures these animals experience. Something has to be said when you consume an animal that has been in that much pain its whole life. You are ingesting that fear, anger, sadness, hopelessness. I refuse to be a part of this vicious cycle.

I could write a thesis on how the vegan lifestyle has dramatically changed my life from a very early age. It has taught me more than I imagined it would–especially compassion, courage, love, and respect.