On becoming vegan: five good reasons


A few days ago I’ve become a vegan. Vegans are those who do not eat meat like vegetarians, and also eschew animal products, like milk, cheese, eggs. When I tell people they laugh. I laugh as well, since I am a jovial person. But I am pretty serious.

Here are five good reasons:

  1. I am fat. This is the simplest, apparently, and a valid excuse for dieting that the people around me easily accept, while they have more of a problem with the rest eventually. It took me twenty years, more or less, to breach the 100 kg barrier. I was 102 kg (225 lb) four days ago, when I became a vegan. I never tried to get slimmer, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain it for long enough to get good results, that would also be sustainable. With being a vegan losing weight is a convenient side effect, that contributes to your well being, and reinforces your choice. Weight loss is not at the center.
  2. Animals deserve better. I love eating meat. I just choose not to. We’ll see what I’ll do when we’ll be able to grow meat in hydroponic vats. In the meantime nervous systems are a good starting point to apply moral rights to their bearers.
  3. The planet deserves better. We are growing much food, and distributing it badly. People are starving. And at the same time we are feeding livestock, cattle, which will be then eaten by us. This is not sustainable.
  4. I love vegetables, and fruit. Eating like I’ve been doing for the last four days, since I became a vegan is not a sacrifice. The colorful variety of taste, texture, and smell that I’ve eaten and smelled is amazing. The spices I am using. And in just these few days my body started reacting, changing its odors already. We truly are what we eat.
  5. In space colonies, and on Mars we can only be vegans. Can you imagine growing food to feed animals to eat under the canopies of the cities on Mars? I can’t. What nightmare a slaughterhouse in geostationary orbit would be? I want to go to space!

So there you go. The first thing I did last Friday was to twitter my flipping (it wasn’t even a decision). And move on from there, happily announcing it to anyone I would meet.

There is much I will have to learn of course. Decisions on how to find the right balance and make my way in a society that is not yet attuned to what will be the politically correct thing in ten years or more. Understanding what micro-nutrients will be needed to make sure that my diet keeps me healthy. A coupld of years ago Joi Ito started on this path, and I’ve read his blog entries with interest, curiosity, and admiration. In december I met Larry Lessig again at a working group, and he confirmed that he was inspired by Joi to take on his ways. Joi and Larry are worth copying in a lot of what they do. This is one of them.