Vegan-day: Better than a birthday

One of the most important days of my life is November 14th, 2017. On this day, I became a vegan. Now, I celebrate my Vegan-day more than my birthday. When I say that, many people look at me skeptically or even smirk. However, I am serious about it. I would be happy to explain why.

Why do we celebrate birthdays?

Since childhood, we have known there are at least two days a year when we receive gifts: on our birthday and Christmas. Nevertheless, we cannot really understand this, and nobody has truly explained this to us.

Therefore, we receive gifts when we celebrate the day and month we were born, and we do this every year. Yet, why is that? What is so special about coming into the world that makes it worth celebrating and receiving gifts for it?

Actually, we should be giving our mothers gifts for our birthday because giving birth to a child is supposedly the most painful thing you can experience and something you remember for the rest of your life. On the other hand, we cannot even remember our own birth. From a very young age, we only knew we loved to be celebrated by our family and friends every year and receive gifts.

What is so great about being in this world?

Likewise, we simply celebrate being here on our birthdays. Plus, we receive the best wishes for another great year of life. Nonetheless, life is made difficult for most of us from childhood. We have to competitively prove who we are, for example, with grades at school. We always have to be better than the other children, and it even continues after graduating from school. There is pressure to perform, be hard-working, and have special skills. It is irrelevant whether we are in training or studying. We have to prove that we are "economically valuable."

Some of us celebrate to compensate for our artificially created struggles in life. We do not just celebrate our birthdays, but we consume as well. We consume food, fashion, electronic devices, entertainment, medications, alcohol, nicotine, or other addictive substances, and even other people sometimes, in an emotional way. Yet, all of this is done in a reckless or, at the very least, a careless way. With our lifestyles, we harm ourselves, other people, and, above all, other animals and the planet.

Between the 1900s and the year 2000, the amount of meat consumed per person more than doubled! (1) We are led to believe that meat and milk are vital and healthy by seeing advertising featuring a seemingly happy and unharmed dairy cow running around in a meadow. We are fed the false image of cheerful and unharmed animals until we believe in it and even justify the exploitation or death of these animals. This illusion that animals are being petted to death is firmly entrenched in our minds. I have been to a slaughterhouse before and, to me, it looked more like a bloodbath than petting. It is a place where the animals are under a lot of stress since all the animals in the line have to witness the animal in front of them being slaughtered. Nonetheless, no animal wants to die voluntarily, which is something all sentient beings have in common. It seems that not many people understand this either because meat, as we all know, is grown in the supermarket and does not come from living creatures.

In the process of factory farming, animals are bred, fattened, and slaughtered for the sole purpose of being eaten. Every year, for the duration of their short lives, millions of creatures do not see sunlight, do not breathe in the fresh air, and often have to spend their lives crammed into concrete or metal bars measuring just a few square centimeters in size. Oftentimes, the animals fall seriously ill and are in pain because they are so close together and live in their own excrement. Alternatively, they are piled up during transport to the slaughterhouse and mistreated by stressed-out and annoyed people. Moreover, antibiotic-resistant germs are developing due to the many diseases and the high use of antibiotics. These germs can also be hazardous to humans. Abroad, rainforests are cleared for the cultivation of animal feed. Among other things, this releases an enormous amount of CO2. In addition to CO2, animal agriculture itself also produces methane and nitrous oxide. The livestock industry, or, in other words — the consumption of animals for food — is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector combined (airplanes, ships, trucks, plus cars).

We, humans, are ruining the planet through our consumption, our lifestyles, and in other ways as well. Regardless, I realize that a diet based on animal-based aliments, which have such a high negative impact, is one of the most unnecessary ways to harm oneself, animals, and the planet. Therefore, I have decided against living such an existence and have changed basic things in my life.

Why is it so important to celebrate a Vegan-day?

Unlike when we were born, a vegan lifestyle is a proactive decision that can be made in a strictly rational way. We were born into a system that conditions us from childhood to live destructively, which may not only cost our own health or even life but that of many other living creatures. Yet, I can now say with a clear conscience that I do not take part in such things anymore. I am doing something beneficial for my health, the animals, and the planet with a plant-based diet. I am not causing unnecessary suffering, let alone death, to animals. NOW I am truly celebrating life by celebrating the day I went vegan! Moreover, frankly, I honestly deserve to celebrate now. Plus, my Vegan-day is an indulgence! I gormandize until my stomach hurts, and I let myself go to have a really great time.

It takes a lot of time and energy to question everything, to understand how everything works, gather information, and recognize connections. Nevertheless, there is no way back for me. Once you know, you know forever. Likewise, the truth can leave me speechless, make me cry, and push me to doubt humanity. Determining what is objectively best from this is sometimes tricky. Plus, it takes intelligence and willpower. Yet, even finding out what is subjectively the best can be challenging if you allow yourself to be cajoled by entire marketing departments instead of facing the truth, which often takes place behind closed (barn) doors. Many people cannot stomach the truth at all. They prefer to look the other way and believe what they want to believe.

I recommend documentaries like Earthlings 2.0, Dominion, or Forks Over Knives for those of you who are brave and seeking the truth. If you want to go a step further, you can also eat animal products while watching them, which I also did while attempting to make the connection between the animal industry and the meat you eat. After all, people often do not make this connection!

My diet has been predominantly complete and healthy since 2017. Since then, I feel lighter and fitter, I do not get as tired after eating, I am not sick as often, etc. So today, I know what is truly healthy. Furthermore, I started studying to become a Vegan Nutritionist in 2020 because I need to spread my message, and I want to do it based on science.

In addition, I no longer destroy the world I live in with all my might because most of my food is organically grown, regional, and seasonal. I always examine the origin and manufacturing process of all the products I consume, and if there is even one single process that is destructive, then I will stop supporting that company with money. A receipt is the best voting slip; it can eradicate bad practices from the world faster than politics ever could.

What's more, there are more and more of us. Things are slowly changing. Plus, it is becoming easier and easier to maintain a vegan lifestyle, and I celebrate that, too!