The tagline of vegan.co.za is kindness first, but what does that actually mean?
When we set about creating this space, we wanted to have a clear intention that we could make a touchstone for all the content we provide. Kindness has been at the root of our vegan journey and it is an ideal that we have always strived towards and when we sat down to brainstorm ideas, “Kindness First” was the clear choice. Nothing else came close.
The kindness we are talking about takes a number of different forms…
Kindness to yourself
I know a number of people who have said that becoming vegan was the best gift they gave themselves. They feel more at peace with their place in the world and the lighter tread they have on the earth. One of the greatest benefits I received when I adopted this way of life was a growing connectedness that I felt to the world around me and the wonderful beings that I share it with. It is as if I recognised the soul in everyone I met, both animal and human.
My compassion seemed to grow and I felt a greater capacity for love.
Research has shown that switching your diet from one that includes meat to plant-based diet (especially one rich in whole foods) can help prevent and treat some chronic diseases that plague our modern-day society. The benefits of better health and greater energy are a main reason that many people initially become vegan. Most people notice significant improvement to their health in just a few short weeks. For some, it just takes a matter of days. Taking back your health is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself.
Kindness to the planet
There is much evidence to suggest that a diet rich in meat products has a bigger impact on the health of our planet than a plant-based one. The number of animals raised for food has dramatically increased over the last forty years, with total meat production tripling between the years 1980 and 2002.* This increase in demand for land and resources to raise animals has led to a large amount of forests being cut down and converted for grazing or the production of feed crops. Our demand for fish has also led to the large-scale exploitation of many marine resources, with 8% of resources now categorised as depleted.** Cutting animal products from your diet can only help to lessen the impact you have on the earth and its resources.
Kindness to all living beings
Animal agriculture brings with it a range of ethical dilemmas. Whether animals are raised “humanely” on organic pastures or not, the fact remains that for us to consume animal products, we take what is theirs. Whether we consume dairy, eggs or meat; wear leather, wool or silk; we are using living beings as a resource for our consumption and consumerism. By choosing kinder options, we eliminate the need for these beings to be viewed as resources, commodities and goods to be traded with.
There is an abundance of articles, videos and other information online that points to the cruelty that occurs in all aspects of animal agriculture. The bottom line is that we have the capacity to reduce the suffering of millions of sentient beings just by making different choices in what we eat and choose to buy.
We have chosen to share the vegan diet and lifestyle through a spirit of non-judgement and kindness. Most of us were not born vegan and made the switch for different reasons. It can feel overwhelming for those new to this way of life. We encourage small changes that will make a difference over time and will be adding tips and resources that will help you along your journey.
Whether you have been vegan for years, months, days or are looking to make the transition, we want to say “Thank you!” Thank you for making the world kinder with each conscious choice you make.
Veronica is a web developer by day and vegan home chef by night. She started vegan.co.za together with her partner, Werner as a way to bring the vegan community of South Africa together in kindness and create a resource for all.