Why did Vesanto Melina become vegan?

I had been vegetarian for 20 years when, in 1993 while writing a “Without Dairy” chapter for our first book, Becoming Vegetarian, I came face to face with my own mistaken belief that dairy products were essential to human health. From a critical review of the scientific research, I soon learned that I could survive very well without any flesh or fluids of animal origin. Over time, I learned about the profound impacts of our food choices on the environment, health, human hunger, and the lives of animals. In doing the extensive nutrition research that is a foundation of our books, I came to see that a vegan diet could provide every nutrient that we need in recommended amounts, and that such a diet makes sense for reasons that become more compelling every year. I was deeply touched by the plight and tragic lives and deaths of pigs, cows, calves, chickens, and turkeys when they are regarded as “food animals.” I came to appreciate how many of us are voting with our grocery dollars for good health, compassion for animals, and sustainable agriculture. My own dietary transition gave me an understanding of the challenges and solutions that people encounter as they move along a continuum from non-vegetarian through to vegan.


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