Vegan in the Region

Move over cows milk. Grocery stores offering a growing number of healthier, plant-based alternatives.

Bob Kasarda, The Times

The new year has arrived and with it, all the resolutions to become a healthier and happier person.

Some will be heading off to the gym. Some will attempt to stop drinking. Others may start volunteering.

But there is a single change you can make that could improve your health and quality of life, greatly help our ailing planet and ease the suffering of animals. You're reading a vegan blog, so you can guess what's coming.

Now is a great time to go vegan. There has never been an easier time to make the transition.

A lot of handy resources are available online such as the Vegan Starter Kit and another version offered by Veganuary.

Websites such as these, as well as the many books on the topic, explain why it is important to get animal products off your plate, far away from your closet and out of your life. They address concerns about nutrition and what to eat, while debunking the many myths that often stand in the way of making this healthy change.

Perhaps the easiest way of eating vegan is to stick with the foods you are most familiar with and simply leave the meat and other animal products out. This may require a little imagination at first, as most of us have been brought up to think of meat as the dominant feature on our plate accompanied by a much smaller side portion of vegetables.

Meat is easily replaced in most meals with the many mock versions now available, or better yet, beans or other plant foods. There are also many versions of vegan cheese available, though my experience has been that after a couple of weeks without, the craving for cheese simply goes away.

The important thing is not to become overwhelmed and feel you have to be perfect from the start. Being vegan is a lifelong and ever-deepening process that impacts you physically, psychologically and spiritually, and pays off in ways you cannot yet imagine.

You will also see that rather than giving up food options, you actually expand your dietary choices once you are no longer bound to the idea that one of a handful of meat products must be on your plate. There are just not enough meal times to explore all the dishes you will want to try.

I can honestly say the only regret I have in going vegan is not doing it sooner.

The opinions expressed here are solely that of the author.


Porter/LaPorte county reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.