Why I Don’t Eat Meat | Cooking With Jade

Why I Don’t Eat Meat

Why I Don’t Eat Meat
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The question I’m asked the most, aside from, “What’s your secret for this dish?” (usually, olive oil) is “Why don’t you eat meat?” And since many of you have been my loyal readers for several years now, I thought I would give you a little background on why I don’t eat meat or other animal products. As I hope I’ve stressed before, I don’t judge anyone for their dietary decisions and I’m certainly not trying to convert anyone to my vegan lifestyle. I simply want to share my story. So without further ado…

Chef Jade is Vegan

I Love Animals

Perhaps the simplest answer – and the most obvious one to anyone who knows me – is that I truly love animals. Like many kids who grew up in a more rural area, I had a close relationship with animals from an early age. Horses, cows, pigs, and chickens – not to mention your garden-variety household pets – were my childhood friends and acquaintances. Much more than a mere phase, my kinship with the winged and four-legged creatures around me only got stronger as I got older.

For most of my childhood, I ate the same meaty dishes my friends and family ate: burgers, chicken nuggets, and good old Salisbury steak. I guess if I could point to one formative instance, it was in eighth grade, when I helped deliver a baby calf at a nearby livestock farm. It was a messy, but overwhelmingly beautiful process, and I bonded with the little guy instantly. And since it was a guy, I found out that he was going to get sold for beef or – worse yet – veal. This was more than my sensitive soul could bear. Shortly after this, I decided to take the plunge: first into vegetarianism, then – during my senior year of high school – to the vegan diet I maintain today. And I can tell you honestly that my life changed for the better, from both an emotional standpoint and a physical one. 

Chef Jade is Vegan

My Diet Keeps Me Healthy

Speaking of physical changes, I have found that there are also many health benefits to my plant-based diet. This isn’t why I got into veganism – I was a pretty healthy high schooler, despite my foodie tendencies – but it has been an added perk to my vegan lifestyle. A vegan diet certainly helps with heart health, as most of the saturated fat and cholesterol we consume comes from meat and dairy products. In fact, a recent twin study conducted by Stanford University found that a vegan diet can improve cardiovascular health in as little as eight weeks (https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2023/11/twin-diet-vegan-cardiovascular.html).  Numerous other studies have shown that a meatless diet helps prevent many other diseases, including diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, and several types of cancer. Aside from being an outward expression of my love for animals, my vegan diet is also a reflection of the love I have for myself. 

Chef Jade is Vegan

A Vegan Diet Is Good for the Environment

The more I see of our beautiful planet, the more I want to do everything in my power to preserve it. When we talk about cutting down on waste and reducing our carbon footprint, we don’t often think of our diet, but it is an important piece of that puzzle. To cite a recent study published in The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jul/20/vegan-diet-cuts-environmental-damage-climate-heating-emissions-study) plant-based diets “lead to 75% less climate-heating emissions, water pollutions, and land use than meat-rich ones.” This is because, quite simply, large-scale animal agriculture requires a lot of land and causes a lot of pollution. And since my love for animals (and people) and the planet they live on are inextricably linked, I am grateful that my vegan diet is so beneficial to our environment.

Thank You

That’s the story behind my dietary journey—thank you for letting me share it. I know it’s not everyone’s story, or journey, and that’s OK. I will still continue traveling the world and covering restaurants and markets that sell a wide variety of foods. But if you ever want to cut back on meat/dairy consumption and need some good plant-based recipes, you know I’ve got your back.

If you enjoyed this article or have suggestions on how we can improve it, please leave us a comment below. Also, make sure to check out other articles I’ve created or stories I’ve written about food culture – here.

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