Introduction to Our Veganism

My wife and I, at the request of our son, became vegetarians August 1, 2015. My wife is a biology professor and I am a chemistry professor so we did what we always do, we researched vegetarianism. The more we read, the more we began to realize that veganism was the way to go. We came to understand the problems associated with the ingestion of animal products of any kind on our bodies. Additionally, we are animal lovers and had been having issues with people killing animals just so we could eat or wear something. On October 1, we made the decision to go vegan and we have been vegan ever since. Admittedly, I’m sure that non-vegan ingredients have made it into our food when we have eaten out, but it is my opinion that it is impossible to be 100% perfect and we do the best we can. Our son didn’t want to join us in veganism, but he eats what we cook, which is always vegan so I’ll classify him has a sometimes-vegan.

One of the reasons that I decided to start this blog, was the experiences I have had as a chemist and a vegan. While it seems obvious to me now, it never occurred to me that the things we get from animal products are available in plants. I’m not sure why the chemist in me didn’t realize earlier that plants and animals are biological systems that contain the same basic chemicals. This idea in my face the first time we used ground flaxseeds and water (1:3 by volume) to make a binder to replace eggs. When we first mixed them together and had a mixture that appeared exactly as gelatinous (“gloppy”) as eggs I was amazed.

One interesting issue I have is the commonality of vegans attaching themselves to the non-GMO movements. Genetically modified organisms are as old as civilization itself. I have chuckled to myself when I see a “non-GMO” label on seedless grapes. Clearly these have been genetically modified since its really difficult for grape plants to reproduce if they can’t produce seeds. The huge ears of corn that plants grow today nearly cause the plants to collapse. These have been engineered by humans over thousands of years. I know that what people object to is genetically modifying organisms in a lab. I’m not sure why since any GMO must pass a lot of tests before they can make it onto the market. I think the main point is that GMO foods are not inherently bad. In fact we need them. We need to genetically modify the organisms we eat because humanity has over populated the planet. We need to have plants that use as little soil as possible as well as being as resistant to pests and disease as possible in order to feed the world’s population. If all GMO’s disappeared, we would see wide scale famine.

I can somewhat understand vegans attachment to organic label. The pesticides that are sprayed on crops are not something that I want to ingest. However, we need to spray these plants so that we can get as large of harvests as possible. Once again, we need to feed an over-populated planet. Because I understand that need, I am willing to ingest the chemicals. I think it is important to understand that we ingest chemicals all the time. On one level, water is a chemical. In fact, everything is a chemical or made up of chemicals. Maybe people’s issue is with synthetic chemicals. That doesn’t work either because all of the medication that we take are, in some way, synthetic chemicals. Are there problems associated with ingesting chemicals? Of course. As a chemist, I understand that randomly ingesting chemicals is really bad. However, the chemicals we ingest as medication have been tested for toxicity, as have the pesticides so toxicity is not a problem.

Overall, this blog is a place for my wife and I to post our thoughts on veganism. Some of these posts will be topic posts like this one. Posts that will hopefully cause people to think and post that may result in replies that cause us to think. Other posts may be recipes that we have found, modified, etc. I need to note that while I appreciate discussions and differing ideas, this is our blog and inappropriate/hateful comments will be immediately removed. Everyone has the right to their own opinions… just not on our blog.

Shaun

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