For me, being a vegan is life changing. After I became a vegan, I could find new opportunities, new friends, a new lifestyle, new work and a new mindset.
Many wonder what plant-based or vegan food is like and what's good about it. On CI Talks today, I'll share with you how it is. To become a vegan, it's not as hard as you think.
Why Go Vegan
Hello, I am Jajah Napaphatsorn, Founder of Veganerie Store, Veganerie World (a vegan online market), and "Freddie Plant Collagen" (a plant-based collagen business)
Founder of Veganerie
Vegan Versus Plant Based Diet
The difference between plant-based and vegan is that if something is plant-based, it's made from plants. You may have seen big name fast food places advertising their plant-based meat, which looks like meat but is made from plants. Now let's talk about being vegan. It's more than eating plant-based food. It's 100% plant-based. Everything in your life must come 100% from plants. This includes your lifestyle. Your bags, your shoes must not come from animals. We call it the "cruelty-free lifestyle".
My mum is vegan. She is healthy and strong. That inspired me to learn more about veganism. And I've found information that changed the whole thing for me. The best way to pass on the information is by doing. So I started cooking vegan food. The first hurdle I faced was that people didn't know about vegan food and its benefits.
The reason why I quit med school was because of my strong passion. I felt like doing vegan food and spreading this to the new generations. So I talked to my parents. I have my brother to thank since he was fully into it and helped me a lot. My friends then gossiped "oh Jah is now selling cakes instead of being a doctor". I wasn't angry. I found it funny. I was becoming a vegan leader in Thailand.
Vegan Leader in Thailand
I want Thais to have good, healthy food. I want farmers to earn income. And I want to promote vegan Thai food to the world.
In 2020, I went to Oman and was invited to present vegan Thai food there. I was really excited. It was the first time for me to present vegan Thai food abroad. I was also featured in Veg World magazine. It's a foreign magazine that features all aspects of vegan lifestyle. I was so happy to have featured in it. Apart from this, Forbes Thailand also interviewed me about my vegan businesses, including Veganerie. I was so happy!
The Benefits of Being Vegan
The first benefit of eating vegan food is good health.
I weighed around 62-63 kg before turning to veganism. After 2-3 years, my weight gradually reduced. At the same time, I gained more strength. My excretory system got better. Everything sort of came together all at once. I thought it was amazing. I just changed the food. Moreover, plant-based food also reduces our chance of getting cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
Good for Animals
The second benefit of vegan food is obviously that it is good for animals. If we don't eat their meat, use their skin and fur, it's like we are saving their lives.
Good for People
The third benefit is that it's good for people.
Thailand is a world leading agricultural country. We export a tremendous amount of products. Many foreigners come to our country to find vegan food. If the market for vegan food is expanded, this benefits our country. Higher income leads to economic growth. That's really sustainable.
Good for the Environment
On the environment, vegan food has a lower carbon footprint and uses less unnecessary resources. For instance, for one beef burger you need to raise cows and to do that, forest must be cleared to grow cattle feed.
On the other hand, if we cut this cycle out and eat plant-based steak, it helps save resources. Veganism is not just a trend but a sustainable way of living that is good for the people, animals, and the environment.
5 Tips to Help You Start Going Vegan
I will share five tips to help you start going vegan. Let's see what they are.
Become Vegan Slowly
Ease Yourself into a Vegan Diet
First is to start slowly. This is very important because it helps you to sustain the habit. So if you eat both vegan food and meat, that's okay. Don't get stressed. Let's have fun with it. If you like Holy Basil Chicken stir-fry (Pad Krapow Gai) then carry on having it but start replacing chicken with mushrooms or tofu. Being gradual allows your body to adjust.
Know Your Reason
Second is to have your own rationale.
If you have your own rationale, you'll be able to do it better. For some people, they feel sorry for animals so they don't eat meat. Some want to be more healthy. And some think about the environment. There's no right or wrong. But it's your rationale that will keep you on track. And it will make your own journey enjoyable. So I want you to have your own rationale.
Dare to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Third is to get out of your comfort zone. If you do something you haven't done before or that you are not used to, you'll be scared of what may happen. I urge you to get out of your comfort zone by doing it and you will get used to it.
Myths and Misconceptions About Veganism
Fourth is regarding misconceptions about veganism. No.1 is that a vegan lacks strength, nutrients, protein, and vitamin B12.
Lacking Vitamin B12
These are wrong. You can find protein in a lot of plant-based food; nuts, tempeh and tofu. You only need to vary your diet to meet the needs of your body.
Second is price. Many people worry that vegan food is expensive. If you cook it at home, it's cheaper. On the ingredients, if you take meat out and replace it with tofu tempeh, greens, or plant-based food, this will not be expensive. You will be able to reduce your costs.
Change Starts With You
Fifth, small changes combine to create a big change. Many may wonder if it really makes a big difference simply by not eating meat. The answer is yes, a lot. If people stop eating meat in millions, it will make a huge difference. Changes are happening now. Many countries have seen more plant-based food and fewer meat-related businesses. That resulted from changes on our plates.
5 Keys to Know Before Going Vegan
Today, veganism is becoming a mainstream lifestyle, from food to everything around us. By sharing my story with you today, it doesn't mean that I object to eating meat. At the end of the day, it's your choice. I'm just one voice that tells you what being a vegan is like and what the benefits are.
These are my own experiences that I want to share with you. It could be helpful for you in the future.
CI Talks: Stories That Spark Change.