Why I am NOT Vegan.

Why aren't I vegan? All "good" Seventh Day Adventists are vegan aren't they? 

How did I make the decision not to be vegan?

What are my reasons for choosing a lacto-ovo diet?

When I was in my early 20s I grappled with this question and got out my Strong's concordance and read everything I could find in the Bible on the topic. I needed to know if the Lord required me to be vegan and why I chose not to eat meat. I needed to own my choices and make them mine, not just what my parents had taught me. 

When I was growing up, and the topic of being vegan came up, which was pretty often because a lot of our friends and family were vegan, my Mommy would say "Been there, done that. It's not for us." My parents had been vegan for a time, before I was born. I had never questioned my parent's choice, that being vegan was not the best for our family.

When Edwin and I were getting to know each other we were already both on the same page concerning diet, so it was a non issue. Praise the Lord!

Recently several people have asked me what my reasons are for choosing a lacto-ovo diet, and I have had to really think, sit down, and formulate and articulate the factors that help me to make that decision. 

If you are looking for scientific reasons, look elsewhere. This is just a very personal list (in no particular order) of factors that play into my decision making on this topic. 

Diet is a very personal choice and you need to make diet choices that are best for you and your body. It is not my intent to convince anyone of anything regarding diet. This is my own personal testimony, so please take it as nothing more then that.

  • Not a Biblical requirement. I am guessing that some of you would argue with me on this one. If you believe that being vegan is a Biblical requirement, please share with me the Bible texts in the comments, with your explanation. My strongest "proof" that the Lord delighted in creating land mammals who could produce plenteous milk for human consumption is in the Lord's own words. "I will lead you to a land flowing with milk and honey.." He says in Exodus 3:17 Did He say "I am taking you to a land flowing with nasty stuff you should never touch because its gross and horrible for your health"? No, of coarse not. All throughout the Exodus journey, the milk and honey was part of the promise from the Lord and motivation for the children of Israel. Milk in and of itself is not bad. Of coarse we should try to drink the healthiest milk that we can. My sister's family is enjoying the milk from two of their goats right now. It is my long term goal to eventually have an animal of our own to provide our family with milk. When Jesus was teaching his disciples about prayer, He was trying to convey to them how very much God wants to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. Jesus used the example of an egg as a good gift that an earthly father might give to a child, in Luke 11:12 (And his first example was a fish!) Why else do birds like chickens and ducks lay way more eggs then they intend to hatch? I had a pair of white Pekin ducks once, and Lucy laid an egg every single day, but never went broody. I believe that God created them to be that way, knowing how many uses the egg has and how nutritious they are. (Eggs, okra and soup are my favorite foods!) What IS Biblical, is taking care of our bodies. "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" 1 Corinthians 6:19 But has this been taken out of context my whole life? Read the whole chapter, it is talking about how sinful it is to use our bodies for sexual immorality. Ok, so we know that God does not have a sliding scale for sin. Sin is sin, right? So is there anything that we could eat that would be a sin? The Lord Himself said, "There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man." Mark 7:15 (I will dig deeper into that chapter in a min.) Romans 14 is an excellent chapter on this topic, read it in your favorite version, but I will share it in NLT here: "14 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval."...Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.

  • 10 So why do you condemn another believer[a]? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say, 
    “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
    ‘every knee will bend to me,
        and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.[b]’”
    12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
    14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good.17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.
    20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble.21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.[c] 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.[d] "
    So there you have it. If you do anything that you believe is not right, you are sinning if you so it! Wow, that is a weighty responsibility for us to believe truth in all things! 
  • Ellen White did not condemn the eating of eggs and dairy. Read "Counsels on Diet and Foods", especially chapters 21 and 22. Ellen White preferred to have cream on her table in place of butter, and said that eggs have remedial properties. Here are a few quotes from those chapters. "609. I eat but two meals a day, and still follow the light given me thirty-five years ago. I use no meat. As for myself, I have settled the butter question. I do not use it. This question should easily be settled in every place where the purest article cannot be obtained. We have good milch cows, a Jersey and a Holstein. We use cream, and all are satisfied with this.—Letter 45, 1903  588. We must remember that there are a great many different minds in the world, and we cannot expect every one to see exactly as we do in regard to all questions of diet. Minds do not run in exactly the same channel. I do not eat butter, but there are members of my family who do. It is not placed on my table; but I make no disturbance because some members of my family choose to eat it occasionally. Many of our conscientious brethren have butter on their tables, and I feel under no obligation to force them to do otherwise. These things should never be allowed to cause disturbance among brethren. I cannot see the need of butter, where there is abundance of fruit and of sterilized cream. ..590. There is danger that in presenting the principles of health reform some will be in favor of bringing in changes that would be for the worse instead of for the better. Health reform must not be urged in a radical manner. As the situation now is, we cannot say that milk and eggs and butter should be entirely discarded. We must be careful to make no innovations, because under the influence of extreme teaching there are conscientious souls who will surely go to extremes. Their physical appearance will injure the cause of health reform; for few know how to properly supply the place of that which they discard.—Letter 98, 1901 628. Do not go to extremes in regard to the health reform. Some of our people are very careless in regard to health reform. But because some are far behind, you must not, in order to be an example to them, be an extremist. You must not deprive yourself of that class of food which makes good blood. Your devotion to true principles is leading you to submit yourself to a diet which is giving you an experience that will not recommend health reform. This is your danger. When you see that you are becoming weak physically, it is essential for you to make changes, and at once. Put into your diet something you have left out. It is your duty to do this. Get eggs of healthy fowls. Use these eggs cooked or raw. Drop them uncooked into the best unfermented wine you can find. This will supply that which is necessary to your system. Do not for a moment suppose that it will not be right to do this.... But I wish to say that when the time comes that it is no longer safe to use milk, cream, butter, and eggs, God will reveal this. No extremes in health reform are to be advocated. The question of using milk and butter and eggs will work out its own problem. At present we have no burden on this line. Let your moderation be known unto all men. Some, in abstaining from milk, eggs, and butter, have failed to supply the system with proper nourishment, and as a consequence have become weak and unable to work. Thus health reform is brought into disrepute. The work that we have tried to build up solidly is confused with strange things that God has not required, and the energies of the church are crippled. But God will interfere to prevent the results of these too-strenuous ideas. The gospel is to harmonize the sinful race. It is to bring the rich and poor together at the feet of Jesus.—Testimonies for the Church 9:162, 1909 "
  • Attitude. "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better then themselves" Philippians 2:3 . It has been my personal observation that vegans often consider themselves "better" because of their diet choice. I know I am stepping on some toes here. I am sorry. There are a few vegans that I have met,  (if you are vegan, I am not talking about YOU my dear friend! Some of my favorite people are vegan) where instead of their diet helping them to be more kind, loving and Christlike, it has done the opposite. I don't want to be caught up in the "better then thou" attitude. I wouldn't mention this at all, except that it is a huge reason that I am not vegan, and I feel like I shouldn't leave it out. I do not consider MYSELF better, because I am NOT vegan, either. Neither am I better then anyone else, for any reason. "Judge not that ye be not judged" Mathew 7:1. My goal is to be humble. But I am human and just as unchristlike as anyone else, if I neglect to ask Jesus to live in my heart and help me to be like Him. Christ said in Mathew 12:37 "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Our words, that come out of our mouth are so much more important to God than what goes into our mouths. 
  • Friends and loved ones dying of cancer. Now this one is just based on my own personal experience. People that I have known and loved, who have been vegan, have died of cancer. Cancer! I feel like there is something we as a people, don't understand about cancer, and about diet. Both sets of my grandparents were vegan, and great proponents of the "health message". My Grammy had a brain tumor at the end of her life. What is causing so much cancer and tumor growth in our country? I am NOT convinced that being vegan is the answer. 
  • Not overeating. There is one friend in particular, who is vegan, that I am thinking of. They eat a large serving size bowl of salad twice a day on a regular basis. I trust that they are doing what's best for their body. But there have been several times when Edwin and I tried a strict all raw diet (as a type of fast) and we didn't do well at all. We were weak, shaky, and extremely irritable. I feel like at the stage of life that we are in, we need more nutrient dense foods, and we choose eggs and dairy to be part of that. I know that not all vegan's overeat, and that overeating is a temptation for all of us. One of my relatives would ask "Is this a healthy dessert?" and the spouse would answer, "It  depends on how much you eat of it!" So true! But the less nutrient packed your food is, the more of it you have to eat in order to provide your body with the nutrition it needs. Eggs are very filling, see #10 on this list. The Bible says that we should not be gluttons in Proverbs 28:7 and 23:2 (and other verses.) It's a delicate balance for all of us, to choose healthy, nutritious foods, but not eat too much of it. Unfortunately I have seen some vegans that look thin and unhealthy. We need to make sure we are nourishing our bodies, because they are not our own, but belong to the Lord. 
  • Eggs are nutritious. Vitamin A, Folate, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B2, Phosphorus, Selenium, vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium and zinc! Healthline.com calls eggs one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and lists the top 10 health benefits of eating eggs. 
  • I don't want to be a Pharisee and make up rules that are not biblical, just to make me feel holy. This is a long passage, but I feel that the context is important here. Correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard that the Pharisees would often just go through the motions of washing their hands, if water wasn't available. So it truly was a tradition, not a matter of true cleanliness. "Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. 14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. 16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. 18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
We need to be way more carful about matters of the heart, spending time on character development, and avoiding the evils Christ mentions in verses 21 and 22. We also need to avoid "doctrines and commandments of men"! 1 Timothy 4 talks about how some in the last day will turn away from the true faith, verse 3 "They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods."NLT. The KJV may say it better, "...and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving." Wow. That verse makes me think that maybe I should consider eating meat! I can relate to this verse by being the Mom of a toddler. I create a delicious meal for her. I get her ready with washed hands and a bib, set her in her highchair. I present to her a portion of the dish I have so lovingly prepared, and she despises it. Refuses to eat it! Is that how God feels?

  • The China study is not trustworthy. My Grandpoppy held the China Study in high esteem, and others that I know, do too. But peer reviews reveal that Dr T. Collin Campbell, seems to have only picked the portion of the raw data that supported his beliefs. Check out this article that has links to many other articles taking a critical look at Dr T. Collin Campbell's study. The General Conference has also written an article advising that we use caution in regards to the China Study.
  • My body does well with eggs and dairy. That may eventually change. But in the time of life that I am in, being pregnant and or breastfeeding for over 5 years, I enjoy eggs and dairy. If there comes a time when I have ill effects when I eat eggs and dairy, I will eliminate them, by all means! It's important to me to eat only foods that my body does well with. Recently Edwin and I have discovered that we are in pain and discomfort for about a day after eating GMO corn. So we have eliminated GMO corn from our diets. Interestingly, Edwin has more issues with excess mucus discharge when he eats soy milk, then he does with cows milk. He does the best with almond milk, so that is is breakfast choice while the girls and I have cows milk on our cereal. 
  • I am a super-taster, and prefer my soy beans boiled and seasoned, eaten on toast for breakfast, or as tofu. This is a very selfish personal preference, I know. But I do not care for the flavor of the highly processed vegan substitute foods. A lot of the meat substitutes have artificial colors in them. Edwin is allergic to artificial colors and flavors, which means we are not able to eat some of the substitute products. We prefer to stay away from the highly processed substitutes. 

Diet choices are very personal, I have been vulnerable to share with you my personal reasons for the choice that I have made on this topic. It is necessary for you to dig into scripture for yourself, and to listen to your own body, and make the decision that is best for you! 

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