8 Years Meat-Free: Why I Do It

Some thoughts on the upcoming completion of my eighth year without meat and my fifth year vegan

Mitchell Peterson
7 min readNov 8, 2021


Photo sharing watermelon with Marley by the author.

Veganism has come so far the paradigm has completely shifted. When my mom was plant-based well over a decade ago, it was difficult to find a vegan option; these days, they’re almost impossible to avoid. Every company is getting on board, most cynically but some for the right reasons.

For me, it shows the power of consumer demand. A more aware population makes more ethical decisions and corporations follow suit. We the people lead the way with how we spend our money.

I hope we recognize and wield that power we have as consumers.

And, while I love to see the likes of McDonald’s and KFC getting on the plant-based train, I do have some minor concerns.

It is awesome to see the options more readily available; access and convenience are everything in our modern nations. But the rise in cheap vegan substitutes does play a negative role because they’re usually so unhealthy.

However, if one is going to eat processed bullshit, it might as well be vegan processed bullshit.

The single best thing we can do to reduce our carbon footprint and help out the planet is to stop consuming animal products: full stop.

That being said, it plays poorly into the whole “diet wars” debate. It is only a matter of time before we’re seeing stories about overweight Americans who, in an attempt to get healthy, went vegan and started stuffing themselves with vegan McDonald’s and are shocked to find that they gained twenty-three pounds and their cholesterol is still through the roof.

The Joe Rogans of the world will laugh, scoff, and condescend to “stupid vegans” who think it is a healthy lifestyle. That is a relatively small issue but could discourage people from adopting a more plant-centered diet.

In the grand scheme of things, if people eating a standard American diet swapped it for a vegan version of a standard American diet, it would be a massive net positive for the world because the animal agriculture industry has SUCH an



Mitchell Peterson

Freelance writer who spent nine years outside the US, currently in rural America writing the Substack bestseller 18 Uncles.