A Vegan Father’s Day Letter to an Omnivore Dad

Want to give your father a great gift on his special holiday? Tell him why he should go vegan.

Dear Dad,

From the dirty diaper days to my hyperactive childhood to my rebellious adolescence, you’ve always provided me with unconditional love and a voice of reason that never steered me wrong. But one of the weirdest parts about growing up is realizing that maybe dads don’t know everything. I know that I can always turn to you for wisdom, but I think I may have a thing or two to teach you. So this Father’s Day, I’d like to give you something very special—advice. Dad, go vegan.

I know, I know, but please hear me out. I remember when I first told you that I wanted to give up eating animals, you looked at me like I had three heads. “Where will you get your protein?” you asked in that concerned dad voice. Here I am years later, a picture of perfect health, and now it’s my turn to worry about you. We both know that all the fat in your burgers and steaks isn’t doing your arteries any favors, and numerous health studies have shown that meat and eggs increase the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes. Processed meats, such as sausages and bacon, are even linked with early death. Scientists and health professionals from all over the world have studied hundreds of thousands of people and found that vegetarian and vegan diets increase life expectancy by reducing the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

When I was growing up, you always taught me to be considerate of others. Veganism allows me to be considerate of everyone, and when I say everyone, I mean the whole world. Did you know that the animal industry creates more carbon emissions than the automotive industry? Or that it is responsible for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, polluted drinking water, and the devastation of rainforests and ocean eco-systems? This isn’t just about the people and the animals on Earth today, but the world your grandkids will live in as well.

Like all good fathers, you instilled an ethical outlook within me. The cornerstone of my conscience is the indelible golden rule that your father taught you and that you taught me: treat others how you want to be treated. I know that I wouldn’t want to be put in a cage so small that I couldn’t turn around, have my children taken away and castrated without anesthesia, have my nose cut off, or be pumped full of steroids and hormones just so someone can make more money off of me. But that’s what hundreds of thousands of pigs, chickens, and cows endure on a daily basis. That whole love-and-compassion thing you preach? I get to practice that at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I know how much you love our dog. Most of the farm animals that are on your plate are just as smart or even smarter than she is. You can end the hurt by simply choosing a healthier, plant-based diet.

I know what you’re thinking—there’s no way you can give up your beloved burgers and scrambled eggs, but it’s a lot easier than you think. New products from Hampton Creek and Beyond Meat are more than just alternatives, they are practically replicas—plus they’re even healthier and made from plants, which is why big spenders like Biz Stone (the guy who started Twitter) and Bill Gates are investing in them. While you may think you can’t live without your cold cuts or your mozzarella cheese, it only takes three weeks for your taste buds to change what they prefer, and soon you’ll be craving kale salad, and looking and feeling better. Just ask Mike Fremont, the guy went vegan at age 69 and now, at 91, breaks marathon records for fun.

I’m not just your crazy vegan kid anymore. I’m your educated, caring son and friend who wants you around for years to come. While this advice is free, it’s probably the most valuable thing I could ever give you. Veganism—think about it Dad, so that we can share many Father’s Days to come.

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