Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why I Became Vegan.

I've never written much about being vegan, even though I keep a vegan food blog there is nary a mention of the whys and hows of my "extreme" lifestyle. So, if you're interested even a little bit, here it goes:

I was at dinner with my dear friend Jen about a year and a half ago and she was telling me about some of the books she'd been reading and how they'd affected her eating habits and more importantly her reality. She no longer saw meat and dairy in the same way, the veil had been lifted for her.

I'd stopped eating red meat more than a decade previous, but (in the interest of full disclosure here), I'd actually had a few steaks that year because when I'd been in Paris it seemed the thing to do and I did it...and I won't lie, it was pretty tasty. So then a meatball here, a few ribs there, and I was surprising myself by my new intake of animal flesh. (For the record, I was very vegetarian when I lived in New York and Brooklyn, only occasionally indulging in sushi when the mood struck).

Jen gave me a few books that night, and when I went home I opened Peter Singer's The Ethics of What We Eat. I read the entire book in the following week. I cried a lot, and ingested even more. I was outraged and so, so angry. How did all of these things happen to millions of animals each year and yet the general public was virtually unaware. Or rather, unwilling to be aware.

I started researching, I bought more books, I read a lot and watched a little (I could hardly stomach but a couple of PETA videos). I stopped eating animal flesh immediately. I mentally punished myself for the mistakes I’d made in the previous year (taking many steps backwards instead of forward by that occasional steak indulgence). I actually felt moved enough by what I’d read to go vegan. I realized even reverting back to my vegetarianism wasn’t enough.

By the end of November I was intaking my last vestiges of my non-vegan life. Funny enough, cream in my coffee was my biggest concern. I hated the way soy milk or nut milk or even flavored soy creamer tasted. I was so used to the way standard dairy flavored my coffee. But I stuck with it and finally stopped using cream and started using Silk. And then, if I remember correctly, I actually had mozzarella cheese on a pizza as the very last serving of dairy. That was right around Thanksgiving last year.

So I took the plunge. I did nutritional research, and I got educated enough to feel comfortable with living a vegan life. And it wasn’t long before I started to reap the benefits of cutting out animal products.

I think the most important thing about it, for me, and what I’d like to communicate is how amazing I feel on the inside. Yes, I am healthier than I have ever been in my entire life (have the full blown blood work up to prove it). But what I’m talking about is how special it feels to know that you are part of an elite, evolved group of people that do not put their habitual nature and their taste buds above compassion and doing what is so clearly the right thing.

Now, I realize I ate a standard diet for 29 years, many of them were years in which I was making the choice to do so. I can feel bad about that all I want, but mostly I feel good about leaving it behind. And I try to remember that when I’m getting angry at the people around me as they hit the drive through for lunch or grill up burgers for dinner. Occasionally I lose the fight and lose my cool. But more and more these days I am working toward a even keeled delivery of information if I know the person is open to hearing it.

And, if you’ve read this far, I am only asking one thing of you as a person who is in my life and how hopefully cares about me. Do your research. Understand what you are eating. Make conscious choices. Ignorant bliss is just plain ignorant. So here are some links, maybe you’ll read an article. Or, if you’re daring you’ll go over to PETA and watch a video. But at the very least think, think about where your lunch came from. Contemplate the suffering the was caused so you could bake a meatloaf for dinner. Ask yourself why you’re scared to know more than you do right now about why chicken is so damn cheap in the face of rising grocery costs.

If you have a minute read about…
factory farmed animals,

lab animals,

animals used for entertainment,

dogs and other animals forced to fight,

puppy mills,

homeless companion animals,

fish, and

animals used for fur

1 comment:

Amber is the color of your energy said...

Seriously! October was your last update!

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