Hello again blogosphere. It’s been a while. So let’s catch up!
Back in when I first started this blog, I began posting a lot – A LOT – about food. I really do have other things to talk about, but food is just so easy. I mean everyone eats, right? So it’s safe to say that writing about recipes or new food-ventures is generally going to appeal to the masses.
But you know what doesn’t appeal to the masses? Being vegan. I’m pretty sure the general public’s definition of vegan is “Someone who goes around, maybe with a loudspeaker, and shouts from their personal soapbox that meat is murder. They constantly berate you and bombard you with ‘LOOK AT THESE TORTURED PIGS!’ or ‘BABY MALE CHICKS ARE SHOVED INTO MEAT GRINDERS!’ complete with pictures no one wants to see pop up on their social media feed.”
And while there are some insanely passionate vegan spokespeople out there, that is not in fact the definition of a vegan. Nor is is my personal style of veganism.
My veganism is like my faith. It’s there and if you know me personally then you know about it – but I’m not going around beating people over the head with it. My life choices are very much MY life choices. If the situation calls for it, I’ll share my opinions and beliefs with you, but I am aware that not everyone wants to hear what I have to say. And forcing others to hear you just gives your cause a bad rap. It’s an instant turn off.
So for those of you who really don’t wish to have your conscience pricked or really just don’t want to hear what I have to say – stop reading here. But if you’re just a little open minded and curious, read on!
I am a new vegan. This blog is a testimony to the fact that I have not always been one. All the foodstuffs I posted about before? All non-vegan. Paleo, whole foods based, but not vegan. But I was once a pescetarian – someone who still eats animal products and seafood, but does not consume other land/air animals – before I got married so the idea wasn’t entirely unfamiliar to me.
Everyone has their own reasons for what they do. For me, I was convicted to the vegan lifestyle by those documentary films and pictures that tell all about what really goes on in the food industry. It sickened me. But I didn’t jump right into the change. I did my research, watched more videos, read more articles, and joined vegan interest groups on Facebook to ask questions. I educated myself because I really wanted to be sure that if I was going to make this great change to being vegan, that I had something to ground it in – that I wasn’t changing based on a passing whim or social fad.
Throughout my research there were a few sentences that really stood out to me and that I go back to whenever my American social norm programmed brain tells me a cheeseburger sounds yummy. Those are:
- The truth doesn’t change based on your ability to accept it.
- It is selfish to require another living being to live in confinement, endure slavery and die just because I enjoy the taste of their flesh.
- If we replaced any of the situations in which we use livestock with a human being, the acts these animals endure would be considered abominable.
These stood out to me more than any image of slaughterhouses, chicken farms, or dairy farms – although those are appalling. I can not deny the truth of those statements. And as #1 states, denying the truth doesn’t change the truth.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that it is good for us to eat meat and dairy products. But there is a surprising amount of research that indicates animal products as the leading factor for heart disease and cancer.
We’ve been desensitized by the fast food industry. They use happy cows and chickens as mascots next to their all beef patties and nuggets – I am pretty sure those cows and chickens are NOT happy to be killed and eaten. A funny, but true, meme I saw once said “100% of cows believe that [humans] eating meat is detrimental to their health”. No cow willingly goes to slaughter.
We’ve been fed a sugar coated lie about the livestock and dairy industries. Cage free just means the chickens don’t get individual cages, so they are now overcrowded in open spaces to the point of being unable to move.
We’ve not only been lied to, we’ve been uneducated and ignorant. Do you know where your milk comes from? Dairy cows, yes. But do you know how those dairy cows produce their milk supply? Because I didn’t. Dairy cows are artificially impregnated and then when the calf is born, it is taken away from the mother so that her milk can be harvested for human consumption. But that’s not all, in order to keep a cow producing the highest milk yield possible – these cows are repeatedly impregnated so that they essentially are constantly pregnant AND producing milk. These cows stand in the same place, every day of their entire lives. Go back to point #3 and replace this scenario with a human mother. If that doesn’t hurt your heart, nothing will.
I can’t give you all the reasons there is to be a vegan in one post. Animal cruelty is real and pervasive in our society. People want to cry abuse when the dog next door is left outside in the freezing cold with no shelter or food but then turn around and eat a hamburger for dinner?
Meat is NOT integral to our diets. Protein and iron come from MANY sources. I get my protein the same place a cow does….and they don’t eat meat.🙂
The fact of the matter is, and what most vegans are trying to say, although loudly and forcibly. is that there really isn’t a good reason to NOT be a vegan. In fact, I’d say the top 3 reasons most people don’t go vegan are:
- Convenience: our society is not set up to support vegans. It’s not easy because you can’t just go through a drive thru somewhere and pick up a vegan meal. Eating vegan takes planning and organization and a willingness/drive to ditch the convenience factor.
- Self-indulgence: meat and animal products taste good, they do or no one would eat them. My husband told me when I went vegan that he couldn’t give up meat because he likes ribs and hot wings too much. (He has since changed his mind and is now a vegan too!) But if you really stop and think about it (go back to point #2 above), this is an entirely selfish statement. It’s like telling your neighbor that you can’t stop stealing their things because you just want them. It’s the me-first mentality and the “I want it now!” mentality. It’s selfishness plain and simple. If that steps on your toes a bit, I’m sorry but it’s the truth. And the truth tends to incite feelings of guilt in us.
- Denial/Ignorance: you either know how bad it is and are choosing to ignore it or you really don’t know. Take the dairy cow example from above. I truly didn’t know that and I’d never even stopped to think about it. Now that I know, I COULD choose to deny or ignore it. I COULD look for justifications and probably make up good reasons why I should still drink cow’s milk. But again, it doesn’t change the truth and I personally can’t live with knowing the truth but acting against it.
So there you have it. I’m a vegan. I’m prepared to be inconvenient, to myself, to my family, and to others. I’m prepared to be that person who can’t go to X restaurant to eat (won’t is more like it though). I’m prepared for the “Oh you’re a vegan?!?” type comments full of “ugh”. I’m ok with all of it because at the end of the day I know that the choices I am making are for the better – for me, for my health, and for the animals.
If you’ve read this far and anything I have said resonates with you – I encourage you to begin to do some introspection. Ask yourself these things when it comes to your food choices: Where did it come from? What’s in it? Is this something my body needs or is it something I just want?
And if you’re ready to do some more research, I suggest you start with the documentary “Forks over Knives” which details scientific findings about diet choices and certain health conditions. Then head over to YouTube and watch “The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear”
Thanks for reading! I look forward to sharing vegan recipes from here on out🙂