People often ask me about WHY I became a Vegan, so I thought I would write a little on here in case YOU yourself are interested. It is not a lifestyle I would recommend for everyone, but if you attempt it and feel healthier and stronger GREAT because continuing will be easy. You mustn’t martyr yourself or make yourself unhappy. It is a difficult endeavour at the beginning, and so if you occasionally ‘slip up’ or have breaks you really mustn’t be hard on yourself.
EVERYTIME you purchase a vegan product or eat in a more ethical way, you are voting with your money and creating a market that encourages more food makers to utilise compassionate or non-animal farming. I think a common perception with people who feel uncomfortable with eating animal products, but who are cowed by how tiny a one-person-boycott can seem in the face of industrial mega-farming is “what’s the point? I can’t make a difference”. But you do, food companies and supermarkets all want your money and closely monitor ‘trends’ in peoples spending. So you must feel powerful, even if you simply start by having occasional vegetarian meals or something. I have had to learn to cook better since cutting out dairy and eggs, because I needed to be excited about dinner so that I didn’t ‘miss’ stuff. But I was surprised how much I enjoyed the challenge of that.
I really want to respect life. I am not against eating animals or farming in theory, those things have enabled our brain development (through being able to ingest mega-loads of protein quickly) and then our society (someone else creating our food so that we can invent things and make art and tweet). Before meat-eating our ancestors had to forage for plants all the time, now we are liberated from that which is brilliant obviously. BUT now there are so many people to be kept alive, and the food industry pressed to make more money that the conditions that animals are kept in are incredibly cruel. I don’t know how conscious animals are, I think it’s probably on a sliding scale, but I believe that pain without understanding is awful. With human beings, terrible things happen that we hear about on the news, but I think at least we can make sense of those things, recover, have counselling and philosophy and the salves of story and religion. You absolutely might not agree or care and that’s okay, I am not writing this to persuade you, just to set out my own thinking (with no shocking or scary statistics or pictures).
When I tried being vegan (it was an experiment) I missed a lot of food. I was often hungry and hated being away from home as all I could eat from late night garages was peanuts. BUT I also felt lighter and tummy problems I’d always had disappeared and I felt VERY happy all of sudden that I was doing a tiny kindness to the animals I so love. (I am a silly anthropomorphic idiot, you are probably a lot more sensible). And so it got easier, and I learned to always have a snack bar in my bag, and which common chains had vegan options and how to cook . And while some people can have pre-conceptions about what vegans are like (preachy, judgemental, angry, paper thin with no energy) it is the thing I like most about myself. And every day, I feel I do an incremental very small piece of goodness. And oddly I have found that it has lead to me feeling more compassionate in all areas of my life.
I think it’s healthy to at least have an occasional think about what you eat and how it has become food. SORRY if any of this that sounded patronising. There is loads of stuff on the web about the treatment of animals in farming and about how bad the hormones in milk are for humans and how difficult it is to digest dairy blah blah blah, but you can find all that on your own if you’re interested!
Here are just a few of the things that I found incredibly fascinating:
IN DEFENSE OF FOOD
Not really about Veganism but food in general. Pretty great as an overview/eye opener.
THE WISDOM OF THE BONES
A book about human evolution that also had tons of information about us starting to eat meat as a species and things like Vitamin A poisoning (when we didn’t know not to eat carnivores livers!)
A bit of info about Giant Pandas, who switched to NOT eating meat but still have a carnivore’s digestive system (we are the opp)
EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer
A brilliant book, no lectures just wonderful thoughts.
This clever lady has put links to seven on her site. You may become shocked/saddened/upset so make sure you are in the right mood. Earthlings is particularly powerful.
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