On becoming vegan


Well, this will be an interesting point in my life to look back on and try to remember. I feel like it happened so fast that it’s kind of a blur. If you read my Who am I post then you know the first step to changing how and what I eat started with a slap in the face comment from a friend, “you say you love animals, you work with them, and yet you eat them.” Immediately the gears in my brain started clicking and I thought, “well shit, that’s true. I do love animals and I do work with them. Why on earth would I be okay with eating them?! Well, I’m not!”

I think that for most of my life I just ate without thinking about how food got to the store and then to my plate. I feel like it’s something that has been kept hidden from us because if people knew what animals went through many more probably wouldn’t eat them. Every couple years or so I would talk about going vegetarian, but never really made a conscious and informed effort to do so or to figure out why I was feeling this need for a change or why I was even having these thoughts.

After deciding I was ready and wanted to stop eating animals I began doing some basic research. My first and extremely lucky find was a fabulous podcast called Vegetarian Food for Thought. This is one of the most interesting, informative, and entertaining podcasts I have EVER listened to. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the talent behind Vegetarian Food for Thought, has really mastered the art of communicating to her listeners. Her posts range from thought provoking, to informative, to poetic, to heartwarming, and so on. Colleen’s voice is so easy to listen to and the manner in which she educates (or should I say illuminates) will draw you right in and make you want to learn more, strive to be more, and live with compassion for all beings. She really is amazing and inspiring.

While Aaron and I were eating dinner the night I decided to go vegetarian, we discussed what we should do with the animal based products we had in our home. I told Aaron that I personally didn’t want to eat them and he said, “I’ll try to finish them up just so that we don’t throw them away.” After about a week of that, Aaron was pretty much over it and dove into vegetarianism head on. We gave away what we had left to our friends who weren’t vegetarian and tossed what they didn’t want. We were so ready to be rid of it. Just looking at certain items made me think of death and suffering. While switching to a plant based diet I listened to Colleen’s podcasts more and more, multiples per day. I couldn’t stop—I was officially hooked. I remember hearing in one episode that being vegetarian is a terrific step in the right direction, but the milk and cheese industry have just as much impact on the lives and livelihood of the animals. I had never put it together that to get milk (and in turn cheese) a cow needs to be pregnant, and instead of the calf getting the milk, we take it. What really happens to those calves?… Veal anyone? Oh hell no! So away went the cheese and milk and the longing thoughts that I assumed I’d have, and instead I think about how hopefully one more baby animal gets its milk, its mother, and its life. That’s all I need to reaffirm this path that I am on. Let the animals be just what they are and live how they deserve to live with just as much right to life as we have. Who are we to take that away?

I must say that once I went from vegetarian to vegan, which literally took about two weeks cause I was so gung-ho, I felt a weight lifted off of me. I think it was a subconscious weight and I have a feeling that most animal lovers have it too. Looking at my companion animals I realized that they aren’t any different then a cow, a pig, a horse, a chicken. They want to live, they can suffer, they feel pain. Hell, some of them are smarter than the crew I live with. I had a really uplifting moment when I prepared my first thought-out, fully vegan meal. Sitting down to eat it I marveled at fact that not one animal was harmed in the cooking of that meal and dammit, it was delicious. It was an almost euphoric feeling. I know that for many other people, letting go of tradition, routine, what you were raised with is much harder but I can say that you won’t regret it. You feel better physically and mentally. If you’re like me, you learn about a ton of new vegetables and flavors that you hadn’t known or cooked. You realize that it’s a lot easier than you thought it would be. Aaron and I both found out that the idea of letting go of some favorite food of ours was much harder in theory than actually doing it. We have created new traditions, found new favorite meals, and cook with a LOT more variety than we ever did. I will never go back to eating animals, ever.

“What is it that should trace the insuperable line?… The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”
~ Jeremy Bentham, Philosopher

2 Comments on "On becoming vegan"

  1. ” I know that for many other people, letting go of tradition, routine, what you were raised with is much harder but I can say that you won’t regret it. You feel better physically and mentally. If you’re like me, you learn about a ton of new vegetables and flavors that you hadn’t known or cooked. You realize that it’s a lot easier than you thought it would be. Aaron and I both found out that the idea of letting go of some favorite food of ours was much harder in theory than actually doing it. We have created new traditions, found new favorite meals, and cook with a LOT more variety than we ever did. I will never go back to eating animals, ever.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.