I've just wiped away some tears after reading another emotionally charged article about animal rights, this time about the slaughter of whales in the Faroe Islands. This type of occurrence is commonplace for me these days. Because of the people and pages I chose to follow and support, the images and articles that come up my social media news feeds often make me sad and/or angry.
There are times that there are happy endings and these are the reasons that I look, learn and educate myself and hopefully others. For all the sad stories there will be animals who are saved and go on to live a life free from torture and abuse, and this is why I became vegan.
I’ve been vegan for two and a half years now; I was vegetarian before this and have been a meat eater at times. I’ve always loved animals and was uncomfortable about eating them but didn’t really know why. I didn’t appreciate the horrors of factory farms or the slaughterhouse, or even what an egg actually was!
After my daughter and son-in-law became vegan, and subsequently started their farm animal sanctuary, I visited there and I connected with their first rescue sheep, Mara. I wanted to know more. I read ‘Vegan Freak‘. I asked questions. I trawled the internet endlessly and watched Earthlings, and What Came Before and Behind Glass Walls. There was no turning back for me.
I accept it was a challenge at first, getting to know what was in certain food items. I spent longer than most in the supermarket and searching for recipes, but I was lucky to have both of my daughters and my son-in-laws for support.
I’m also lucky to work in London sporadically, and am constantly amazed by the range of vegan friendly restaurants. I’ve researched vegan fashion companies and cosmetic companies and have been delighted with my finds – especially the shoes! Yes if I’m travelling on the road a lot the motorway services can be a challenge, but usually I take a mini cool bag and my own food or grab some nuts and olives and a soy latte to keep me going. As for eating out, if I’m not sure I call ahead and check. To me a good chef is one that can cater for a vegan, a sure sign that your meal is not a pre-prepared microwave option.
In the office I’ve experienced some ‘gentle’ banter. For some reason the discussion seems to turn to bacon butties when I’m around. That said at a recent working lunch my vegan platter of wraps, exotic fruits and vegetable crisps got quite a few gasps of ‘oh I wish I’d said I was vegan now’!
The best part of being vegan is being part of this community of compassionate people, many who I’ve never met but I now consider my family. It’s a great feeling and one I wouldn’t ever change.