I always considered myself an animal lover. As a kid I loved going to the zoo and I loved all dogs. My dog Robin would be scared when it thundered, happy when we came home, excited to run and play football. When she got a cut, she bled. She had eyes, ears, a heart and feelings just like I did.
I thought I loved animals but three times a day I was eating the dead parts of hundreds of other beings, who were just like me physiologically and just like Robin emotionally – but I had not made the connection.
In college I received a booklet called “Why Vegan” and I watched an undercover video of a chicken farm on a table in the Student Center. I later read the 16 page booklet and it finally clicked; I had no reason to support the killing and torture of animals, when for me it was just a quick meal. Apes, gorillas, elephants, and horses are all strong and eat no meat. I realized I could get all my nutrients without killing and all my protein without filtering it through a corpse. Why not?
At first change was slow. I was a pizzaterian and ate fairly unhealthy. My palette initially shrank. To me veganism was about giving up something. But slowly I began to see that there were so many cuisines I’d never tried before: Thai, Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Mexican and so many new foods to experiment with: quinoa, nutritional yeast, nuts, guava, tempeh and many more delicious products I’d never eaten. My palette began a never-ending expansion.
I gained so much. I started to cook for myself and began to eat healthier. And on the inside I felt better knowing I was doing something positive for the earth, the animals and for myself three times a day. I’m not a big religious guy but it was a slow spiritual awakening, a shift in consciousness and, without realizing it, I felt more connected. I began to volunteer more to help educate others, even though I was pretty shy. Soon I met tons of compassionate and selfless beautiful people and started dating more. Being vegan in today’s world is physically super easy; there’s veg food and options everywhere!
It’s 2014; we don’t live in a cave. You wouldn’t want healthcare from a doctor 2,000 years ago. We need to evolve and nothing is more beautiful than the life of veganism. It’s the new standard for health, ethics and love. It’s observing the golden rule.
Women don’t exist for men to control. Black people do not belong to white people. Children are not the property of factory owners. And animals are not ours to use and kill. Millions and millions of people are learning this and are going veg. I’m so glad I did. I hope you give it a try this Veganuary! You will be happy you did. It really is a beautiful way to live! : )
Senior Outreach and Strategy Coordinator