I have always had a deep-rooted love for animals from being a child.
Growing up in a world that hides the truth about many aspects of food production, not just meat, meant I never knew what the truth was (and I was certainly never encouraged to seek it out). My uneducated opinion about a vegan lifestyle was that it was something extreme and difficult to do.
My best friend decided to do Veganuary in 2014, which of course prompted discussions about what vegan is, what inspired her to participate and how she found it. Initially I was very excited! I wanted to support her and, as a real foodie, was looking forward to cooking for her and learning about vegan foods.
Something more happened though, my conscience took notice. I started to read and watch, and it hurt. I could not believe what was going on in the meat and dairy industries. It sickened me and made me feel ashamed. So I tried some vegan products, initially nut milks. I thought I would just simply love them and would go vegan overnight. I didn’t like them. I was crushed. My internal battle was not over yet.
I continued to read and watch, and one day I was reading an article about pig farming, written by a farmer. It was eloquent and compassionate and truthful. Again, the truth hurt, badly. I felt a horrible weight in my stomach and the crushing guilt in my chest as I read about the horror of the last pig waiting for slaughter. It was then that I felt my switch flip, in a single, easy moment I was vegan. I simply could not be a part of that process any longer.
The relief was massive, the peace and joy sublime. I have been vegan for four months at the time of writing this and I have never had a better relationship with food. I eat wonderfully tasty and interesting foods all the time. I shop in supermarkets with ease and supplement my store cupboards with ingredients from online shops. I cook for and share food with my family, friends and work colleagues. They all love them, and some are starting to incorporate vegan products into their diets.
I find being vegan such a positive, life-affirming way to live. Each choice I make not to consume an animal product in any form has a positive impact, it reduces the harm being inflicted on animals everywhere, and because of that I could not be happier.