I'm an old soul. Actually, I'm just plain old. I may have been designed to be vegan, because I recall rejecting meat on several occasions during my childhood. I remember being especially offended by being commanded to eat rabbit by my father, who called me his Little Bunny.
In 1963 I read an old pamphlet by a Spaniard named De la Torre in which he touted a diet centered on garbanzos, olive oil, and red wine. Being 15, I was allowed red wine only during holiday dinners, but I embraced the garbanzos and olive oil. I continued to eat seafood, because it had never been explained to me that a fish was not a vegetable.
It was 1983 when I finally became lacto-ovo. I knew I’d go vegan eventually, but I was a cheese fiend and could never quite bring myself to the final step. Then, just about ten years ago, my dearest friend (since deceased) came to me with a story about the final day in the life of a dairy cow. I wept inconsolably. Never again, I vowed, would I be part of the system that regards animals as commodities.
As a vegan, I long to see the entire world adopt this way of life, yet I will not proselytize. I let my conduct alone do the persuading. When people ask me questions, I answer happily–and fully–but I don’t think that bludgeoning others with one’s beliefs is helpful. And, little by little, I see the quiet approach having its effect.
A final note: when asked do I live this way for health, for the animals, or for the environment, I feel a bit frustrated. How can I separate the three? They are immutably intertwined, interdependent. Why am I not asked whether I do it for spiritual reasons? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.