My journey to becoming vegan is an interesting one. It’s like I just woke up one day and saw the light. I suddenly started really caring about why all this unnecessary killing of animals is taking place…Like I had been in a stupor all along.
This was quite recently (24/11/18) but I had been preparing for it for quite some time. Like drugs, it’s difficult to quit meat cold-turkey (no pun intended). Something about meat gets infiltrated into your system and it takes a while to get it out (no pun there either). It’s a mental process that begins with you first accepting the idea in your mind that, yes, despite the challenges, I AM GOING TO DO THIS.
My diet has never heavily consisted of meat anyway and Hindus have always naturally been vegetarian so it was something I’ve always strived for. I have also found that I have actually been able to save money by eschewing (not chewing lol) or not buying meat. However, veganism takes it one step further by omitting milk and eggs and I admit that this has been challenging. Why no milk and eggs? Because even more torture is involved for the poor animals (look it up.Just google “Erin Janus”..Her videos changed my life.) You could also google Dr. Melanie Joy from whom I first heard the term “carnism”. Both these ladies make very interesting points that stuck with me:
#1. Why is it NOT ok to kill your pet but OK to kill other animals? I mean, is this like George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ where some animals are ‘more equal than others’? (Melanie Joy)
#2. How is it that we can feel compassion for a chicken or other animal trying to cross the road but then drive a few blocks down and order Chicken Mc nuggets? (Erin Janus)
#3. If we were really meant to eat animals, why is it so difficult for us to kill them with our bare hands and chow down on them raw the way other natural predators do? (another experimental video I saw).
Of course there are countless other reasons, but I won’t get into them here. Just watch the videos.
Anyhow, I am not here to morally lecture anyone as I believe that everyone has a choice. I’m just trying to share what my journey has been like. A significant day for me was the day of my first class party after going vegan. This was in my First-Aid class when the teacher was planning meals and I announced “I’m vegan”. It actually felt very strange to hear myself say that because I had never owned it before. Everyone looked at me strangely and I must have felt as strange as they felt.
Part of me was also feeling like they must be thinking I’m such a pain because I’m making such a fuss about what to eat. In the past, I would go along with whatever food was convenient for everyone else because I just didn’t want to make a fuss or stand out. I could kind of relate to the video below:
But now, owning my “veganship” felt like the thing to do. Like a recovering alcoholic, I think that giving up meat requires active acknowledgement of your new way of life. Sure, there may be challenges, but you must be prepared to stick with it. When you announce it, you are making a vow to yourself and others that is harder to break than if you keep it secret.
I am aware that some meat-eaters may find that vegetarians/ vegans are just being “difficult”. I’ve also read where they dislike us because we bring up a secret shame inside them. Whatever it is, I believe that we should love everyone, whether they are meat-eaters or vegans. I also believe that we should love all creatures, as we love ourselves.
I am aware that in times of dire need, no other product might be available but meat but I am also aware that this is modern times, and we have lots of choices on the shelves. Hell, I may be trying “tofurkey” next, thanks to Laura Clery (in the vid above).
When I first decided to go vegan, I found the lack of vegan food choices in the groceries to be offputting and really irritating. Tofu seems to be a scarce commodity in my country (Trinidad) for some reason; Pricesmart does not stock it at all, nor do they have rennet-free cheese.. Like, why is rennet still even used when you can make cheese without it and it tastes even better? Neither do they have eggless cakes.. I’m considering a boycott.
In other groceries, everything else that’s vegan is really pricey, like the vegan chicken, fish and sausages. But I think if you’re going to go vegan, why remind yourself of all those labels that include meat-sounding names? Just go vegan.
But seriously, how is it that meat is so plentiful while vegan meals are so hard to source? It’s like we are subliminally brainwashed to want meat and to be desensitized to the violence and gore that accompanies meat-eating. I don’t understand how it could be more convenient to slit the throat of an animal, gut it and chop it up into a hundred tiny pieces than to simple pick a fruit or vegetable?
Yes, I saw the movie “Alive” (1993) and it haunts me to this day. But I also acknowledge that those guys in the Andes had no choice but to feast on the corpses of their fellowmen. Nobody should give them wrong for doing what is necessary to survive. But look around you…Unless you live in a cave or the Andes, do you really need meat in order to survive?
Why do we recoil in horror at scenes of cannibalism or Ed Gein skinning people alive and using them as leather when we do the same to animals every day? Someone else made a point that something is inherently wrong with the meat industry. Imagine if the tables were turned and animals chopped us up for dinner, milked our females to make cheese then melted that cheese made from breastmilk over meat patties made from human meat… That would be horrifying, wouldn’t it? Then why is it OK for us to do that to other living creatures? I really don’t know.
Plus butchers have always scared me instinctively: if you could stand up and butcher animals all day without batting an eyelid, I don’t think I’d feel too safe around you if you had a knife or chopper in your hand. But it’s not only butchers doing it, I’ve seen ordinary housewives buying whole hog heads, chopping up animals, and just wiping the blood off their hands and faces like it was nothing. Like, horror thrillers have nothing on them. I used to eat meat before but could never bring myself to kill the animal or chop it up for myself. Anyhow, I guess we do what is necessary to survive.
However, in today’s world, I’ve come to the conclusion, that meat-eating is not necessary to survive (at least, not for me). As someone of East-Indian descent, I’ve also faced unique challenges since East-Indian diet heavily favors starches and oils; however, I’m looking to be vegan AND healthy too and I don’t like flour, soya and potatoes that much.
So I’ve been forced to get even more creative in the kitchen but it hasn’t been that hard. (I’ll be sharing some recipes soon). And I’ve noticed something even better: due to all the healthy fibres found in vegan food, I feel full, yet somehow lighter and even more energetic than before. Can I keep it up? Only time will tell. But this has been my journey thus far and I’m glad to share it with you. Do share also if you have had similar experiences, any tips, etc. Thanks for stopping by 🙂