Recently, I posted about an emotional experience I had while out for a morning run that led me to a realization about my vegan perspective. Something I’ve been realizing more and more is that part of becoming vegan is “awakening” to some hard truths about our society’s treatment of animals. Sometimes these truths can be painful. But keeping this blog has made a huge difference in counteracting that pain. Taking action toward creating the changes that I want to see in the world is empowering because it makes me feel like I am part of the solution. I love hearing other people’s stories of awakening and transformation. And it is my hope that, through this blog, I can spread these stories so that others like me will know that they are not alone in their experiences going and being vegan.
Today, Janet has shared her story with us as part of the “My Vegan Story” series! It’s wonderful to hear her thoughts from her place in the world (Ohio), which is so different from my own(Los Angeles,Ca). I’m sure going vegan in Ohio is much different, where she told me they sell LazyBoys in camo print! Read on to hear more about her experiences going vegan.
How long have you been vegan?
5 months (vegetarian 11 months)
There are many reasons people could choose a vegan lifestyle including compassion for animals, health and the environment. What were your primary reasons for going vegan and why?
I am the type of person that has always rescued birds, picked up strays and even saved snakes. I ate meat with guilt and blocked out the reality of its source. Perhaps it started with the posts on facebook showing the unique bonds animals make and the personalities they all possess. At last, I could not ignore my responsibility in the torture and slaughter of these animals. I also realized the hypocrisy of calling myself an animal lover.
What was your road to veganism like? Was there one thing in particular that changed your thinking or was there an evolution?A
As I explained social media was the tipping point. Cows and dogs become friends, a chicken that actually hugged his little boy… Every animal is a magical creature that deserves a great life. As far as eating, was it hard? Absolutely not. It just requires preparedness and knowledge. I still find myself on an emotional roller coaster. I’m new to this lifestyle and I feel like I’ve learned all these facts that people need to hear! I feel like at last my actions match what’s in my heart. It’s like a huge burden that I didn’t even know I was carrying is now lifted.
Did you go vegan all at once or was there a series of changes that you made?
I actually started by giving up all meat but fish and fowl. Shame on me. I then eliminated all meat and shortly there after dairy and all animal products.
When you made the decision to go vegan, what kind of reactions did you encounter from your friends and family? Did you already know anyone who was vegan or have any kind of support?
Oh lord! Luckily my daughter and her family made the change at the same time so we have that support. Aside from that I don’t have anyone around that is vegan. Everyone else? I would have got a better reaction if I said I ate puppies!
I get the usual, “what about protein and calcium?” Always from people who have never considered their own nutrition. Then there are the “but I only eat organic and free range” as if those animals romp and play then gently go to sleep voluntarily. Of course there are the crass ones who will start talking about their tasty T-bone steak or their last hunting trip. Oh yes I can’t forget the bible misquotes. “God told us to!” “We are made to be carnivores.” I am a strong Christian and know neither is true. God gave Adam and Eve grains vegetation and fruit. It even says the animals were created in his image, too. Think of that before you carve that turkey, people!
What has been the most difficult part of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle? What has been the most rewarding?
I live in Ohio, the heart of the Midwest. Around here, camouflage is the new black. Schools in rural areas actually close on the first day of hunting! Last month I spent a couple of weeks in Oceanside, Ca, where veganism is much more main stream. Here in Ohio, Vegan products are only sold in a few health food stores.
What are some resources you would recommend to someone who would like to learn more about becoming vegan.
Blogs, books, movies, podcasts, etc. Google, Google Google! It will lead you to sites like this. Read, research, educate yourself. It helps to answer the stupid questions, encourage others and solidify your own commitment. Find causes to support.
My husband swore he was a card carrying meat eater but lo and behold, he stepped over the line to vegetarian. I’m sure vegan is in his future. He is pretty sensitive, so I only shared the gentler stories with him. If I had put anything graphic in his face he would have shut down. I’m grateful to have someone who supports me! I want to beat everyone over the head with a hammer but I know it has to be a velvet one. The exceptions are companies like Tyson – those I blast. As much as I want, I know I cannot change the world. But I have hope. Right now I can just put a few band aides on it!