CELEBRATING A YEAR OF VEGANISM AND THE LESSONS IT’S TAUGHT ME:
I was in the East Village with a close friend eating at an Indian restaurant.
Less than 24 hours earlier, I was playing with goats in an animal sanctuary in Northern California called Goatlandia. They were fun loving, kind, and gentle creatures (the picture you see here).
24 hours later, goat curry was on the menu.
I looked at the menu. Looked at my friend, Charlie, and made a decision on the spot, in that moment.
“I don’t want to eat animals anymore.”
He said, “like for tonight?”
“No — I don’t want to eat them anymore. Like, ever.”
I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life.
I’ve made a lot of good decisions, too.
Going vegan over one year ago was one of the best things I have ever done, and I wanted to share some reasons why:
YOU REVERSE THE “I COULD NEVER” MUSCLES IN YOUR BRAIN:
I ate animal products 3 times a day every day of my life. I met vegans and thought they were weird or crazy or whatever people. I could never give up meat. Protein, strength, the taste. And Eggs? I ate 6 a day. Morning, noon and night.
But here’s the thing. “I could never” are dangerous words in the english language. Veganism showed me that yes, I can. And what starts as giving up consuming animal products quickly translates to many other areas of life that you used to think you could never, and now you see, you can.
IT’S CONSISTENT WITH HOW I VIEW THE MEANING OF “POWER”
How I treat, defend, and co-exist with those that cannot protect themselves is the ultimate sign of power. The animals that I ate for 35 years of my life have zero, zero, zero opportunity to defend themselves, speak up, or protect themselves from the death, rape, and pain they experience.
When I exploit those that have no ability to protect themselves from exploitation….
It’s not power. It’s weakness.
IT’S A SMALL WAY TO MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE EVERY DAY:
I stopped eating animal products because I no longer wanted to participate in the needless suffering of animals themselves. Then I dove deep into all of the other benefits. The amount of food that we grow to feed the animals we kill to eat ourselves could provide food for all of the people on Earth. No more meat, no more world hunger. This is not optimistic rhetoric. It’s a statistical fact. The meat and dairy industry uses ⅓ of earth’s fresh water. 1 hamburger is over 600 gallons of water, the equivalent of showering for 2 months. Greenhouse gases, land use, depressed slaughterhouse workers, increased crime when around new slaughterhouses. By just eliminating meat and dairy from your life, you will make a HUGE change. Not to mention there are multiple, scientifically proven health benefits to a plant based diet. It’s not just a fad…it’s science.
IT SHOWS ME THE POWER OF MY CONSUMPTION CHOICES AND MY DOLLAR:
Supermarkets care about one thing. My money. The reason they now carry oat milk and almond milk, and soy milk, and tofu and tempeh and coconut yogurt is simple. Because I will buy it. And if more people buy it, they carry more. If I won’t, they carry less.
Dairy consumption is down last year. Way down. Like, dairy milk sales dropped over a billion dollars in 2018. That’s good news for the vegan movement. Because if dairy goes down, and nut milk consumptions go up, more nut milks, less dairy. It’s supply and demand. This is one area of our lives that we can make real change from our consumption. How we spend our dollar determines the future of food. That’s exciting.
“THE WILD CARD” EFFECT:
I could write multiple pages of the benefits that I have felt over the past year. The kind and well-informed community that I’ve met around the world, the great conversations, the creative approaches to preparing nutritious food, the farmers I look forward to chatting with at the local markets, learning about new and delicious fruits and vegetables and more.
But one thing stands out more than all the others.
Inner peace and elevated consciousness.
I know many of you will roll your eyes at this and think it’s too new agey. That’s ok. I just write about my truth. You decide what to do with it.
Over the past year, I feel deep levels of peace knowing that no pain or suffering or fear enters my body. That my plate is a reflection of my world that I have worked hard to create — kind, creative, peaceful, conscious, hopeful, alive, and connected. I feel more — people’s energy. My level of clarity is even more crystalized — helps with decisions. And my ability to connect with people, vegan or not, is more expansive and in touch than ever.
The protein myths (I am stronger now than I have been in the last 10 years): Plants and plant based protein sources have alllllll the protein we need. Animals eat plants. The protein we eat as vegans comes from the same source of the protein you eat as a non-vegan.Think about it.
The culture and “life enjoyment” myth. I think we associate animals with culture, family, meals, community. And I understand that. But it was also a part of culture to have slaves, to pay women less, and to have different races use different bathrooms. It was culture. It was still not right. Culture does not equal morality. And it rarely has.
Enjoy your life, and giving up animal products is boring and restrictive myth: Also a huge myth. I love making the vegan versions of all my favorite traditional dishes. I love exploring new restaurants and finding new fruits and vegetables and making “cheese” out of delicious nuts and veggies.
I LOVE HUMANS AND THINK WE ARE GOOD — VEGANS AND NON VEGANS:
A final and important note. I love human beings. I think we are good. I think we want to be better. I think that we have been misinformed by the marketing machines and special interest groups that make lots of money when we consume animal products. But I keep it simple.
Here is how I break it down in my head.
Animals don’t want to die or be tortured
I want to be strong and healthy.
I don’t need animal products to be strong and healthy.
So by being vegan, I can get everything I want (be strong and healthy) and animals can get what they want (to live). Seems like a good fit.
I am only a year into this journey. But, I write this because it’s been one of the most powerful, beautiful, and positive life-changing decisions I’ve made thus far.
And if you are curious about transitioning to this lifestyle, I am here to help.