Food is such a controversial topic these days. Simply discussing different ways of nourishing our bodies can turn into heated debates and personal attacks. We all hate to feel like we're wrong, or that our opinion is invalid. We hate feeling inferior and embarrassed. The fact that conversations about food can make us feel these ways makes me very, very sad. So I'd like to have a conversation! I would love to know what you all eat, and why you eat it. My greatest inspiration is Ellen Fisher, and as she says it, "Part of what the vegan lifestyle is to promote love, to love all beings, and to see the good in all people and animals." How beautiful is that?
With that being said, I am vegan!
I went vegetarian in November, 2014 after watching Earthlings (you can watch it for free here) in my Environmental Science class at the University of Winnipeg. We had to watch it in class and write a paper on it afterwards. Half of the class left after the first 5 minutes, and the other half stayed and cried through it. I heard sobs throughout the lecture room from all kinds of students, the macho jocks, the quiet girls. For half of the movie, I couldn't watch. I covered my eyes, but I still heard. Thinking of that documentary... the unveiling of the truth... it still makes me shake. I cry just thinking of it. I went home immediately afterwards and cried.
After that, I couldn't even look at the meat section in the grocery store without crying. I had flashbacks, nightmares... you name it. I was truly scarred. It wasn't How could I directly support what made me feel so empty inside? There was no turning back for me. I was vegetarian.
My friends and family certainly weren't surprised. I have loved animals since I can remember. They have always been my bestest of friends, but no one was interested in joining in on my new found lifestyle. My husband, Kyle, ate significantly less meat because I wasn't cooking it anymore, however he still ate it when he went out or was home by himself for dinner. I didn't pressure him because I didn't want resentment to become a part of our relationship. All I wanted from him was his support, and that's what he provided. He is truly amazing. I knew he had an open heart, but I also knew he had to come to it on his own, as do most people.
It took me about a year after that to even dabble in veganism. For me, the struggle was cooking, and grabbing drive through food on the go. I had a hard enough time learning to cook with meat and traditional North American foods, so this new learning curve of cutting out the meat was hard. That whole year I was consuming vegan content like a mad woman. Though I was not vegan, I listened to Podcasts, watched YouTube videos, Kyle even bought me a few vegan cook books! But it still took me time. *I'll leave a few links below to some of the resources that helped me immensely through the beginning of my journey*
My main concern was what to do about extended family dinners and social situations. I certainly did not want to be an inconvenience to the person who would be preparing a meal for me. I didn't have the confidence, but the more I learned, the more I was able to speak up in small, subtle ways. To answer simple questions that all vegans get. To share my compassion with those who seemed interested. I always wanted to come from a place of love and compassion, because that's the whole point.
I started to cut out eggs and dairy as much as possible to the point where we hadn't bought any in ages and hardly even noticed... The hard part was eating with family. I still continued to consume cheese pizza with my family, or vegetables made with butter, but at home I was vegan. Slowly, this is changing, and I have been able to bring vegan chilli, green bean dishes, potato dishes, raw vegan "cheese" cake, to family gatherings, and all of the above have been a hit!
This past week, Kyle and I watched Cowspiracy. I wrote a little post about my thoughts after watching it, you can click to that here! After watching it, Kyle was inspired, finally. He went to work the next day and excitedly spread the word. Low and behold, his brother and my step sister became vegetarian immediately after taking our suggestion and watching the documentary! This, in turn, inspired Kyle and I so much more.
Kyle's excitement, compassion, and encouragement opened up the eyes of two people who no longer contribute to suffering, environmental depletion, and the deterioration of their own health. Isn't that the most beautiful thing? Now I come home and Kyle says to me, "Hey look! For lunch, me and Chris went to Burrito Splendido instead of Subway because they have more vegetarian options!" It fills my heart.
What I'm getting at is... we've all been the angry vegan, and the vast majority of us have been non-vegan. So let's choose love so that we can spread love. Let's be the glowing, happy, kind vegan in the room so that we can show compassion to ALL living beings, human and non-human. Being kind and generous will always win over degrading other peoples' choices, even when others are harmed because of them.
Here are some links to amazing human beings that changed my life:
I will be sharing another post about my experiences with different types of vegan diets, and my Celiac Disease diagnoses next! Stay tuned!
Take good care, lovelies!