“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men” – Alice Walker (Author)
First of all, this post is not to shame, belittle, convert or push my way of life onto others. I respect everybody’s decision and being a vegan was a personal one I made over a year ago…
I was a vegetarian for about a year when I met my partner who had already been a vegan for quite some time. Like most people, I didn’t understand how not consuming dairy, eggs or honey was harming animals so I asked him to educate me. He sat me down and played the environmental documentary ‘Forks Over Knives’ and various other confronting films and by the end I was a vegan…
I saw baby male chicks being blended together because they could not produce eggs and therefore did not ‘need’ to live. I saw cows being impregnated over and over cruelly so they could produce milk that we not only don’t need but that isn’t ours to begin with. Again, I saw baby male calves killed because they could not produce milk and once the female cows were no longer able to give milk, they were also killed. The dairy industry basically said ‘now that we are done with you, we no longer have any use for you.’ I couldn’t believe the extent to which farm animals were exploited. It made me angry and incredibly emotional at the same time. I remember crying my eyes out afterwards at the absolute blatant disregard for animal life. When a hen’s eggs are taken away, that is the same as taking a baby from a mother. When a cow is milked dry so that us humans can enjoy it, that milk was for a cow to give to her baby calf. If the violent cruelty wasn’t enough to enrage me, it was the mere fact that humans feel they have the right to use and abuse animals in this way. That we have the right to take their milk, their eggs and kill them afterwards. The same goes for bees. I discovered so many bees are killed in the process of extracting honey and at the end of the day, they made that honey for themselves…not for us to take.
In this day and age there is an abundance of alternatives for us to drink, eat and cook with. I recently had my blood levels checked after being a vegan for over a year and the doctor informed with an impressed look on her face that all my levels were balanced. I get all my protein, calcium, iron and more from plant-based foods and have never felt better.
I realise that one person cannot make a difference but after becoming vegan both my parents became vegetarian and the same with my partner’s parents. I do not judge people for what they eat or how they live their life but I personally could not be a part of that world anymore after knowing what really goes on behind the scenes. Animals deserve to be free just like humans. They deserve peace, love, compassion and to be able to stay united with their families.
As I continue on my quest to rid myself of the ego as much as possible, I have found that becoming a vegan really is the epitome of compassion. It is no longer about me, it is about the animals and all about them. They do not have a voice. They cannot express their hurt, misery, suffering and therefore in my own way I do it for them. I do not judge or act superior, I educate the way my partner did for me. I have received a lot of abuse since I became a vegan and like my mother always says ‘at the end of the day, what you are doing is good.’ I understand that there are some vegans out there who shame and promote in a condescending manner. That I do not condone but the same goes for meat eaters who have literally tried to shove meat down my throat. I respect your way of life but you too must respect mine and if you ask me a question about being a vegan, I will answer it honestly.
In my yoga teacher training, I am currently studying The Eight Limbs of Yoga, the Yamas and Niyamas. My favourite Yama is Ahimsa – which literally translates to Universal Non-Violence. This means having compassion for all living things not just each other. We should all share this earth equally. I know there will always be racism, discrimination, animal cruelty, rape, murder and more but the more awareness we raise and the more we respond with compassion rather than react with ego, the closer we get to true happiness and peace.
Being a vegan has in no way been a sacrifice, it has been pure joy. I have loved cooking and creating all new types of dishes. I love how I never feel bloated and that I can consume many calories without fear of putting on weight. I love finding new vegan places and discovering just how much variety there is out there. I love how smooth my skin is now and how much energy I have each and every day. I love that I have found a man who loves animals more than himself. Most of all, I love being a vegan and am very proud to be one!
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Perhaps one person cannot make a difference but we vegans are many people – and I feel that veganism and the issues of animal rights are finally going to enter the spotlight in the best possible way! The earth and the animals need our voices.
Absolutely!! I believe we are paving the way for future generations when hopefully it will be the norm not to eat animals!