I'm not a preacher. I don't proselytize or try and make other feels ashamed for their choices. I don't talk about being vegan until someone asks. I politely decline offers of food that isn't vegan without explaining why. If someone wants to know why, I'll tell them I'm vegan and let it go. From here I can get a variety of reactions but I don't push any agenda, I just let them know I do it for ethical reasons. If they want to know more, I tell them why I am vegan. And here is why:
Becoming vegan is part of my evolution.
I first gave up meat when I was in high school. I started with red meat. It disgusted me. I couldn't deal with eating something that was so clearly flesh. I was able to rationalize fish, chicken and turkey for some reason. I think part of it was feeling the pressure to not be too much of an inconvenience. I was a kid and lived at home. Their house, their food so I pushed what I could and backed off on some things.
I briefly went back to eating meat on and off for another 9 or 10 years. At one point all I was eating was the occasional boneless chicken breast and tuna fish sandwich. My roommate looked at me and said, "Why don't you just become a vegetarian? You never eat meat anyway." Good point. So I had my last tuna fish sandwich on my 25th birthday and that was that.
19 years later I've made the commitment to being vegan. I have been on and off during those 18 years but usually I had to deal with living with someone who was barely vegetarian and couldn't face life without cheese. I was also able to rationalize dairy and eggs because "animals don't die." Well yes, they do, but it was easier to have the happy cow image than the reality of life as a dairy cow. I also love a good omelet and pizza.
It only made sense to me to let go of all animal products in my life. I can't reconcile the arbitrary line society has created between pets and food. The number of animals that are killed every year so people can have leather shoes and hamburgers is overwhelming.
I can't be a part of that any more. Thankfully I don't have to. I live in a liberal, hippy town outside Seattle. I earn a decent living. I have access to anything I could need to feed myself a very healthy animal free diet. I can supplement B12 and iron if I need to. There are a lot of food products on the market for vegans when I'm feeling too lazy to make real food for dinner.
Not everyone is at the same place in their lives that I am. I firmly believe that even small changes makes a difference. Don't buy that leather jacket. Skip the steak. Think about the source of your food and whether it really is the best for your body and your spirit.
I want to be the vegan that shows that being vegan doesn't mean wearing hemp, patchouli and lecturing everyone about the cruelty of factory farming. I want to be well dressed, healthy and share my food and lifestyle by example, not by lecture.
That may not be a choice that sits well with others but my philosophy is if I can show that becoming a vegan doesn't mean becoming someone completely different than who you already are, maybe more people will make the change.
I'll be sharing recipes, clothes I find, products I use and my training as a vegan. Without the lectures, sad pictures and guilt.
There it is! Hope you stick around.