Veganuary, and all o the enthusiasm has me reflecting on my own vegan journey. I was happily living as a vegetarian, feeling like I was doing my part for the animals. I honestly never made the connection that cruelty goes on in the farming industry in general. I will never forget the day, it is so vivid in my mind. I was walking down Market Street and I saw a little paper dispenser with PETA flyers inside. Something made me grab one, which is unusual because PETA is so graphic, I often avoid their literature. This flyer (paper?) was all about veganism, full of suggestions, ideas and such. But what made me snap up, and make the best decision of my life is them explaining in a non-graphic way that if you are buying eggs, and dairy, you are still supporting these cruel farming practices. That was all it took for me to wake the eff up, smell the Yerba Mate, and go vegan. I didn't plan, I didn't go vegan food shopping first, I had no recipes, I just blindly jumped in, and I am so glad I did. I am so glad I grabbed that info from PETA that day, and I'm so glad that they provided that information in a non traumatizing way.
It definitely was hard to give up cheese. I had fantasies of walking through into Trader Joe's, and just eating all the cheese. Those lasted for at least a month, maybe a tad longer. But that was it. That is the only negative I can say. But those maniacal cravings go away. When I serve pizzas at work with all that cheese, it now looks like blobs of gross.
I have read about other people who swear they suffer health wise, from a lack of animal products in their diet. I can't say much about that, because I'm obviously not a doctor, and I am not inside their bodies. All I can do is speak for myself, and say that my veganism has only improved my health. I started feeling more clearheaded right away. And I felt empowered, and I felt like I was being the person I wanted to be. And because I am a huge believer in voting with your dollars, I felt empowered. And my connection to animals only got stronger.
Veganism has become almost mainstream. Almost any article I read in a magazine promotes veganism, or plant based eating as a way to look young forever, be skinny for life, have luxurious hair for life, and on and on. That's great, whatever it takes to draw attention, and raise interest is fine with me. I just wanted to make a point that veganism also is good for your soul. I didn't get skinny from going vegan. But the feeling of pride and happiness is far more irreplaceable to me. I have a lightness in my heart that wasn't there pre vegan.
So, as I reflect on my vegan journey, I am happy that there are so many different ways for people to get the vegan message. Whether it's a magazine celebrating weight loss secrets, or a commercial, blog, or a pamphlet randomly picked up on a street corner.
I'll sign off with my Yogi tea bag quote, which feels so fitting to my vegan message, and journey. "There is no love without compassion".