Why We Are Vegan ? Sharing our stories about protecting animals, ourselves and the planet through the goodness of vegan living.
Your vegan story matters
Many of us find inspiration and motivation through the experiences of others. Sharing your personal story about your journey to vegan living may be of benefit to others looking to do the same. If you would like to contribute your story, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for being vegan. ??firstname.lastname@example.org
This is Shirley’s story.
I’ve been enjoying a mostly guilt-free, plant-based diet for also about 40 years now. I have only very recently been able to commit to a vegan diet (a longstanding yen for swiss cheese kept me from it, believe it or not, but my body made that choice for me by rejecting this product fully), but one small step at a time.
As a sophomore at Whittier High School, I took an English lit course which included “The Jungle,” “The Ugly American,” and “Lord of the Flies” as reading material for the semester, taught by one Mr. Johnson, who was a much-beloved character amongst the students for his side-line work as one of the famous TV dancing raisins. Looking back on it now, I realize how little emphasis we all placed on the much more important side of this man and what he offered us as adolescents on the very cusp of adulthood. Those images of rotating knives on conveyor belts in slaughterhouses and human brutality against other forms of life (a particularly horrid scene in LOF of a wild boar being killed resonates painfully with me even today) were an overwhelming assault on my senses and I found myself pushing meat away almost immediately. Two years later, shortly after graduation and not yet vegetarian, I went to lunch with my sister and ordered a favorite item – mushroom burger, with heaps of mushrooms and onions – and when I took that first bite, red juices dripped onto my plate and I gagged, dropped the burger and screamed for the waitress. I struggled to contain my emotions, and had to restrain myself from hurling the plate against the wall. The burger was, of course, not fully cooked – I did not order it rare – and it was as if all of those horrifying images converged at once with the shockingly bloody pool on my plate. I haven’t eaten red meat since. I gave up fish within a year and most dairy products shortly thereafter. Shoes have been an ongoing problem because of my foot size (11.5 womens’) – Payless was always a good go-to for affordable non-leather shoes, but they have since gone out of business. I work with the shoes I can occasionally find at thrift stores (sometimes leather) and canvas tennis shoes and my leftover stock from Payless shopping sprees.
Anyway, my journey continues as I morph my diet into something that causes no pain to my fellow beings on this earth (I have been attacked by those who would not be shamed with the line that researchers have found that broccoli screams when it is harvested…arguments I have to ignore for my own peace of mind). The best way to influence meat-eaters is to provide them with tasty alternatives, which you do! Another way is to introduce them to the meat they eat, via a Farm Sanctuary visit or any petting zoo during holiday seasons (when they are open again). A personal connection with and understanding of those animals that end up on the American menu – pigs, chickens, cows – often tends to change a compassionate person’s mind about consuming them.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes with us! I look forward to potlucks where I can share them in real time and taste with others. Anything any of us can do to save lives and steer American industry away from the environmental damage caused by farming meat is a WIN!
Sierra Madre, CA
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