I have been a meat eater since birth, well until you can start eating meat as a baby, and loved the taste of meat. Chicken was my favorite thing to eat, I ate it almost every single day. I ate chicken almost every single day and loved the taste of it. I wasn’t a big red meat eater, but had it on occasion, and I also enjoyed eating fish. But for me, meat was the meal. If my plate didn’t have chicken or turkey on it, then it wasn’t a meal. A plate of vegetables and rice? That’s not going to fill me up. I needed meat to survive.
I stopped eating dairy about two years ago and only had it on occasion, so I was used to dropping something that I really enjoyed due to health reasons. I loved the way I felt after I stopped eating dairy. I did it for health reasons, and didn’t even consider the effects that the dairy industry has on the environment and animals. I thought all of the farms milked their cows by hand, and I truly didn’t know that a cow had to be pregnant to provide milk. That’s how naïve I was.
I have known vegetarians my entire life and have always respected their decisions, but felt that I could never go vegetarian. Every time they would talk to me about it, I would say no I love meat way too much to give it up. Or you need meat to survive. How am I supposed to get my protein? I was excited for them, but could never imagine myself as anything but a meat eater.
I have always considered myself to be a true animal lover. I love animals more than people. Growing up, we always had animals running around the house and without a dog or cat, it didn’t feel like home. I love cows, elephants and other animals, but never put it together that I was actually eating them. I know it sounds crazy, but when you are used to eating meat your whole life you don’t think anything of it. It was my routine, part of my everyday lifestyle and to me it wasn’t a problem. I never thought of my piece of steak as a cow or my chicken as a real chicken. I never saw it as flesh or thought of how it got to my plate. Sure I’ve seen my share of clips on animal abuse, and would immediately feel hurt and upset, but never upset enough to put down the chicken I was eating and think about where it came from.
And I think a lot of people can relate to that logic of it being part of their life. You don’t think about it because you don’t see it that way. You see it as food, as a necessity to your health, and not the actual animal that was once living and now is in your stomach. And on the chance that you do have that moment of clarity, it usually doesn’t last long enough and you are back to eating meat again. I get it because that was me for a really long time.
Now that I’m vegan, and don’t consume animal products and byproducts, I really feel like a veil has been lifted and I can see clearly. And I’m not saying that to sound better than anyone or above anyone, I’m simply sharing how I feel, and it’s incredible. For the first time I feel guilt-free. I can proudly say that I am not hurting animals and I don’t need to kill them to survive. I have always believed it, but have never acted on it. And now that I’m living that truth, I’ve never felt better.
I could go on and on, honestly, I could, but I will stop here. I wanted to give you a little background in hopes that you can relate. I’m sharing my vegan journey, and am excited to see what’s to come!