Vegan freak: an introduction

I’m going to come right out and say it. I’m vegan. I can’t hear your gasps but I know you’re shocked. I understand. Being vegan is a strange lifestyle change. Some people may say I’m a freak, but I still live a relatively normal existence. Before I appall you anymore with my dietary choices, let me give my reasonings.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been an animal lover. I’ve never lived without a pet. I have to fight back tears when I see an ASPCA commercial. I always thought I would be a veterinarian until I found out I didn’t have the stomach for it. But for whatever reason, even though I consider animals my pals, I still couldn’t imagine not eating animal products.

Until I watched something I could never unsee.

While at my grandparents house in Kansas City, the only form of entertainment I had was Netflix. I was on a documentary binge when I decided to watch Vegucated. It was about a vegan woman who found three volunteers to try veganism for six weeks. At the end of the experiment, there was no commitment to stay vegan. The whole thing seemed extremely difficult and slightly unnecessary to me at first. That is until the woman conducting the experiment showed them the many reasons why being vegan is not only a moral choice but also has economic, health and environmental benefits. She showed them the China Study, a 20 year research project where scientists studied the diets of people in China and in America. Because a majority of people in China still eat a mostly plant based diet, they had significantly less cases of heart disease and cancer, compared to the United States.

It wasn’t until she showed them footage from the major corporations that own the far from idyllic factory farms that I knew I could never look at meat the same. There, they house and mass slaughter thousands of animals in terrible conditions. I sat in the bedroom, tears streaming down my face. Cows, chickens, pigs and fish all put through inhumane treatment and deaths just so I can indulge myself.

Although I was very distraught, I still wasn’t convinced that I could forsake animal products. I couldn’t imagine giving up things like pizza or Chick-fil-A, but I wanted to try it. The next day, I came back home. I told my mom what I had seen and that I was thinking about going vegan. She laughed at me. See, I’ve never been much of a veggie lover. Of course she would find my veganism a little absurd. But then I showed her the movie. Just like me, the graphic images of inhumanity shocked her. Immediately after it was over, we went to Sprouts. We didn’t immediately stock up. Instead we picked up a few things like milk, cheese and meat substitutes.

I have been vegan ever since. I won’t say that it has been easy, especially since I transitioned completely cold turkey. But for the most part, it hasn’t been that hard. I have a very supportive mother who cooks delicious vegan meals for me. Sometimes I have cravings for things like fried chicken, but that’s to be expected.

People ask all the time whether or not this is a lifetime decision. Honestly, I don’t have the answer to that. I just know that every time I think of that fried chicken, I also think of the inhumanity it took to make it. For now, I don’t eat pals.