My Journey from Vegetarian to Vegan
It was April of 1996 when I decided to fully jump into becoming a vegetarian, I had just turned 17 years old and after watching Oprahs show about Mad Cow disease it clicked that the meat I was consuming had a life and a family and I decided I no longer wanted to contribute to the senseless killing of animals.
For me it was easy to be a vegetarian because I would just load up on everything else that was offered for dinner such as vegetable, rice, beans, pasta, etc. For some reason, I never researched any further into the treatment of animals because I just figured they were happily running around on an open grass field willingly giving their milk and eggs to the farmers that cared for them.
I didn’t learn about the dark treatment of animals for almost 21 years till I visited a sanctuary near my home. They hosted annual events to educate people and have visitors see and interact with the animals that were discarded from the food industry but thankfully were rescued and now able to freely live their lives loved and cared for. It was there that I learned of the terrible treatment of these helpless animals and how cows would be forced to get pregnant so that they could supply milk to humans and have their babies taken from them.
Over 99% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms, which focus on profit and efficiency at the expense of animal welfare. Factory farms pack animals into spaces so tight that most can barely move. Many have no access to the outdoors, spending their lives on open warehouse floors, or housed in cages or pens. Chickens are forced into tight spaces where they hardly have room to move so they can be robbed of their eggs, male turkeys live just over 130 days and are bred to grow at an accelerated pace, causing muscular, skeletal and other health problems. I could go on and on. This broke my heart. Once my eyes were opened to this I couldn’t deny the facts.
So, I decided to become a vegan. I was surprised to find out how many food items had animal by-products in them. Most chips, veggie burgers, soups, condiments, gummy candies and altoids are just a few examples of non-vegan foods. I really had to dig into the products I decided to consume and make sure there were no animal ingredients. Again, for me this was easy because I no longer wanted to be a part of the abuse of animals. There are many ways to eat as a vegan, healthy and unhealthy but If you really do love animals and want to help change the world and become more loving and compassionate then you will find that it isn’t that hard to become vegan and eat with more compassion. I found that I am eating much healthier and I am more aware as to what I am putting into my body which is something we should all be more aware of.