Monday, 27 April 2015

Why I Became Vegan

This post will be a bit different, as I will talk a bit more about my personal journey to veganism. I received several questions about my life and I thought maybe more of you might be interested in hearing my story. Hopefully, it will help you on your journey, too :)

CHILDHOOD
As a child, I was a big meat eater, I would basically eat the whole animal, even the parts that other people considered gross (yeah, I don't know what I was thinking either) and I can still remember my sister saying: Eww, why are you eating chicken's skin? I thought she was silly, after all, it all came from the same animal. Boy, did things soon change for me.

When I was around seven or eight, I remember having a piece of fish on my plate and suddenly it hit me: This poor creature wanted to live and suddenly someone pulled it out of the water where it died in misery. Being a child, the whole story was viewed as a cartoon in my head, but that was the first time I said: no, I cannot eat this animal.

A few years later, I was spending A LOT of time, playing with neighbours' goats. I loved them like crazy. I mean, LOVED them. It was basically like having around 20 pets and they all had different personalities and I named every single one of them. One day, when I came for a visit, a baby goat was missing (can you guess where I am going?:/) and I looked everywhere, but he was nowhere to be found. I panicked and told the neighbours that I can't find Caramel (that's how I named that cute baby goat). Guess what, it turned out they ate him for Easter or something. Yeah, my child's heart was broken. After many, many tears I calculated 2 + 2 = 4 (I was a smart ass what can I say :P) and decided that eating animals was not for me. 

For many years people wouldn't understand me and they would say I was just fussy. They tried to push different food on me (“Come on, it is just beef stock, no meet is in there!” “No thank you. I can see pieces of cow in there.” “You are so fussy and spoiled.”), but all I could see were dead animals and how they were killed when I'd see meat on the plate. I apologise, if this is too graphic for you, but as I said, this was my childhood experience and there was no way I could eat meat after seeing different images in my head.

TEENAGER
Finally, after many years of trying to prove my point, I was allowed to enjoy my happy vegetarian lifestyle. BUT, now being a teenager, I wanted to follow different fashion trends and suddenly I couldn't calculate 2 + 2 = 4 anymore (the brains go crazy when you are a teen); I was still against eating animals, but for some reason found it acceptable to wear them. Yes, I was wearing leather and, I am really not proud to say this, I was at one point even a proud owner of golden UGGs. 

After a few years of being a bit confused about my believes and about what society was telling me was “in”, I finally realised that I love animals wayyy too much and that leather will not be a part of my closet anymore. I also stopped using products tested on animals and products that contain animal parts (sadly, cruelty-free does not mean that the product does not contain any animal parts and ingredients, however, vegan certificate does).

YOUNG ADULT
Later on, after watching Best Speech You Will Ever Hear and learning about some other facts about dairy industry (followed by more research +and again, quite a lot of tears. Yes, I am pretty good at crying, but damn this information sucks and it really gets to you) I became vegan. The transition from vegetarian to vegan actually took about half a year and now I have been enjoying this lifestyle for more than 2 years.

I can, but I choose not to
That being said, please remember: I CAN eat and wear all the products that come from animals, however I CHOOSE not to, because the industry is too cruel and the animals are amazing and do not deserve to be treated like this.

Do you want to become vegetarian/vegan?
Whatever journey you are on, this is a step by step process and don't let anyone beat you down on your path. Focus on what matters the most to you, listen to your values and do what you feel is the right thing to do. You want to become vegetarian, but find it too overwhelming? Take your time, do research, explore your options and you will soon be on the right path. Want to become vegan? Again, listen to yourself, get educated and if you love animals, this will be very easy for you.

Don't want to be called vegan?
What about animal lover or animalist? Not bad, huh? :)


What is your vegan/vegetarian/avoiding animal products story? 

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10 comments:

  1. Great post! I decided to stop eating meat as a teenager, it's been probably 7 or 8 years and I don't regret it at all! I still eat cheese but I have been considering going vegan.
    www.looking-glass.ca

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  2. Here's my veggie story :)


    I became vegetarian during my junior year of high school, when I was 16. I was taking a 20th Century American History class, and we spent a week learning about working conditions during the turn of the century. We had to read "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair, which documented not only working conditions for slaughterhouse workers but also how the animals were treated and slaughtered. Our teacher showed us a video of slaughterhouse footage (probably from PETA) and I was horrified. We had our lunch break during that period, and I looked at my turkey sandwich and decided "no more." I vowed to try vegetarianism for a week, and it stuck. My parents were horrified but supportive. I had an older friend who was vegetarian and she told me about veganism. At first I thought it was too extreme and impossible. However, the more I read and learned, the more I knew that I had to be vegan. I tried veganism off and on for a few years, but would slip up and eat cheese or eggs and go back to being ovo-lacto vegetarian. On March 2nd, 2008 I went vegan for good and never looked back :)

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  3. Yes, I have heard from a lot of people that the only reason they won't go vegan is cheese. BUT step by step, right? ;)

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  4. Thank you for sharing your story! I find it very relatable! You have obviously been vegan for much longer than me, but I do agree - I never looked back either :D

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  5. Thanks for sharing your story Samantha! :) I agree, it is the best decision I have ever made as well! I am about to check out your post now x

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  6. Loved this Aniqa ❤
    I wrote a bit about my “journey-food” too last December on http://myvolatilelove.blogspot.pt/2014/12/kitchen-journey.html if you would like to read it.


    I never understood why use animals for fashion. I’ve always been against and couldn’t see it as acceptable, but eating animals never hit me. Until last year, when I stopped eating them
    I always heard things about products being tested on animals and products containing animal parts, but I couldn’t believe that those things happen with the products I used. It was always something I thought happen far far away. Actually, I think I never saw it as real, as something that was actually happening. I had to confront myself with research and was when I actually realized that those things happen. And oh, I felt so naive. I think you can imagine the way I started to look at the products I had


    Also, finally someone that understands ‘I can, but I choose not to’. I totally feel the same. People say ‘oh wait you can’t eat this’ or ask me ‘can you eat this?’ all the time and I always respond ‘I can, but I don’t want to’, but it seems like they don't understand that 😕


    I also would love to read about how you still deal with some people. As that is my hardest task, although I’m noticing changes after 6 months


    Lots of hugs, A
    http://myvolatilelove.blogspot.com/

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  7. Thanks Amila for the comment! I am about to read your article, as I find it very interesting to read other people's stories. I also thought animal testing was something that was happening far, far away (when I was a teenager, I even thought animals were treated nicely during the testing -.-). About your question - do you mean how I deal with negative comments? I have been receiving only positive comments for a while now, but I had to earn my “respect” by giving people facts and “justify” my decisions.

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  8. You're welcome!
    Thank you for reading it. I love reading other people's stories too.
    About my question. Yeah, basically dealing with unsupportive people. I feel in constant need to justify/prove something and that they are always expecting me to "fail"

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  9. Yes, I know what you mean, but don't give up! Try to look for vegan (or even vegetarian) communities in your area, join online forums and facebook groups, basically get in touch with like minded people. I did the same and through their encouragement I slowly became more confident and started ignoring the negative comments in real life. Then people slowly stopped bothering me too :)

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  10. I will do that.
    Thanks for the tips and motivation Aniqa :)

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