Thursday, March 2, 2017

The year I stopped eating animals

I have always been sensitive to the feelings of others. I cry easily in movies. I am saddened by the hatred and negativity in the world. I am an empath and feel I easily connect emotionally to others around me. I want to do my best to reduce suffering and I also do my best to stay positive in times of hardship and trials. This weakness is also my strength and it has been the doorway to a life-changing experience!

I feel my journey as a vegan began in 2014 when our family finally was given a pet! She is the sweetest little dachshund and her name is Bella! She is my little shadow and captured my heart right away. I didn't necessarily want a pet. Mainly because I KNOW how much time and effort and dedication you have to be willing to put forth. They take long-term commitment and care. Initially, I agreed to get her because I wanted to teach my children responsibility, love, nurturing, and also compassion for animals. It is very important to me that my children grow up being KIND and CONSIDERATE of all beings (not just human beings).

It took months of convincing, but we were finally able to convince my husband that we NEEDED her in our family!

She has become such a joy in our home and I can't imagine NOT having her!!! She is pleasant, loving, snuggly, super soft, and just loves to be loved. Although she can't talk, I KNOW she has feelings and feels emotion.
I can tell when she feels love.
I know when she is afraid.
I see when she is happy.

She is able to express a variety of senses although she cannot speak to tell us about them.

So, in short, the things I wanted her to teach my children, she ended up teaching ME. Animals are very much aware of themselves and feel emotions just as we do. I am not sure how people can look at animals and believe they don't have emotions or feelings.

I stopped eating animal products in February of 2014 for health reasons. During a 30-day juice fast in March of 2016, I had been meditating more and had become more conscious about what I was putting into my body. I was watching youtube videos of people juicing or eating raw and reversing diseases. I was intrigued at the health benefits and was planning to do continue after my juice fast with 30 days raw. I had heard of a movie called 'Earthlings' but I hadn't yet had the courage to watch it. I knew it had something to do with veganism and the thought KEPT coming to me that I needed to watch it. Finally I looked it up on YouTube and sure enough---there it was. So I pushed PLAY! And let me tell you, it helped me realize so many things that I didn't know. As I watched, I cried. I cried hard! It was difficult to watch and I had to keep pausing it so I could gain my composure.
The thing that made it the most difficult to watch was that I had Bella on my lap. She watched me intently with a look of deep concern within her eyes. She came closer to comfort me and she looked so worried that I was so upset and crying. At that moment, I realized how hypocritical it was of me to love her so much, yet pay for the mistreatment of so many others JUST like her. It was not a matter of NEED and I had the choice to stop. So I did. That very day I made up my mind that I was never again going to support animal cruelty with my dollars. It also became very clear to me that God is not pleased with the way his precious creatures are being treated. If it is pleasing to him that we NOT use animals, then why do we continue to do so? Were animals honestly put on this earth for the sole purpose of benefiting humans, or do you think it is possible that they feel their own joy, have their own life to live and have a purpose that we cannot understand? I realized that I truly believe that animals aren't just made to be eaten and that every form of life was created with the intent that they may fill the measure if its creation and have joy therein. Animals exist for their own purposes and exist to have joy! They have souls and will be saved just as we will be!

At first I was mainly surprised and saddened that no one I knew was against mass slaughtering of animals considered 'food' and no one cared that it was considered normal to see piles of dead animals neatly wrapped and placed in piles on the grocery store shelves. I thought that the reason no one else was vegan was because they JUST DIDN'T KNOW what is happening! So my first instinct was to tell everyone! If they knew, they would stop supporting it, right? So I went ALL in, learned what it meant to be vegan, and I stopped consuming all meat, dairy and eggs because I wanted to set the bar high for myself. If you realize something is not good, you don't continue to support it, do you? Even if it is a little bit, or once in a while? No! You boycott it completely because the law of supply and demand is real! If the demand goes down, then the supply is also reduced. That simple. I just wanted to share the truth with people and expected people to change. If only THAT were as simple. I was faced with resistance at every angle, and still am today, but that won't stop me! I think I have heard every reason in the book for why people can't stop eating dead body parts, and I have heard this question many times--- "What DO you eat?" My answer is simple. Everything but dead animal parts or secretions that come from animals. Does it come from an animal? No? Then I will try it!

As far as cooking goes, there is definitely a learning curve. You have to first change your mindset and belief that what may have been normal before, is no longer the case. From infancy we are conditioned to believe that some animals are 'pets', some animals are 'food', some animals are 'clothing', and some animals are 'entertainment'. When you change those beliefs and see 'meat' for what it really is (the body parts of a dead animal), it makes it much easier to NOT be tempted to eat it. Once you stop eating dead animal parts, the smell alone is enough to turn you away from it. There are countless of online support pages, videos and recipes that have made the transition super smooth! I stayed away from blogging because I was new and learning and didn't want to sound 'preachy' or judgmental. Until now, I have avoided writing on this blog and I don't think I regret it. I likely would have caused more contention than good because I was focusing on the wrong things. I have learned enough now that I am finally comfortable enough sharing my journey! Also, I now have my daughter by my side, since she also decided to join me and become vegan!

After a year of focusing on showing people what NOT to eat, I have learned that people don't want to hear what they are doing wrong. It is human nature to get defensive and shut down, and that is exactly what many people have done. I don't blame them, I just have to learn from it. I also have to remember that it took me years to finally make the change, so I can't expect everyone else to change immediately.

So now, instead of showing people what NOT to buy and eat, I will be focusing more on the COUNTLESS options we CAN enjoy!!! I think people are more open to not eating animals when you give them tasty alternatives that are actually cheaper!
Save money AND save lives? 
Better your health AND better the environment? 
Reduce cholesterol AND reduce killing?
It seems like a win-win!

I hope many can benefit from what I will be posting from now on. Find out what I eat, new recipes I find and create, what I enjoy making on a regular basis, easy inexpensive vegan foods and maybe some inspiration on how you can make small meaningful changes.
I hope you can see that reducing the demand for animal products CAN and WILL reduce the supply which in turn will save lives! That is all I can hope for! 

Much love,


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