Tag Archives: self-education

From Omnivore to Herbivore

I love, loved, and practically had an affair with cheese. I’ve been drinking cow’s milk since before I can remember, and ice cream and I have a special relationship. My grandparents owned milk cows at one point, so I’ve had it practically straight from the cow itself. I’ve also tried goat’s milk – that was an interesting strike to the senses. Turkey and chicken, steak and eggs, hamburger, hot dogs, and fish – I ate them all.  I was an all-American kid that way. And growing up I had helped butcher chickens on my grandparent’s farm. I was privy to the process of skinning and dressing a deer. None of this was new to me.

I had started cleaning up my diet, a lot, about two years ago. But of course I still had a little of all of my favorite foods. And to be honest, there were times I craved nothing except for some kind of meat. (Internal signals anyone??)  So when I made the decision to go vegan, you can imagine the surprise of my friends and family. Of course, I had done a vegan cleanse for about a week a while back, but that was just to re-balance myself, really. And that week had been one of the hardest of my life. Granted, I had made it much harder than it needed to be, but you can see where I’m going with this.

I want to say it was about a year ago that I watched Food, Inc. That documentary woke me up. It put it right in my face – the meat we’re getting at the store today isn’t the same meat I helped with as a kid. It’s not from the happy chickens and cows I remember growing up. For a few days I can honestly say that the sight of meat wasn’t exactly appealing. But after a while I did what we all do when we don’t feel ready for change: I shoved that information into the back of my head.

These last few months have been months of educating and learning; months of growing and evolving for me. I have changed my mind about a lot of things I had thought were set in stone. I have woken up to things that I cannot fall asleep on again. As I started my journey into the all-natural, organic, and minimalist worlds, I started becoming concerned about the fact that I still had no real idea of what was in the meat I was eating. I would look at chicken breasts and compare them in my head to what I knew they should look like. I wouldn’t go near pork anymore, and I started questioning what kind of beef I was eating (TMI: I hardly ever ate beef because it gave me intestinal gas).  And that led me to two more documentaries: Earthlings and Vegucated. Just a warning for those who are prone to queasiness: Earthlings is NOT for the faint of heart. I have a pretty tough stomach, but even I couldn’t bring myself to finish that one. After I really had my eyes opened to the meat farming practices in the US, I just couldn’t justify my eating habits anymore.

That’s not to say that I think vegan-ism is for everyone and that I’m demanding that those around me jump on my bandwagon, I’m just saying that it’s a choice I’ve made for myself. It’s actually a funny experience watching people react to the news that I’ve decided to go mostly vegan.* And I’ve given the same statement so many times in the last few days after someone feels like they have to justify themselves to me: “It’s fine if you want to continue eating meat, I’m not saying you cant. I’m just saying this is a choice I’ve made for myself.” I know I’ll have to put more thought into the foods I eat, the places I eat, and the way I eat – but for me, that just makes it more fun. I love the fact that I get to try out new recipes. (I also found out that bread baking is an art form, and I’m NOT good at it….yet).

So here’s to all of our new adventures – May they be many and exciting – in the upcoming year!

*I do still eat honey because of my sensitivity to most other forms of sugar – but I only eat it raw and from sources I trust.

I Believe…This might turn some against me.

I work in an industry that promotes consumerism and the right of the wealthy, for whom else can afford the products we design and sell? No one except those with money (unless of course we feel the need to donate a product for a specific cause, which my company does actually do quite frequently). But my job does not define me. My job is not me. I actually work in an industry I do not believe in. Why? Why would I allow myself to be used in this manner? Why would I accept a paycheck for doing something that doesn’t fulfill me? As of this moment the answer is shallow, and it is deep: the money. But that in and of itself is not a moral issue. The use of the wealth or lack thereof that you are given for your time is the moral issue. I have to pay the bills just like anyone else. But I also have dreams, wishes, and goals. But those things do cost something, and so I have to find a way to fund them. I too, want to be able to do something more with my life, and someday I hope to get to the place where I can do it full time. But right now, I must take what I can to survive.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is just because you’re stuck in a situation you don’t want to be in doesn’t mean you need to despair about it all the time. I am not only my job.

I am naturalist; I am a believer in the power of meditation, the strength of yoga, and the balance of nature. I believe that plants and animals have souls – otherwise how could they worship God – that being of all things spiritual? I believe that modern technological advances can help us clean up the mess we have made of this planet. I believe nature is best left alone. I believe that God made this planet perfectly, and we’re here taking advantage of and ruining that perfection. (I include myself in this belief. I am a part of the problem. I want to be a part of the solution as well). I am a believer of self-education. I believe in the power of books, and the ideas that weren’t originally my own embedding themselves into my life. I believe society is failing itself, but that we can turn ourselves around. I believe, at the same time, that there are people who are trying to turn our social structure and social norms around. I believe that love in every form should be embraced, and that all people are allowed to love in the way they see fit, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. And even if I don’t practice them myself. I believe in the power of giving and the power of love. I believe in a great big God. I believe in all things beautiful. I believe that equality, no matter your social standing, skin color, or any other difference you embrace, is a basic human right. I believe that clean water, food, and freedom are also basic human rights. I believe that alternate energy solutions should be embraced, funded, and allowed to flourish without government interference. I am a lover of wind and an embracer of rain. I believe the Earth is a living being, and we should respect her as such. I don’t believe that taking substance from the Earth is wrong, but I do believe that hunting just to kill, fishing for a prize, and wasting natural resources – or polluting them – are horrid practices. If you are a hunter for meat, a fisher for sustenance, and a planter for food, you are my friend.

If my beliefs make me a radical, extremist, or mental, I embrace those labels as well.

I am not just one thing, but many. I do not believe in only myself, I believe in the natural and spiritual worlds around me. I believe good and evil do exist, and that love is the cure of all evil.