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The idea of veganism meant nothing to me until about four years ago. Honestly, I had no idea what it even meant to be vegan. It wasn’t until my younger sister made the dramatic transition that I began to learn more. What I learned is that veganism is essentially the practice of compassion for all living things. Meaning, we do not eat, wear, or exploit animals for their meat, fur, etc. When you’re growing up, you have this inherent love for all animals and all things in the world; however, that notion is terribly unsupported by our actions. I admit, I was once the person who made remarks like, “I could never be vegan” or “I could never stop eating cheese.” Thankfully, I grew out of this lifestyle. I decided to make the transition as my new years resolution. Before the new year, I had already cut out meat and most dairy products. The only thing left to cut was cheese. Before I educated myself on the horrifying truths of the dairy industry, it was my belief that I was not harming myself or animals by consuming these products; however, that is so far from the truth. With the help of my sister, I basically began to gross myself out to the point where any dairy products made me cringe, which, ultimately, was my goal (LOL). The scary reality is the common misconception that balanced dairy and meat diets are the healthy choice. From a young age, we’re programmed to think that the food we’re consuming is good for us, unless it’s snack food or fast food. We think that we have the free will to choose what we consume, but the food industry has a much different agenda for us. We blindly consume until our bellies are full of casein, cancerous proteins, and bad bacteria.
My decision to take on the vegan life was inspired by the fact that I am graduating college in May. As a senior without a job, I have grown stressed and I feel like I’m not in control of my life. One thing that I knew I could control was my diet! I know everyone says that you can’t just wake up one day and decide to do big things, but that is exactly what I did. I woke up on the first of this year and decided that enough was enough. I had a deep conversation with myself. I agreed that I only have one body, that I wanted to treat myself with respect and love, and that I could control this aspect of my life.
That being said, I understand why people have qualms against veganism. Whether they don’t understand it, they can’t relate to it, or they aren’t strong enough YET. It IS hard to be vegan in a society that basically demands the opposite from us. Consumerism is our inherent need to take, take, and take. We have this awful notion that because we did something in the past, it’s OK. that we’re doing it now. We have learned so much and innovated so much since the beginning of time when hunters and gatherers had to kill to survive. We can make steaks, burgers, chicken nuggets, deli meat, and cheese, all from soy-based products. We know that we can substitute almonds, peanut butter, and dates as protein sources. We are stronger and more equipped to tackle veganism than we have ever been and I am so inspired to take on this challenge.