I get it. “Veganism” seems like an alien concept and meat feels like home.
I was raised on a farm with cows, horses, dogs, cats, pigs, – even geese! I’ve seen birth, life, illness, disease and death of many animals up close and I thought my experience gave me a deeper understanding of the animal world. I loved meat.
I also loved dairy, eggs, the scent of a good leather purse and the touch of a fine silk scarf and (oh yes!) the taste of bacon.
I loved animals (still do!), and I thought I could never be vegan. Does any of this sound like you? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Fact is, in today’s world, eating meat is not sustainable for the environment. Producing meat makes 35x more greenhouse gases than producing the same amount of plant based protein and it takes up to 10x more land. Your planet will continue to spin on its axis after this incredible imbalance has evened itself out. But your species won’t be around to see that.
The human body isn’t built for meat- eating from a biological stand point. Sure, you can eat meat, and while you were evolving it helped to keep your species alive in times of scarcity, but you’re a natural herbivore.
Humans have flattened and rounded teeth and a jaw for grinding back and forth, not powerful jaws with razor sharp fangs and claws on your paws for hunting and killing. Your intestines are long and poorly suited to digest heavy material such as meat, the deposits of which build up inside your body and kill you.
Inside your stomach is hydrochloric acid. It’s 5 times weaker than the same type of acid which is inside the stomach of your cat. This acid easily breaks down material such as nuts, seeds, grains, fruit and vegetables. Not meat- which is difficult for those weak acids to deal with. For you, digesting meat takes a long time and contributes to indigestion and other more serious health issues.
True carnivores like lions and your cat need to rest a lot while their digestive systems do the work that ours cannot do. Biologically, we are more similar to other animals such as apes and even grazing animals who get their proteins from the air. They breathe in carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen molecules which then convert to amino acids.
Look at your hand. It evolved to pick berries and fruits, and climb trees and dig for roots. Your hands cannot catch prey without any tools and your mouth cannot eat it – blood, guts and all without any cooking. It must be cooked to destroy the protein structure and become soft enough for your nubby little teeth to bite into.
When you watch a video on slaughterhouse practices, does it make you salivate or feel disgusted?
It makes you feel horrified of course! Do you think your cat would have the same reaction?
In the China Study, published in 2005, (the largest ever study done on all diseases) it was shown that in places in the world such as Asia where many people were too poor to afford animal products in their diets, people had much lower, basically non-existent rates of some of mankind’s most rampant diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans. 124 000 every minute. To put that in perspective, 120 million people were killed over BOTH WORLD WARS.
Clearly, eating meat is not good for you, or for your planet. So why do we do it?
In a word, carnism.
Carnism is a prevailing ideology in which people support the use and consumption of animal products. It supports in particular, the consumption of only certain animals for food. You think cow’s milk is a perfectly natural and healthy beverage. Why not rat milk?
This carnistic system is in place so far above our heads that we don’t think to question it, because we don’t even consciously know that it is operating. In the words of James Aspey, the 4 main reasons we eat meat are:
There’s BIG money behind this system as well. The meat, dairy and pharmaceutical industries control the flow of currency in the modern world. Whatever they say can and will pervade all levels of your life, from education and healthcare through to government. The system wants you to believe that eating animals is (to quote Dr Melanie Joy, author of “The Secret Reason We Eat Meat”):
These 3 terms were also used in the past to explain away other morally wrong concepts such as slavery, male dominance, and heterosexual supremacy. But overall, humans are waking up! The animal agriculture industry has realized this and retaliated by creating buzzwords such as “humane slaughter, grassfed, free- range, cage-free” etc. None of these words can change the fact that all those animals did not want to die to be on your plate or in your closet.
The dairy and egg industry are not free from guilt either, in fact these industries are home to some of the cruelest practices on the planet.
“If slaughter houses had glass walls, the whole world would be vegetarian.” – Paul McCartney
This cruelty goes against the average person’s core belief that other sentient beings shouldn’t come to unnecessary harm. I assure you there is another way to live your life that ensures no harm (okay, as little as humanly possible) comes to the innocents, the animals.
It is not extreme. It is not expensive. It is the easiest, kindest, most compassionate way to live your life and your body will thank you for it. Your soul will thank you for it. You will rest easy at night knowing that you had no part in the atrocities committed by the animal agriculture industry and and if you are only willing to become willing to change, to live in a new way, I assure you it will be the best decision you will ever make in your life.
Yes, you’re now aware of the true magnitude of the problem and that sucks! But you can take comfort in knowing that you do not contribute to it. I know from experience that it will not always be easy (in the beginning) but it will always be worth it.
If you focus on the positives and the benefits for both yourself and the animals, the journey is much easier! I promise your viewpoint will soon change from thoughts like “Ugh what a bummer, I can’t eat cheese anymore!” to “Wow there are a million alternatives to that cow secretion I was unknowingly addicted to (fuck you casein!), let’s do this vegan thing!” (or something like that.)
I will be there for you as you make your transition, your metamorphosis. This blog will provide you with 4 pillars within which to build your vegan life.
- How To Be Cool (activism coverage)
- How To Eat Kind (recipes/meal preparation)
- How to Look Hot (workouts, active living inspiration)
- How to Feel Zen (spirituality, gardening, etc)
Take heart, I also am not saying that this transformation must happen immediately and stick forever. I understand it may take time and your journey may include a slip-up here and there, however if/when that does happen, know you can always pick up and start again. I found for me, education helped immensely in keeping myself focused, driven and interested in continuing this journey, as did preparation and keeping an open mind.
Sound good? Let’s begin.
The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights – Gary L. Francione
Dear Meat Campaign Coop Sverige
Beyond Beliefs ‘A Guide to Improving Relationships and Communicating for Vegans, Vegetarians, and Meat Eaters’ – Dr. Melanie Joy
2 thoughts on “Me? A Vegan?”
Such beautiful writing about your vegan adaptation, Natalie. Love it! ~ Alison
Beautiful! So powerful. Thank you for writing this and being a voice for peace and compassion.
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