So, every once in awhile, I like to revisit why in January of 2015, I started to pursue a life of less meat. And this week was one of those weeks. It's always an earth shattering, eye opening, rock my world kind of days when I decide to do it, revitalizing the beliefs I have on this topic as well as the passion within it. This is not meant to be a self righteous or judgmental decision and not one that I impose or even talk about with anyone (except on my blog). EVERY single person has their individual convictions and this is just one of mine.
I think I know what you expect me to say, and that is that I'm plant based, and that's not true. I'm neither vegan nor plant based because I'm not good at either one, but I also know that the rules are not concrete nor do they have to be perfect therefore I have grace within that knowing that every decision that I make as a conscious one is better for my health, the environment, world hunger, and animals. But what's the difference? Plant based eaters are those that chose to do so for their health. It's really trendy and it doesn't carry as much "negative connotation" with it.
Vegans notoriously have a bad name. They are envisioned as the door to door knockers of how to live your life all up in your face, self righteously screaming at you about 'free the nipple' with dreadlocks and female arm pit hair (which all are fine- you do you boo boo). I think that veganism has gained a little traction in places like LA where it's a bit more trendy, as the world is becoming more accepting and more "woke" or awakened if you will. There's big time famous people and seemingly "cool" people that are becoming vegans and they aren't shoving it down people's throats. But veganism is more than plant based. It's a connection to the lifestyle of choosing options that evade animal products in every use (products in your home and clothes that you wear).
For the longest time, I've openly said I'm working on becoming more plant based, but I always made sure to use that word. I never wanted to say I'm vegan and openly even told people I was not vegan, but lately I am a bit turned off by myself. I was thinking today... What does the word vegan even mean? The only phrases that came to my mind were "ethical, compassionate, and empathy." You hear the phrase "ethical vegan" a lot in the health world and that means that they choose to do so because of animals, and this immediately gives you a certain feeling about them and most of them never cheat, ever. Like. Ever. When they decide, their entire world shifts into this, and therefore I think that they are seen as extreme, and casting their views upon others and I do think that some have done that in the past, but I'm hopeful that this will start to change.
Ethical vegans are vegans because they care. They care about what is going on in the world, they care about animals, the environment, and world hunger. It's compassion. That's all. They sometimes get overwhelmed because this is not how the world operates, and I think that sometimes they feel as if they are going to bust from the seams from the information that they know that everyone else seems to ignore. Most of them were not born into ethical veganism therefore they went through a transformation where they made the connection and the realization that it doesn't make sense that we love dogs as much as we do but yet we allow ungodly things happen to pigs and cows for our meals, and how we are appalled when someone leaves a dog on the side of the road but put a big dead turkey on the middle of the table every year for Thanksgiving, and it BOTHERS them. They feel as if as they see you post a juicy hamburger that you are mauling a dog in front of them, and they feel as if they have to tell you what they know. But you aren't in the mindset and you aren't ready to hear it, just as I wasn't for a very very long time and most of my life.
I have struggled with being plant based/vegan for the past month for various reasons, but when I think about the heart of those around me that are vegan, my heart has shifted and I hope that through reading this that you'll maybe see them in a new light.
Why is it that people full of compassion are seen as self righteous? Why is that people full of empathy are seen as weird and over the top? Don't get me wrong. There is a little bit of a personality that comes along with vegans just like there's a personality that comes along with women who become pharmacists (typically Type A, super organized, detail oriented women lol). It just comes with the package so you might have experienced a judgmental vegan, but all of that is shifting as culture begins to shift. My hope is that it will allow people to change the way they do everything not just the way that they eat because they aren't afraid to say, "You know what? I love animals and THAT'S why."
I texted Tanner my thoughts about this and how it's weird that the world sees empathy as such a meek or "non manly" thing, and I could have just hugged him when he said "Oh that's not me. I can't stand the thought of harm done to animals. It bothers me so much no matter the animal." YES!!! THAT'S MY MAN! And my hope is that people will continue to see that this does not make someone less 'manly' just because they aren't BBQing or grilling up a juicy steak, but just someone who cares, and that's okay.
Again, I must emphasize, I needed this week because I had slipped right back into eating meat for the past month (yepppp sure did after I was for sure I wouldn't EVER again) and I also always value my money over the cost of vegan household items which is a shame to me. My hope is that you'll know that this is not a blog of judging you but just knowing that I'm in the boat with you, riding it out, trying to do the best I can for this world and the people and the animals that inhabit it and that there is nothing that feels more right to my soul then to be a compassionate vegan, and that each step that we take together is a great one. There is nothing wrong or weird or "too much/extreme" about veganism. It's a decision of recognizing the things of this world that you won't put your dollar towards, and every attempt and every dollar you put elsewhere is more than enough. DO NOT be consumed with doing everything that you do nothing.
Some fun facts and people/podcasts to follow to wrap this up:
It takes 1000 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of milk
There is enough food to feed 10 billion people, and the world only inhabits 7 billion, but because we are giving food to agriculture, there are 800 million people (so almost 1 billion) that are going hungry, even though we have enough food and grain to feed 3 billion more than what inhabits the earth.
Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon deforestation.
There are 4.6 BILLION animals slaughtered yearly for our enjoyment. That literally brings tears to my eyes.
Humans eat 45 billion pounds of food per day. Cows eat 130 billion. (The problem with this is not that I mind feeding cows but that cows are being bred just to be slaughtered)
Male chicks born in factory farms are literally just put into a grinder because they serve no purpose. The females beaks are almost always cut off immediately.
Newborn calves are immediately taken from their mothers (and I witnessed first hand the EXTREME instinct of Zoey when she had her puppies and how INTENSE her love of her puppies were-it's INTENSE how much animals love their babies).
Favorite youtuber: Ellen Fisher (I legit think I love this woman and she has no idea I exist)
Favorite Food blogger: Oh She Glows
Favorite Podcast: Earth to Us (Ellen Fisher's sister lol)