I’ve now been a vegan for just over a month, after having been a vegetarian for a month. My original choice to go vegetarian was a health-related one. Originally, I felt that cutting out meat and eating more veggies would be beneficial to my health and was the next level, so to speak in my healthy living journey. Only way I can explain it is that I felt that it was the right way to go for me. I believe that you need to follow your heart on things and that is just what going veg was for me.
After about two to three weeks of being a vegetarian and still eating eggs and drinking dairy products, I began to do more research about the vegan lifestyle. While I was happy with the fact that I was no longer eating meat, I wanted to learn more. I have friends who are vegan, so I of course already had a general idea of what the lifestyle consisted of, but it was just a basic knowledge. Also, one of those friends told me that while it was great that I had gone vegetarian, that I should read about the production of dairy and eggs. She said that I would be surprised at what I would learn. My friend was very right. I learned that “free-range” eggs are not necessarily so free. I believed that these chickens were allowed to run around “free” on farms and generally be as happy as they could be. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. While the government does regulate the free-range and organic labeling on food, there are many loopholes in the regulations. The same goes for milk and the cows. These loopholes are used by many an egg or milk producer. This means that the treatment of grass fed cows may not be any different than that of the corn fed ones. This sad reality made me really think. Did I want to contribute to this? Or, did I want to stand up and do what was right?
I chose to stand up. I decided that I could not continue to eat eggs and dairy products and not feel dirty or bad about it. I chose to cease and desist putting anything containing these ingredients in my body anymore. I became a vegan. This in my mind was the one and only way for me to feel good about how I responded to the truth of the food industry and the treatment of animals. Now, I am in no way a perfect vegan. I do not believe there is one. Being a new vegan, I’m learning more and more everyday about the products I normally consume or use in my everyday life. Have I made mistakes and consumed animal products? Yes, I have. Not on purpose, but yes I have. But, once I learn that the product is not vegan friendly, I make sure that I don’t buy or consume it in the future. You live and learn, that is how it goes. Thirty years of eating meat and other animal products means that I am not going to be able to make the right choices right away or all the time. Once I know more; once I have educated myself more on what is okay to eat, I will make less mistakes. I will grow the longer I am a vegan.
A great thing about being a vegan is how calm I feel most of the time. I feel more relaxed than ever before. Whether this is because I have changed my mentality to be this way or whether it has to do with ridding my body of the poisons and artificial things found in animal products, I don’t know for sure. I like to think that it is both. Not consuming those things has helped me clear my head, thus allowing me to be calmer. That is how I see it. Also, I have decided to do all that I can to enjoy life. No, not everyday is great and happy, but it is what you make it. You can decide to not let things bother you more than they have to. You alone decide how to react to a situation. I’m working to be the calmer, happier individual that I have seen in others. I always admired that trait in those that possessed it. I saw this more in North Carolina. There’s just something about those mountains I think that makes one at peace with life. Well, that’s how I like to see it anyway.