By now you all may have concluded, I was coerced into veganism. Betting myself that I couldn’t do it. Fought it tooth (flat tooth) and nail (no claws). I didn’t want to be vegan but thought I would take on the challenge, recognize the health benefits and take it from there.
Now a year and a half later, I am still vegan. 100% vegan. Not just before 6:00 and I didn’t start with Meatless Mondays. I just went vegan.
It took almost a full year to appreciate the full health benefits and truly understand how living on a plant-based diet would help me live a longer and healthier life. All that time, I was still dreaming of chicken wings and longing for pizza; which was a disconnect. A disconnect until I recently spent five days with roughly 1,000 other vegans at Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, PA.
Epiphanies happen for different people at different stages of life. I wasn’t truly making the connection between the glistening chicken wings on my plate and the actual chicken. I didn’t connect the cheese on my pizza to the legalized rape that takes place in the dairy industry. Pork chops were a food group. I was blind.
The first day back (they often talk about re-entry) I saw a post on Facebook by a friend for a Bacon Festival that advertised: “Now with MORE PIG!” I stared at those four words for the longest time and couldn’t comprehend how the hosts of this event, and everyone I know who still consumes animal flesh and dairy products, couldn’t see what they were actually saying.
A week earlier, I wouldn’t have either.
The “more pig” that they are promoting is a living creature. An intelligent, feeling, being that has as much a right to life as any living creature on Earth. An animal that has a family. Parents. A heartbeat. This is a helpless animal that is tortured until it is murdered until it can be processed into … food?
It took me awhile to get here but I got here on my own. Every life is precious and, under no circumstances, should any life be considered less than another. I had already committed to a meat-free/dairy and egg free diet and now I am more committed than ever to the vegan lifestyle. I now understand that compassion and the principle of nonviolence have a deeper meaning to me and that this applies to all sentient beings.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.
I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.
I feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants.
I do not regard flesh-food as necessary for us at any stage and under any clime in which it is possible for human beings ordinarily to live. I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species.”
~ Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)