10 Mar

When I decided to stop eating meat, I promised myself that I would not try to push anyone into eating vegan. That I would not tell someone they should change their diet. That I would not talk about some of the things I've seen and read about the meat industry. Sometimes, things change.

Over the last several days, people have questioned my kids about veganism. My children know the correct answer. They know exactly what it is and why I choose to eat this way. But, apparently, adults who speak with them are not convinced they know what they're talking about. Yesterday, Madison explained to someone that a vegan does not eat cheese or milk and the adult told her she was wrong. When Madison explained what I had told her about a vegan diet, the adult actually told her "your mom is wrong." Excuse me?!

Just to be clear: A vegetarian does not eat the flesh of animals, but eats the products of animals (milk, cheese, eggs and other dairy products). A vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) does not eat animal flesh or animal products. A vegan diet is entirely plant based. No cheese, eggs, milk, etc. Everything I eat comes from a plant. 
I read an interesting article the other day. Humans have a name for just about every meat product so we can be comfortable talking about what we eat. We have no problem saying, "I'll have the steak." But, can you picture yourself saying, "I'm going to have a slice of cow"? Would you/could you say you ate fried pig for breakfast instead of bacon? We say, "I eat chicken, beef and pork." We don't say, "I eat chickens, cows and pigs." Odd, isn't it?
Eating a vegan or vegetarian diet is a personal choice.

I chose this way of eating because I want to get my blood pressure under control without drugs. This is the smartest/healthiest way for me to do that. Over the last few months, I've read a lot about veganism. In the process, I've learned a lot about the way animals farmed for human consumption are treated. It saddens me. I cried while looking at some of the pictures. It's not the Old McDonald's Farm image of our childhood. It's not the happy chickens and pigs my family raised while growing up. It's cruelty. It's disgusting. And I will not buy meat from my local grocer ever again.
So, am I going to make my family stop eating meat, milk, eggs, cheese, etc.? No. I'm doing my research so we can find a local farm that raises animals in a kind, humane way. I want milk from happy cows and I want eggs from happy chickens. I know this will be more expensive than my local grocery store. It's an expense I'm willing to deal with so that my family isn't consuming the product of industrial farms.
Will I be vegan for the rest of my life? I don't know. But I do know that I will continue to make food choices that do not contribute to the suffering of innocent animals. 
If you want more info, visit http://www.vegkit.org and click on the link to download the PDF version of the veg starter kit. It's packed with info. I'll step off the soapbox now. 
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase our chances for the survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." ~ Albert Einstein
"A man can be healthy without killing animals for food: therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite." ~ Leo Tolstoy
"Animals are my friends…and I don't eat my friends." ~ George Bernard Shaw
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." ~ Gandhi

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