My Vegan Story
How I made the transition and why
First of all: WELCOME!! I'm so thrilled to have you checking out my site!
Let's get something out of the way right now shall we? It's easily the number #1 question I get asked these days. This is, of course, "why on earth are you vegan?" or some rendition of that (i.e. "how can you live like that?" or "how do you get enough protein." Um..eye roll.)
I was raised vegetarian by my parents, and my BFF growing up, Calla, was also vegetarian. Since I relentlessly copied every move she made when I was little, I think I just copied my way into staying vegetarian! In all seriousness though, I was a pretty passionate little animal rights activist by age 4 or 5, we raised chickens as pets, and it was a pretty natural choice for me.
Flash forward to when I was 22 and interning with Atlanta Magazine, and also SUPER into lifting weights and body building. The perfect storm of factors came together for me to start eating meat: I wanted to be able to try all the foods in Atlanta I was writing about, and I'd gotten so into the bodybuilding world where protein and animal protein specifically is EVERYTHING, so I became convinced that in order to gain muscle, I had to be eating chicken breast and tuna and lots of whey protein. You might be thinking, isn't that a pretty vain reason to start eating animals? And yeah, I guess it was, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time, and I fell a little out of touch during this period with my reasons for being vegetarian in the first place.
During this time, I tried literally every meat in the book. My boss at Atlanta Magazine even took me out to eat my way through the "parts menu" (it was as gross as it sounds) at a prominent Atlanta restaurant. So when people try to tell me "you just don't know what you're missing out on!" I assume them, after trying everything from bacon, sausage, tongue, and bone marrow--I do!
And in case you're wondering what it's like to gorge on meat about 22 years of vegetarianism, sorry for the anticlimactic story, but literally nothing happened! I didn't feel sick or have an identity crisis or suddenly feel like superman. I didn't hate OR love the taste. It was all just pretty...meh. I felt some guilt, but I was pretty successful at covering it up with a lot of self justification techniques like "oh I'll only eat local, farm raised meat," and "it's just going to be a little bit here and there."
By the next summer, I was still eating meat here and there, but it felt more like of a chore that I "had" to do in order to be healthy and continue to gain muscle mass. I literally felt like if I didn't have meat for a day, I was losing muscle, and though I felt some repressed guilt for eating it, I had bought so into the normalization of meat and protein that society perpetuates, it was going to take something drastic to shake me out of it.
One night, browsing Netflix, I decided to watch the documentary Cowspiracy, and there it was--the drastic jolt I needed. Immediately after, I watched Vedgucated. I guess my 22 years of vegetarianism and passion for animal rights had been bubbling below the surface the whole time, something moved inside of me. I was getting my masters in environmental communication, specifically focused on sustainable agriculture, and as soon as I heard the line from Cowspiracy that "if you call yourself an environmentalist, I don't see how you can eat meat" (paraphrasing here), it woke me up. Even if I could momentarily deny the animal welfare part of the argument, I couldn't deny both that AND the environmental havoc that animal agriculture creates. I think a big part of me had been looking for justification to go back to my old ways, and that was plenty enough. I also realized during this documentary binge weekend that the dairy and egg industry was just as cruel and detrimental to animals as the meat industry (something I'd known deep down for a while). I saw the below charts showing how many resources are used by a meat eater versus a vegetarian versus a vegan, and I was sold.
I decided to be vegan the next morning, and I still am.
In short, and because I like bullet points, here are the reasons I'll be vegan fo' life:
We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!