Tuesday, November 23, 2010
A bit about me and the vegan lifestyle...
I've been putting this post off for a long time.
I've put it off for many reasons... One, I don't care to be labeled as vegan, however it is the closest word to describe how I choose to eat. Two, I'm not 'vegan' for the popular reasons... I.e. I do not think it is 'wrong' to eat animals. Three, stop looking at me like that. If you are a vegan yourself you're giving me the shocked 'what the heck are you talking about?' look, and if you're a meat eating friend, you're looking at me like I sprouted a second head for preferring cucumber sandwiches to meatball subs.
But this lifestyle change has been a very big part of my life for the past six months or so, and it seems wrong not to share it here.
So, that said. Please do not leave judgy comments telling me that I'm 'vegan' for the wrong reasons, or that I really ought to eat meat because it's good for my health, or that you disagree with everything I've said. Keep your judgy to yourself and only send love and support to your fellow man. I'll just delete you if you don't.
So about 6 years ago I began working in the veterinary field in the surgery suite. It wasn't long after seeing a pet sliced open and bleeding and leaking intestinal gunk all over its insides that I decided I didn't need to be putting that in my mouth. So I gave up meat. I continued to eat fish, because one, yum, and two, seeing the inside of a fish is/was not nearly as freaky as the inside of a dog/cat/cow/whatever. After giving up meat, I began to feel better... My moods were more stable, my head clearer, my body able to digest all of the other yummy foods I was ingesting.
I was a happy pesco-vegetarian, light on the dairy, up until last year when I began going to school with a major in Nutrition. Really, milk is bad (or at least not as good as everyone says it is) for you? It causes congestion? It can cause your digestion system to slow? Stomach upset in certain people? Putting two and two together, maybe I didn't like drinking milk (my entire life) because it made me feel icky. Maybe the stuffy nose I've had every morning of my 25 years alive was because of dairy.
It didn't take long for me to realize that I am, in fact, lactose intolerant. Seemingly mildly, but when I cut out dairy for a two week trial run, when I added dairy back into my diet I felt awful. Who knew? So it seemed only natural to take the non-dairy plunge to the next level.
Now I'm a happy 'vegan' who only misses fish on occasion and milk and cheese even less. (A note about cheese. I would never in my entire believe I could give up cheese until I did. Do you know why people are so protective of their cheese? Cheese has a protein in it called casein. When you ingest this protein it is broken down into a compound called casomorphin. Did you catch that? Morphin(e). This compound is a histamine releaser which actually gives you a cheese high. No wonder people like their cheese! I liked my cheese, too. When I gave it up I had withdrawal dreams. Not kidding. I actually dreamed of McSteamy showing up at my door with cheesy pastries. But now that I've been without it for extended periods, only very rarely do I want it. And usually I can eat something else to make the craving go away).
I do not believe that eating meat is wrong. I believe that the meat industry is wrong and I'm very happy that me not eating meat has the happy side effect of not supporting this industry. Same thing with buying leather... I don't believe we shouldn't use animals for warmth, I do believe we shouldn't torture them and ourselves in order to do it.
I gave up fish because it seemed like the natural thing to do. Maybe one day I'll go back. I only ate it on rare occasions anyway, so it didn't seem that far of a stretch to say no thank you to eating my fishy friends.
I'm not super strict about eggs, because I don't feel they are good or bad for me, just there. Again, not crazy about the way we treat laying chickens so I try to buy locally.
So there you have it. A bit about me and this lifestyle I've chosen to follow. If it's interesting to you I'm more than happy to share more, if not, so be it.
Live and let live! Everyone is different.