The Whys

21Jan12

I am often asked why I am vegan.

Asked to pinpoint one specific reason.

One defining moment.

One solitary motivator.

For health? I am asked.

For the environment?

For animals?

I’m asked to choose.

To rank them in neat little, easy-to-understand categories.

But, the truth is, I can’t.

So many moments add up to last April when I downed my last non-vegan meal. A sad Caesar salad topped with shrimp.

In all honesty, probably the worst salad I have ever eaten.

Tonight, I finally watched Earthlings and, I kid you not, sat in my bed gasping, crying, and yelping in horror.

But this isn’t the first time animal rights had played into my decision.

I can remember clearly walking into the Ringling Brothers’ circus as a child. Seeing PETA protestors lining the sidewalks shouting of the abuses of the elephants, the lions, the tigers.

I can remember thinking about it. Trying to decide who was right.

These shouting people or the smiling performers?

A ban of hippies or the caring adults around me?

Like most children, I trusted that information was freely shared and disseminated. That the adults in my life knew everything. That because we love, admire, and look up to people, they must always be right.

But the fact is, most of us don’t know everything.

Whether because we choose to ignore, we are blissfully ignorant not even knowing to ask the important questions, or we are too busy, too proud, too lazy to seek the truth, most of us know very little.

I didn’t understand and didn’t know how to understand who made the decisions. Who decided a dog was an appropriate snuggle buddy, a pig an ideal dinner, a cow a perfect purse, and an elephant a born entertainer?

At 20, I still don’t understand who made those choices.

All I know is that I don’t want to follow those rules any more.

From an environmental standpoint, eating animals and their products doesn’t make sense to me.

With every meat purchase gallons of water is wasted, land is destroyed, and gases are released into the atmosphere.

The world’s climate is changing, forests are disappearing, and species are being eliminated.

I want to stop it. Simple as that.

As for my personal health, the fact is, my relationship with food has been up and down for a large chunk of my life.

But I’ve come to realize that eating in a way that I know is undeniably the healthiest (leaving the accidentally vegan Oreo cookies out of the equation) removes most of the fear and guilt I once associated with eating.

People have told me that I’m “glowing” and often give the credit to a tan or perhaps well-applied make up.

But the truth is, it is coming from within.

(And chances are, I will never, ever really learn how to put on make up.)

From the kale salads, the raw cacao, the fresh berries.

People tell me I’m admirable, I’m crazy, I’m dedicated, I’m over my head.

But truly, I don’t care what you call me.

Just promise me you’ll watch Earthlings and drink some almond milk today.

Won’t you?

Try it?

Please?

Because if all you get from my silly little chronicle of my life is a few awkward stories, perhaps a recipe or two, and blackmail material for when I am old and look back in embarrassment at my self-indulgent 20-year-old self, I will have failed you.

I will have failed everything I have come to stand for.

If I can’t somehow encourage you to try.

Your very best.

Because, in the end, that’s all we can do.

All I can ask.

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2 Responses to “The Whys”

  1. Amazing post. I feel like I wrote it, except it wouldn’t have been so thoughtful and succinct! But I feel the same. I’m not totally vegan but I do what I can. I actually just walked back from the market right now and my bag only had tofu and almondmilk in it. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for such a sweet comment! Baby steps are definitely the way and if we all do what we can, it’ll all add up. 🙂


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