Monday, February 20, 2012

Turning Vegan - "change happens"

Sometimes we set out to make changes in our lives. Mostly, because we think it is something we should do, or something we shouldn't do. We change jobs, go back to school, get married, start exercising. The list goes on and on. But sometimes, change happens without any thought at all. Something or someone speaks directly to our heart and there is no need for a "decision". Our lives are immediately different. That is how my life changed, I read a book without having any inclination of what the outcome would be for me.

I had been a Vegetarian for over five years. It started really through a New Year's Detox which consisted of beans, rice and vegetables (if I remember correctly). The Detox was for 2 weeks which at that time in my life, um, let's say I was not the poster child for healthy living. At the end, I just noticed, that I really didn't miss animal meat. WOW! You mean, you can actually have a meal that does not consist of any type of meat. YES! So, I shared with my husband that I was not going to start eating meat again and see how it would go. He of course declared "Well, don't expect me to not eat meat!". So it began. As time went on, being an animal lover, I felt pretty self assured that I was doing enough by not eating animal flesh. However, I was never compelled to dig deeper. Vegetarians were few and far between in my life. God only knew what a VEGAN was - I had never heard the word!

In April, I became familiar with the term vegan. Living dairy and egg free seemed like a very noble cause... BUT why would anyone give up dairy? I mean, the animal gets to live. No harm no foul, right? WRONG!
My vegetarian self-righteousness all came tumbling down the moment I decided to read Farm Sanctuary - Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food , May 28th 2011.
In Farm Sanctuary, Baur provides a thought provoking investigation of the ethical questions involved in the production of beef, poultry, pork, milk,and eggs -- and what each of us can do to stop the mistreatment of farm animals and promote compassion. He details the triumphs and the disappointments of more than twenty years on the front lines of the animal protection movement. And he introduces us to some of the special creatures who live at Farm Sanctuary -- from Maya the cow to Marmalade the chicken -- all of whom escaped horrible circumstances to live happier, more peaceful lives. Farm Sanctuary shows how all of us have an opportunity and a responsibility to consume a kinder plate, making a better life for ourselves and animals as well. You will certainly never think of a hamburger or chicken breast the same way after reading this book.
While much of the content was upsetting for me, there were the stories of hope, of the animals that had been rescued and rehabilitated.  Despite being upset, I could not put this book down. My mind was hungry for the truth and my heart was hungry for healing. I cried quite a bit. I ranted even more. Some of it was shock. Some of it was guilt. Some of it was shame. Much of it was heart break. However, one thing was FOR CERTAIN, in the midst of reading this book, I was NOW a VEGAN FOR LIFE! What does that even mean? Being vegan is not a DIET. It is not some exclusive club for hippies eating granola. It is a lifestyle.      A lifestyle of practicing mindfulness, compassion, and of causing the least harm. This is a work in progress as is anything in life. However, it all begins with being an informed consumer and aligning your values with your behaviors. Shaved armpits are optional.


  1. Mark Pruitt2/20/12, 9:45 PM

    My wife is a famous blogger! ...and yes, I initial said, "well I'm not going to stop eating meat"! and then, "well I'm not going to stop eating cheese". But after a couple of days of deep reflection, I began to see the sanity in her decision. I had no idea that a simple choice to not eat meet, could benefit my health and my world in such profound ways. Thanks again Michelle!

    1. So happy for you two! Can't wait to visit, and I can be vegan for a day or two! ;)Julie

  2. Thank you, Julie. We are pretty excited, for ourselves, the animals, and our community! We look forward to your visit, and sharing 2 days of vegan awesomeness with you... that is a great start!