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Saturday, 3 September 2011

Evolution of a Veggie

I always had a nagging feeling whenever I ate meat, I forced myself to ignore what I was aware of; that the 'tasty' chicken drumstick was not a handy little snack with it's own little holding stick, but that it was a chicken's leg, an actual chicken's leg.

I didn't feel empathy for animals then, I was too busy being petrified of them. I think the fear was passed down from my mother who is deathly afraid of dogs. Even mine. Yes she's scared of this little poppet:



What a lunatic! But don't worry I'm totally helping her get over it by putting Cecil on her lap at every opportunity and saying ''oohhhh look Cecil - Nanny loooves you! Yes she does! She loves his fuzzy wuzzy bum and his button nose! Don't you?! You love him don't you!'' ''Nicola! Get him off me!!'' ''Tell him you love him!''  ''I love you Cecil'' ''Yayyy she's cured!''

But even with my lack of empathy, the nagging feeling was still saying to me ''do you really wanna eat that corpse?? Gross!'' I ignored it, and shoved the thought deeper into the back of mind. Shoved the meat into the back of my greedy gob.

Six years ago, I met the love of my life. Turns out he'd had these pesky little veggie voices in his head too. We promised that when we ate together, we wouldn't mention it to one another and ruin our meaty meals (I know, I'm ashamed of myself). But because we'd said it out loud, it became too real to ignore. There were several times when we were enjoying our favourite dinner of chicken curry at our favourite Indian restaurant when we exchanged knowing glances and wondered, why are we doing this??

By then we'd begun to love animals too, I wasn't the crazy dog lady that I am now, but I was well on my way. We'd start watching David Attenborough documentaries and realised how magnificent animals were. We had our Lord Wallace and we'd loved and lost our two delightful little hammie girls, Pokey and Pamplemousse.

This is Pokey. Or Pamplemousse. They were completely identical. We could tell them apart when they were scamping around though as Pamp was a bully and Pokey was her victim.

So we talked about why the thought of meat made us sick, and why we were burying these thoughts in our brains if we knew it was wrong and we didn't want to eat it. So we became vegetarians that night. I ordered takeaway. I began eating it and realised that I hadn't considered if it had meat stock in. I couldn't eat it anyway. I remember being secretly furious that I'd allowed myself to fully accept that meat was horrid. I was hungry and hunger leads to crazy thoughts.

That part when you become vegetarian, where you really allow yourself to fully understand and accept what meat is, fascinates me. In the past whenever I had seen any animal rights campaigns, I would switch off, I didn't want to know, because knowing meant admitting I had been wrong all my life and contributing to horrific cruelty for 23 years. That disconnect, when people 'know' but they don't really know...if only we knew how to break through that barrier.

That evolution of meat eater to vegetarian, it feels like it's happening again. I have been recognising many of the same feelings and thoughts creeping in...

Vegan voice:  ''Do you really wanna drink that milk?? Do you know how much suffering has gone into making that little glass? *nag nag nag*''

One of my other voices: ''No! I don't actually, I actively seek out articles and campaigns about animal rights while managing to avoid ones that talk about the dairy industry and I want to keep it that way thankyouverymmuch''

Veggie voice: ''Come on Vegan voice, give her a break, she's a vegetarian, that's way better than most people''

Vegan Voice: ''Ok, well,if you're sure you can live with yourself''

Other Voice: ''FINE!! I'll read your crappy articles on dairy and eggs, happy now?!''

*reads articles* *goes to buy some soya milk*

So here I am, drinking my soya milk banana shake, becoming vegan, and feeling pretty darn pleased with myself. And completely free.


I'd really like to hear about your experiences becoming veggie or vegan...please do share your thoughts and blogs with me, I love reading accounts from like minded folk :-)

10 comments:

  1. Great story! It took me a long time with those nagging voices before I became vegan for good, so I totally know where you're coming from.

    I have a few posts about my experiences. You can find them in my topics section (at the top of my right sidebar). They're the "My Vegan Story" posts. :)

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  2. I was the same as a meat eater- I ate meat but had a nagging feeling. Being vegan feels so fulfilling! I love your pictures of your animals, they are so cute!

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  3. Thanks for the comment! Your dog is super cute, too! Is she a Japanese Chin?

    I'm actually trying to go vegetarian right now... For some reason it's a lot harder now than when I was a teenager, I was a vegetarian for 2 years. I'm slowly bringing my husband around, he has "meatless days" a few times a week. My daughter and I already don't eat dairy... Sometimes we slip up but it gives us digestion and eczema problems so not too often. I'm thinking our eventual goal is no meat or dairy. We'll still eat eggs but only because we get them from a person who I know takes good care of his chickens!

    What are your favorite veggie/vegan products? I love Morning Star Farm products. They are so tasty, but looking for some more things and not sure what to try.

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  4. Yes *he's* a Japanese Chin! No one ever knows that! Ok you passed the dog lover test and you can be in my gang!

    It's so good that you're going vegetarian - this makes me very happy :-)
    I can see why it's hard for you in particular though with not being able eat dairy already, so there's no gradual process, not an easy thing to do. That's why you should be even more proud of yourself.

    I'm in England so I don't think we have the same brands as you? But my all time favourite vegan meat alike ever is The Linda McCartney sausages, seriously if you get the chance, you have to try them. I thought that someone was being sneaky and had slipped me a pork sausage when I first tried them!

    Have a little look at some of the blogs I follow...they have some amazing recipes with no animal products in, you'll be amazed at the creations they conjur up, lots of fab ideas!

    X

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  5. @Happy go Lucky: thank you, my animals are so adorable I just love showing them off :-)

    The more stories I read the more I realise just how similar most peoples' journeys to becoming vegan are. They all start with that nag!

    X

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  6. Pokey is cute :) **
    I know that vegan and vegetarian voices, too ;)
    I´m trying to use plant milk instead of cow´s milk and buying milk products only in organic versions to make the "nag" become quiet. **
    I´t great to have a vegetarian partner!! Sadly I don´t, and there are many more female vegetarians than male ones :(

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  7. Damn those voices! They're a sign that we want to be selfless deep down though, so you gotta love them!

    I know I feel so lucky...actually, without him I'm really not sure if I'd have even made it to being a vegetarian by now.

    And thank you, Pokey was such a little treasure :-) I miss her and her sis lots.

    X

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  8. I turned vegetarian when I was 10 in a house full of omnivores (still proud of my child-self) and stayed that way for 9 years by which point I'd become disillusioned with what I was doing. 3years later back on the veggie bandwagon after writing an essay on vegetarianism. Then 10 months later I went vegan after realising how much I could reduce my environmental impact by not eating dairy or eggs. Good times!

    Its been 9 months now, sometimes I find it difficult, but I wouldn't go back :)

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  9. Thanks for sharing your journey. The pervasiveness of the cultural indoctrination is so massive that even after several years of ethical veganism I still run across speciesist crap in my brain repeatedly and have to re-think, re-frame and learn to express something differently.

    I have to stop and think about almost everything anyone says to me (especially about animals) to see if it is a true thing that I am in accord with or is it a speciesist distortion. Tiring and dismaying.

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Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, I look forward to reading them :-)

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