Five years ago I considered the Vegan from a distance, with a mixture of miscomprehension and the faintest glimmer of awe.
These were people I’d never came close to meeting in my ‘real life’ existence of twenty something years in the cold of Northern England. I imagined these otherworldly archetypes to reside on faraway Southern Hemisphere shores; adorned in sandals and dreadlocks, fragile and whimsical, hence the need to dwell beyond the latitude of the Equator.
Sprouting the seed of change
I vividly recall TV program that sprouted my seed of change. I was eating my staple meal of ‘chicken-something’, while watching a documentary about the origins of takeaway food. My fork dropped to my plate along with a splattering of tears when it shot to a factory farm, where hundreds of chickens were slaughtered in such a despicably cruel way that I don’t care to explain for dread of visualizing it again. At that moment I pledged to never eat meat again, and my meal remained unfinished.
What I then experienced was a very gradual shift. I still adored cheese (for years!), couldn’t see a problem with having milk in my cereal or tea, and still held the common misconceptions that they were both good for me and ‘procured’ from healthy, happy cows, like the ones they show on us butter adverts. This all changed just as suddenly as my meat eating ways when I learnt the miserable truth about the horrific abuse suffered by dairy cows as a standard means of obtaining milk.
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A brighter future
Discovering a book called The China Study and learning about the link between disease and consuming animal protein was also empowering, especially after experiencing the loss of my parents at a young age to such horrendous and ultimately, avoidable cases of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Armed with this new knowledge, I no longer felt obliged to obsessively worry about genetics, or the merciless eye of fate keeping a close watch on my every move. I felt overwhelmingly positive about life for the first time in years. As betrayed and infuriated as I felt about the misinformation which is the cause of such suffering in the world, I realized how lucky I was to have a choice in my future!
Going all the way!
Enlightenment came thick and fast after I removed all animal products from my diet. From that moment, all of the information I needed to help me along my journey seemed to gravitate my way at just the right time and without too much effort, almost as if the universe was rewarding me for my new found compassion. Along with this acceleration came an overwhelming appreciation for all things natural and an aversion towards the unnatural; specifically television, mainstream ‘beauty’ magazines and most aisles of the supermarket.
I was inspired to look into other aspects of my life, such as the products I put on my body. A true vegan doesn’t use cosmetics that have been tested on animals or contain ingredients derived from animals, and I wanted to avoid the dangerous chemical nasties too. So began an elimination of unethical products from my home and with this came an even greater sense of well-being. It’s a truly unbelievable sensation of lightness not to harbour the memory of any tortured souls within your life, as other conscious consumers will undoubtedly agree. But how can such a mystical feeling of clarity and peace be explained to someone who has never experienced it?
A world of opportunity
Five years since that fateful night in front of the TV and I’m now flirting with raw food, meditation and tonic herbs; my abhorrence to TV is still avid and I’ve never felt better spiritually, mentally or physically.
I’ve realised that not only do I have a choice about my future, but I’m the one drawing the map! Rather than having made sacrifices in my life, as it could seem to vegan skeptics, I feel my world is opening up at an incredible rate, taking me to beautiful places I never dreamed of.
Now a firm believer in serendipity, I don’t think any of the events that led me to this new way of life were at all accidental and I’m extremely grateful to be experiencing such a wonderful and unexpected awakening, which I know still has far to take me. Perhaps it could be to a nice tropical beach, south of the Equator.