For much of my life I ate for the simple fact that I had to eat.
I was never overweight but there was a point in my life that three giant Costco muffins a day and a burger, fries, chicken nugget, French fries, and frosty was a normal meal. Sometimes just a snack followed by two heaping servings of Hamburger Helper for dinner. I ate to fulfill a desire. I ate when I was bored and because I couldn’t get enough. I ate to fulfill nothing but an impulse for salt and butter, and because my mouth watered at the thought of food. I can honestly say there was no enjoyment in any of it. I ate and I was full but it was always never enough and somewhere deep down I knew I didn’t feel right about any of it.
My family grew up on a farm slaughtering our own chickens and milking our own cows.
If you told me I was going to Vegan when I turned 23 I would have laughed in your face. It all started with a book given to me by one of my good friends. She was Vegan and I wasn’t yet a believer. Every page I read changed my life. I became a Vegetarian. One book turned into five and then I started reading articles and watching movies and they were all pointing to the same thing. I couldn’t learn enough. I started comparing ingredients on food labels and looking up what they were online. Every time I picked up a new book I thought I’d read the same information but it was always different and from another point of view. All of it was motivating me to change my habits and my life. There were times I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I was shocked and appalled that somehow I had gone through life eating and had no idea that even though it was the same food I had been eating all my life, it really was not the same food at all. I was even more in shock to know that I was ignorant to it. I felt lied to. Our food systems were disgusting and dangerous. There was nothing good about it.
If I was never given the book I think I’d still be where I was, eating a plateful of Tuna Helper and rendering the fruits and vegetables in the world nearly nonexistent. I often think about how I feel after eating a meal now compared to the way I used to feel when I ate. I don’t salivate when thinking about food; my stomach tells me it’s hungry not my brain. Things I once thought tasted and smelled so good now taste bland and leave me feeling disappointed. The foods I once hated are now filling my plate and I’m trying all kinds of new food. I realize how much variety there is in the world and everything just makes sense. People always ask me if it was hard. They always comment, “I could never do it”. That’s exactly what I thought … but it was so easy. I feel full and satisfied after every meal and I enjoy every bite. I feel better at age 23 than I did in high school at 18.
Not only have I opened my mouth to an amazing array of foods I have opened my world.
My husband and I spend our time talking in the kitchen while taking the time to dice, chop, and prepare our food. That time with each other is cherished; food makes time for us. Time to talk and time to laugh. It is the part of my day that I look forward to the most. While most people looked at me like I was crazy for challenging the way we ate all our lives, my husband never once did. He would let me read excerpts from the most recent chapter in a book I was reading and took interest in it. He didn’t hesitate when I threw out our cleaning products and replaced them with environmental friendly and cruelty free choices and he fully encouraged me to share my story with the world. The change for us was gradual but now completely a normal part of our life. The grocery stores we shopped at changed and now when I walk into a big supermarket I feel overwhelmed by variety and color and almost always, I smell the scent of spoiled eggs or am run over by a customer with a wobbly shopping cart. Life feels slower, unrushed, and I find myself grateful for food. This is what I hope to share with others.
I have a small but challenging philosophy about food
Every day I make sure to self educate myself. The more I research I do the more of a connection I feel between my body and food, between the way my body functions and the way the world works. It grows food for us. It provides for us. Food that keeps us healthy by defending us from harm, food that can heal wounds or help to make us stronger. When we abuse our food; manipulate it or overindulged, it only leads us to an endless path of destruction for our bodies. It is revenge in the ultimate sense. In turn, treating food organically makes us treat our earth and the animals we share it with better. It makes you think twice about throwing a plastic bag in the garbage can or buying icing with yellow die in it. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying its wrong to choose to eat meat. I have a place in my heart for the farmers who are still doing it the old fashion way; for the cultures that thank their food before they take it for themselves. I simply and wholeheartedly believe that treating any kind of food humanely and leaving it the way nature intended will only make your health, life, and the world prosper and our bodies stronger.
Someone once told me they were going to get cancer eventually so it didn’t matter what they did or what they ate but why not try to spare yourself and others a future of agony and pain? Of hospitals and the tragedy of an untimely death, as well as the suffering of those who will endure it with you? A am vegan because I cannot control what happens to my food. That is the price of being able to afford it so easily and cheaply. Being Vegan is not the solution to the problem but it’s a start. Knowing what’s wrong starts with comparing labels, reading a book, and wanting to know. It starts with deciding that food is important; that health and life are important.