Why I Will Continue to Attempt Veganism Until I’m Good At It
Kate, Guest Writer
This is an HONEST and STRAIGHTFORWARD post about my journey to let my actions reflect my viewpoints.
Did you know that Alicia Silverstone wrote a book on veganism and used to fall off the wagon for cheese?
That’s ok Alicia. I still love you AND your book. And I don’t care that you use pop culture or whatever to promote veganism. I don’t even care that you like junk food. What I like about you is that you commend ALL efforts towards veganism- just like Vegan.com
I’m not going to mention others. Because they’re perfectionist haters.
VEGAN though? It’s SO EXTREME!
There are a lot of arguments like that. But I wanted to take a minute to talk about MY personal journey- which for the record, is not complete.
I used to be a vegetarian. I stopped eating meat sometime in 8th grade (wow…that’s a LONG time ago, right? haha). I was meat free because I DIDN’T LIKE IT. That’s it. A very simple reason. I found it gross.
Then I got pregnant with my daughter. I went to see a midwife who was mad that I was gaining “too slowly”. I was 96lbs when I got pregnant at the age of 18, and I gained 22lbs during my pregnancy (at 4’10″) but according to national standards, unless I was a whoppingly obese 35lbs or more heavier with my baby, I was classified as underweight. She convinced me to start eating meat. So I did. I started eating MCDONALDS. (hey- I never said I was rocket scientist at 18) I got so sick that I had diarrhea and vomiting so bad that I ended up in the hospital- twice. And from there I continued to eat meat. Brilliant, right? Because NO ONE told me why what I was doing was disgusting. They said my symptoms were viral. Viral my hat.
Had my kid. Then I started getting REALLY sick. Like 80 something pounds sick. Gray with hair falling out, nails falling off sick. And my allergies got so bad that I started having anaphylaxis. In an attempts to figure out what was wrong, I got a good doctor in a town made of money. She sent me to an allergist, who gave me an epi pen, 8 prescriptions, steroids, inhalers, nebulizers, and a sympathetic ear. But I didn’t get better.
So hey, I started eating organic. Did you know that junk food is still junk food when it’s organic? I didn’t.
Then I started getting into the meat of my education (those pesky degrees I have). OH MY GOD- WHAT DO YOU MEAN JUICE ISN’T HEALTHY?! I learned things about food and “medicine” and plastics and toxins that scared the CRAP out of me. Apparently, food is coated in chemicals and franken manipulated from weird things that make us sick and mutate us, doctors are being paid to pump us full of things that don’t cure us, plastic gives us cancer and sterility, our air and water are filthy…..In short, I learned how to eat properly and get rid of toxic crap in my life.
Boy was THAT hard. For the first year, everything tasted like ass. I just wanted some of those artificially flavored gold fish things.
Still wasn’t better. And on top of that, I started losing my mind. Literally- I was LITERALLY losing my mind. I couldn’t maintain relationships, I was always fighting with people, having panic attacks, and developing really scary rashes that turned into MRSA. I joined an allergy forum, hoping to find some answers and someone (and my mother) suggested that maybe I can’t eat gluten.
But I love gluten. None the less, I went gluten free- only to find out that I should have been tested first. Then I fell off the wagon. Then on. Then off. And eventually, I couldn’t keep anything but salad down, so I threw out all of my groceries and started over- totally gluten free. I threw away every piece of plastic, wood, colander contaminated thing ever. I got better. And a year later, after demanding my file from my allergist, I found test results that they forgot to call me about…showing I was a Celiac.
Being a Celiac really opened my eyes as to how food is grown and prepared. And that’s when it went downhill. I don’t want to sound like a holy roller, but do you know what pink slime is? Have you seen how chicken nuggets are made? Do you know what gestation cages are? Battery cages? Ever seen an animal skinned alive? Did you know that there is BONE CHAR in your sugar? That eggs are left in cages with chickens who die of neglect? That pigs are smarter than most 3yr olds? That fish feel pain? That without bees there would be no food? That baby cows are ripped from their mother and not allowed to bond or nurse? That milk has to be pasteurized because conditions are so filthy that the cows utters get infected and bleed and puss into milk? That without factory farming there would be miniscule incidents of food borne illness? That when meat is slaughtered, the animal is so scared that it spoils the meat and in order for it to be edible, the animal has to hang for days to putrefy so it’s not too tough? That if a cow is left more than 9mos, it will die a horrible and painful death because it’s being fed corn- and they can’t digest corn, it just ferments in their gut?
Did you know that more food is fed to meat than we get out of it pound for pound? That one of the greatest uses of fresh water is simply for livestock? That fossil fuel use is an integral part of livestock farming? That above all dietary choices, meat eaters were the LEAST healthy? That animal protein consumption can cause cancer? That meat doesn’t get digested, it just rots in your gut? That dairy consumption is the leading cause of eczema and allergies? That eggs are the leading source of saturated fat? That pork consumption can cause gout? That red meat causes heart disease? That most meat products contain harmful chemicals and undesirable animal parts? Oh and all THESE statistics.
I didn’t know any of this. But when I found out, I was PISSED.
This is wrong, I said to myself.
This is disgusting and wrong, and I don’t agree with this.
How can I indicate in my actions that I disagree with this? How is THIS any different from the reason I recycle? In short, it’s not. And therefore, the reason I will continue to try is because I care.
One cannot simply consume the product of violence every day and not expect it to take a toll on themselves personally. I will not consume violence, and I will not perpetuate or support violence. I will not support environmental destruction. I will not put food into my body that doesn’t nourish it or that harms it. I will not enhance my carbon footprint by following cultural eating habits.
I will not eat that Sam I Am. I will not eat green eggs and ham.
And now I don’t have eczema. Or Celiac blisters. Or asthma. I’m not allergic to my pets anymore. Or dust. Or pollen. I’m hungry in the morning and don’t feel sick. I have tons of energy. My skin and hair look great. I’m thin…and toned. I’m not hungry all the time and I no longer crave sugar or chocolate. OR CHEESE! My stomach doesn’t hurt. And I feel better INSIDE. I just feel great.
So try it- don’t be afraid. Try some new food. Attempt meatless Mondays. Read a book. There are all sorts of ways to get started.
For more on making the mind-body connection, watch Forks Over Knives, and this documentary on carnism. Oh, and check out Alicia’s site and book!
This article originally appeared at Kate’s Apartment Steading. Please visit this excellent blog about food, veganism, healthy living and life.
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