There are many parts to this. For a lot of people, going vegan occurs for health reasons. And this was part of the reason that I made the commitment to cut out animal products from my diet. But it’s not the reason that I stayed vegan.
I went vegetarian in 2008. My beautiful man Davey had just gone vegetarian and after an initial period of, “well just because he’s gone veg doesn’t mean I’m going to and how dare he make a decision that will impact our dinner dates without me!” I was intrigued. Thankfully he never pushed his feelings or views down my throat and gave me the space and respect to make this decision for myself. I started watching some YouTube videos and was horrified at what actually happens in factory farms. It was like a light bulb went off – I didn’t feel comfortable exploiting another being. Period.
I didn’t put pressure on myself though…I simply decided to try my best to avoid animal products TODAY. I remember saying to myself, “Oh but if I feel like fish or prawns or a little bit of cheese then maybe I’ll have it,” but months passed when I didn’t reach for those things anymore and I realised I was vegan. I realised I could do it.
I want to be clear here, I believe it’s impossible to be 100% vegan – we breathe in tiny bacteria with every breath; we probably kill bugs with every step; animal by-products are in things like car tyres and plastic bags; animals are still killed in the harvesting of non-animal products like wheat and sugar…but we can still try our best. Making that decision to choose to avoid animal ingredients wherever I could felt like the least I could do.
It was like a weight had lifted from my shoulders and I honestly felt more love in my heart.
To me, it’s not about being the healthiest I can be or being eco-friendly, though these are both extra awesome side bonuses (you can find loads of information online about how a vegan driving a hummer is more eco-friendly than a meat-eater driving a prius or about how the World Health Organisation has classified processed meats as carcinogens alongside tobacco and formaldahyde).
It was about deciding that my life is not worth more than another’s.
Even an animal’s. Even a silk worm. Even a bee. This is the ultimate in ‘gentle living’ to me.
So I eat a vegan diet (no meat, dairy, honey, eggs, fish sauce, etc,), I only wear vegan clothes (no wool, leather, silk, fur) and I check everything that I buy including household cleaning products, skincare products, medicine, etc. And, despite what many people think, it’s not difficult. 99% of restaurants and cafes that I have been to have a couple of options on the menu or have been more than accommodating in putting something simple together. It’s encouraged me to try new foods, get creative in the kitchen and be much more mindful of what I put in to my body – something I’m immensely grateful for.
Davey and I were very active in sharing the vegan message a few years ago. We toured the country giving free talks to hundreds of people about the health and environmental benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Davey used his savings to put up a vegan billboard (which was recently put up again in regional QLD thanks to the efforts of some local vegans in Toowoomba) and we even created a vegan discount card called the Vegan Card which gave card-holders discounts at over 100 businesses around Australia. In the last couple of years we’ve moved on to different projects, for lots of reasons, but mostly because it felt right for us. We’re still very supportive of the work that many vegans are doing out in the world; spreading awareness, sheltering and rescuing animals. They are true Saints.
There are lots of incredible resources out in the world to make the transition to a vegan lifestyle as easy as possible. If you’re interested in learning more, you can download our eBook Live Vegan: The 21 Day Ultimate Guide for FREE (it used to be $29.95). You’ll also find some of my favourite recipes and pretty old blog posts below.
www.suprememastertv.com for the spiritual benefits of a vegan diet
www.vegiehead.com for lots of delicious recipes
www.vivalavegan.com for forums and support
www.australianvegans.com.au and all of Kathy Divine’s books like Plant Powered Women and Plant Powered Men
www.shinefromwithin.com.au/shop/ for all of my favourite vegan beauty products
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