Our vegan story started as a love story. I met my husband at Coachella Music Festival when I was 19. He was a vegetarian and I was a meat eater. We starting traveling and living together immediately, and ‘the meat issue,’ was a hot topic between us. At first I dismissed it, like so many meat eaters do.
Slowly, I started viewing the idea of eating meat in a different light. Daley never hesitated to voice his concerns for animal liberties, or for the many health implications of eating meat. When we moved to his home in England, he said he had never cooked meat in his pans, and out of respect, I decided I wouldn’t eat meat at his (our) house. I was surprised at how easy it was to cut it out of my diet. I loved the meals we created in those early days, and Daley was introducing me to new spices, flavors, and veggies all of the time.
One day, we decided to eat in a restaurant. Because I hadn’t eaten meat for the longest period in my life (about three weeks), I ordered chicken fajitas. I was surprised to find that I did not at all enjoy my experience. It actually made me sick, and at that point I no longer felt the need for meat in my diet. This is what I wrote at the time:
“tonight the camper stove ran out of gas so instead of spicy stir fry with sevina peppers (the hottest on the planet), daley and i ate at a small cafe where i made a mistake. i ordered and ate chicken fajitas after not having meat in about 3 weeks. so i came home and puked up the soul of the poor little chicken. it only takes 4 weeks from egg to fajita. they just pump this poor thing with fatty chemicals.and, and i think tonight i am officially a veggirl.”
We went on as vegetarians for a year, always eager to discuss “animal rights,” but never knowing enough. We had yet to gain knowledge of the living conditions of enslaved, mass produced animals, or see the gruesome footage of the slaughterhouses where ‘organic’ dairy cows and laying hens are sent. We had never met a vegan, and knew very little about the subject. As far as we knew, we could never live without cheese or eggs.
That all changed when we moved next door to a group of vegans. One day, I was chatting outside with Elsa, one of the neighbors, and I noticed that she was quick to correct me for using the word ‘vegetarian,’ in lieu of ‘vegan,’ when referring to a particular food establishment. “You mean it’s a vegan place. They do not serve anything from an animal.” That got me wondering; why was she so adamant to make the distinction?
That question dove me head first into veganism. Not long after that conversation, I found a movie named Earthlings on the web. The website’s slogan was daring me to “make the connection,” so I called Daley over, and we watched it together. The documentary was the most horrific thing either of us had ever seen. I cried, because I was terrified for the animals I saw, and because of my role in supporting the practices I witnessed. I sat watching, wide-eyed, feeling like I could vomit. We saw the murder of the dairy and egg industries, and realized that they were just subdivisions of the meat trade. We learned vegetarianism could never be enough. Before it was over, we had both decided to stop partaking in the animal industry.
Here we are, two years after that vital decision. Our health has improved, and concurrently our ideas about nutrition and nonviolence have deepened. We both believe veganism to be the substructure for a better, more peaceful way of existing.
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