For the last year or so I have been working on becoming a vegan. I use the phrase "working on becoming" because this isn't something one does on a whim. This is an extreme change in lifestyle and beliefs, and I knew that if I just dove into it, I would be overwhelmed and feeling like I was denying myself in the same way that starting a new wonder diet leaves us feeling deprived after a few days. Becoming a vegan is about more than just what is on your plate. It is also about what is in your heart.
I find it curious, now that I think about it, that my interest in going vegan began to surface about the same time I discovered my love of gardening. If this isn't all a masterful example of synchronicity, I don't know what is. It is only in the last year, however, that I have taken the time to really do my homework. I have spent countless hours on YouTube watching haunting videos and reading the latest books and research on the subject. I've perused every online vegan recipe site I could find.
Yes, there is some measure of feeling like I have to give things up, especially things I am fond of. I do love a nice serving of grilled salmon, a yummy, cheesy egg dish, and my all time favorite - ice cream. So I am still looking for ways to satisfy the desire for those taste experiences, but like anything else, if we want to create new habits, it takes time. Rome wasn't the only thing not built in a day. A lifetime of beliefs and traditions wrapped around food aren't changed over night. We were all raised with: "Eat your meat, drink your milk." My religious upbringing, such as it was, never asked me to think of animals as thinking, feeling, sentient beings. You just did what you were told because that was the way it was done.
For those that might be asking what changed my mind about eating animals and the products they produce, I won't go into lured details about the unthinkable cruelty that goes on at factory farms, or the health benefits of eating a plant based diet. If you want the gruesome details, go on over to Netflix or YouTube and take a look at some of the documentaries (Forks Over Knives, Food, Inc.) or read the New York Times article about what goes on at factory farms. All I will say is that it is my wish that no other living thing should have to suffer or die for my benefit when there is another way. I may not be able to change the world, but I can change my participation in it. Evolution didn't stop with Darwin. As my mentor, Louise Hay, is always saying, a belief is only a thought that you think over and over ... and thoughts can be changes.
And so it is.