They are even more awesome when there is a Veganaut Tale to post like there is today. This is the day we get to meet Erin and hear about her recent transition to the herbivore lifestyle. Be sure to give Erin a supportive shout-out and check out her blog!
I finally committed to a life of veganism this January 1, 2013, after over a decade of wanting to become vegan. I was raised on meat and cheese (plus soda and candy!) but when I learned that the animals on our plate are adorable cows, chickens, and pigs, I started eating my meat with silent dissent. I had to employ that disconnect from my compassion that so many meat-eaters do, because I didn’t want to upset my mother by announcing I would no longer be eating the food she prepared. In a high school statistics class I learned that cow’s milk was actually leaching calcium from your body, doing the exact opposite of what I had believed for life, what I had been told by those I trusted. I wanted to know what other falsehoods I had been told. Over the next decade, I continued to learn about the harm that animal products do to animals, your body, and the environment, and my dissent grew into outrage. But I still ate meat.
In the last few years, I have watched movies like Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, Vegucated, and Food Matters, and I have read the Engine2Diet and countless medical articles on nutrition. But I still could not commit to the vegan diet until I experienced a life-changing moment: my daughter was born.
When she was born, I found myself spending countless hours contemplating the way I lived my life, and what example I set for my daughter. I examined my core values and realized that to truly embrace my compassion for the welfare of animals, I had to stop eating them, and I had to stop buying products that caused them suffering. I also contemplated my lifespan. I thought: “How long can I possibly live? I want to live for 100 years, and play with my great-grandchildren.” My grandfather has dementia, and a few important people in my life died from cancer or heart disease. Everyone I know has friends & family that suffered in a similar way. I want to prevent debilitating disease for myself and my family through nutritional excellence.
I found myself thinking, “What kind of a life do I want for my daughter?” The answer, of course, is easy. I wish her to be happy and healthy. With obesity, diabetes, ADD, autism, and child cancers on the rise, I believe the link that so many experts have pointed to between a poor diet and disease. What is so bad about loading up your kid with a plant-based diet? We already know that fruits & vegetables are super healthy. Seems like the obvious choice for your child’s diet. Even with so much evidence as to the health benefits, raising a vegan child has been tough. Not even my pediatrician fully supported my decision, citing milk and eggs as optimal sources of nutrition. My husband gives me a funny look when I tell him my daughter’s birthday cake will be vegan, as if vegan=disgusting. But my daughter’s health is worth the funny looks and the comments. Her health is worth the endless explaining that I have to do.
Although it has been an uphill battle these past 30 some-odd days (with some failures along the way already), I will continue to live vegan. I am the change I want to see in the world. If I have any hope of my daughter being the healthiest and happiest person she can be, I must do the same.
Here is Erin’s awesome blog: http://havenaveganblog.blogspot.com/
Please share your story with the community by emailing it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and include your blog or Facebook Page or Twitter handle or anything else you’d like to share. The stories that are coming in show the huge variety of ways that people come to this healthy, caring, and compassionate lifestyle. It also helps new vegans see that we are a diverse, accepting group that is here to cheer their victories and forgive their mistakes. I hope you will share your story!