Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Delightful Lightness of Being

So I've been eating a plant-based diet for about a month and a half now and I'm quite taken aback at how good I feel. Lighter is definitely a good word. No more "backups." I never feel that "lordy-I-ate-too-much"-ouch, but have a very pleasant satiated feeling and never get those low-blood sugar MUST-EAT! attacks anymore. The best part, though, aside from how good food tastes and that lightness, is feeling whole. I always felt in my gut I was a hypocrite, and therefore only part of who I was capable of being. I loved animals and felt very protective of their welfare, but I was consuming them from an industry that, deep down, I knew wasn't treating them well. But like so many I said, "Don't tell me about it. I don't want to know!"

With each passing year of shopping at the supermarket, though, I'd feel "wrong" standing at the deli counter ordering a few slices of Virginia ham and Swiss cheese. Not wrong enough to forgo buying and consuming the meat, of course. But it always seemed like it was that moment when I had a choice and I walked through the door of denial. I'd peruse the chicken sausage and try to push away that unnameable dishonest feeling, like I was wearing clothes that were way too small. Hindsight is 20/20, of course. I was knee-deep in denial, convincing myself that I bought organic "humanely raised" meat. "Yes, it's terrible that an animal had to die, but at least it was quick."

Reality knocked those assumptions out the window. It is not quick. It is not kind. Humane? I'm not sure what that word means any more if it describes what I've seen in my search for the truth of what happened behind those closed doors. (Paul McCartney said, "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.")

So what made me want to know the truth? It was really the sum of many factors. I had always loved Ellen DeGeneres and was curious about her conversion to veganism, especially since she had always been vocal about loving her hamburgers. I could see cutting meat, but what was wrong with eggs and milk? Who could give up cheese, for crying out loud?? I started exploring vegan blogs, just to see what was there. I certainly wasn't going to commit to it, but I was admittedly curious. On one of of those blogs, however, were ten minutes total of scenes from the documentary Earthlings (along with deleted scenes) and I watched it. What I saw simply horrified me. There's no other word for it. And, in an instant, I was done. No more meat, no more eggs, no more dairy. (If you're wondering why not dairy or eggs, I'll get into that at a later date, but suffice to say that they are some of the worst offenders. And all the animals end up slaughtered in the end.) When I later smelled a whiff of bacon cooking and tmy initial thought was "yum!" I simply had to think back to some of those scenes, and the smell instantly stopped enticing me. 

Interview of Ellen DeGeneres

I told my husband that night that I had seen these images and I couldn't be a part of that cruelty any more. Much to my surprise, he said he'd try out the diet with me for one month. I was pretty floored, as he has always loved his meat. (I had already been wondering, "How are we going to do this? Do we make two separate dinners each night?" So he set my fears to rest.)

I ultimately did watch Earthlings, though I had been dreading it. I decided one day I was home sick to just watch it in 5-minute increments; 5 minutes one day, 5 minutes the next, and so on. After the first 5 minutes, though, I couldn't tear myself away, even with my finger on the pause button, ready to strike. I felt I owed it to the animals I had eaten and who were being slaughtered every day to simply watch it, as they were the ones who actually had to endure it. The trailer, which is not heavy but quite beautiful, is below. (The whole movie was made available for free on youtube. The producers want as many people as possible to see it.)

Trailer (no gore here) of the documentary Earthlings

So that's the beginning of the story.

I tend to love researching a topic, so I've been reading up a ton. Much much more to follow ...

Peaceful Eating!


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