Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Many, Many Causes for Celebration

This year, 2014, marks a milestone year for me. Not only do I turn the big 4-0 in June, but I also celebrate 20 years of vegetarianism—half of my life. (I've been vegan for the last eight years.)

I chose to go vegetarian back in 1994 during my sophomore year of college while rooming with my now-best-friend, Amy Biggé, her dog, Ivy, and two cats, Sweetie Pie and Puss Puss. It was my interaction with these wonderful creatures that compelled me to come to terms with the sentience of all beings and my own conspicuous hypocrisy. If I could recognize the aliveness and uniqueness of these individual animals, why then couldn't I consider the equivalent for those animals whom I never saw but had been thoughtlessly eating? I made the connection and it quickly became unacceptable for me to value some animals while consuming others.

Deciding to go vegetarian and subsequently vegan, were the best decisions I've ever made and make me most proud.

Every day that I choose to forgo animal flesh and animal products like cow's milk and cheese means I have not contributed to an animal's pain and suffering; it means one less animal will be artificially impregnated (raped) to bear a calf, piglet, chick, duckling or kid who will be torn away from his or her mother to be fattened and slaughtered for me to recklessly feast on; it means one less animal will be enslaved and tormented by the dairy and egg industries, and it means that I have decisively chosen compassion and empathy over cruelty, peace over violence, and coexistence over domination, exploitation and oppression.

I'm living proof that one can joyfully and successfully live and thrive on a plant-based diet. My health has improved and people often mistake me for someone at least ten years younger.

The truth is that humans do not need animals or their secretions to survive. This means that every time we eat meat and dairy we are consciously choosing to do another living being harm merely in the interests of our own gluttonous appetites, essentially putting our stomachs above the pain and suffering of our fellow earthlings. Our dietary choices not only affect our own bodies and the bodies of the animals we destroy, but have lasting effects on our environment and those around the world who go hungry because the grains that could be feeding them are going instead to mass produced "food" animals.

Veganism is the answer to many of the world's ills and agonies if people would only just take the time to open their eyes and ears, their hearts and minds.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to this special time and turning 40 knowing that with each passing year I'm not only getting wiser but kinder, too.

Vegan Starter Kit

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