“HANDBAGS AT DAWN”

Sidebar to Vegan Lifter Project

What would you say was your path to veganism?

Satish Sundarrajan

I would say my path to veganism stemmed from my insistence on consistency and general hate for hypocrisy. I come from a lacto-vegetarian Hindu family where meat was already taboo but we had no problems with dairy. We also held cows in an esteemed position and thought of them as the embodiment of divine, cosmic, maternal love and providence.

Once I came to know about the horrors of the dairy industry through Gary Yourofsky’s video, I couldn’t live with the fact that we revered cows yet contributed to their suffering in an unspeakably ugly way. I tried to rationalize dairy consumption thinking it’s not cruel if cows are treated properly. But once the cognitive dissonance vanished and the truth set in (that there is no ethical way to obtain dairy at a global level in today’s world), I decided to go vegan as I couldn’t be that hypocritical Hindu who thinks cows are auspicious while being responsible for their maternal grief and commodification.

Today, I understand that there are reasons beyond religion for one to go vegan and that I would have gone vegan even if I were not a Hindu or a vegetarian, merely based on my first principles.

Joe “Monk” Coleman

My path came while I was searching for purpose and peace in my life. My connection came through meditation. Prior to that I didn’t even know what a vegan was.

Scott Shetler

For me it was an ethical choice related to animal welfare.

My wife and I have always been big supporters of animal rights, volunteered for and donated to animal rescues, adopted/rescued all of our pets, etc. One day we were on vacation and eating at a restaurant on the beach in Wilmington, NC, and I had a huge plate of steak, barbecue chicken and crab legs and my wife asked me if I ever thought about where my food came from and if I felt hypocritical eating animals while supposedly loving all animals. That opened the door for me and put a face on my food, so to speak.

My final tipping point was when I found a dead bunny in my garage. At the time we weren’t using our garage for our cars, we were storing stuff in it, so it must have snuck in one day without me knowing and got shut in accidentally. Since he couldn’t get out he must have starved and when I found his body I was devastated. Even though it was accidental, I felt a tremendous amount of guilt and decided right there I was done eating animals. I stopped eating meat, then eventually fish, dairy, and eggs. That was in April 2010, and on December 31, 2012, I decided to go 100% plant-based and have been vegan ever since.

Giacomo Marchese

Honestly, I never made the connection until I was an adult and already eating plant-based. A friend of mine developed heart disease and I started to research and find out how I could help her. I decided to go vegan to lead by example in hopes I could influence her to make changes to reverse it. Through the community I met an animal rescuer and through her, I made the connection that what was on my plate was once a life with the same feelings as me. From that point on, I knew there was no going back.

In hindsight, I was taught as a child to be a compassionate person, so I suppose that could have made me more open to the idea of respecting all life. But once someone is exposed to the horrors of animal agriculture and has come to understand that we have no reason consume or exploit other sentient beings, in any way, to live, it’s pretty hard to ignore the facts.

Nick Squires

When I was in second grade, I found a copy of Diet for a New America by John Robbins on our coffee table as my mom had been reading it. The first half of the book covered factory farming, and I went vegetarian after reading it. In high school I started eating meat again, but I always felt guilty about it. I dealt with that guilt by acting cavalier about it, like the concept of eating animals didn’t bother me. It wasn’t until my late 20’s when the subject fully connected in my brain again and I knew I had to truly live my values by not using animal products anymore.

Tobias Sjösten

I’ve always had a sense that it’s wrong to treat animals the way we do, but for the longest time that was overshadowed by me thinking that it was a necessary evil. I felt for them but thought it was just one of those injustices of life – until one day I figured I could actually stop supporting factory farming, so I cut that out of my diet and the only meat I ate was game.

Of course, living in a city, you don’t come by game very often so in practice I was eating vegetarian for months. When I realized that I was still alive and thriving without meat, surprisingly enough, I couldn’t really justify continue eating animals anymore. So I became vegetarian.

I think that let me be receptive to information from animal-rights organizations, which taught me more about the realities of our animal abuse. Little by little I became more convinced I didn’t want anything to do with it. But I also couldn’t see myself go vegan, because that was so extreme.

Over time I stopped eating any animal products at home but still allowed me to consume cheese and dairy when eating out. It took me half a year or so to realize the discrepancy of, on one hand, forgoing animal products at home for ethical reasons and, on the other hand, still participating on their abuse in restaurants. When I made that connection I had no choice but to become fully vegan.

And here I am today. Still alive, stronger and more fit than ever.

William Wiener

I would say my path to veganism was primarily based on health and prior family history. I remember reading about veganism 13 years ago (2005) in a brochure where animals were being slaughtered on a mass scale just for people to have McDonald’s hamburgers. I was aware of how we obtained the meat, but was never associated with how it affected us.

There was video that KC from Vegan Hustle TV released which made me flip the switch in a split second. He [observes] how “doctors do not make money on healthy patients.” From there I realized that veganism and eating a plant based diet was beneficial to my health and the doctors did not recommend it. As I began noticing improvements in my overall health, the ethical principle for veganism began to grow inside me as well. The mental connection was made that eating meat was not only unhealthy and unnecessary, but wrong. I have a dog and would not want to eat her if the market sold dog meat. Everything started to make sense, and here we are two and a half years later. Vegan and never going back.

AwakenedGainz

I started reading about Class 2 carcinogens and hormone effects of dairy and such. One I realized protein is protein, you just need to eat a variety of food. Then I learned the biochemistry behind cholesterol and its effects on heart disease. I tried being vegan for a weekend, and bought some cans of beans. After about two weeks I lost the taste for chicken and cow’s milk. And I’ve been vegan for 4½ years now.

I got a blood test last month because I wanted to know how my bio markers were, and I’m very thankful my total cholesterol is 120, HbA1C is 4.8, and blood hemoglobin is super high. The point for me was to prevent the debilitating chronic diseases my family member had.

Exercise has been a method for me to get stronger and build muscle. I’m 232 [pounds] right now, so there no issue building muscle, etc.

Tobias (VeganLifter)

My parents were vegetarian. I grew up vegetarian. From 22 to 25 I ate animals as well thinking I needed that to be healthy. Stupid gym misinformation. No real iconic moment. I just thought one day I’m eating without thinking about the cruelty, the whole process, the individual I’m eating. Realized I had to stop even if it meant I would be less healthy.

After some Googling I realized vegetarian wouldn’t eliminate the cruelty and vegan was the answer. It didn’t take too long before I realized food would be equally pleasurable and eventually I learnt that a plant-based diet is healthier than one with animal bits.

Christopher Mair

The earliest vivid memory I have was when I was in high school. At about 15 years old we watched a video of animals being abused, and tested on, in labs and farms. I had to step out after it was finished and ended up crying in the school bathroom for a few minutes. I think this was what planted the seed. I spent the next few years questioning eating animals and their products from time to time and even tried being vegetarian for five months.

That seed was then ignited by Gary Yourofsky six years on when I was 21 and listened to his speech on YouTube. I never intended to watch the entire speech. I was browsing YouTube, saw the video and thought, I’m not going to watch that shit – it’s 60 minutes long. I ended up saying I’d watch a couple of minutes. I was bored at the time and [I thought] something called “The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear” couldn’t be that bad. I ended up watching the entire video and was vegan the next day. Haven’t looked back in over three years.

Keelan

I was raised as a vegetarian until, a year ago, I was asked why I wasn’t vegan. Innocently, not aggressively asked, just inquiring, And I couldn’t come up with an answer that I felt comfortable with, so I immediately changed to a vegan diet.

Kyle (Plantx)

I would definitely say that it started unknowingly from a very young age. I never thought of eating meat as right or wrong as a kid because I never made the connection consciously that it was an animal. I was always very much into animals as a kid though.

My actual path began as a teenager. When I was 12 I got into punk rock and hardcore music. There were several bands I grew up listening to who sang songs about veganism, but I didn’t actually make the connection until I was 19. One of the guys I started hanging out with was vegetarian and after talking to him about it I became vegetarian. I really wanted to go full vegan but I didn’t know anyone personally who was vegan and it just seemed like an almost unachievable thing.

One night when I was 23 I watched a video about factory farming, and although it was all stuff I knew, it really clicked with me. I went vegan the next day. I couldn’t rationalize supporting that in any way another day. That was about ten years ago now.

Daniel

That’s an interesting question and one I’ve unfortunately never really thought about before. Steak was also my favourite food for a long time as well as burgers and. honestly. I never really remember making the connection? I can’t remember what turned me away from eating meat in particular but for me definitely what made me decide to go vegan was going to a farm to see and hold baby lambs and calves. I had been Pescatarian for many years at the time but I never really thought too much into it.

Something about eating meat felt wrong so I stopped but didn’t take it any further. Then seeing those lambs and calves that day made me realize that there was so much more that I was having an impact on through consuming animal products. I was never a massive fan of cheese so that was easy to cut out and had got ill multiple times from my diet that had a lot of fish and shellfish so all I had to really do was cut out the eggs, which was easy.

Richard Arsenault

I grew up in a healthy family. My mom always made healthy meals with variety. I never ate too many animals products but definitely on a daily basis since there are animal products in a lot of stuff we don’t think about.

After moving out, I was always looking for ways to eat better and healthier, and, after foiur years with my girlfriend, she wanted me to watch the documentary Food Choices because I was consuming whey protein and she was concerned about the protein amount. That documentary made me go vegan on the spot. I think it was meant to be because I understood the importance of it right away even though I had never given it some thought before. I only knew one person that was vegetarian (my aunt) but had never questioned it.

Three years before I went vegand I switched to almond milk – not sure why, because I like cow’s milk, but it tasted better from almonds. Without thinking of it I think I knew it was better for me.

After going vegan from that one documentary I never looked back and has no doubts it was gonna be for life no matter what. Especially seeing everyone else doing it and bodybuilders as well.

Ndem

As a child i disliked eating meat. I never felt energized after eating it and i usually wanted to go to sleep afterwards. The internet wasn’t what it is now and i didn’t have the information. As a kid I never even knew the term vegan. People thought you needed meat to survive. Let me say they are definitely wrong about that.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2018.11.29 13:47. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
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