As I mentioned in a previous post I chose to turn to veganism and my family and friends have been pretty supportive about it. Previously, I wrote about “how” i became a vegan. Today I wanted to cover “why” i became a vegan.
WARNING: You may find what I now think of certain foods offensive, especially if you eat them. I am not trying to offend anybody, judge anybody, or push my beliefs on anybody. I’m simply documenting my life for those who might be interested.
About two years ago (fall 2009), I was finishing up my Bachelors of Science degree and I had to make up classes in social science, humanities, and political science. I chose Environmental Issues and Ethics, World Religious Traditions II, and Government of the United States. It was the combination of these three classes that completely changed my outlook on life and finally made me realize how much one person can change the present. Because of my family lineage and the people I grew up with, I always had access to information that the average person didn’t really know about. These three classes combine made me realize how priviledged I actually was and so began my journey to being a positive influence on the people around me.
My religion class covered the three major western religions Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Through my coursework I was reaquainted with the religious diets and I thought that if Jesus came to fulfill the law and not to abolish it, that I should be trying to at least follow a Judaic diet since Christianity is founded on Judaism. Interestingly Islam has a similar diet called halal. So my first task was to abstain from pork, that was the easiest. I stopped eating pork and still had my fill of beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, eggs, milk, cheese, etc. Not too hard, slowly but surely I started picking up other habits that are part of the Judaic law. For example I stopped eating meat and cheese together and thoroughly studied clean and unclean meats through internet searches.
In my environmental class, I learned about factory farming, bottom trawling, mountain topping, and disturbingly how in some third world countries there are candy wrappers everywhere and cell phones abound but yet there is not enough food and water for the local population. On the positive side I learned how responsible energy companies are harnessing the methane from landfills to create electricity and how traditional oil companies such as Chevron are making the natural transition from fossil fuel energy to renewable energy in their business model. This class made me feel bad about owning a Pontiac GTO. For those that aren’t familiar, it’s a V8 coupe that tops out at 200 MPH. I got it to 150 MPH at an undisclosed location :D, but it was a gas guzzler and had to go.
In the US government class we covered environmental issues further and discussed how the US government has the power to regulate pollutants by passing laws that impose fines on corporations who exceed a certain threshhold. Sadly, they are reluctant to do it and these issues hardly ever make it to the voting polls. This class was mostly depressing. It did make me realize that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. At least until you find more like minded people.
So these three classes started my journey to veganism (although I didn’t know it at the time). At first it was little changes I made in my diet, mode of transportation. I got rid of the GTO, got a Mazda MX6 (less cilinders), then got rid of the Mazda and decided on public transportation. I work from home and make my own schedule so it wasn’t that big of a deal for me.
So there I was improving my life, reducing my carbon impact, eating healthier, secretly promoting my lifestyle to those that were interested, and learning a lot from those that had been doing it longer. Something still didn’t feel right. It felt like it still wasn’t enough.
At the start of this year I had no car (by choice), a nice client base, nice apartment, etc. I kept thinking about the mercury levels in the fish I ate, the radiation in the food I microwaved, the hormones in the beef, milk, poultry, and eggs, and how portions have gotten bigger. Humans have gotten bigger (width and height) because of the hormones in the food we eat, and because we are bigger we need to eat more causing the food to be pumped with even more hormones.
Not only that, the foods that we eat are we I call an orgy of animals. I thought about the following, even though I didn’t eat this any more at one point it had been in my body.
Bacon Cheeseburger – Cow smothered with fermented cow breast milk, topped with pig, and smashed in between two pieces of bread containing chicken embryos.
Pizza – Meat Lovers was my favorite. Enough Said.
Subway Club – Beef, Pig, Turkey, more chiken embryos in the bread.
The list goes on….
So I prayed. I told God I didn’t want to drink the breast milk of another species, eat the sexual organs of another species, or be stuffing my face with the equivalent of a food orgy. I didn’t want to be responsible for animals being killed so I could throw them in the trash because I couldn’t stuff them in my face fast enough. I changed and everyday God brings more peace into my life.