Sunday, February 7, 2010

Our Vegan Journey... part one

I call it a journey because it really has been a very long time. Nearly 17 years I believe. I was around 18 years old when I became a vegetarian. I had one other friend who was also. I hadn't learned anything in particular about vegetarianism, I just decided that I was not okay with eating animals. I eventually sought out more information. I remember sitting on the floor of the library with several of the books that I had found. And so I guess you could say that my real first reasons for becoming vegetarian, and then vegan, were all about the animals. The undeniable reality of what factory farming is made it impossible for me to be anything other than vegan.

I was 21 when I met Jason, he was almost 20, we had both already been vegan for a couple years at that point. As sympathetic as I was towards the animals, Jason was probably 100 times more. Or even more than that. His great caring can cause him much suffering.

A year or so later we were living our happy vegan life together. We learned more along the way, we became more committed along the way. We dreamed of having our own farm animal sanctuary. We did not wear leather shoes or wool, we did not eat honey or refined sugar. These things were always very easy for us, we were just living in a way that was common sense to us. We never felt like we were making a great sacrifice, we were certainly did not feel deprived of anything.

In addition to the obvious reasons regarding animal welfare, it was not long before we learned of many other reasons to continue our vegan lifestyle. There seemed to be so much illness and disease associated with the typical American diet, which is of course high in dairy and meat products. Antibiotics, hormones, chemicals in our foods... these issues are of great importance to us. Sometimes we would wonder why no one else seemed to care.

Now for a moment here I will jump ahead and share with you just part of my feelings on the subject today. As far as the unhealthiness of meat and dairy products goes, I realize now that there is a big difference between conventionally raised/factory farmed meat and highly processed dairy products, and animals that are humanely raised, organic, pastured, perhaps right in your own backyard. (And I am of course well aware that most vegans out there will completely disagree with the idea of an animal being raised humanely for food.) Remember though, this was back in the mid 90's (oh so long ago...) and there were not really any alternatives. So vegan we were!

We knew we would be vegan forever. I think everyone else believed it too.
But there is now a second part to this story...

14 comments:

Nicole Spring said...

Oh Renee! I can't wait to read more! I went lato-ovo veg when I was 10 and vegan around 15. I was vegan about 15 years and K was vegan all her life. We just recently started adding a little bit of raw/organic dairy in our diets and I am still uncertain of it. It makes me and my youngest sick and it makes me sad for the cows :( Anyways, I can't wait to see how the rest of your journey goes!!!!! XOXO

sarah said...

So interesting. I can't wait to read more. My dd got me into vegetarianism and mainly raw food when she was very little, but I am sometimes forced to eat meat because I am chronically and severely anemic. Same as the Dalai Lama, lol!

Naturalearthfarm said...

Renee,
This is very near to my heart right now as I have been strugging with eating animal products. We have chickens that we love dearly and now that they are three years old, we are not getting enough eggs to pay for the grain we have to buy all winter and supplement with when they can free range.... we can't kill them. So, does it make sense for us to eat eggs at all then? I am leaning towards no - because if chickens are only good egg producers for two years (eggs for eating, meaning quantity), then obviously they are killed after this time. So.. I have been spending time thinking and praying about this to learn what is right for me and my family.
Can't wait to read the rest.
Warm wishes,
Tonya

earthycrunchy said...

Can't wait to hear more Renee! xo Kyndale

sara farmama said...

Part 2 tomorrow?....can't wait!
Did you have a nice weekend Renee? I hope so!
Sending love,
sara

Mamawild said...

okay...i'm hooked! do tell! : ) my hubby and i lived a vegetarian lifestyle for several years. we did lots of soul searching, and things have changed a bit for us, but i support anyone who has a well thought out conviction. i love that you used the word "journey"...it really is. : )

Linda said...

This was so wonderful to read, I am so looking forward to part 2!
Warmly
Linda

Tan Family said...

So interesting! I went vegetarian after giving birth to our third baby, then eventually became vegan. Went complete raw for almost 2 years. Now, mostly raw vegan with some cooked grains/veggies. For me, there's no doubt at all in my mind that being vegan is the healthiest. More raw = more vibrant! I love seeing other's journey with food and their relationships with the animal and plant worlds. :)

4 BOYS ONLY said...

I am still amazed to find other vegan families who are going through such similar things. We too are vegan, last year we added raw local honey to our diets and wool to our lives. (its cold here in Maine!) natural animal products vs man made with many possible environmental problems is a concern of mine. I constantly think about local raw dairy and eggs. Although, after Tonya's comment it's got me thinking chickens are not the best idea. Can't wait to hear more.

suzanne said...

Hello Renee

I enjoy posts when depth and feelings are expressed. I have enjoyed reading your journey. How wonderful that Jason and you were able to live out a very important part of life together. You so often come across opposition in partnerships. Your principles are admirable.

A happy day to you Renee

Warm regards
Suzanne

heather said...

i love it when i just know in your bones that something is right for me. i've never been here to your blog, but now i have to come to back for part two!!!. i also love the rudolph steiner quote. so so much....

faith said...

I have came across your blog through "the meadow." Ironically really..because I just LOVE blogs with cliff hangers. And I also LOVE blogs about food and nutrition. I am on my own jaunt with Raw Foods, Alkaline/Acid via the PH Miracle and now Blood Type. Talk about overload but extremely interesting. Every BODY needs different things. This has been the major lesson for me. Everyone is on their own journey with food. One thing is for certain..the Standard American Diet is really SAD!

Earth Mama said...

Im 100% with you and can't wait to read more! I had a similar journey, which evolved over time as well.

:)Lisa

Nicole Benjamin said...

I truly enjoyed reading about your vegan journey, I look forward to reading more and getting back to our email very soon! It is so lovely to connect with you over these topics! xoxo