“We cannot have peace among men whose hearts find delight in killing any living creature.” ~ Rachel Carson
I never liked meat. I didn’t like it when I was a kid and my mum was forcing me to eat it, and I liked it even less when I was a teenager and had an authentic repulsion for it.Sometimes I think one of the main reasons for the extremely complicated relationship I have with my mother lies in her difficulty to understand that I honestly didn’t like meat and didn’t want to eat it.
I remember those days when I was seven years old, and she was forcing me to the kitchen’s table with a bleeding steak in front of me. “You are not leaving this table until you finish it” she repeated. I recall slowly cutting a small piece of it, putting it in my mouth and chewing it for one/two/even five minutes – the bite was completely impossible to swallow.
A few years later – because the situation was not improving, I started to develop tricks that helped me solve the problem in a different way and involved me hiding the pieces of meat I was supposed to eat into a napkin before finally releasing them into the toilet a few minutes later.
When I was a teenager the situation got even worse and the conflict with my mum became so extreme that I started to secretly buy food on my way back home from school to avoid the one she was preparing at home. This silly idea brought my mother to think I had a severe eating problem and because of my teenager’s hormones, I accused her of not caring about me and not respecting me enough since she couldn’t accept that meat was not ending up on my plate ever again.
At the time my decision was merely based on my taste buddies rather than on ethical reasons. Therefore I was still eating fish and seafood which made the rest of the family slightly less worried about my health condition.
Then I went to Australia and started to volunteer at a yoga retreat centre where I asked to join the staff in the kitchen and soon became one of the greatest helpers of the local chef. The food we prepared was strictly vegetarian and after a few weeks in that piece of heaven I ended up not missing fish at all but rather decided to embrace an entirely vegetarian diet.
It was February 2013, and it just felt right.
At the time I wasn’t considering becoming a vegan (mostly because of my crazy passion for cheese), and I admit the association vegans = extremists came to my mind several times. Shame on me!!!
I lived happily as a vegetarian for over two years without thinking I was missing on something and feeling much better. The only downside was when I could hear a voice coming from the back of my mind telling me that being vegetarian was not enough (I’m quite sure it was my conscience). And so I did what everyone on this planet should do – I informed myself and decided to do it reading a few articles and books and watching on Netflix a few documentaries, one of them called Vegucated.
If you have never heard of it, I’ll briefly explain to you what it is.
Vegucated is a 2011 American documentary film that follows the lives of three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to transition to a vegan diet for six weeks.
The documentary discusses the benefits (for the body, the environment and the whole society) of a healthy vegan diet and tries to explore the resistance and the prejudices that meat eaters feel towards veganism.
If you imagine this movie as a traditional and boring documentary, you will be surprised. The delicate topic has been treated in a simple, self-explanatory way that will quickly make you fraternize with the participants of this social experiment.
You’ll struggle with them while they are emptying their unhealthy fridges, or while they have to read every single label at the supermarket.
You’ll cry with them while they are forced to watch what happens to animals in a dairy end egg farm.
You’ll even feel like you are walking next to them while they decide to trespass on a factory farm to see for themselves what it looks like.
And exactly like them you’ll became passionate about this new-found cause and – if you are a sensitive soul like I am – you’ll realise that you’ll not need cheese after all.
And so after a good half an hour spent crying and feeling incredibly guilty for the vast amount of eggs, cheese, milk, honey, etc. consumed in the past 30 years of my life, I simply made a move and turned vegan from that very same day. It was November 2015, and it felt INCREDIBLY right.
“It is not your right—based on YOUR traditions, YOUR customs and YOUR habits—to deny animals THEIR freedom so you can harm them, enslave them and kill them. That’s not what rights are about. That’s injustice.” ~ Gary Yourofsky