Some of my earliest memories are of playing with animals – going to my sister’s friend’s place just to play with her dog, going to work with my dad just for the chance of maybe going to a farm and seeing a dog or some cats or pigs or cows, visiting with some family friends who owned a farm and playing with their potbelly pigs, the list goes on. If you had a connection to our family and you had any kind of animal, I would be there!
I remember wanting to be a vet because in my young brain, that was the way someone who loved animals would show their love.
When I was that young, I didn’t connect animals to meat. I wasn’t told that’s where the beef comes from or that is what bacon is before it’s on your plate. There was no connection and so I ate meat and animal products with no issues. Pure ignorance.
As I got older, I played softball and there was one game I will never forget. Warning – life changing event. We were playing in a schoolyard that turned out to be right by a butcher shop. On that day, as it turns out, the butcher shop was open. As we were playing, came the screams of the pigs as they went from living to food. I was pretty distraught over the whole thing. The fact that living creatures were screaming didn’t seem to affect anyone else. We just went on playing that stupid game.
That was the first time the connection was drawn. “But that is just the way life is, Carly. That is where our food comes from. That’s just the way it is.” I had a lot to process, but being from a small town in a very conservative area, I fell back in with what was expected.
The idea that you need meat at every meal and that it is something that there is no way around is what I grew up being told. It is something everyone I knew had been told growing up, and so it stays the same.
As I got closer to my 15th birthday, the guilt of killing something just so I could have a meal got too overwhelming, so on my birthday, I quit eating meat. There was no hesitation, and I never ate meat again.
Looking back, I told myself a lot of lies to feel okay about eating all the other animal products that I loved so much, but to be honest, there was always guilt when I would eat some cheese or an omelette.
The problem was I didn’t know any vegans, and I didn’t know how to look for any. People were already worried about me being vegetarian, and I was told that I needed the other animal products to be healthy.
When I was older and started travelling, I met my first vegan, and he didn’t look so good. He was very pale and he always complained about having no energy. Unfortunately this stuck with me and this was my vision of a vegan for a lot of years.
In the 20 years that I was vegetarian, I tried to be vegan many times just to see how it felt. I did zero research on it and just looked at it as cutting things out rather than adding in new, healthier stuff. Needless to say, it didn’t stick. I always seemed to go back to animal products.
Then one day I decided that the guilt was too strong and I didn’t have to live with it, but I would need help. For some reason I went to a homeopath and discussed everything with her. That day I left with a remedy, and I have been vegan ever since. The overarching idea behind homeopathy is that your body can heal itself if given the chance, so I gave myself the chance to heal what needed to be healed, and I have never looked back.
Every day that I am alive now, I am so thankful I have made this change. I have listened to what my soul was telling me, and I am happier for it. This is such a big part of who I am and what I believe, and this is why I love to help my fellow vegan women. We have a huge fundamental part of ourselves that is similar and in harmony with each other.
The number one reason I am vegan is for the animals. To me, no living creature should have to suffer for me to eat or for me to have something to wear or to be entertained. It is simple and yet is so much more than a diet. And every day I strive to be the best I can be. We are living the lifestyle that makes our hearts happy and that is such a huge deal.
That is my story. It is a short one, but I hope you found something in it that spoke to you. We are not alone.
How did you become vegan? What is your story? I would love to hear it. Come and join me in my Facebook group Vivacious Vegan Women and share your story with us.