Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Awakening

As my first post, I would like to share with you my vegan journey thus far...

My vegan awakening occurred about 6 weeks ago, when my hubby and I discovered that our 3 month old daughter had an allergy to milk and/or peanuts.  The doctor advised me to abstain from milk and nuts, and although my initial response was, "I really don't eat much dairy," I quickly discovered how wrong I was. I baked with it, I cooked with it, and I ate a lot of yogurt and cheese.  When we returned home from the doctor, I looked at the meals I had planned for the week and realized that most of them were no longer feasible.  I didn't know what to do, what to cook, or even how to cook without using dairy products.  So I went to our public library.

I entered the library looking for info on how to cook for kids with allergies, but on the next shelf, I happened to see several vegan cookbooks. It dawned on me that vegans were the best people who would know how to cook without dairy products, and I picked up a copy of Vegan With A Vengeance and Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan.  Just out of curiosity, I also picked up Erik Marcus' book, Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, not knowing that my life would forever be changed. (okay, so that's a little melodramatic, but seriously... how random is life sometimes?!)

That evening I opened Marcus' book and could not put it down! While I easily bought the health reasons for adopting a vegan lifestyle, I was initially skeptical of his research and conclusions in the section regarding animal rights.  However, I could not easily dismiss the stories I had read of routine animal abuse and the impact that a carnivorous lifestyle has on the planet.  My curiosity was piqued. I googled veganism, and I looked up podcasts that I could listen to while running, driving, or cooking.  I had already adopted several vegan recipes, but I had not yet committed to the lifestyle as a whole. I told people that I was going vegan for "health reasons" and that I did not believe that it was wrong to eat animals.  In the end, the "Food For Thought" podcast convicted me of my blindness and convinced me that veganism was more than a dietary choice.  I learned that veganism is a lifestyle and that this lifestyle better conforms to my Christian ideals of compassion, kindness, gentleness, and enables me to be a better steward of the Earth's precious resources.

 This transformation occurred over the period of maybe a week. There was no "last dinner." Once my eyes were opened to the suffering embodied in a piece of chicken, cow, or pig, I swore I would never eat animals again, and I have never looked back.  My hubby has been supportive for the most part, but he does not yet see anything wrong with eating animals.  He has greatly diminished his consumption, and he will eat what I prepare, but he is not ready to embrace my veganism and make it his own.  It saddens me that we still have dead animals in our freezer, but in his eyes, I made a sudden, drastic, and radical decision that negatively impacts his ability to eat what he wants.  However, he is my husband, and I took an oath to love him and respect him regardless of all else, and all I can do is talk to him about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and pray that, in time, his eyes will also be opened.  

Now that I have typed a novel for my first post and y'all have a better picture of where I'm coming from, I hope this blog will serve as a place for me to share my adventures in food and also in grappling with vegan issues as they arise. Thanks for reading!

-Chelsea

1 comment:

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

What a great story of "awakening," Chelsea! It's so interesting to me to learn how others came to be vegan. I went vegan for animal rights reasons, but after learning about the immense environmental & health benefits of a plant-based diet, I felt even more confident in my decision to eliminate animal products.

I was vegan when I found the "Food for Thought" podcast, but I absolutely LOVE it! Every time I listen (to usually at least one episode each day, even if it's one I've heard before), I become a little more committed to veganism. It's such a great resource to have! Do you post on the Compassionate Cooks message boards?