Throughout life we often times tend to switch up our diets. Whether it be to eat healthier, cut back on carbs, or add more pizza (I mean who doesn’t love pizza) – diet changes all come down to a personal or in some cases a necessary choice. Either way as individuals we have the power to make this decision and also influence those around us (i.e. our loved ones) as well.
With that being said I am in no way trying to enforce my choices on anyone in anyway. This is simply to share with you, my readers, why I decided to make a diet change and how it relates to me being so grateful for making this change.
Where It All Started
For those of you that don’t personally know me, I have always been a picky eater when it comes to meat. I don’t eat any pork products (except for bacon), chicken has always been hit or miss, and beef was ok depending on the form it was in. There has never been any personal reasons behind this – it really just has to do with texture and the way meat products make me feel.
Alongside that dairy has become a problem child for me as well. I wouldn’t say I’m lactose intolerant, as I haven’t been officially diagnosed, but when I eat foods such a pizza or mac-and-cheese…let’s just say it’s not pretty.
With those two factors combined I have gone back and forth between being an omnivore, vegetarian and vegan for years. Switching to and from vegetarian/vegan always came down to health issues and/or being utterly unhealthy in my food choices.
Why I’ve Decided To Go Vegan (and stick to it)
Long story short – about a week ago I was working a table at the local fair for work. That’s right a week filled with 12-14 hour days and no air conditioning. Brutal to begin with, but I also had the opportunity to meet many people and get some insight into their lives.
Some of the individuals that I met are farmers by trade. They not only grow the fruits and vegetables we eat – they also raise livestock. These farmers in particular take part in 4-H.
Upon walking through the barns to see all of the cute pigs, cows, goats and rabbits – I overheard a gentleman writing a check for $10,000 for a cow to send off to be butchered.
Seeing this cow standing there alongside its offspring is what got to me. A mother being taken away from her babies. This is the very moment that I made the decision to go vegan and stick to it.
The two times I’ve been on a vegan/plant based diet before were for health reasons. Both times I never had a true why behind my decision. This time I have a why – which I am beyond grateful for. Seeing this exchange unfold right in front of me really put things into perspective.
Why I’m Grateful For This Experience
After this had all went down – I made a conscious decision to wait out the conversation the farmer was having with the gentleman buying the cow, and go back to talk to him afterwards. I was curious about 4-H and what it teaches the children that are a part of it. This is where I was able to get some amazing insight into the lives of those who contribute to the world on an agricultural level.
This I am truly grateful for. I had the opportunity to dive deep into conversation with a lovely gentleman who introduced me to his daughter (Emily) to learn more about what they gain from this lifestyle, the life lessons they learn and so much more.
Emily had explained to me that one of the hardest lessons she’s learned through everything was the first time she had to say goodbye to one of her animals. She mentioned that although it’s the hardest part of being in 4-H, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
She said to me “I get to be a part of what makes the world go round. Seeing the life cycle of both plants and animals first hand is truly amazing, and I am so thankful for that. I live in a world where I contribute to helping feed hundreds of thousands of people. There’s nothing better than that.”
Her view on life is completely different than mine. It’s a view that I would never have thought of on my own. We sat there and discussed more about her lifestyle in detail, talked about the things she likes to do for fun, her goals in life and so much more.
Another part of this conversation was diet choices. We discussed how me seeing the sale of her cow influenced me to make the decision to go vegan. Within this discussion, I had also learned that she herself eats a vegan/plant based diet.
This was another huge insight into her life. She made the point that although a part of her does not like what happens to animals once they’re sold, she’s still able to make sure they’ve had a great life leading up to that point. This is what resonated with me the most.
We do not have to force our diet choices on those around us. In fact, that does more harm than good. Trying to force a plant based lifestyle onto someone that loves a good steak is just going to make them annoyed with you and solidify their diet choices even more.
What we can do is be like Emily. We need to be ok with the fact that everyone has the power to make decisions about their life, especially when it comes down to the diet they choose. If others are looking for more information on why you eat they way you do – simply share your reasoning with them and provide some insight into your life.
Sharing knowledge and beliefs is one of the most powerful tools we have. Always share when it is warranted and others will make informed decisions for themselves.
The conversation I had helped me realize that the decision I made is the right one for me. It may not be for everyone and that’s ok.