Being vegan to our family has been normal for so long now, that I forget we live in a world where it is actually uncommon and even strange to not eat animals.
It is normal for us to go grocery shopping and not pass the meat section. It is normal to purchase almond milk instead of cow’s milk. It is normal to bake without eggs and use shredded vegan cheese on our pizza.
I get so caught up in creating fun, delicious, healthy recipes and just loving the food that we eat that I forget that it is quite different to eat this way. I forget that the majority of the world has not yet come to see that there is no need to confine, abuse and kill animals just for food and that one can live perfectly healthy (in fact even more healthy) eating a plant-based diet.
I had this moment yesterday when the girls and I were looking through the grocery flyers. I only really need to look at the front and the back of the flyer because I only really check what produce is on sale. We were browsing the flyers and came to the meat page. Kesa had to ask me, “what’s that?” It was chicken legs and so I told her, those are chicken legs. She seemed to be quite surprised at that and both girls seemed pretty disgusted by the raw flesh on the pages.
It made me think how I felt when I was a girl too. I was disgusted with seeing the packaged meat in the grocery stores. I never ever could eat meat that had bones in it. My mom rarely cooked that kind of meat anyway. It was usually skinless and boneless meat that we would eat. Things like ham, chicken breasts, chicken fingers, hotdogs and deli meats. I ate those things because they were smoked or flavored in ways that made them taste good and it wasn’t as obvious that they once had a life.
I wonder sometimes about what my girls will think when they are older about being raised as vegan. Right now, it is just normal to them. When we first made the switch to a vegan diet, Autumn had just turned 5, Kesa was 15 months and Serafina has all her life (even while I was pregnant) been vegan. I wonder if it will still seem strange to them that people eat meat. I wonder if they will be grateful for never having to have to suppress a deeper knowing, as I did when I was a child and that I think most children have when they learn that their bacon is really a dead pig. They know that it is wrong, but are taught to not think too deeply about it and just eat.
Last night, looking through those flyers reminded me what it is all about. I don’t like to think about that side of things because it really does make me feel angry and sad inside that so many animals are dying, so much pollution is going on and so many people are so overweight and unhealthy, all for no real good reason. I guess I decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to be a defensive, preachy vegan. When I first awakened to the reality, I did want to go out and preach the vegan gospel and change the world, but I quickly saw that really, my defensiveness only stemmed from insecurity. The people who need to get defensive are usually people who aren’t actually secure in their beliefs and aren’t really living from their own heart. Instead, I just decided to do what I knew in my heart that I needed to do and live what I believed.
But when it all comes down to it, it really is about the animals. It is about believing in freedom and love for all beings. It is about creating a better world, a more compassionate, kind and healthy world. It is that radical notion that animals are not just commodities.
When I think about it, even though it may seem strange or different, I am proud to be vegan. Proud to be the type of person who is hopeful and who believes that she can and is making a difference. Proud to believe in a love that extends to all beings. I am also happy to have a husband who never liked to eat meat and was instantly on board with me when I made my decision to stop eating animals. I am happy to have family and friends who support my vegan cookbook endeavors and who try some of my ‘strange’ kitchen creations (hello mom!). I am grateful for the connections with other vegans that I have made through my blog as well, who I consider my friends.
Life really is so great where we are now. I feel so much peace, happiness and health that I couldn’t ever imagine going back. I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything. I don’t worry that my kids are either. I am confident in how we are living our life and raising our girls.
This is really what it’s all about.
I feel the same. I have been vegetarian for 5 years now and never felt better, although this last year we have moved to northern sask on a reservation, and have learned many of the first nation ways and have come to really respect how they hunt, my husband has never really been fully on board being vegetarian but since I do the cooking he has no choice, so he has gone and got his hunting licence and has gone out with some local natives and has learnt their ways and we have come to realize that if the deer, moose,bear,coyotes etc were not hunted, there would be alot more innocent lives taken on the roads with ( accidents) we have to drive an hour to get into town and on average have swirved off the road at least once for deer,moose,bear. So my way of thinking is if its wild and respected than i’m ok with that. I also have realized with my ocd personality that if I am to strict with my food (not comprimising health) it could easily turn into an eating disorder. Anyways keep up the awesome work, I talk about your blog atleast once a day lol you are truly inspirational. God bless!
I agree that there are different ways to go about eating animals in a more respectful, healthy and less harmful way. I don’t believe that veganism is for everyone, but I think that it could help a lot of people to become healthier and happier. I respect the way that you guys live your life. What is most inspiring is when people are living their lives the way that they know they should. I always appreciate your comments. 🙂
There are many things in the world that people could take into consideration and actively make a difference in the world by abstaining from certain things. Being vegan is only a small part in the big whole. I, for instance, think about the vegetables and fruit being picked by farm workers, and how there is a massive amount of people being taken advantage of in this country. There is also where you get your clothing from to consider. How was it produced? Who produced it? How many hours was this person forced to work and in what conditions? What about that car you bought? How was it manufactured? What chemicals went into it and how is it harming the environment? My point in all this is being vegan doesn’t make you necessarily better than someone else. Everybody can do their part in different ways. I’m not in any way saying that you shouldn’t feel good about it. I just think too often people want to think they’re somehow morally better for things they do than others, and I don’t think that’s a healthy way to look at things. I have a saying that I like: “No one is ever better than anyone else, just more or less awakened. If you feel better than someone else, then your eyes are shut to humility.” We can all do our part in different ways. 🙂 On a side note, I am vegetarian, but that doesn’t make me any less different than an omnivore (just as being vegan doesn’t necessarily make you different than an omnivore). Most of us have good intentions and do what we can and what works for in our lives. It doesn’t mean we have to all do it in the same way as long as we put fourth that effort.
Absolutely true! No one is better than any one else and no one can be perfect. We will always do harm to someone or something to some extent just living our lives. I don’t think being vegan makes you better than someone else either, I am just happy that I am following my heart and doing what is right for myself and my family. That includes using our vehicle maybe once a week or less, recycling, homeschooling and being a stay at home mom too. I often wonder if I am just crazy, but living any other way just doesn’t sit right with me. I encourage people to do what is right for them. Today I just wanted to process some thoughts and be proud of myself for coming so far in life. I used to be very depressed, insecure, overweight and unhealthy and being vegan has changed my life immensely. I appreciate your thoughts Shannon. 🙂
I think that vegans and vegetarians can often come off as holier than thou and I in no way meant this post to seem this way.
I’m glad that your life has had such a positive shift! I used to hate vegetables. After being vegetarian for so long, I learned to love them, and now I crave them. You should definitely be proud of yourself. You are doing something not a lot of people have the willpower to do. I wish you and your family good health and great meals. 🙂
I’d say I’m 75% vegan, I use milk substitutes and choose veggies, fruit, beans, grains over meat whenever possible. I’m not into much dairy or eggs. It seems that when I try to go 100% vegan I gain weight. This leads me to reading all the stats out there against veganism, i.e Paleo and Primal style diets. To them eating any sort of grain is a no-no. So I decide to try eating meat and shunning grains for the sake of losing weight but then I’m in inner ethical turmoil over the well being of animals. I’ve read so much about “healthy eating” and everything contradicts itself. Each style of eating has scientific evidence why there way is the best. One reason why I’ve always thought food choice is a lot like religion. Each claims their way is The Way. I’m eclectic with religion and now the same with food. I hope one day I can say I’m 100% vegan.
Food choice is soooooooo much like religion Suzanne! I struggled a lot (and still do sometimes) with wondering what is the ‘right’ way to eat, but I think that the right thing is different for everyone and can be different at different times in life too. We’ve all got to do what is ultimately best for ourselves and our families. That is the other thing that can happen too, people try and be super-healthy and invincible. 🙂
It feels so good to remember why I turned vegan in the first place. As a vegan living in a carnivore household (and environment), temptations and questioning of my belief are there every day of every week. Sometimes I´m all happy and glowing because I made that choice. Sometimes it makes me sick with having to defend myself and answering “where do you get your protein” for the millionth time. Thank you for making me remember the reasons why.
Thank you Elle! 🙂
Slowly I am eating less and less meat but I’m not sure I could ever reach the giddy heights of veganism …I sometimes fantasise about it, but at the minute I think 90% pescetarian is what I’m more likely to achieve. You just show how it’s possible to raise a whole family this way. Good for you for aligning with your principles.
I love your blog, it’s so inspiring! Thank you for putting such an effort into this and showing folks that not only can you raise a family vegan, but that it can be easy and GREAT for them! I’m a mom of a 4 year old and have one on the way in January, and this is exactly the push I needed to get us all back on track. My pregnancy cravings have not been kind. lol Anyway, thanks again. Looking forward to following it. 🙂
Thank you so much Kate 🙂 Comment anytime! Comments from people like you are the reason I continue to share my journey on my blog. Good luck with the remainder of your pregnancy! I had a lot of not-so-good cravings in the beginning of my last pregnancy, but had a super healthy last few months as well as an easy delivery and recovery afterwards.