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We´re getting personal today so let’s put our kettle on, get a yummy cup of tea ready and sit comfy on the couch. I’m going to tell you a story about a yoga class, my sister in law, an airplane ride and a book. Are you ready?
The first time I encountered a vegetarian in my life was at the age of 8. She was (and is) this incredibly gorgeous woman with bright skin and shiny hair, who was so sweet and kind to my family. When I asked her why she didn’t eat meat, she said that it was because of the animals, she loved animals so much and she didn’t think it was fair to eat them. Right there I thought she was a rockstar. Was it possible to make such a big decision simply for the love you had for them? Did her parents let her eat like this? (She was probably in her 20s and lived on her own, so this was super cute on my part don’t you think?). I loved animals too and she seemed like she had everything figured out. She was simply so cool and had incredible compassion for everyone around her. I waited to see my mom’s reaction to what she said, when mom spoke, she replied: “that’s so admirable!”. Ok! Mom approves… Super!
Every single time I’ve encountered a vegetarian since then, I’ve asked them why they do it, secretly crossing my fingers that they’ll again say it’s out of compassion for animals. Since most of them do, I became a cheerleader for vegetarians although for some reason I thought they must have super powers that us regular folk don’t possess. Surely I wouldn’t be able to do something like that. I loved my meat…I LOOOVED it! Everyone in my family ate meat, my friends ate meat, surely these awesome people were made out of something different and that’s why they could do it. However, vegetarians were held in the highest esteem over at the Sujo house… there was just something about them.
Here’s a quick rundown of what happened next. Many years of meat eating later, I started doing yoga. After three months of practicing my tastes started to change. My cravings were now salads and lots of veggies, and sometimes the thought of meat didn’t appeal to me at all! Strange! I loved meat! I asked my teacher if this was normal and he said that many people went vegetarian after a while of practicing yoga. Again, strange. Did I still continue to eat meat? You bet! What was going to occupy the third portion of my plate?! Even though I didn’t feel like eating it as much, apparently, it still wasn’t my time.
About a year later my sister in law (another rockstar in my book) saw a documentary about how animals were treated in the meat industry and declared she was no longer eating meat. Although this didn’t last a long time for her (YET! she’s currently a happy vegan too!), something started stirring in my brain. If she, one of the most compassionate and animal loving people I know, had been so shocked with what she saw, then something was terribly wrong. Without knowing it she had planted the first seed. A seed that showed its first little sprout a few years later in a Barnes and Noble in New York City.
I was about to return to Spain from a trip to New York and I decided to make a final stop at Barnes and Noble for some in flight reading material. I saw a familiar face in one of the books and was so curious. Alicia Silverstone, the actress, had written a book called The Kind Diet. At the time I was reading a lot of books on healthy eating, and this combined with the fact that I was a Clueless fan made me buy the book. That plane ride was embarrassing. I cried, and cried, and cried. I was suddenly so happy my husband wasn’t with me! There will be a whole post on this incredible woman and what she’s doing for our animals soon, but let me just start by saying that everything in this book resonated with who I was and what I felt I needed to change in my life. It was also the first moment I actually read about the absolute horrors we put our animals through. It was a tough, tough ride. I read the book cover to cover and decided that when the plane landed I would start making some small changes. That’s right! I still wasn’t ready to go all the way. Why? I thought it was impossible! I thought my husband would never go for it and that I couldn’t do it without him. I thought my friends would never understand.
What followed were some strange 3 years in which I flirted with the idea but was even scared to say what I was doing. I tried to go vegan for two meals out of three after reading Mark Bittman’s book Food Matters, but that felt odd and simply confusing. I went back to small changes. Then I started buying organic meat. Then I started reducing the portions of meat. Then I went back to zero. The little seed was still there though, and now I knew some of what was going on in the industry. I couldn’t just do nothing. What happened next was the funniest year ever. I became a closeted vegan (sort of). That’s right, on the days when my hubby was out of town or had an overnight shift at the hospital where he works, I was a happy vegan. No animal products of any kind. I kept this up for over a year and I just felt so good when I did it. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to go deep into researching if this was actually possible every day of the week, and I had to come out of the closet if what came out of my research empowered me to make the change. I was NOT ready for what I was about to see.
I watched Forks Over Knives, Vegucated and segments of Earthlings (still can’t get through the whole thing), I read countless books and watched tons of speakers go over the ‘why vegan’, and tons of speakers go over the ‘how vegan’. I read Alicia’s book cover to cover again. I read excerpts of the book Slaughterhouse by Gail Eisnitz and excerpts of the book Eat to Live by Dr, Joel Fuhrman. Suddenly the health and environmental aspects of eating meat started to shock me as well, and something shifted when I went from reading about the animals to watching the images. I couldn’t ignore it any longer and some of those images are still with me every day. I watched a couple of the films again with my hubby and told him about some of the things I had read. I told him that at least at home I wanted to be vegan, but that he didn’t have to. He was just as shocked as I was and he said “sure!”. Oh baby here we go! It took just one more week to go from being vegan at home to being vegan period.
I had done it, I had taken the plunge. I want to write an entire post about what happened to me after that, about the delicious food I ate, the absolute bliss I felt, the extra energy I had, the pounds that I lost, the feeling of freedom I felt. That deserves an entire post on its own. For now, I wanted to share my story with you. My vegan path is just beginning, but the process to get there took years! With every step I was doing something right and also took steps in the wrong direction. This is why I profoundly respect the process you might be going through, the fear of the changes in lifestyle and social acceptance. I get it. I’ve been there. I wrote this blog to share my experience with you and guide you through what helped me, until whatever point you wish to take it. Every single action helps, but going all the way isn’t remotely as hard as you think and I’ll do my best to show you. I’m going down this path right along with you since the full change happened recently for me. It’s been a magical ride. I do have one regret though, A BIG ONE, I only wish I had done this sooner.
UPDATE AND NEWS!
After several years blogging here at Little Green Kettle, we’ve made the blog bigger and better! Meet our new blog everyone!: www.brownble.com