Through the years, the more I evolved spiritually, the more compassion I gained for humanity, the earth, and especially the animal kingdom. It was a true wakeup call for me once I became aware of the horrendous cruelty that animals around the world are subjected to by humans, especially in factory farms. Being vegan is my way of taking a stand on behalf of the welfare of all animals. I know there is so much more that can be done but this is a start. For me, being vegan means that I am one less person contributing to the suffering of animals.
I have read several reports and watched quite a few undercover investigations exposing how humans abuse animals. I’ve seen animals being stabbed in the eyes and up their noses with spears; punched and kicked in their faces and stomachs; drop-kicked and/or slammed into factory walls; stomped on just for the heck of it; and, tortured by having their tails and genitals ripped off. There’s so much more going on out there but you get the picture. It is heartbreaking. People have told me, “Relax, they’re just animals. They can’t feel.” But, if you look into the eyes of any animal, you know that is not true. No one has the right to abuse animals or deny them their right to live. What pulls at my heartstrings is that they can’t defend their right to live their lives freely in nature as they were meant to, especially without cruelty being inflicted upon them. There are very few laws that protect them and they are depending on us to save them.
I’ve always known that the purpose of my life here on earth is to make a positive difference in whatever way I can. And, the easiest way to help animals, in my opinion, is not to eat them; plain and simple. Many people have expressed to me their desire to give up meat but at the same time they are very apprehensive about the transition. I’m often asked how I became vegan and if it was difficult. For me, it was not difficult at all; it was an adjustment. For those that are contemplating becoming vegan, here are a few things that I have done that helped me successfully transition into a vegan lifestyle.
1) Make gradual changes and do it increments. God bless anyone who can go vegan cold-turkey. I couldn’t. So, I decided to do it in increments. In 2014, I set a goal to give up eating meat by the end of that year. First, I eliminated the consumption of beef and pork. This gave me time to find other meals to replace my favorite beef and pork dishes without me feeling deprived. Once I got used to it and saw that I could still enjoy my meals, I ventured to give up chicken as well. By the end of 2014, I was enjoying meatless meals and feeling so much better than when I was eating meat. I did not and do not miss eating meat at all.[space height=”30″ ]
2) In 2015, my goal was to give up seafood. This was actually easier for me because, at that point, my body was so ready to do without eating food that has been killed. I started researching healthy vegetarian and vegan recipes and eateries and, to be honest, the vegan meals that I’ve come to love and enjoy are actually way better than the meat and seafood meals I used to eat. They taste better and make me feel better.[space height=”30″ ]
3) In 2016, I’ve been dedicating myself to eliminating dairy products. I must confess, though; I’ve had a few cheat meals here and there but I did not beat myself up about it. Everything is a process and, for me, making gradually changes in my diet has made it so much easier for me to make permanent vegan choices in my life.[space height=”30″ ]
4) Throughout my vegan journey, as I continue to refine my diet, I’ve always made sure to keep up with my medical appointments and to inform my doctors of my vegan choices and intentions. I get regular blood tests, too, to monitor my nutritional levels. So far, the results have shown that my health is on point! People have told me things like, “A vegan diet is not healthy. You have to eat meat for protein or you will die.” Well, that just simply is not true.[space height=”30″ ]
5) My next goal in 2017 is to switch to buying “cruelty-free” brands and products. I’ve already stopped buying leather goods, so that’s one less adjustment I have to make. But, as for beauty and toiletry products, etc., if it isn’t “cruelty-free”, I will not buy it.[space height=”30″ ]
6) Make the journey fun! I’m always working on improving myself and my life one way or another. I know I’m not perfect but I always look forward to making positive changes in my life wherever I can. It’s all about starting with the “Man in the Mirror”; or, in my case, the “woman in the mirror.” For me, it’s an adventure.
I hope that by sharing my journey that it will help inspire others to jump in and join me on the vegan path.
“If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others… why wouldn’t we?”
– Edgars Mission
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“We are on the frontlines fighting to protect farmed animals. From factory farms to corporate boardrooms, courts of justice to courts of public opinion, Mercy For Animals is there to speak up against cruelty and for compassion.”
– Mercy for Animals
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By: Melinda Garcia