Why I Became a Vegan

For those of you who weren’t aware, I’m a vegan.  I used to eat animal products, but haven’t consumed any since November of 2011.  I’ll write a post later this week on my experiences after a year and a half of veganism, but for now I’d like to share why I initially transitioned to this lifestyle.  I wrote about this right after making the transition so the following post is actually straight from 14 year old Cameron in December of 2011.  

Vegetarians have always fascinated me.  I was always curious about why somebody would want to live that way. I thought it was honorable that someone would live without eating animals but I also thought that people with a vegetarian life style were missing out.

How could someone live without being able to eat chicken or steak?  If they couldn’t have milk would they just eat cereal plain?  Where did they get their protein?

I had held this belief for as long as I can remember and I never questioned it until this school year.  Since high school started I’ve had to read a number of books.  One of the books really had a big impact on the way I think of the world.  That book is Animal Farm.

Animal Farm is a mid 20th century novel written by George Orwell.  It’s about a farm of animals who realize that being raised on a farm with poor living conditions and little food just to be slaughtered one day is a terrible way to live.  After this realization they spend a couple months planning on how they’re going rebel and they finally overthrow a drunk Farmer Jones.

Initially I wasn’t sure why Animal Farm resonated with me so much.  I wasn’t a big fan of fiction or classics.  Then one day while I was eating a turkey sandwich I realized what my subconscious was trying to tell me through Animal Farm.

How could I criticize Farmer Jones for mistreating his animals if I ate animals?  By choosing to eat animals I increase the need for farms that raise animals.  More farms means more slaughterhouses.

If you’ve never seen a slaughter house you probably think they kill animals in a quick painless manner.  And for some slaughter houses that may be true.  However other slaughterhouses don’t care about the animals.

In some slaughterhouses the animals are tortured and abused before being killed.  Before you read any further go watch a few videos on slaughterhouse abuse.

It’s heartbreaking but to make a conscious decision about eating animals you have to see just how poorly they’re treated.

With this new perspective of the world I was disgusted whenever I saw meat. Previously meat had been my favorite food but now I would always think about the harsh conditions the animal must have had to endure just to make it to the slaughterhouse let alone what may have happened once it got there.

After my realization I became a vegetarian but still consumed milk and other animal products.  After a while I felt that consuming dairy was unethical as well so about 3 weeks ago I became a vegan meaning I no longer consume any animal products.

I still wear some old clothes made from animal skin but I’m doing my best to avoid buying any new clothing made from animals.

Transition

I thought becoming a vegan was going to be difficult but it’s been a relatively easy transition.  It’s had little affect on me socially and finding vegan food hasn’t been tough either.  I thought that going vegan was going to greatly reduce the variety of my diet and for a couple days it did.  But now my diet actually has more variety because of all the new foods I’ve been trying.

The only negative thing I’ve experienced as a vegan thus far is the detox. Usually when someone goes vegan they have a period where they feel worse than on their previous diet.  This is the body getting rid of toxins that accumulate from consuming meat and dairy.

Most people will get detox symptoms the first first week or two and then experience a higher energy level than on their previous diet.  I actually experienced the opposite.  I felt great the first two weeks but this week I started getting detox symptoms.

My energy levels stayed the same but several days this week I felt queasy and had 7-8 stools per day.

Overall I’ve been pleasantly surprised with life as a vegan.  Although my energy gains have been modest thus far,  I’ve enjoyed needing less sleep and having increased mental clarity.  The best part about being a vegan, however is that now I have a clean conscience.

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