I realized just the other day that I have been vegetarian for 39 years, vegan for 22 years. Wow. I remember when friends visited way back in the 70’s and one mentioned she had been vegan for 11 years. I was dumbfounded, couldn’t imagine anyone not eating meat and dairy for that long. And now here I am, a pain in the ass for most people because they don’t understand, can’t understand and sure as hell don’t want me to come over to their house for dinner.
You would be amazed at how many people don’t understand being vegan. They either don’t know what it is or can’t figure out why anyone would choose to be vegan.
Just for a refresher, a vegan eats no meat or dairy. That doesn’t mean an ice cream cone is OK once in awhile or stopping at a fast food restaurant just this once is OK. It means that no meat or dairy is eaten. Ever.
But what if your mother says, “Just a little bit won’t hurt you.” Well, it does and you have to make that clear.
While I was going through the trials of cataract surgery and the relatively unfortunate aftermath, I had to convince the Dr. that I had to be able to see better because I had to read labels in the grocery store. He couldn’t comprehend that. I suspect he neither shops nor is vegan. I tried to explain, but male doctors don’t listen until female patients are very firm in their demands.
BTW, I still don’t have the necessary glasses after almost a year and have to schlepp a magnifying glass to the store. You see, milk hides in food. Almost all food. Want a Hershey bar? Nope, it’s full of milk. How about a cake mix? Oops, eggs and milk. See what I mean. And I don’t buy prepared foods. I buy ingredients.
And you can never trust something you bought last week that was milk free. This week you will see lactose, whey, casein or some milk product has been snuck in as a filler. If you see LAC as a prefix with any word on a label, you can be sure there is milk in it. So you must read labels.
Why vegan? For me, health is the main reason, with lots of feelings for eating sentient beings thrown in. How on earth can someone eat a pig when they are smarter than some people I know? Or a cow, for that matter? If you ever saw a chicken raising/killing operation, you would never eat another piece of chicken. Arkansas has huge chicken processing plants. In fact, Tyson is a major industry in Arkansas. The living conditions and killing conditions are obscene, full of cruelty and torture.
And milk? To make a cow continue to produce milk, you keep it pregnant and producing calves and take the calf from its mother immediately and keep milking that cow. Think about that. Plus, the only animals who drink milk from a different species are us humans. Hmm, guess we really are swayed by advertising, aren’t we? Got Milk? Mygod, I hope not.
Have I stayed healthy because of being vegan? Well, I do have peripheral neuropathy. If not genetic, it sure is familial. Parents, g’parents g’g’ grandparents, thanks for the non-working feet. That’s what keeps me from walking. But I have had no real reasons for a doctor visit in about 60 years. That’s not too bad.
I can’t even imagine eating dead flesh. I have to search diligently to find milk free ingredients, but I think it’s worth it. I suggest people try it gradually. Ease on into not eating meat one day a week, them a couple. It’s easy that way. Tackle the meatless menu first, then you will be ready to tackle the dairyless menu.