This may be a little long. And some of the stuff I talk about may be disturbing and gross.
Last year I was diagnosed with high cholesteral and was over 200 pounds and looking to make some changes. My college friend, Carrie, of Carrie on Vegan recommended I read Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Furhman. I read it and made some changes. I gave up red meat for 2 months and limited my chicken and fish. I lost 25 pounds. After a trip to California in the summer I fell back into old habits and gained 15 pounds back.
One of my New Year's Resolutions for this year was to eat healthier (and exercise). I started and was losing about 5 pounds a month (my goal). I was still eating meat, though. The Carrie decided to host a healthy vegan eating challenege group on Facebook. She opened it to anyone who wanted to make some healthy changes. I joined because I wanted to add more vegetarian meals to my diet and limit the chicken and fish. And cut out red meat for the durantion of the 8 week challenge.
I did all this, but then so much more!
Most of the members were vegans and started some good information about the veagn lifestyle and some documentaries they had watched which helped them make the switch. In the back of my mind was the idea that I did not want animals to suffer to be my food. One of the films they talked about a lot was Earthlings. Although I knew this would be a very traumatizing film to watch, something kept telling me I HAD to watch it. Someone told me it was on Youtube. I watched parts 1 and 2 and that convinced me to not eat meat anymore. Most of our meat comes from animals raised on factory farms. They are kept inside very small stalls and not allowed outside to roam or anything. They are overcrowded and just look miserable. The killing is not humane either. It is not a quick kill. They slit their throats while suspended upside down and left to bleed out. This is not an isolated incident, this is the industry norm. Here in Kansas you see cattle grazing in fields and chickens running free, but this is the exception. Not sure if they kill them quickly with the air compressor to the head, but even that seems incrediby harsh. So I gave up meat, pork and poultry, right then and there.
That left fish, dairy and eggs. I asked for reasons not to eat fish and the big thing for me is the fact that many have mercury in them and come from polluted waters. YUCK. No, thank you. I was only eating eggs from my friend's chickens who roam free and getting dairy from a local dairy.
Then I watched a documentary called Milk Facts. Again, most dairy cows are kept in big barns in small stalls and grain fed, not free to graze for grass or anything. Also, they are not milked by hand, they are hooked up to machines. This was the case at my local dairy (the machines, not the no grazing). Also, milk is a byproduct of cow's blood and it is intended for baby cows to drink, NOT humans. It is also not all that healthy for humans. People argue that it has calcium. Where do you think the calcium comes from? It comes from the greens that the cows eat. Plants!!!! Grass and spinach and other good stuff. The cow is just the middle man (or middle cow!!). So that is how I gave up dairy.
Another member of the group suggested I watch yet another documentary called 101 Reasons To Be a Vegan. I highly recommend this one as the guy presenting uses humor. It reinforced why I gave up meat and dairy and gave me the reason I needed to give up eggs. Do you know what they are????? A chicken's menstrual cycle. Unfertilized eggs. Get it??? Chicken periods. YUCK. (and btw, honey is bee vomit).
At the end of the challenge I did have some cheese again, but it made my stomach hurt so that is gone for good for me now. I also had the rest of the eggs in my refrigerator, but they did not taste good to me anymore.
So now I am a committed vegetarian :)
So, why not a vegan? Well, eating wise, I am a vegan since I do not ingest any animal products, but vegan is also a lifestyle and a vegan does not also wear animal products, like leather (or use it). Being a biker's wife I do have leather boots and a jacket. I also have a couple of very expensive purses I still like to use and a pair of Jimmy Choos. I will not buy leather products anymore, but I also will not give up what I already have. I know you can argue against this, but this is just my choice for now.
So that is how I became a vegetarian.