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Becoming Vegan


The birth of this idea came from a place that I find a little embarrassing and not at all the moral triumph I would like to tell of, I didn’t suddenly come to the realization at the prospect of visiting the place where these things happen nor did I do something amazing and suddenly change. I did however, have this aha! moment (so Oprah right?) what happened really question something inside me that has been brewing for quite some time. So here’s how it happened.  I was watching the Academy Awards and inspired by Natalie Portman’s acceptance speech, I did a wiki search on her bio to read a little bit more about her experiences in the acting world. As I was reading, I came across the part where it explains her social & political causes. This is where it tells of how she read this book called “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer. Now call me a bandwagon jumper, but I was instantly interested since growing up I’ve always had this thought in the back of my mind about how much I love animals and have previously tried vegetarian diets without much success. These mind you, were rolled out when I was about 12, and very opinionated. What happened to that little girl in me that stood up for what she believed in? Could it be that up until now I haven’t been strong enough to face the reality of what is happening today? Like I said earlier, I feel like I’ve had my aha! moment and I can no longer ignore this nagging feeling within me.

I’ve heard the word vegan before, but I never really knew what it meant. Like only the pop culture definition of it, that it was something random hippies did or something. Forgive my ignorance as I never really thought about it, vegetarianism was something I knew more about back when I was 12, and I rarely revisited the idea since.

So what’s the difference between vegetarianism and veganism? Let’s have a look at their definitions shall we?

  • Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans endeavor not to use or consume animal products of any kind. (For a more detailed reading on veganism, take a look at it’s wiki page:
  • General term Vegetarians abstain from all meat products. When a person says they are “vegetarian” as opposed to “vegan” this generally means the individual abstains from consuming meat but might, on the other hand, consume dairy and/or seafood.


So, vegans simply go that step further after vegetarianism. In my opinion, I think it is a very brave thing to do. While you could say changing won’t make an impact on the industry it’s only a few people, I think the real moral dilemma is this: now that you know, you can no longer use the excuse that you didn’t know. Simple as that. Can I die knowing that I did something I knew was so cruel? Eating animals that were killed in such a way? Do we ever really stop to think how these animals get slaughtered? I haven’t read all of Jonathan Safran Foer’s book yet, I just bought it yesterday. But reading the excerpt about his book has confirmed to me that I really do need to read it. In parts he explores slaughterhouses in America, and how cows are consistently “bled, dismembered, and skinned while conscious”. This one sentence pretty much called out to that 12 year old within me, and said “it’s time”. Of course, this is just one book, in one person’s perspective, I intend to educate myself over the next few weeks by reading other related material.


Today, I feel like is a new day. I am contemplating facing these fears of what I am about to read which is going to be upsetting but in truth I feel I should face. I don’t know if I can keep this vegan up, because yeah meat tastes good, in my meals up until now it’s the main attraction, the vegies on the side just small contrast in taste. But I do know that it is doable, there are vegans out there, there are thousands of recipes, look at the ever so popular Skinny Bitch books, they explore vegan diets. From this point on I know I need to start thinking seriously about how to do this. I have no idea how to be a vegan. But I am going to try. Not just because of what it stands for, but in a way I think it would probably improve my health in general (if done properly where I eat the right foods to supplement all the vitamins and minerals that might have been gained alternatively with meat).


I know this all sounds like heavy handed stuff, and in a way I always sort of saw myself as a little righteous in my mind. ‘Do the right thing’ pervades my thoughts. But in all honesty, doesn’t it scare you? I asked my friend about a small question about this, and sure I accept not all of us are ready to hear this message. When asked if he knew more about how food was put on his table, how he could still eat meat, he answered “I just don’t think about it”. Now, I’m not condemning him, this is a rational thought, one that most of the population think. I’m not saying you’re a bad person for eating meat, heck I even had steak as one of my favourite meals written down in my friend autograph book. But how can we keep saying, “I just don’t think about it?”. Anyone who has gotten close to an animal, knows that they have feelings, thoughts, yeah they’re just ‘some animal’ but when you spend more time with them, they’re so much more.


A friend of mine has a pig farm, I know, how ironic right? However, she’s stopped eating pork. She tells me how clever the pigs are, how loving they can be, how they get excited when she comes over. But at the same time, in the Philippines pork is a huge commodity. She tries to keep the females as ‘breeders’ and their lives at least are lived in peace for the best of 10 years or so. But for the others, they’re not so lucky. In the Philippines we have traditions such as fiestas, where the celebrations call  for ‘lechon’ which is a pretty much a pig on a stick barbequed. Sounds barbaric? Maybe but in the western world we eat pork all the time, just because we don’t see the entire pig doesn’t mean it’s not still pig. And why do we call it pork? I’m sure there’s a serious answer to that, but in general, why not call it pig? It is pig right? I had another friend back in elementary school who thought that beef just came from the grocery. She’d never been to a farm before, never been told the realities of how food got there. When I asked her if she knew beef came from cows, she answered, ‘only milk does silly’. This can be attributed to ignorance, and I don’t blame her for not knowing. Because in our own little realities we can only see what we know. But what if we broaden these? If you do know, can’t you say I don’t want to be a part of it? I know thousands of people are part of it, doesn’t mean I have to do the same. It’s like saying 100 people are going to jump off the cliff today, and because they are so should you. If you don’t agree why should you?


This idea just keeps getting wider and wider as I write. I’m recognizing that this vegan thing delves even deeper as a cultural thing too. How we see the world, how we see animals. For instance in Islam, their people believe that you can only eat animals that have been killed in a certain way. Which I can understand, it’s part of their religion. Or in Christianity, we fast or abstain during lent season, there are moral reasons for this. There are natural reasons for this, it’s healthier to fast once in a while, to detox in a way. We keep eating all this stuff without thinking about what’s really in it or how it came to be there. But back in the so called olden days, the prevention was better than to have to seek a way of relief. Now we can say we have stomach ache and pop a few pills, but is that really the way to go? Can veganism be a way of becoming healthier too?


I know that meat is a huge part of our meals, and it’s going to be hard, but can’t I at least try?I may not come out as a full vegan, and I know that’s okay too. All I know is I do not like the way animals are being treated so cruelly, and for that I know I need to change some things in my life because I do not agree. I may have still have chocolate, but it might be dark from now and not the milk type. I may have soy milk instead of dairy milk. These are things I’ll start out slowly with. I think I will still be eating fish, so I guess that’s like a semi vegetarian? There must be some term for it, but I am dead set going to try not to eat the main proponent of this idea in my head, no chicken, pork or beef as my main try out, and then from then I’ll try to keep going eliminating the other stuff. In the next few weeks I’m going to explore these diets and write about it. If you have any thoughts, advice and ideas on veganism, or would like to join me in my quest to do so, please feel free to email me, comment here, or even message me on face book. I’m not asking you to change your life, just maybe a little bit of your awareness in thinking, it only takes one step at a time.


For Further Reading:

Take a look at Jonathan Safran Foer’s book website at>>

Read a little more about Veganism at the following sites: << (comes with starter guide ready to download pdf for newbie vegans)


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