Four Years a Vegan

How I survive on a rabbit’s food diet

My journey to veganism all began seven years ago. I was only thirteen years old when I stumbled upon a short documentary titled “Meet Your Meat” and my life hasn’t been the same since. The highly graphic short film depicted the horrors of the meat industry and how these products end up on dinner tables. As a kid who had never seen images like this before, I was completely shocked to see how animals are tortured, forcefully inseminated, and skinned all while still alive.  I knew right then and there I never wanted to consume these products ever again. Here I am headed into my senior year of college and memories of that documentary still stick with me.

I began as a vegetarian. For the first month or so, I hid my new lifestyle from everyone I knew. It was an awkward secret to keep, denying any meat products offered to me because I “wasn’t in the mood” to eat it. At such a young age, it was extremely difficult to maintain a healthy diet while denying every meat-based meal my mother cooked for me. When I finally told her, her main concerns were the vitamin deficiencies I was now at risk for because of how young I was. I went back to the documentary I had watched, took in as much information as I could, and repeated it all back to my mother. She could tell how passionate I was about the subject, even at a young age, and agreed to help out with my new dietary needs. I guess I was lucky to have such an accepting mother. Not many other non-meat eaters have a parent as willing to cook entirely separate meals for them as my mother was. Every family get together, every Thanksgiving, every birthday, I had to make sure I brought my own meals to ensure I had food to eat. Now looking back on it, this was a very stressful time in my life. Family members would wave meat in my face and ask if it made me uncomfortable. Friends would pretend to put bacon in my food and nearly bring me to tears. I was bombard with questions asking if I don’t eat meat because I’m sick, or want to be skinny, or any other reason aside from the truth. This made me realize just how little other people know about the food they put into their bodies, and I soon became an advocate for animal rights. Any chance I got I would try and inform anyone who would listen, anyone who asked questions was quickly given my elevator pitch on why meat consumption was unethical.

Three and a half years went by before I realized I was still contributing to the problem. The internet was and still is my go-to place to find out new recipes, food blogs, and information about the animal agriculture industry. In early October of my junior year of highschool, I was browsing the internet once again and landed on a vegan blog. So much new information was suddenly in front of me. Animal agricultural pollution and the impact these sorts of products have on our planet seemed like such an unknown thing when I found out about it. I was appalled with how quickly this industry is killing our beautiful planet, but I kept searching for more information. Hours of reading about where eggs come from and seeing images of dairy farms, I knew I wanted to do more, but this journey was already an up and down battle. My transition to veganism was not as smooth as my transition to being vegetarian all those years ago. Unknowingly, milk and eggs are in EVERYTHING. Transitioning to veganism was a strenuous process that I failed at many times. I would eat something, casually read the label, and discover I had accidentally eaten something with dairy in it. I used to get so upset when things like this would happen, but accidents happen and I soon began reading every nutrition label my hands came across. Each time I thought one of my favorite snacks was vegan-nope, contains: eggs, or milk, or honey, or some other byproduct excluded from my diet. To any newly vegan out there who may read this: accidents will happen, your go-to snack is most likely not vegan, but that isn’t a reason to give up. I have been vegan going on four years now, and I’ve discovered so many new foods and met so many incredible people because of a documentary I watched when I was in eighth grade. Do not let anyone tell you you’re too young, or old, or it’s inconvenient to stop eating meat. If I can survive seven years without the protein deficiency meat eaters always warn me about, than you can do it too.

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