The label vegan annoys me a little, when I go to someone's house or out to eat I don't want to say I'm vegan or I'm vegetarian......
And I'm not, not yet, but I'm heading that way. It's a fascinating transition from being someone who loved Foie gras, sushi, a good steak tartare and a Sunday morning fry up, to someone who looks at raw meat and just sees dead flesh. What used to look like a juicy medium rare steak to chow down on now looks like a chunk of a cows butt, I can't see biting into a cows arse as an appealing prospect. What changed?
I changed, I got connected. I connected to myself, after a lifetime of disconnection, I connected to nature after running from it for so long, and I connected to the life around me. So slowly, instead of wanting to own it, to eat it, I wanted to respect it and be a part of it.
I see all the videos flying around the internet about slaughterhouses and animal cruelty, I drive around the countryside looking at the broken spirited cows kept in so called 'free range, organic' farms so I can have meat, milk and cheese. And It's sad.
I do stop, I do look in their eyes. I go walking and I see them as playful calf's chasing me, curious, through the fields, playing, inquiringly, nudging me and exploring humanity, and then I see them as adults, broken spirited and cold behind the eyes. Disinterested in life and waiting to die. You cant tell me any animal standing around in a concrete pen, eating hay, looking at the fields surrounding them is happy? thats a prison by human standards.
I don't judge anyone else for eating meat but I don't understand anymore how or why they want to. I mean i do, i get it, but i see it so differently now.
I know a lovely little farm, a smallholding owned by people who care. Care for the animals, for their welfare, for their time while they are alive and also about their death. There's a bond there between man and animal, ok there's also the food chain and they are raised for meat but these animals are at least respected and happy. It's not a massive money making, churn them out and fuck it if some die along the way set up. It's a hand to mouth, local business that cares. They don't want unhappy suffering animals in life or death, and who would? The chemicals and sadness in the flesh of a broken abused animal are not what any human should want to absorb into their own body.
So I brought my mum some sausages from them, because she eats sausages and I figured better these than from the supermarket. She said they were great and the taste was so much better. (as I'm typing this the corners of my mouth at curling down). Isn't it common sense that a happier animal with less adrenalin pumped, fear released chemicals in its body throughout its life and death will taste better?
I looked at one of the sausages, went to try a corner but as I cut into it I felt wrong, it felt unnatural, inappropriate almost. I didn't need it to survive and did I really need to taste it, NO.
I just saw pig, crushed up, mashed up, chopped up pig crammed in a skin and nothing about that appealed to me.
The smell of pork, whether sausages or bacon used to be a real weakness, I especially loved the fat, i used to steal it from my ex boyfriend's plate. What changed?
I did. As I started to really look at myself, to really respect myself and like myself I started to feel that way towards all living creatures. I haven't made a conscious decision to quit all meat and animal products, my body and mind are starting to reject them.
I still eat fish and eggs. What's the difference? There is none really.
I'm lucky enough to live in the countryside by the sea so I can buy local fresh fish, not that I do all the time. Sushi is my favourite food and recently went to the most amazing new sushi place in London and enjoyed every second of every course, but even now I can feel the same feeling arising. It's not a feeling of disgust, it's not dislike or disdain, it's less than that, it's hard to describe. I just dont want dead flesh in my mouth.
My eggs come from a friend's chickens, (I can't eat supermarket ones i get that same feeling.) These chickens are happy, chilled out birds who have a happy life free in fields with a big coop to nest in if they choose. Or I get other eggs from the chickens who live at my friends yard with the horses. They lay their eggs in the horse's hay overnight or tucked into the corner of their stables.
One of the chickens shares a stable very happily with one of the horses and gets pretty pissed when you try and muck out, it's quite cute.
So again, what changed? I'd seen all the videos about the mistreatment of animals years ago and i hated it then as i do now. But now i've changed.
Through my Yoga practice and especially my meditation i've connected myself to life. I abused my body and my mind for years (that's a whole other story) In so many ways I don't like to say, but now I'm treating myself kindly, with love. I want to eat food that nourishes me, mind and body, not food that just fills my belly, Mask's my feelings, feeds my greed for more more more. I want to eat guilt free, I want to live guilt free.
So what changed, I did. I learned to love myself and in turn love life. Not something I'd ever done before. How could I have fully appreciated any life when I thoroughly disliked mine and saw no value in it?
So while being vegan or vegetarian may cause some people to roll their eyes, and it doesn't give anyone a right to preach to others, for me it's a natural progression towards self love and love of life.