Thursday, November 18, 2010


The Inquisition - Day 75

When I tell an omnivore that I'm vegan, I'm usually bombarded with a series of questions.  We all know by now that the number one question on the top ten list of vegan questions is  "where do you get your protein?" I'm all for inquiries and genuine questions for you never know, there may be an opportunity to learn something new on behalf of both the person answering and the person asking the questions.   I find those questions which are borderline judgmental and accusatory are those which irritate me most.  Between each cleansing breath, I feel as if I have to defend myself and vegans everywhere.  As unrealistic as that is, the feeling is still there.  I'm finding that there seems to be a group of questions that almost immediately follow the first one:
"Have you always been Vegan? "
"How long have you been Vegan?" 
or my favorite, "Don't you MISS meat?"

The answers are "no", "not long", and "heck NO!".   In an instant, I'm transformed into some sort of creature for inspection.  If I hadn't said anything, would I look, act or be any different?  In my effort to remain positive, I go into the same explanation of how I became vegan.  For me, it was not a hard decision.  It was my destiny.


Know where you come from: My mother's
Sweet Potato Pie
Vegan Version - "NO!" dairy
"You don't know where you're going until you understand where you've come from".

The statement is really powerful.  In just a few short words, your entire life history, present, and future are captured.  As I've said, I feel destined to be vegan.  Meat has never been at the top of my list of favorite things.  My earliest memory of rebuking meat was at the mere young age of five years old.  As I've mentioned my post last month,  "Back to Basics", my family grew up on a farm.  Well, my father and uncles were quite comfortable with hunting and preparing "fresh killed" meats.  When I was five, my uncles had gone hunting complete with blood hound dogs and guns.  They brought back their "bounty" and eagerly shared with my parents who, now living in the city, were ecstatic for memories of "home".  My uncle presented my father with a rabbit.  My father took it into the basement.  I was curious and asked to join him.  My father was happy to see my interest - maybe I was going to be a second generation country girl after all... I watched in horror as my father skinned the rabbit and how the blood slowly dripped onto the floor.  I asked him why was he doing that to the rabbit and he informed me it would be our dinner that night.  "NO!"  I told him I was not eating that rabbit.  To this day, although I've consumed other meats, I am proud to say rabbit has never crossed my plate. To add salt to the injury, later that year, someone in my family gave me a "rabbit's foot" key chain as a gift.  I remember feeling the toes, and bones under the fur and hated it.  I threw it away and lied to my mother that I had misplaced it.

At twelve, I stopped eating all animal-organs and baby animal meat after I began to question my mother about every piece of meat that was presented to me.  "What animal did this come from?  What part of the animal is this?"   I just couldn't "stomach" eating liver, veal, or lamb.  It was also the age that I started cooking.  I remember feeling nauseous when I smelled raw eggs and could not eat them if the little white connector between the yoke and the white hadn't been removed.  I remember the shock and "gross-out" experienced when I went to a delicatessen with a friend and she ordered a beef "tongue" sandwich and it was really sliced tongue! By age 19, I could not eat a piece of chicken if I had to butcher an entire carcass into legs, wings, and breast prior to cooking it. I hated the feeling of the organs squishing in my hands as I reached in to clean out a turkey.
"HECK NO!" - Whole head fish dinner
Same for fish.  The idea of an entire fish on a platter with the mouth open and eye "looking" was disgusting to me.  I was well into my thirties before I even learned how to clean a fish because I could not bring myself to cut the head off.  I could only eat meat if it had been objectified - skin removed and all hints of life as a being had been removed.  I never ate a rare steak with the blood running all over the place.  In my early twenties, I became a vegetarian.  When I was expecting my first child,    being young and uninformed, I began to eat meat again after my I obstetrician told me I needed to eat meat for "protein" and for the baby. Fast forward to my late forties, prior to officially becoming vegan, I can't  honestly remember the last time I had a sandwich made of luncheon meat (little slivers of flesh-ugh!) or a glass of milk.  I am proud to say that I've never had nor desired to eat oysters, caviar, tripe, or any raw meats (lox, sushi, etc). I've been making vegetable stuffing for years and salad has always been my best friend.  So you see, when you hear my detailed history, you understand why I was destined to be vegan.

What's Next?

The next step is to continue to evolve with decorum and civility. Let's look at the meaning:

ev·o·lu·tion  (v-lshn, v-) 
A gradual process in which something changes
 into a different and usually more complex or better form 

Hmmm...better form; more complex.  Translation: to evolve is to develop or achieve a style of one's own gradually.  I am ready to evolve.  I am ready to move forward.  Everyone realizes that we, as a species have evolved.  Although we don't always act like it, we possess intelligence, the ability to have empathy, and compassion for our fellow animal beings of this earth, and we grow plants;  why is so hard to realize that we no longer need to consume meat to continue to evolve. 

Intelligence, empathy, compassion for all beings,
sole consumption of plant-based diet....
the need to evolve still exists
I can answer questions with a simple "no, not long, and heck no" and leave it at that because most people really don't want to know my real history, my true gradual development, my authentic evolution.  Only those with an expressed interest in becoming vegetarian or vegan or care for me wish to hear the history.  Knowing you can survive the inquisition, the need to have that cleansing breath before each answer disappears for you can't punish true ignorance or the lack of information.  An an evolved being, I must show empathy and compassion in the face of accusation and judgment and become an example of intelligent complexity.

The next steps for me are to continue to learn, to grow and to forge deeper into this new wonderful experience.  Taking the time to remember where I came from and helps me to know where I'm going.

Yoga: Anusara Style.  Individually based, soft practice - to "follow your heart" with emphasis on balance, alignment and respect for personal limitations; to gradually evolve; to focus with organic energy.  

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