The Compassionate Vegan

Okay, okay — so I went home for the weekend. Not only did this mean that I get to try vegan eating at home, even if just for two days, I also had three solid hours in the car alone with my thoughts. It did me a WORLD of good today and I found myself thinking quite a lot about the last four weeks and how my perspective has shifted so much.

Tell the world I'm coming home!

Tell the world I’m coming home!

The last time I made the drive to or from school, I wasn’t vegan and had really no idea what to expect for the next four weeks or even if I would stay vegan. In retrospect, I was terrified. 

Fast forward to a beautiful fall afternoon and me, myself and I in the car admiring the blue sky and listening to John Mayer.

Seriously, what a gorgeous fall day. Also, Keds are vegan. Score!!

Seriously, what a gorgeous fall day. Also, Keds are vegan. Score!!

I go to school in a rural town in northeast Missouri so it isn’t any secret that there is a lot of farmland. Most of it is corn and soybeans but occasionally, you will pass a farm with animals. This isn’t a large-scale factory farm and for all I know, these might just be “domestic” animals and aren’t being raised for human consumption. I passed two farms today where there were cattle just roaming around and grazing and napping — both young and old.

And that is when something very strange happened to me.

When I was just a vegetarian, I always looked at livestock somewhat indifferently. I felt content and generally happy because I knew I wasn’t eating their flesh. Of course, this was before I knew the horrors of what actually goes on in the dairy industry and how even by eating dairy, we are supporting the meat industry. Today when I passed the cattle in the field, I felt like I got hit by 2 tons of bricks. I got extremely emotional about it — not necessarily a negative connotation. I felt nothing but pure love for these cows. I felt compassion toward them as a living thing just as I do my own cat. I felt sadness and regret for eating dairy up until now. I felt proud that I have made it four weeks with no craving for anything from one of these animals. I felt a sense of gratitude that I have not exploited these animals for the last four weeks and how I never will again and how this makes me feel like the best version of myself possible.

It was one of those internal moments that I will not soon forget and one that I know will be something I value as a vegan for the rest of my life. I think it’ll only get stronger, really.

I shared this with my parents over some delicious Mexican food for dinner — we went to a popular place where I live. I was ready this time, too! I asked the waitress about my order and even asked to make sure there was no cheese on my bean burrito (I figured there wouldn’t be since it was just bean but I learned my lesson before). Turns out, the waitress said there is typically cheese on the burrito so I am really glad I asked beforehand and saved the waste and the awkward situation. Make yourself as clear as possible by saying “no cheese at all/no dairy” and you will be good as gold.

Happy Friday, followers!

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