Growing up, I had always considered eating animal meat to be a bit disturbing. I had a hard time thinking about the animal that was running around prior to being on my plate. I would try to hide the meat with breading, buns, and condiments. As an adult, I prepared meals for my husband and our two children based on my upbringing, and I did the best I knew how.
About a year ago, I discovered that I’m lactose intolerant and eliminated dairy from my diet. But for most of my life, I rarely ate vegetables. I just didn’t get excited about a cooked carrot or a celery stick. When my 20-something daughter invited me to Twin Cities Veg Fest, I was not overly excited about it. My niece, a freshman at a nearby college, also really wanted to go, so I agreed to take her and meet my daughter there. We walked around, sampled some good healthy snacks, and discovered some new vegan food options. I turned down an aisle and stopped to look at the t-shirts. I laughed at the sassy sayings on some of the T’s. Then, I saw it, the shirt that made my stomach turn. It pictured a sweet little pink pig with the caption “Please don’t eat my insides.” I quickly turned away to avoid its impact on me.
Later at the festival, I sat down with my daughter, my niece, and my daughter’s best friend. We spoke for a few minutes, and then I decided to talk about the t-shirt that I had seen. I told them about what it brought up for me. When I was a child, I was hospitalized for a serious operation, and, in the hospital gift shop, there was an adorable pink stuffed pig. I desperately wanted that cute little pig and let my mother know how much I loved it. After surgery, the pink pig was waiting for me in the recovery room. It meant the world to me to call that little pink pig mine. I still have it 40 years later.
As I retold the story and thought about that t-shirt, tears ran down my face. I thought, “What am I doing eating animals?!”
That’s what it took. One t-shirt changed my life. Since that day, I have adapted to an entirely new lifestyle. As a new vegan, a whole new world has opened up to me. To my surprise, cooking is now much more fun. I realize that raw meat had been appalling to me and that I had forced myself to cook with it. Now, I love making meals and get excited to find new recipes. I honestly had no idea how delicious vegetables could be. I’m so happy when I think of all of the beautiful animals running around in the world, and I’m happy to help them run free!
I have no intention to ever eat animals again. I have found happiness in my new lifestyle and look forward to sharing my discovery with others.