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I'm Newly Vegan After Watching Earthlings
by Becky Dawn
(Salt Lake City, UT)
I'm newly 24 and newly vegan.
I joined a group on Facebook called Health Nut, as well as subscribing to Vegie Head. There were so many odd recipes with only a few here and there that I might've thought about trying.
For me, it started really getting my attention with the fact that the lady who runs Vegie Head is so vibrant and healthy looking. Then I started hearing about how meat and dairy products are so bad for your health. And then, I read that there's PUS in cows' milk. Haven't had a drop since, no struggle.
I still struggled with the thought of giving up cheese, but then I watched EARTHLINGS, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. After I sobbed and gagged all the way through it, I can't even look at cheese now without feeling ill and heartsick. I plan on using up what's left in the house, but even making it for my daughter... ugh. I shudder.
My husband is adamantly against going vegan himself, but says that he'll support me and our children (he agrees that I should serve our kids vegan foods if my reasons are health and ethics). He said he'd cook his own meat or full meals if he didn't like what was being served. However, I'm pretty sure that my example will inspire him as well.
I know I'm going to hear it from my family, especially my mom and grandma, but I'm sure they'll have to stop harassing me after I've lived it awhile and am even healthier.
Your story is so similar to how I decided to go vegan. I also really struggled with the idea of giving up cheese for-ev-er. I just loved it so much and thought it was sophisticated to try different kinds of expensive cheese with some nice crackers and wine. To give that up seemed impossible.
But, like you, I learned about what dairy cows actually go through in order to give us cheese and I knew I had to stop eating it. I never agreed with the veal industry and because baby boy dairy cows are turned into veal, veal is a byproduct of the dairy industry.
Did you know that cheese is actually physically harder to give up than milk? It's not just a lack of willpower or us being accustomed to eating cheese; it's actually that the protein in dairy products- casein- works like morphine in our body. We want more and more of it because it makes us feel good. We don't want to stop eating it because we know we'll feel bad. Cheese is the most addictive dairy product because it's made by removing the water from milk, creating a concentration of casein.
I talk about the whole process of giving up cheese in my ebook Cut the Cheese.
But just like with other drugs, we actually can kick the cheese addiction. Just like you, I found that the best way was just to stop eating it. Day by day I made the decision not to eat cheese that day and soon enough it had been a month without cheese. Within another month, I wasn't interested in eating it anymore, and within six months I couldn't stand the smell of cheese.
It sounds like you have a great support system in your husband. When I decided to go vegan, my husband was the same way; he was supportive but he didn't want to stop eating animal products. Over time, as he saw how I felt not eating animals, and when I was able to slip a few comments to him like "did you know pigs are smarter than dogs?" or "wow, cheese is basically all cholesterol and fat and isn't doing anything for our health," he decided he wanted to try it too. He's now a proud vegan.
My best advice for the rest of the family is to try not to worry too much about their opinions. Over time people will start to respect your decision and might even support you by making you a vegan meal when you visit. That's how is began in my family, and now a good portion of them also gave up animal products. Having a positive attitude and trying not to push anyone is the best way to convince them to try something new.