*Update* After 5 years as a Vegetarian, I am now a proud strict Vegan <3
So here is the truth: I am Portuguese, original Latin!
I was born and raised in a culture where meat and fish are a must during a meal. I can actually say I could probably count with my both hands the number of times I have had food without a piece of meat or fish whilst I was growing up. Both in restaurants and homemade meals…
That is what I thought was right…
It’s funny to think that back in the day, I remember that every time I would meet a Vegetarian or Vegan, I would think they were kinda crazy.
The truth is that I used to love meat: from roast chicken, to cheeseburgers, not forgetting the smell of frying bacon and the chicken soup, or my favourite: rejões, a pork dish from Portugal.
I just did what most people do… I was not connected, I didn’t want to think about it…. and nothing would make me change my mind… and even though I did like animals, yes, I was never a massive animal lover anyway.
In 2008 I read a book called ‘Skinny Bitch’, which is about slaughterhouses and the dangerous about eating meat, and for the first time in my life, the idea of becoming a vegetarian came through my mind. I was so upset and remember that I slowly cut the consumption of meat… however didn’t manage to make the real cut and I kept trying to forget I had read it. Until one lazy Sunday afternoon in early January, 2013 I was looking at the news feed on facebook when a friend of mine posted a link to a documentary called “Earthlings” which includes footage of factory farms. Right after that I watched “the best speech you will ever hear” by Gary Yourofsky, and that was it… I had only started scratching the surface but after I finished that I just knew it… I no longer wanted to participate in this anymore. I couldn’t be part of such shocking industry. It’s evil!!
From that moment on, when I saw meat I should think of pain, death, cruelty, a very disturbing and horrible reality. So it was clear, I would eat no more meat.
I can no longer pretend or hide from the truth, we all fool ourselves about happy cows and chickens! There is no such thing. I am not the biggest animal lover in the world but I do have ethics, morals and values, and that is more than enough.
It’s been slightly less than a year but I know it’s been one of the most important and helpful decisions I ever made.
On top of stopping eating meat, I try to do everything I can to reduce animal suffering with simples choices like never wearing animal products: leather, fur, etc and buying from companies that do not test their products on animals. I am not vegan yet, but I hardly eat dairy: cheese, eggs, and been trying my best to get used to other types of milk instead of cow milk, but it’s a work in progress.
Doing this makes me feel so much better and strong, I feel aligned with my ethics, values and morals.
There are 3 main reasons why I choose an animal-free diet:
- For the animals – Speciesism! People can be so hypocritical, “oh, I am such an animal lover, I love animals, bla bla” but then they go and gorge themselves on murdered cows or chickens. Too many people consider only cats and dogs as animals that matter, they forget how every animal out there has feelings, emotions, a heart, a brain and a soul. I believe in equality and don’t think a dog is any better than a pig or a horse any better than a cow. That is speciesism and that’s wrong. If you couldn’t eat your dog, you shouldn’t eat any other animal.
- The environment – This is one of the biggest shocking realities that I have learned about our world, on why the meat and fish industry are absolutely mean to the environment. There are so many things I could mention on this, but just a tiny info: According to the UN reports, global livestock is responsible for 19% of the world´s greenhouse gases – this is more than all transportation together!! (click here en.wikipedia)
- My health – And last but not least, the selfish reason. My health. Unfortunately I have lost 2 family members that lost their battles with food related diseases: diabetes and cancer. This has obviously affected me and seeing many people loosing this battles every day when the meat consumption is the biggest cause of such diseases, is reason enough to go healthy.
I have respect for ALL living things and I do like animals, and since my recent spark led me to do more research, I can assure you that once you dig a little below the surface you realise how disturbing it really is.
As for me it kinda makes vegetarianism seem like the only option. I can’t even consider of going back to eat meat ever again!
It makes me feel sad that most people don’t get me and I still have to defend myself because people can’t understand my choices, which are now so basic and real to me, but I have hope I will keep inspiring more people to see the “light”, after all I was one of them ;p … it’s like a snowball… and I truly believe it will get bigger and bigger 😀
So during this trip, I will be referring to the difficulties or facilities I will encounter in my vegetarian life style 🙂