If someone was to ask me what is the one thing that has allowed me to stick with a plant based diet, I would without a doubt say - my love for animals.
People's reasons for choosing a plant based diet generally stem from passion - passion for the environment, passion for one's own health, passion for animals. Sometimes the reason might be a combination of two or more factors.
My first foray into plant based eating was when I decided to become a vegetarian at 11. My reason for choosing a vegetarian diet was simply "I love animals and I don't want to eat them".
As an 11 year old girl, this seemed so obvious to me. We always had cats and dogs living with us and there was something about animals that I just connected with.
Once I had made the connection that the meat on my plate came from an animal, there was to be no meat ever again!
I was very lucky that my mum allowed me to go vegetarian at the tender age of 11. I imagine I was quite stubborn about it and that my mum really had no choice! One day I will have to ask her why she allowed me to change my diet.
Mum didn't allow me to go vegetarian straight away. First to go was red meat, then white meat and then last of all fish. The transition to vegetarianism was complete by the time I was 15.
When I was vegetarian, I experienced quite a lot of negativity towards my vegetarian lifestyle. People, my family especially, would say things like "but you wear leather/drink milk/eat cheese... aren't you a hypocrite?".
Rather than acknowledge me for making a decision based on a value I hold dear, having the courage to make that decision when everyone else around me ate meat, I was labelled a hypocrite. It's not surprising that I am now quite particular in ensuring that I am not a hypocrite!
I also remember kids at school trying to get me to eat meat. My stepfather, who taught at my school, would tell the kids that I actually ate meat at home! To this day, I cannot understand why he would have done such a thing. Abstaining from meat was SO important to me. I held it so dear to me, like a little girl would a kitten. I couldn't understand why everyone had such a big problem with me choosing not to eat meat.
When I was 27, I made the huge step of going vegan. It was huge for me because I loved eating ice-cream, tim tams, chocolate, cakes. I thought to myself time and time again "how could I possibly give up all that?!". It was when I took the time to find out how animals were treated as part of dairy and egg production that I realised,
"If I'm vegetarian because I love animals, I cannot continue to eat dairy or eggs; that would be hypocritical".
I have never turned back, and I never will.
And it's the passion and love that I have for animals that holds me strong in my decision to choose a plant based life.
I automatically connect meat, milk, eggs to the suffering that has been experienced by the animals who were used to create these products - confinement, surgical procedures without pain relief, inability to express natural behaviours, the taking of newborns from their mothers, pain, torture, death.
When I see bacon, I see the pig.
When I see cheese, I see the cow.
When I see eggs, I see the chicken.
I see the suffering.
It is this awareness, as well as the love and passion, that holds me true.
So what holds you true? What is the one thing that grabs hold of you and says, this is why you must stop eating meat, dairy, eggs?
Is it your health? Do you strive to be of optimum health so that you can live a long and happy life without the aid of drugs, without disease?
Is it the environment? Do you cherish the planet, the trees, the beaches, the oceans, the mountains, the forests?
Or like me, is it the animals? Do you see their spirit, their innocence, their unique offering to the world?
Maybe you don't know yet and that's ok.
Once you find your reason, the why, then you will have the drive to live a plant based life, you will have the drive to thrive through plant based living.
I would love to know your why. Let me know in the comments section below.
And if you don't know your why, I'd love to help you find it. Book a free discovery session today and we can together, find your why.
Always for the animals,