This is an area of my life that’s changed the most. After years of undiagnosed digestive issues, a few documentaries, a lot of self-reflection and a Miley Cyrus Instagram post, I’m now a proud vegan. Shut the hell up, just keep reading.
Three things I learned about myself and about this lifestyle:
It’s the easiest change I’ve ever made.
And because so much shit has animal products in it, I’m not tempted by the sweets and snacks I once was. In a way, the limitation makes eating whole (healthy) foods easy AF.
My consumption shouldn’t come at the cost of cruelty.
I don’t need meat to live. I don’t need cheese on my pizza. I don’t need a fur jacket. I don’t need lipstick that was first tested on an animal. I don’t need anything that comes at the cost of cruelty. Because what does that say about me? I’m so self-absorbed that I willingly ignore the reality of where my shit comes from? Nah, girl. Not anymore.
I love animals. All animals.
I always knew I loved animals. Or at least I thought I knew I did. It wasn’t until I saw a quote from Miley Cyrus that I stopped to question how genuine my affection was. She wrote, “If you choose to eat meat, you love pets — not animals.” And you know what? She’s fucking right. Why would I love my dog, but eat a cow? Wake up, Lyss.
Here’s how I did it
While I understand documentaries are often one-sided, it really didn’t matter to me. Because the foundation of the films I watched were rooted in the reality of factory farming and how our meat is processed. That’s how it started for me. Factory farms turn me into a human volcano and meat processing plants make me want to barf.
So, mid-documentary I decided I was done with red meat. I still ate chicken and sea food for a little while. Trying to choose labels that fed me lies like “ethically raised”, “humane” or some other bullshit.
Then, I decided I was done with chicken. Did I watch another documentary? Sure did. All done. And actually, it was just as much about boycotting the big name food companies as it was helping the animals. Industry monopolies are scary.
As a pescatarian, I held on to sea food for a few moths. Telling myself it was just fish. I think some idiot said they don’t feel pain or something. So I ordered my walleye and salmon. And then I educated myself on how destructive the fishing industry is. And because I love the ocean, I couldn’t support something that was hurting it. I also decided that, like humans, I should view all animals as equal. Who am I to give one life more weight than another?
I rocked the vegetarian scene for a while. Then I learned more about the dairy industry. An industry I really never even gave a second thought to before. I remember watching a baby cow try to drink milk from her mom, but couldn’t because she had a muzzle over her mouth. So…fuck that. I ditched dairy.
And that was it. I was officially vegan. I welcomed the judgmental reactions from friends and family, who appeared to have gotten their medical degrees overnight. I told people where I got my protein. And then I told them again. And again. But mostly, I told people to fuck off.
I was making a decision that made me happy and healthy, and that literally only had positive impacts for myself and things around me. And yet, it seemed like everyone I knew was questioning why on this heavily farmed and polluted Earth I would ever want to live such a way.