Going Vegan: The Cows Are Watching

Cow Lying in Field

During my short holiday break in Jersey, a great friend of mine lent a book to me about going vegan. I’ve considered it before, but wanted to spend some time researching it before I made the decision to try it for real.

I read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone (yes, the actress). Alicia breaks her decision to go vegan down into 3 main areas:

  • Be kind to your body
  • Be kind to animals
  • Be kind to the planet

I already thought I was pretty kind to my body. I eat well. Exercise. Yada yada. So I wasn’t looking to be persuaded on this front.

I am more kind to the planet than the average Joe. But then I heard this book would flip my world upside down in terms of how eating meat/dairy has such a negative impact on the environment. Say no more. If I can help this Earth, I’m all ears. This is where I expected to gain the most insight—and be the most persuaded—by the book.

I’m all for treating animals well, but never really thought I’d find myself fighting for animal rights. I love animals, especially dogs. But I never made the correlation to animals that I put in my mouth.

Fast-forward a few days

Tonight I found myself over a friend’s for dinner. They didn’t know I had recently made the decision to go vegan, nor would I have expected them to cook any differently. What was on the menu? Steak. And cheesy potatoes.

I told them I was still in the midst of my transition, and that I would have some steak. No big deal. And the potatoes… yeah, they’re loaded with dairy, but I’d already made up my mind that wasn’t a big deal for tonight.

I cleaned my plate of veggies, and potatoes, quickly. And even had one small piece of steak. But there were 2 pieces still sitting on my plate.

The cows are watching

With every bite of that steak, I thought about cows. Unbelievable how one book read over the course of a few days could completely change my mindset… but it did. And here I am, staring at a plate full of delicious, juicy flank steak, and all I see is a sad cow’s face staring back at me.

I was struggling to take any more bites, mainly because I felt bad for animals all over the world. Animals that we unnecessarily kill for our enjoyment. I also thought about the negative impact it would have on my body, but I couldn’t get over how bad I felt for animals.

Guilty as charged

I felt guilty. Not only with every bite, but every chew. I suddenly found the texture of meat rather disgusting. Chewing on another animal’s flesh (we are animals too, ya know?).

I’m sure it didn’t help that they have the sweetest, softest, cutest golden retriever who I love so much. Or the fact that I’d just watched a video about 2 guys who raised a lion cub, then released him into the wild in Africa, and went back for him a year later. Their reunion is my reminder that they are capable of many of the same feelings we are.