Sunday, May 1, 2016

Week 4 Of My 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Well I did it! Planet Earth for one month of my life I went vegan for you.

I want to recap why I did this in the first place. After watching Cowspiracy I wanted to further my commitment to our planet. The infographic above shows all of the environmental impacts when raising animals for food and what happens when we switch to a vegan diet. With help from my boss I was also able to screen this documentary at work for my colleagues. I’m ready and I think the world is too for the Environmental Industry/Movement to take bold action in regard to this topic.    

This week on my local television news station I watched a story about vegan restaurant owners who have a farm and eat the animals they raise. I saw people’s reactions from both sides. Some people felt that they were supporting a movement by going to these vegan restaurants and were horrified to learn about the owners. Other people felt that the restaurant owners probably raised and killed their animals humanely and weren’t bothered by it. Two things struck me as I watched...

First I asked myself, “As a vegan for the past 30 days do I feel inclined to pick a side?”

At the end of the day people want what they want. Since I’m not a fan of judgment towards others because it separates, doesn’t sit well with my soul, solve problems, I respect the restaurant owners choice. Who am I to judge anyone? Because I too could disappoint vegans when I go back to being a vegetarian after this challenge.

What I’ve learned is that we can’t control other people’s wants. All we can do is live and make our own informed choices.

I want to learn and share what makes me happy and inspires me to live my best life. If others want to learn and apply it to their own lives awesome. If not well I have no control over that and will continue to learn and create more happiness for my life and our planet because that is what I can do.   

The second thing that struck me but wasn’t a complete surprise was that everyone who was interviewed and the owners of the vegan restaurants were white. Why does this matter?

I’ll report what the mainstream won’t…
A major reason I decided to write this blog was to be visible. I’m craving the content I’m writing about because I’m not seeing anyone like me produce it.

In this brown skin, I’ve learned a lot about changing my diet for the planet. I’ve heard people from my community say, “I’m Mexican and there is no way that I’d ever give up my Carne Asada.”

My response, “I’m not here to shame or judge your choice to eat beef. I’ve learned that when we choose to eat less beef we help our planet, our health, and the health of the workers who handle our meat and vegetables, people who are also Mexican. So why not eat a smaller animal instead like carnitas, pollo, or pescado? In doing so we can reduce our impact.”

I too used to feel culturally identified to meat but I’ve learned in my Ethnic Studies courses at San Francisco State University that Mexicans weren’t always meat eaters. Colonizers dramatically changed our diets and religions that connected us to animals and the Earth. Not only that I'm seeing cases of diabetes and other health problems highest in our community and I have to ask myself, “Is this meat diet worth it?” For me the answer is, ”No.”

My Vegan Future?
As I mentioned earlier in this post and previous posts at this time I’m not ready to be a vegan. I’m going back to being a vegetarian. There will be things I will definitely swap though like butter and milk when I prepare my own meals. I will be more mindful with the amount of cheese I use and lastly I will purchase vegan cosmetics and toiletries. This is what I can commit to for now.

Thank You Vegans!
I am beyond thankful to everyone that helped me go vegan and supported me during the challenge. I’d like to also thank companies who make/distribute/carry vegan products. I'm thankful to all of the event organizers who made a choice to provide vegan options in addition to vegetarian at all of the events I attended over the month. And most importantly I’m thankful for vegans, you’re activists protecting animals and our planet.