One of the most vivid memories of my childhood was how our neighborhood had a bunch of tight-knit families. All of the parents got along and there was only a minimal amount of drama. Every neighborhood has it’s drama, but no-one is writing a script based on the stuff that went down on Juniper Lane.
As a gregarious cluster we shared lots of meals. Do you remember when eating at your friends house was a thing? You’d either have to run home or ask to use the landline phone to see if your mom was ok with it. One family in particular was very odd to most of us at the time, at least when it came to what they ate. We knew them as vegetarians! Ohh scary right? They had tofu regularly, ate lentil loaf instead of meatloaf. “Why,” we often asked ourselves. “Why would they do that,” we wondered. The food tasted so… ummm… weird and bland to our youthful and finite tastebuds.
It made sense that these folks ate that way, they were “hippies” in the truest form. Besides the food, I noticed they had many books around and the one that always stood out most to me was “Autobiography Of A Yoga” by Yogananda. His face was recognizable even as a kid. As strange as they seemed, they were very “real” to me; know what I mean? They did what they thought was the best they could and did it in every aspect of their lives.
The point I’m getting at it, I guess in a way I’ve always admired them and so as I slowly started becoming like them. When I used to blog here, I did a bunch of product reviews. Most of them were vegetarian products and or vegan. I was digging through some old posts and found this from 12/28/2010. “This year I went on a vegetarian diet. I made the decision as part of the evolution of my practice. …I felt that in order to continue on this compassionate course I could no longer subscribe to the belief that my body needed to consume the flesh of another’s body. I still drink milk and eat cheese and eggs, so I am no vegan. Maybe someday I will move up to that.”
7 years ago I became that, a vegan. Mainly for health reasons at first. I had some issues that needed to be resolved and not being a fan of becoming dependent on pills I went the extreme route and immediately changed what I ate. In the first year, I dropped my cholesterol nearly 70 points but teetered around 200 for a long time. This year I am finally down to a good range and sit at 165 overall. I cut out a bunch of the fake meats and overly processed products, that’s what put me where I need to be.
If you remember or not, I was big into obstacle racing right before I signed off. During a Ragnar Relay with my obstacle team (the New England Spahtens) I met another team, Strong Hearts Vegan Power. Their shirts were very in your face and I loved them. I asked how I could get a shirt and they said only members of the team got them. So I ask, how do I become part of the team? My next 7 Ragnar Relay races were run with them. I’m not a huge activist, but I felt comfortable being part of the team as my activism. We bumped into so many other vegans and even got asked a ton of questions by curious non-vegans. Of course there was the typical “bacon” or “where do you get your protein” yelled at us numerous times, but it comes with the territory.
Through them I definitely became more vocal and comfortable in my voice, it became more than my voice though. Farm animals, except for their screams before death; are an unheard species. They are not dumb and they know where they are, what is happening to them and they are petrified. They have zero rights. They cannot vote. They cannot keep and bear arms to protect themselves and their families. Sure, there are animals rights laws on the books but most of them are, to put it bluntly, bullshit.
The point of this post is to let you know, that aspect of my life (veganism) will be much more upfront. It’s not everything I will write about, but it will be brought up because it’s part of my path. I’m passionate about being compassionate and believe every sentient being has the right to life. Oh and tofu and lentils are the bomb, so maybe those neighbors were really on to something?