‘Coming a Veg’ is a monthly series which highlights vegetarian and vegan “coming of age” stories. Kathryn’s story shows how the horrors of factory farming made her look more closely at her personal choices. You can enjoy her recipes and writing on her vegan food blog, The Vegan Kat.
I was in my senior year of high school in english class. My teacher brought in a PETA ad about factory farming conditions for chickens. The ad was controversial, as PETA is known to be, and it caused a stir in the class. The teacher and most of the class disagreed with the ad and started making comments that it made them want to eat a steak and buy a fur coat.
I had the opposite reaction. The ad opened up my eyes to factory farming, which I hadn’t known about beforehand. After researching factory farming practices and learning more about how meat is really processed, I was horrified. I had pets and I just couldn’t find a difference between the pets I loved and the animals I was eating. I stopped eating meat cold turkey (no pun intended) and never looked back.
For a while, the idea of giving up cheese and eggs seemed impossible. There was also peer pressure to keep these foods in my diet, because it was hard enough already to go out to eat with friends. But, I began to realize that despite not having to kill an animal to get dairy and eggs, they are still produced by the same animals that are treated cruelly in the factory farming system. I started to feel guilty about this inconsistency in my eating habits. Because of this, I decided to go from vegetarian to vegan when I was 22.
I also don’t think a vegetarian diet was healthy for me. I was vegetarian all through college where the only options were often pizza and french fries. I was ready for a change and finally ready to give up dairy and eggs. Again, I went vegan cold turkey, no looking back. Within a week after going vegan I felt noticeably lighter, physically lighter. It was like my body was running more cleanly. I also lost about 30 pounds of college pizza and french fry weight in the process.
To me, being vegan is a choice in some ways and it’s not a choice in others. I chose to change my habits rather than find ways to justify eating meat. Now I feel like it’s the only way I can be. I couldn’t go back to eating meat, cheese, or eggs again. They just don’t register as food to me anymore. I feel peaceful and healthy in my food choices now.
One thing people do ask me all the time is what do you eat? I recently started my vegan food blog, The Vegan Kat, to share easy vegan recipes and to show that being vegan isn’t all that hard. Now, I can point to my blog and say, this is what I eat. I hope that people will be inspired to incorporate some vegan meals into their life. I don’t expect everyone to give up eating meat, but if people are aware and make informed choices about the food they eat, that’s a step in the right direction.
The first Monday of every month I feature a new ‘Coming a Veg’ story and would I love to include yours! If you are feeling shy, your story can be posted under a creative screen name, anonymous or at least pass this request along to any other groups or individuals who may be interested. Find more information at this link or send submissions to my email: Pennsyltucky Veggie.