A transition to a less-cruel, more-vegan way of eating

Last month, I watched Dominion. It is a documentary about the animal farming industry, and covers not only meat, eggs and dairy but also the farming of animals for fur and animal testing. It is not an easy watch.

I’m not an idiot. I knew before now that large farms are not all sunshine and rainbows. I knew that animals are kept in crowded quarters. Of course I cared, but I put blinders on and pretended that the issues didn’t exist.

When my kids’ dad and I split, he went vegetarian. Between wanting to save money and wanting to be accommodating when he was over for dinner, I cut back on our meat consumption. This was not difficult for me to do. 

Some people are baffled by the concept of not having a piece of meat on their plate. As it turns out, some get really defensive and weird about it, like this guy, who goes on about “vegan extremists” and being “forced” to eat vegan. I don’t understand the logic. But I digress.

I do like meat and cheese, but I also like vegetables and legumes, and I don’t think my sons will sprout a set of breasts by eating soy.

The documentary was… shocking, to say the least. Most of the footage was from Australia, but I imagine it’s similar in America and Canada. I’ll leave out the gory (literally) details. But, it made me want to make some changes.

Am I vegan now? No. But I have decided to purchase my animal products from “better” farms. The term “better” is kind of vague. I want the animals I eat to have had a good life up until slaughter. Free to roam, free to do normal things that animals do, eat from pasture, not be kept in a small cage their entire lives. Basically, I don’t want farmers to be assholes just so I can buy cheap pork chops and eggs.

If I can’t guarantee that something is from a “good” farm, I can do without. Free range meat is expensive. If I am not willing to pay the price, I won’t eat it. Who knows, a year or two from now I may go full vegan.

Want some nachos? Buy some dairy-free cheese from the store, or whip up my own vegan “cheese” out of cashews and nutritional yeast and unicorn tears. Milk for my cereal? Soy milk. Burger? Veggie burger. Big juicy steak? Well, I wasn’t much of a steak eater before, but if I want one now, I suppose I’ll have to spend $30. 

Granted, I still have some “bad farm” products in my home. My family and I will eat those, but I will try my best to ensure that anything new coming in is “better”. It’s a transition.

Will I force my children to eat a vegan diet? No. I can control what I buy and what I put into my own body, but I will not police what they put into theirs. When they are able to make their own decision about it, they can. Until then, I won’t deny them birthday cake at parties just because it has buttercream icing.