Veganism: One Year In
I might have an addictive personality, and this isn’t necessarily bad. The things I find myself wrapped up in are generally good, or at least not harmful to me or anyone else. For example: several months back I was reminded of the horror director/circus barker/fabulist William Castle. I knew of his movies (The Tingler, 13 Ghosts, House on Haunted Hill, etc.), but didn’t know much about the man. So I read a little bit and my interest was piqued.
This is where the addictive personality comes in. I watched a documentary about Castle and all of his movies from the 60s and 70s–about ten–in one week. I needed to know as much as I could about this man. (Turns out his ideas about marketing his movies, as absurd as they are, were wonderful. Hitchcock even swiped a few of his concepts for Psycho.)
I run into topics that consume me all the time. And they’re not always light things like moviemakers. Sometimes they’re far more serious, like the plight of Haiti (both before and after the earthquake of last year) or factory farming in America.
This last one is huge to me, and I think it’s because it’s something that is physically affecting me (and you, most likely). About 11 months ago I picked up The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Polan. It was an enlightning read and really educated me about just how food gets to our tables in America. Then, the addictive personality kicked in and I had to learn more. I watched a few movies, read another book or two, and then got to what I’d call a turning point in my life. I picked up Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.
When I read this book it changed my life for good. I’d had something deep inside of me trying to get out, and Eating Animals helped it to find its way into my consciousness. I knew that I needed to do something, but it wasn’t until I read Foer’s book that I could understand what I was feeling inside.
So, one year ago this month, I went vegan.
Unlike all the other things I got hooked on, this one had drastic repercussions. It changed my life for good. I documented the beginning in this blog post, and I don’t think I wrote much else about it since. But now I can say that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Over the last twelve months I’ve lost aboutt 20 pounds, I have more energy, I don’t need my asthma inhaler quite as much (this is huge because I’m without health insurance and those things are expensive), and I feel like my conscience is clear; I know what happens to animals that are bred for food in this country and I’m proud of myself for not taking part in that process. I’ve also learned how to cook a ton of new dishes, which has been incredibly fun, since I cook dinner for my girlfriend and me every night. It’s been one of the best years of my life, and I look forward to a lot more like it in the future.
I’ve learned a lot of things because of my addictive personality, and I’m incredibly thankful that I had it one year ago. Maybe some more life-changing things are in store for me because of it, but for now I couldn’t be happier with the one I already have.
If you’d like to take a shot at being vegan (or even just vegetarian) download PETA’s starter kit here. I encourage you to try it, even if just for a week.