At 57, the last thing on my mind was anything life-altering.
One day, two co-workers (a vegetarian and a carnivore like me) mentioned trying the 30-day Vegan plan from Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet. I had never heard the term “Vegan”, so they explained it was someone who didn’t eat animal products.
That sounded altruistic but challenging.
A month later, I was walking down the hallway and saw my colleagues. As we spoke, the change in them struck me. Something profound bubbled on the surface – an aura, a glow – that inner calm after having “arrived”. They had “gone Vegan” permanently. My “vegucation” began in that corridor, eagerly listening to their story of transformation. They recommended Alicia’s book, watching Food, Inc. and (if I was brave enough) Earthlings, cautioning it shouldn’t be seen alone. Weeks later, I had read The Kind Diet, watched Food, Inc., and was surfing the web regularly for vegan information.
But I was still a carnivore.
The Earthlings DVD from Netflix waited patiently beside my TV.
On Friday evening, November 19, 2010, something compelled me to watch Earthlings – alone – from start to finish. It was devastating. Those images will linger forever. As the end credits rolled, I crossed the threshold into veganism and my journey officially began the morning of November 20, 2010.
Timing is everything.
For 50+ years, it had never occurred to me that my daily choices – those I believed natural and benign – not only helped to finance the annihilation of each being I had eaten, but harmed our planet’s soil, air and water.
I could no longer eat pieces of other living creatures who had no say in becoming our food supply or pharmaceutical test subjects and were forced to live in agony until their merciless slaughter.
No more meat, eggs, dairy, poultry, fish and honey!
Every day, I continue my vegucation – like an adult who has gone back to school. However, graduation means far more than getting a degree. It encompasses each decision I make: what I put inside my body; the water system in my home; where my clothing comes from; what furniture, bedding, towels, paper goods, garbage bags, cookware, storage containers, cosmetics and cleaning products I use; which animal, environmental and human rights groups I support and what relationships I forge – all transforming my physical, mental and emotional health while creating as tiny a carbon footprint as possible.
This gift of a seemingly random series of events coming together at the right moment has instilled a renewed sense of direction while providing a legacy I am honored to be a small part of.
At 60, I am kinder, healthier, more serene and deeply grateful.
The growing vegan movement towards healing our planet – one rescued animal, one act of caring, one healthier food and environmental choice at a time – is a daily reminder that discovery, change and activism are possible at any age.
Once you open the door, walking through is a breeze!
Barbara Becker, VLCE, and Reiki Master.