If you follow my Instagram (@sarieberryfairy) you might have seen me mention my diet. Mainly I use this social media platform for yoga, inspiration, and sharing my memories, but I also like to share more intimate and meaningful topics. Currently, this has included my diet transitioning from vegetarian to vegan.
For almost 9 full years, I have been a very dedicated vegetarian. In 2009, I made the decision to eliminate meat from my diet for many reasons (my disgust for how I felt eating it, to avoid the meat industry, lower heart disease, ethical reasons, etc). Before this, I feared food and never felt good, mentally or physically, after eating or overeating. Since then, I finally beat eating disorders and began to develop a respect for food. I read a lot of books, articles, and joined organizations to improve my health and make sure I was still receiving enough nutrition. In truth, since I made the “big switch,” I have become more informed about nutrition and know I get healthier options.
Within the past 8+ years, I became even more strict with what I choose to put in my body. I have not eaten eggs in YEARS. The smell drives me crazy, and the thought of it potentially becoming an animal creeps me out. My only intake of eggs is from other people’s desserts, which I still avoid quite often. Almond milk replaced cow’s milk probably five years ago, and I love it! I also never eat butter and found a vegetable based alternative for when it was needed. Pretty much the only “animal product” I continued to eat was cheese, maybe one to two servings daily, and sometimes honey.
I never felt too guilty about eating cheese until recently. I found out I have a slight dairy allergy but was told by the allergists to continue eating the small amount that I do to avoid a worse allergy in the future. Then, I found out about the dairy industry and how the cows are forced to milk constantly when in the natural order of things, the calf would drink the milk and then grow up no longer relying on their mother’s nourishment. But instead, these babies are ripped from their mothers so the grown cows can provide their food to the dairy industry for their whole lives through hormones. This fact saddened me, and the taste of cheese changed for me. Every time I ate cheese, I felt guilty. Learning how calf’s are taken from their mothers too early crept into my mind. So I decided to make a bigger change.
Veganism has been calling my name for years, and most days I would eat 1-2 meals a day without any animal products. When I enjoyed those meals, I felt proud of myself and fully satisfied. Why not make the switch completely and leave any guilt behind me? At 19 weeks pregnant, my skin (a lifelong issue) has worsened and become more sensitive to eczema and irritability. My hope is that this transition to vegan will diminish my skin issues from the “slight allergy” of cow’s milk. It has only been a week and a half, so I am not making any assumptions yet.
For the past 10 days, I have felt NO guilt or shame from what I have put in my body. I don’t feel I am hurting the calf’s’ livelihood or cows’ future. I also feel this will help my baby! I do not want to force a certain lifestyle on my child, but know that protein and calcium can be found in MANY other foods that don’t hurt any animals. Children are born innocent, and why take that away from them with giving them a inhumanly murdered animal? This baby and our future children will be raised vegetarian at the very least. If they make the decision to eat meat, that is fine, but it will not be allowed in our household.
I believe feeding them colorful, healthy, and ethical foods will help their growth and keep their compassion for animals intact. We were not put on this earth to abuse animals or misuse their goodness. If there is a mindful and respectful manner to eat meat and dairy, that is okay. But not for our family. I cannot justify killing my child’s innocence with the harmful consumption of meat or the support of the harsh meat and dairy industries.
In addition to the foods I eat, I don’t support using leather products or even products that have gelatin in them. Part of being a warrior for animals is being a well-rounded vegetarian or vegan. This means no animal products, period. There is absolutely no need for animals to be used in candies, lotions, cars, etc. so I research everything I buy. I don’t want to be a “fair-weather” vegetarian (or in my case, vegan). It is proven how much this helps the animals AND the Earth.
As for me, vegan is the proper path for now. It might change in the future to eat more vegetarian again, but I will never ever, EVER put any meat inside my body ever again. And this is the best and most proper choice for me.
*** Some of my favorite VEGAN foods***
- FRUIT – bananas, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, grapes (USDA organic as much as possible!)
- VEGGIES – broccoli, carrots, green peas, salad (spinach, kale, mixed greens),
- GRAINS – brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, quinoa
- PROTEIN – soy or almond milk yogurt, peanut butter, humus, nuts or seeds